x.jpg So, this was the week that subscription gaming service GameTap rolled out a whole boatload of changes - as Angled Whiteboards explains: "Begin by launching GameTap and upgrading it to the Deluxe [Version 3.0] Player. You’ll obviously need it to access today’s superfun batch of games. But the update also introduces a number of anticipated new game discovery features, enhanced search, publishable playlists, AND the handy new Lite Player." (A Joystiq interview talks more about the changes and plans.)

So you can now play a number of games for free, using the Lite Player, over on GameTap.com, even if you're not a subscriber - these include Metal Slug, Tomb Raider Legend, Joust, and even Uru Live, though the website is still going through some teething trouble with slowish downloads and so on, last I checked.

It's a bit of a weird hybrid - sorta a website front end, but still using a PC downloadable with emulation to play the games - and is still pretty 'Beta' in many ways. Lots of new features, too - there's digital purchases now available for a whole bunch of games, along with lots of GameTap TV now viewable for free. Not sure if it's up there on the site, but I was watching (in the Deluxe Player) a GameTap TV mini-doc on the Sega SG-1000 that had unbelievably high production quality, and kinda epitomizes the GameTap experience for me right now - cool, but still rather random.

Still, a glance at the 'Coming Soon' tab in the Deluxe Player reveals confirmation of a bunch of interesting GSW-relevant stuff on the continuing GameTap monthly subscription service, including Clockwork Knight (undated) and Golden Axe: The Duel (6/14) for the Sega Saturn, the entire set of King Of Fighters games through KOF 2003 rolling up through August 23rd, Last Blade 1 and 2 appearing in July, and Twinkle Star Sprites with multiplayer capabilities arriving on June 5th. It may be scattershot, but it's enticingly so for game geeks like us, eh?