The lights are on
This morning’s story on the developers over at Greenheart Games and their unusual approach to punishing pirates got us thinking about the practice of pirating games and its prevalence, as well as the changing attitudes towards the practice. We're curious about the experiences of the Game Informer community, and their attitudes towards the practice.
Growing up in the 1980s, I can recall that many friends at the time considered it common and acceptable practice to pass around floppy disks that contained the latest Apple and PC games without a second thought. As a result, many higher-end computer games of the time had aggressive and unusual methods to maintain copy protection, such as looking up lines of text in the instruction manual, or using strange code wheels to answer a question as the game booted up. Looking back, it seems awful that such rampant piracy was so accepted among rank and file gamers. Today, the game piracy questions has remained a major issue – though floppy disks have been replaced by torrent sites and other online sharing tools.
Have you ever engaged in game piracy to get a game without paying for it? Presuming you no longer do it, what made you stop? If you still pirate games, why do you still do it? Do you feel like it’s wrong, or is it not a big deal? While we’re at it, do you include game emulation of older games in the same category as pirating modern-day games, and do you ever use emulators?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, and remember that we’re all here for a discussion, not recriminations about how different people feel or act on this issue.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
i never and i'm pretty proud about it
I've pirated some things but its always older games. I feel like they get a pass because of how expensive they are, take Earthbound or Panzer Dragoon Saga as examples. I usually use emulation as a sort of "rental" system, if I enjoy the game I go out and buy it so I can get the original experience. While I don't do that with all of my retro purchases I make sure I do it with purchases that cost more than $50. I also try not to spend more than what the game's price at retail was but some games like Megaman Legends 2 are practically impossible to get at that price so I have made exceptions. The last game I "pirated" was probably Morrowind, I enjoyed my time with it enough to go out and buy a copy. Another thing I've used emulation/pirating for is fan translations of foreign games that never made it to America or any other English speaking country. Honestly, I use pirating more for movies, it allows me to watch movies I other wise wouldn't watch. Just like with games I will buy a physical copy if I like the movie which happens more often than not. Pirating has saved me a lot of buyers remorse, like the 3d Silent Hill movie, it was absolutely terrible and I would have hated to waste my money on it. It has also given me the opportunity to watch movie I didn't initially have an interest for like Silver Linings Playbook which was a lot better than expected and completely worth its price.
I would agree with pirating old games if they would actually go down in price a reasonable amount. A ten year old game shouldn't cost more than five bucks to down load. Why does DLC never go down in price as well?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Yes, I pirate a lot of games - in fact if it is singleplayer focused or has a singleplayer element I will generally always pirate it. Reason being though, I work in this industry, I know how many developers are purely focused on monetization and buzz genres - pirating is a way for me to test a developer and see if they were worth my money.
Even though I am a huge pirate, and supporter of it, I believe that if you pirate a game and enjoy it you should always pay for it - even if you have finished the game. As a result of this method there are many games that I have bought on all available consoles and PC just because it was so good. Do I need that many copies? No. But each game deserved every cent.
I have but now that I have money and Steam has a good catalog of old games I don't need to.
I will download ROMs for games that I can not get anywhere else. For example, I'll download an N64 ROM only if the game in question can't be purchased on the Virtual Console. Even if I don't have the money to buy it, but it is there, I won't pirate it.
In the 80's I had no problem with accepting copies of games on floppy for my Apple, but I was also a kid and didn't know the difference. I had also, for a time, shared burned copies of music cd's with friends.
These days I know better and handle it like this: if its not worth buying, then its not worth owning. I went through my burned cd's and replaced them through iTunes.
Also, buying a game 20 years ago is not a justification for stealing it today. It costs developers time to continually update them for modern OS and consoles so if its been released on say Xbox Arcade then you don't get to justify stealing via a pc emulator. If you have to invent gray area justifications for what you're doing then you're breaking the law and are morally in the wrong.
I'm not stupid enough to pirate games.
I havent, but I pirated Rollercoaster Tycoon this semester, my teacher gave us copies for history class.
The only game I had pirated was a discontinued DEMO of Warcraft 1. That and maybe playing on online emulation of a Sonic which I rebought most of the original series anyways, lacking Sonic 1 though. I personally don't think discontinued games of yesterdecade isn't all that bad, as long as your willing to buy them if they rerelease.
BTW those sonic games I rebought, i rarely play them and bought them half becuase they were my first games, and half becuase I owed it to Sega.
Unfortunately I have, most recently Bully. I really can't afford to keep a steady flow of cash into my PS3 account so sometimes I cut corners. However I feel that I have dumped a lot of money into Sony's online service, so I don't fully regret my pirating.
Nope, never. Partly cus I don't know how haha and partly because I am slightly obsessed with having a physical copy of the games I want in my collection.
Does old SNES and GBA roms count? Otherwise, no.
I've played emulators and have one of Pokemon Blue on my cell phone, I don't see this as a form of piracy since you can't buy the game new to support the developers.
I don't believe I've pirated a game before, although programs and videos are a different story.
I do believe it is a bad move and that it hurts the industry. If I download something that I really, REALLY like I tend to pay money for it.
My primary form of pirating is comic books. I've downloaded them before in order to read them and catch up what's going on. Such as the "Avengers VS X-Men" story arc. I don't own any issue except #1 and why did I pirate them? Because I didn't want to spend the money and I wanted to keep up with the story because it interacted with my favorite book thus far. (Wolverine and the X-men).
I am very debated on the topic. When I downloaded those comics, it was kind of like if I had borrowed them from a friend. I would've never bought them after reading them and then would of given it back to the friend, thus not funding the people who make the comics I love but I would also have no guilt.
I don't know what the deal is with my split opinions on the topic.
However, as said, I try to buy if possible, which with certain programs.
Which reminds me, is RPG Marker VX or XP considered a game? If so, than yes, I've pirated games.
I used to pirate games.... mainly older ones(roms of genesis and gba games), although I did try to pirate many dreamcast games. I don't think using emulation of old games is pirating, mainly because I can't find the game anywhere other than ebay. Say I wanted to buy Mario Land for the Gameboy, but it isn't produced anymore? What do I do, I use an emulator. Same thing with Gameboy Advance games nowadays. As for modern 3d games, I have never been able to successfully run something like that on my computer. I tried Dreamcast games but I couldn't get the disc to run. I gave up. As for why I haven't emulated older games, I don't have the time.
I personally haven't, but my dad used to copy computer games that he borrowed from work friends all the time back in the 90s. We still have some of these pirated games, though most of them don't work anymore and many never worked at all to begin with. I think the reason he stopped was because of the high failure rates of the process. Also we started playing console games shortly afterwards and I'm not sure my dad knew how to copy Playstation games, so he just borrowed or bought them after that.
I played with pirated games at the beginning of my PC gaming career, as it was a commonly accepted practice among my friends. It never crossed my mind, that I was doing something wrong. My attitude changed for more reasons. As gaming became an important part of my life, I became more responsible towards the medium and more aware of the damage, that pirating causes. Another reason was my mistrust in illegal copies. Today I consider myself a die hard PC gamer and I buy everything I play with and even the games I stole in former times. I work at a mobile game developer, but still consider the PC the most important platform and try to convince people around me to buy their games.