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Is gaming piracy finally dead?


dumpster
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1 hour ago, dumpster said:

Tell me your stories and, like me, is it all a thing of your childhood that's confined to history?

 

Emulation aside, I've only really dabbled in piracy on occasion. I think it helped that I was pretty much one generation behind for a long time, and so games were always affordable because they were so old.

 

Seriously, though - we didn't bother with home taping because we got a C64 in the early 90s - a time when we had an abundance of budget games to choose from and magazines that gave away full games on their covermounts. Whilst everyone was going nuts over the GC, Xbox and PS2, I had just picked up an old Dreamcast for something like £15-20 and was raiding bargain bins. I think I picked up an original GBA shortly before the DS hit the scene.

 

I did have a college friend hook me up with a pre-modded Xbox 1 during the 6th gen, but even then I mostly played old emulators on it. I think we even had one of the PS1s that was super-easy to fool, but I couldn't be bothered because I was distracted by covermount demos whilst I saved for full games. It probably wasn't until the DS and PSP that I really started checking out hardware exploits - and then later the Vita, of course.

 

Today, I think it only really matters if you struggle financially and/or none of the subscription services give you enough choice. Although I do think the £70 price point for new games is pretty nuts, especially to those who do struggle.

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X-Copy on the Amiga was nuts! Don’t think anybody who had an Amiga actually bought any games. Lol. All my mates would just copy a copy of a copy of a copy and had 100s of titles stashed in their disk boxes. There was a lad at school who used to bring copies in and sell them along with Porn mags and vids and shit. Proper entrepreneur! Lol. Outside of most of the games that came with it, the only legit games I owned were Street Fighter 2 and Leander and maybe one of the Dizzy games. Crackers! Thing is, having all those games meant they lost all value and no-one really played them that much. Mainly just Sensi and Speedball 2 multiplayer whilst you were waiting for tea before you went off to touch up some lasses at the bus stop. Hahaha. 
 

Then there was the PlayStation. A friend of a friend’s Dad knocked stuff off and his son took it all into school and sold it to folk. Think his Dad ended up in the Cop Shop. Lol.  You had to do the old Biro/pen trick and then disc swap to get them to work. Played a few copies but bought all my PlayStation stuff. Then remember having a few copies on Dreamcast, think you had to use a Boot Disc which was free on the front of a magazine or something. Again, bought all my Dreamcast stuff though. 
 

Edit - just remembered......when I first started gaming must have been about 5 or something I used to go around to my Uncle’s which I absolutely loved as he had a spare room full of 100s of knocked off C-64 games. Hahaha. Beach Head, Hektik, and one were you were driving a VW Beetle up a hill spring to mind.

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Genuinely never seen the harm in emulation.  Back in the days of the OG Xbox, Emulators kept that console under the TV for years longer, and I must have spent more time buying legit games and accessories than I would had the console gone into the loft.  Anything that keeps a console in use has to surely be a good thing.  But the "emulation is piracy" debate has taken a strange turn as companies re-release these games, often with little to no extras.  A case in point is that I really like Castlevania Circle of the Moon.  I've played it many times. I paid for it when I got my launch GBA so I feel authorised to play it on my TV today. It's a game I owned (still do), paid for and it got a new lease of life playing it on the Xbox on a big TV because the Gameboy Advance screen was so impossible to see back in the day.  And it caused no lost sales at all, no publisher lost money etc. 

 

Then they released it on Switch and I'm pretty sure I'd have bought it day one had I not been regularly playing it over the past 20 years.  

 

And yet, emulation makes me think that Switch release is a rip off because COTM is a 8Mb file, barely enhanced for Switch. 

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I had a few copies back in the PS1/DC days, but 99% of my games were originals.

 

I’ve dabbled with modded consoles since then just to see what I can do with them, but I don’t play any of the games I download for more than a few minutes - more ‘that’s cool’, then it’ll be put away for 6 months before I sell it on. 


I do have F-Zero on dolphinios on my iPad at the moment, it runs very impressively. I spent some time getting it to work, tweaked the settings, marvelled at the performance, then.. played God of War via remote play. I guess that’s ‘piracy’ but who is losing out? (If Nintendo re-released it for the Switch I’d buy it).

 

There are so many games available for free or via subscriptions now I can’t see any need for piracy, but I know people still do - the PS4 is hacked if you have the correct OS version, and it looks like PS5 hacks are on the way. Personally I wouldn’t risk my subscription / account, but I’ll still tinker with older systems when the opportunity comes. 

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I pirate stuff if I'm on the fence and fancy a demo first. Obviously I'd never be arsed trying it on a console with compromising my online accounts and whatnot. I think it's mostly developing countries who are into it, places where games are prohibitively expensive for the natives. Like Brazil, or Malaysia.

 

That said my n3DS has a 64GB card filled to the brim. I already have around 20 3DS games but figured I'd add the remainder via CFW just for fun (I never play any of it). My Wii and PS2 also have HDDs attached with all 7/10s and up loaded on there, but then I only ever really play the beauties which I already own.

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In my Amiga days there was a computer club at a local church I used to go to on a Friday night. It basically turned into a pirate den! They even started selling blank discs there.

We used to lug our Amiga’s there and swap games. Just about everyone spent the majority of the night using Xcopy Pro.

But, even though I had access to pretty much any game I wanted. I always wanted the actual physical big box version of my favs. Sometimes I would even ask for games I already had copies of as Christmas presents. The likes of Atrain, Sensi, Settlers, Kick Off 2. I could go on.

With the DS piracy was rife. But again I always wanted games to display.

Ive just remembered something! Ha ha. Remember when MS started banning modded 360s from live? That was hilarious! There was a lot of gutted people at my workplace! 

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I think there's just too much choice now to consider piracy, unless you're extremely and intentionally desperate to play something and not pay for it, or you're after playing something that's simply not available.

 

For even the most vested videogame fan, there's a whole wealth of free games simply given away, games with f2p models, fan made games, and games that come as part of a subscription plan that it's hard to run out of games to play. Consoles have less of a choice, but you'll still have people playing Apex and Warzone ad infinitum.

 

On top of that, Modern piracy is a pain in the arse - PC game repacks have been often argued to have bitcoin mining malware unless you go with the right groups, acquisition requires masking your IP before shitty letters from your ISP start dropping through the letterbox, and constant console firmware updates mean you're either stuck offline and/or not being able to play the latest games because of Day 1 patches or required firmware revisions.

 

Emulation piracy is far easier, mind, and sometimes it's frankly the best or only way to play certain titles (either from geographical circumstances or recent fan translations). But I suppose if it's about piracy being dead in a modern context, you'd discount emulation because the process behind that was around when 90s computing was taking off, at the very least.

 

Edit: Childhood memories? Funnily enough, following on from that last paragraph - playing stuff on a school friend's pentium pc, via NESticle and no$gb.

 

Obviously everyone had a chipped PS1, and nobody had the internet so you relied on the guy who chipped your console making game deliveries every week and getting games for a tenner, until one of your mates finally got ADSL and he'd do it instead for a fiver or you borrowed the disk. I definitely remember the times of playing just the first disk of FF8 because someone else had the second burnt disk, or when a friend of mine was playing MGS and then all of us taking turns to try out every single codec station for some reason.

 

But from that point, getting a console modified was all about convenience more than piracy. Importing PS2 games and even smaller bits of hardware like the GBA SP meant getting legitimate games months in advance for cheaper. Even things like HDLoader was for keeping most of the games I already had ready to go in one spot. Nobody in our group of friends knew about Dreamcast piracy until, at least from memory, the launch of Ikaruga (which was only genuinely prolific because the full download was something absurd like 20MB).

 

And then all of us basically went PC, to XBox 360, and then back to PC, leading to now. 

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The last 'current gen' thing I pirated was a Japanese copy of FFXII on the PS2, which I played with a guide, simply because I couldn't wait for it to release in the west.  Of course I had a stack of copied tapes and discs during the 8/16-bit computer era because I was always flat broke, but console piracy has always been a strictly retroactive emulation deal for me, and I've never bothered to pirate new PC games.

 

Thing is, even the stuff I keep on a hard drive now for emulation is almost exclusively nostalgic favourites that I did buy for their respective systems. It's more about having them all in one easy, convenient place, and not having all the clutter of multiple boxes plugged into the TV.

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Technically I pirated a game yesterday. There’s a track on the FFVIII soundtrack CD called ‘Unrest’ which is different from the game version (the bass line has an extra little noodly bit). I have the game in my loft but no longer have an appropriate region machine to play it on. If I had it on the Vita I could hook it up to my PC and record the audio, so I just googled ‘FFVIII iso’ and one of the first three links was a valid one to download all 4 discs.

 

If it’s that simple to do I can’t believe it’s really gone away.

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55 minutes ago, chris on the moon said:

Games are really cheap now, lots of them are free, and rllmuk is full of older men with money.

 

 

you take that back 😠

Did they enhance it?  The .GBA file is tiny.  (Mario All Stars for the Wii came on a 99% empty DVD with an emulator and a rom that was proven to have come from a download site). Makes me feel cheated when they ask full price for something they haven't improved.  If COTM is enhanced I'll buy it today.

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It’s getting harder and easier to be a retro gamer without piracy. 
 

You want to play on original hardware then it’s either be quite wealthy or get an everdrive. Then there’s the mini consoles that give you a legitimate way to emulate. 
 

By the time your into Misters though it’s rom time. 

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There was a time when piracy was often the easiest (not just the cheapest) way to get a game.

 

Now that’s not true at all.

 

I’m sure many people here in the days of the Amiga and PlayStation would look at a friend’s shelf piled high with original games and think “Where did they get the money?” Now if I saw someone with a hard drive full of pirated games for modern systems I’d think “Where did they get the time?”

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1 minute ago, RubberJohnny said:

I think it's mostly a boomer thing now, if you grew up with piracy and are too reactionary or inflexible to adapt to all the new services and stuff, then you're probably still doing it.

Yep that's exactly it! :lol:

 

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I pirated stuff through my teenage years, for the PS1 (who didn't) then eventually Dreamcast and OG Xbox but as I got older I learned that quality > quantity any day of the week. Id come back from a boot sale with a stack of cd-rs, play one for 10 minutes then onto the next. Nothing got the time it deserved and I ended up throwing them away.

 

I'm all for flash carts for the 16bit eras and below but still like to buy proper discs for my other retro formats. 

 

But i really feel that piracy can't be compared to back then as there was so much software and games that never came out in europe. You couldn't watch a launch trailer or a youtube play to get a feel for how the game played, instead you would read about 5-6 games you'd want to play in a single month in CVG and have to get your imagination to fill in the blanks - or you needed to pay "Dave at school's dad with a CD burner" prices to be able to try stuff out. Nowdays I don't get excited for 5 games a year - and the kids with their evergreen live service games are living the dream, games that never end or grow boring. I would imagine it's easier to nag your parents for a £5 skin every once in a while than £50 for a mega drive cart.

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16 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

 

I'm curious - why are people possing this?

 

I'm not going to jump on robdood for it but I don't really understand why, as a gamer, you would pat someone on the back for stealing games.

Probably because the car line was pretty funny and honest.

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I am quite impressed with 6th gen emulation quality, even though I’ve only briefly dabbled out of curiosity. When I checked out Dolphin, CXBX and PCSX2, most things I tried ran without too much hassle. And 6th gen is that special time when gaming was still trying to get out of the “janky polygons and foggy draw distance” era whilst churning out nonsense for the mainstream, so of course I’ll download Kabuki Warriors and laugh at how appalling it is.

 

(Seriously though, I’ll pay money for legal re-releases guys. Give me more PS2 classics to buy!)

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10 hours ago, dumpster said:

And yet, emulation makes me think that Switch release is a rip off because COTM is a 8Mb file, barely enhanced for Switch. 

 

Somehow you missed the part where they make a custom emulator. A really good one. That's a huge amount of work to do to that level of quality.

 

2 hours ago, dumpster said:

Did they enhance it?  The .GBA file is tiny.  (Mario All Stars for the Wii came on a 99% empty DVD with an emulator and a rom that was proven to have come from a download site). Makes me feel cheated when they ask full price for something they haven't improved.  If COTM is enhanced I'll buy it today.

 

It wasn't proven to have come from a download site. You're confusing this with SMB in the Wii VC, which some thought came from a download site. 1) so what if it did, they own the game anyway, 2) it turns out it didn't, they employed a guy from the early scene to make the VC's emulator.

 

Again, the work is making a good emulator that's accurate and with minimal lag.

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Piracy is still rife on PC, which is why it's not actually the target platform for any most games with a sizable budget and also why they often come to the platform much later. 

 

I use flash carts & ODE's on retro consoles, and usually have the whole library on there. I do still buy and collect a very curated library of retro games (and would buy them more if I could) but the used prices for these games are now absolutely stupid and taking the piss, especially when it's a 2nd hand sale and the creators get no money whatsoever. 

 

I do not pirate anything that's on sale and available, I want to support the creators. Interestingly, every console I had up to the PS360 generation was modded as soon as possible... and that was always to play imports. I never played backups.   

 

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1 hour ago, Kevvy Metal said:

which is why it's not actually the target platform for any most games with a sizable budget and also why they often come to the platform much later. 

 

When does this happen other than for PS5 exclusives?  The only games I've wanted to play over the last couple of years which haven't been immediately released on PC have been Demon's Souls and Returnal, hardly endemic.

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

 

I'm curious - why are people possing this?

 

I'm not going to jump on robdood for it but I don't really understand why, as a gamer, you would pat someone on the back for stealing games.

Just appreciated the honesty tbh. 

 

I'll also happily pos anyone who admits to pirating ubisoft and blizzard games.

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11 minutes ago, SharkyOB said:

 

When does this happen other than for PS5 exclusives?  The only games I've wanted to play over the last couple of years which haven't been immediately released on PC have been Demon's Souls and Returnal, hardly endemic.

 

How's that Red Dead Redeption 2 looking on PC?

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