Theme Hospital is Free on Origin

Theme Hospital is Free on Origin

theme hospital logo

Theme Hospital, one of the most classic sim games of all time, is completely free for a limited time.

Origin's On The House program sure knows how to hit us right in the old-school simulator nostalgia. Last month, it was giving away the classic city building sim, SimCity 2000, and now, it's giving us Bullfrog's timeless hospital manager, Theme Hospital. As usual, there's no catch of any kind (unless you consider having to install Origin a catch), and once claimed, the game is yours to keep forever.

Theme Hospital was originally released back in 1997 by the now-defunct Bullfrog Productions. It was the spiritual successor to Theme Park, and like the prior game, was praised by fans and critics for its addictive, rewarding game play, and quirky sense of humor.

The On The House version of Theme Hospital is the complete, full version of the game (it's from a time before DLC...), and will only be available for free for a limited time. As with other On The House specials, EA declined to comment exactly how limited that time would be, stating simply "Just make sure to act fast because On the House specials can appear and disappear at any time."

After it's taken off the On The House program, Theme Hospital will return to its regular price of $5.99.

I know a lot of people still harbor a lot of ill-will towards EA Games and Origin for past mistakes, but now that they are literally giving away classic masterpieces like Theme Hospital and SimCity 2000, maybe it's time to finally bury the hatchet?

Source: Origin

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Woot, know what I am doing when I get home.

Never thought I'd see the day, but I spent more time on Origin than I did on Steam the past two months. Probably the freebies and DA:I being on sale. EA might have a chance at not being the most hated company in Ameria this year.

After what they did to Dungeon Keeper!? Oh I will bury the hatchet on someone alright...

Trying to grab my free copy of Theme Hospital but oh look! Can't log in to Origin once again. :/

chiasmata:
Trying to grab my free copy of Theme Hospital but oh look! Can't log in to Origin once again. :/

You do realize you are literally complaining about having to log into a PC client to get free stuff, right?

Steven Bogos:

chiasmata:
Trying to grab my free copy of Theme Hospital but oh look! Can't log in to Origin once again. :/

You do realize you are literally complaining about having to log into a PC client to get free stuff, right?

I believe he is complaining about Origin malfunctioning and him not being able to use it.

That being said, I have nothing but seething, burning contempt for every smartass who makes comments like "Oh, stop telling people it's free, you have to use ORIGIN for it, free is still too much for THAT, hurp-durp"

I don't begrudge having to use Origin to get a free game.

I do get a bit antsy when I need to log in to Origin to play Ubisoft games I have purchased and the Origin servers are down about once a fortnight.

Good lord, this game...the amount of stress this game caused me years back.

*sigh* I am a masochist so I guess I will be playing it once I finish downloading it...

RealRT:
That being said, I have nothing but seething, burning contempt for every smartass who makes comments like "Oh, stop telling people it's free, you have to use ORIGIN for it, free is still too much for THAT, hurp-durp"

There is a reason why people make those comments; Origin is trying to buy back goodwill that has been burnt in the past. Funnily enough a lot of the goodwill burning has not even been done by origin itself *stares at ea*

Personally, I am trying to decide if the (awesome) game is worth the minor hassle of installing origin again.

xxobot:

There is a reason why people make those comments; Origin is trying to buy back goodwill that has been burnt in the past. Funnily enough a lot of the goodwill burning has not even been done by origin itself *stares at ea*

Personally, I am trying to decide if the (awesome) game is worth the minor hassle of installing origin again.

The reason why they make these comments is because Origin was a very unstable and poorly designed piece of technology in the past and it was the client EA bound some of its disappointing games to, such as Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3, which made it an easy target for assholes who want to look smart but end up looking bratty over complaining about doing a small thing for free stuff.

Theme Hospital is Free

Yay!

on Origin.

never mind.

I'd rather just pay for it on gog instead of having Origin on my computer.

Steven Bogos:

You do realize you are literally complaining about having to log into a PC client to get free stuff, right?

well i have to let that vile piece of malware onto my system before i can log into it but yes i do realise that. you can forget if you want you can let it slide, offer up your ass and ask them if the angle suits as you line it up to take it again. but i remember! i wont forget! the travesties of bullfrog , westwood (the guys that made the modern RTS genre! there would of been no warcraft or starcraft without dune 2 to steal from!) , pandemic, day 1 dlc , the mass effect 3 ending (ok how a publisher gets the blame for that one is tenuous) but they are facilitators!

Truth be told i don't actually care about that lot myself, i just don't want to live in a world where every damn publisher and every game have their own launchers and front end stores. so im being the change i want to see in the world and not taking the wages of sin. (and don't go looking at elite dangerous that's a special case i have too much nostalgic love for that game and those school holiday sleep overs at my mates house who had a BBC when they were cutting edge!)

Sweet! Love this game! I think I'm starting to like Origin, I mean I haven't paid for a single game but I have Dead Space, Theme Hospital, Peggle (Haven't played), The Sims 2 and Sim City 2000. Now just make an actual Dungeon Keeper 3, devoid of microtransactions and following the old formula and we'll be good!

For those who don't know and don't want to use origin, Theme Hospital has been free on abandonware websites for years.
http://www.myabandonware.com/game/theme-hospital-2ek
EA is not giving you a free game here, they are just making an already free game available on their platform.

Steven Bogos:
As usual, there's no catch of any kind (unless you consider having to install Origin a catch)...

Yyyyyyyyyyep. That's definitely a catch for me and, I suspect, quite a few other grudge-holders out there.

Johnisback:
For those who don't know and don't want to use origin, Theme Hospital has been free on abandonware websites for years.

Or, you could go to GOG.com as I did and get it legally for the exact same price EA is charging on Origin once the free deal ends. It's the next best thing to digging through your old box of game CDs to try and find where the heck your old disc is hiding.

If there's free games involved, I'll suck anyone's dick use anyone's gaming network.

Once you have picked up Theme Hospital, remember to check out CorsixTH, which makes it easier to run the game on modern computers and at higher resolutions: https://github.com/CorsixTH/CorsixTH

Rituro:

Or, you could go to GOG.com as I did and get it legally for the exact same price EA is charging on Origin once the free deal ends. It's the next best thing to digging through your old box of game CDs to try and find where the heck your old disc is hiding.

Come on now, I realise that abandonware is still technically under copyright but it's in the grey area between outright illegal and legal. The technically illegal but completely unenforced grey area.
If you wanted to smoke some weed while you were in Canada or India, would you say no to a joint even if everyone around you was enjoying it just because it's written that it's technically illegal on a piece of paper somewhere?

Johnisback:

Rituro:

Or, you could go to GOG.com as I did and get it legally for the exact same price EA is charging on Origin once the free deal ends. It's the next best thing to digging through your old box of game CDs to try and find where the heck your old disc is hiding.

Come on now, I realise that abandonware is still technically under copyright but it's in the grey area between outright illegal and legal. The technically illegal but completely unenforced grey area.
If you wanted to smoke some weed while you were in Canada or India, would you say no to a joint even if everyone around you was enjoying it just because it's written that it's technically illegal on a piece of paper somewhere?

Except we can't call it abandonware if you're perfectly able to buy a copy of the game with little to no hassle. If I can go on GoG or Origin and buy a copy of Theme Hospital, its not abandonware. I wouldn't call it piracy because its not, but you're most definitely no longer in the legal grey area when it comes to older dos games that you can buy on legitimate sites anymore.

On topic!

Yay! Once my new graphics card comes in and I can use my own computer again I'll be all over this. Really likin Origin as a service lately. On the House is a great system and (for me) its definitely far more usable than Steam is.

shintakie10:

Except we can't call it abandonware if you're perfectly able to buy a copy of the game with little to no hassle. If I can go on GoG or Origin and buy a copy of Theme Hospital, its not abandonware. I wouldn't call it piracy because its not, but you're most definitely no longer in the legal grey area when it comes to older dos games that you can buy on legitimate sites anymore.

But that's not what defines abandonware. Abandonware is simply software where the copyright holder is not tracking or enforcing copyright violations. And EA does not seem to be doing that with Theme Hospital (considering the many abandonware websites it's freely available on).
The grey area persists.

Johnisback:

shintakie10:

Except we can't call it abandonware if you're perfectly able to buy a copy of the game with little to no hassle. If I can go on GoG or Origin and buy a copy of Theme Hospital, its not abandonware. I wouldn't call it piracy because its not, but you're most definitely no longer in the legal grey area when it comes to older dos games that you can buy on legitimate sites anymore.

But that's not what defines abandonware. Abandonware is simply software where the copyright holder is not tracking or enforcing copyright violations. And EA does not seem to be doing that with Theme Hospital (considering the many abandonware websites it's freely available on).
The grey area persists.

Thats not technically accurate. Abadonware is where its not being distributed by the copyright holder. Part of the whole shebang is that they don't go after copyright infringements yes, but the idea behind abandonware is that it has been abandoned by the copyright holder. That's where it got its name.

Any game on GoG can't possibly be considered abandonware because it is being distributed via legal methods and the copyright holder is doing so. It is still being supported by the copyright holder. You can still get support for the game, though not through the original developers (though you probably didn't get it through them in the first place). The only reason copyright holders aren't goin after these sites is because it would be a gigantic waste of time and money to do so due to the amount there are on the internet now. Also it would somewhat endager their standing if a judge decides that not supporting it for X amount of time and only supporting it now counts it as having been abandoned and making it part of public domain. That's highly unlikely to happen, but the possibility is always there.

shintakie10:

Thats not technically accurate. Abadonware is where its not being distributed by the copyright holder. Part of the whole shebang is that they don't go after copyright infringements yes, but the idea behind abandonware is that it has been abandoned by the copyright holder. That's where it got its name.

Even if I did agree with your definition of abandonware (which I don't)....

shintakie10:
Any game on GoG can't possibly be considered abandonware because it is being distributed via legal methods and the copyright holder is doing so. It is still being supported by the copyright holder. You can still get support for the game, though not through the original developers (though you probably didn't get it through them in the first place). The only reason copyright holders aren't goin after these sites is because it would be a gigantic waste of time and money to do so due to the amount there are on the internet now. Also it would somewhat endager their standing if a judge decides that not supporting it for X amount of time and only supporting it now counts it as having been abandoned and making it part of public domain. That's highly unlikely to happen, but the possibility is always there.

Theme Hospital was considered abandonware as early as 2010 and only showed up on GoG in 2012 and on Origin this year.
Like you say, EA do not attempt to reassert their copyright on the product to abandonware websites because they are fully aware that five years of allowing free distribution of the game places it firmly in the public domain. In the realm of abandonware.

Huh, apparently I've had an EA account for just under 7 years now... I wonder how that happened. The only EA thing I had an account for was C&C3 online. Oh well, guess I don't have to worry about creating another account.

I really enjoyed Theme Hospital when I was younger, so I guess I have a reasons to use Origin now.

Ugh, the catch is that it doesn't save games. My copy keeps glitching and I can't get past level 1. I am glad I didn't pay for it now. Does anyone know how to get the files to save or do I have to keep DOS box running?

bdcjacko:
Ugh, the catch is that it doesn't save games. My copy keeps glitching and I can't get past level 1. I am glad I didn't pay for it now. Does anyone know how to get the files to save or do I have to keep DOS box running?

I've had a poke around GoG, and the common suggestions seem to be either running as Administrator and that Theme Hospital only recognises short filenames (8.3 format). This means if the source folder's name is longer than 8 characters, the game will not recognise it. Does that help?

The Eupho Guy:

bdcjacko:
Ugh, the catch is that it doesn't save games. My copy keeps glitching and I can't get past level 1. I am glad I didn't pay for it now. Does anyone know how to get the files to save or do I have to keep DOS box running?

I've had a poke around GoG, and the common suggestions seem to be either running as Administrator and that Theme Hospital only recognises short filenames (8.3 format). This means if the source folder's name is longer than 8 characters, the game will not recognise it. Does that help?

I'li let you know. Thanks for the tip.

 

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