Piracy? Archiving VS Being an Asshole

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Piracy? Archiving VS Being an Asshole

Postby Wing-0 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:13 am

I was thinking of posting this on the What's on Your Mind Now topic, but I think this could derail the rather random discussion of that thread, which wouldn't be good.

I read this link posted by someone on Facebook. I don't really know if it is really by a Sega employee, but the topic did raise attention to an opinion I have always had...

Please give it a read: http://segaawakens.blogspot.com/2011/02 ... iracy.html
Now, then... If you gave the blog a read, let's talk about the topic for a bit. I don't know how common my scenario is. I try to buy the games I like on release date. If I can't, I just wait until it comes down in price and can get them for a lower price. The thing is, there are games that I have NEVER played that I always wanted to... Or games that I played in a different incarnation (a bit more on that later).

Still, when the games are rare, and I have quite a few of them by now, I have this fear that my original copy might be damaged or even stolen like it has happened sometimes when I was younger and relatively recently when talking about stealing.

Games I cherished are in several cases now lost to me. Forever. Among them, I count the following:

Sakura Wars 4 (DC, stolen)
Sakura Wars 3 (DC, stolen)
Skies of Arcadia (Damaged beyond repair, probably destroyed later)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (SNES, destroyed)
Melty Blood Act Cadenza (PS2, stolen)
Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Saturn, stolen)
Macross VF-X2 (Playstation, stolen)
Snatcher (Sega CD, damaged)
Popful Mail (Sega CD, damaged)
Sonic 1,3, & Knuckles (Genesis, stolen)
Streets of Rage 1, 2, 3 (Genesis, stolen)
Solar Jetman (NES, destroyed)
Ninja Gaiden 1, 2, 3 (lost, probably here, probably somewhere in space/time)
Wild Guns (SNES, sold by my mother in a fit of rage)

And the list can go on and on, but this is not a whimpering topic, is it?

The thing is, as the poster mentions, piracy can have a beneficial effect. Archiving. So far, we have no real archives of games so that they can be played and be enjoyed by younger generations or us, the by now older generation. Sure, the Wii has a Virtual Console, the PS3/PSP has the "game archives" and the 360 has... or had the Games on Demand... I don't really know. Not a Microsoft fan here.

However, these three services have one fatal flaw. They don't archive EVERY SINGLE GAME EVER. Not even those released in their own past consoles.

Macross VF-X2 is... more like was in my case, one of the BEST anime themed games of its time. It presented an original story in the Macross universe and you could play with many of the archetypes of the most famous Variable Fighters at the time of its release. I bought it from a guy who regularly imported games from Japan, but didn't like it. For me, it was an incredible bliss to play. Now I don't have it. If it was sold in the Japanese Playstation Network store, I'd buy it in a flash. Alas, it is not.

Another example I still feel the pain of, is the loss of my original copy of Skies of Arcadia thanks to my younger brother getting into my room, and being as clumsy as he is, hit my DC and the disc came off the spinning motor and... Well, just imagine the scratching sound of a disc hitting the interior of the disc chamber as it spins and scratching its surface against everything inside, spinning motor included.

But those are not the only examples he mentions. One important case is Panzer Dragoon Saga's (as known in North America and maybe Europe too), Sega screwed up and now the source code is... lost... Lost in the mists of time and space (that expression again).

I have always wanted to play that game. When it came out, I didn't have a Saturn. That game is one of the lost gems of its time I never could play. Another one is Treasure's (if my memory doesn't play a prank on me) Guardian Heroes, a hack and slash game that had several endings, routes and even multiplayer. There are more examples, but I'll leave it at that.

Those games are now so rare and nigh impossible to find, that when they do show up, they are prohibitively expensive.

Now... when companies go under...

Some of you MIGHT have heard a name... Valis... No, it's not Philip K. Dick's story. It's actually about a girl who is given a magical sword named like that to defend three worlds. The human world, the dream world and a third one called Vecanti. Parts 1 and 3 showed up on the Sega Genesis, but the second never did... Well, it did, but in a super deformed version that parodied the events of that game... The fourth arrived at the Super Nintendo console in a heavily butchered form that turned it into a completely different game, even if the player character was still the same. But going back to the topic, because I really deviated, those games came out originally on the PC Engine in Japan. As we all know, the PC Engine's life ended a long time ago, but also, the company that produced them, Telenet Japan, went under as well.

Those games fell into oblivion until Sunsoft acquired in 2009 the entire catalog of Telenet. But what about those IPs that never resurface? Does the name Jaleco ring a bell? I'm one of those that remember them and their games.

Currently, there is not a good archiving system that encompasses all of the games scattered across the consoles that have existed. Piracy, however, does provide a partial solution, I think. There are many instances of well archived games, but not all of them are there. I haven't even mentioned the case of PC games. Benoit sent me to a site where OLD PC games are still archived and are available, but I'm sure it's not all of them.

Now, there are games that have appeared in a console in some period of time, that then appear again in a different one. Easy examples, the Sonic The Hedgehog and classic Phantasy Star games from Sega. Another not so well known example, again from Sega is Dragon Force. It was originally for the Saturn, but sega had a fit of genius and released it on the PS2 (Japan only) as a part of their budget collection of remakes. The Sega Ages brand.

From the standpoint I see it, piracy doesn't seem ALL that bad. It does have its bad points, like the open distribution of the content to users that didn't support the product and many others, but... If you paid for the game and rip it... Is it wrong?
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Re: Piracy? Archiving VS Being an Asshole

Postby Black Sword » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:38 pm

If your goal was to make me freak out, congratulations, you succeeded beyond any reasonable hope. I'm going to get home and check all of Sega games to make sure they still work. My Super Nintendo died a long time ago, so I can't even confirm those work. >_<

ANYWAY, to the topic on hand, I've never enjoyed emulators. There, I said it. I've always been a console gamer, so using my PC for anything beyond strategy games does not come naturally to me. However, when faced with the extinction of my favorite games, including classics I've never gotten the chance to play, I have to violently support the idea of Great Archive for video games. We preserve books (or at least, currently do so; I'm not putting any money on the mindless drone continuing to do so) and video games have become an integral part of modern culture.

The major obstacle to such an archive is copyright. Something like 25 years have to pass before games go into the open domain, assuming non-renewal of copyright, and honestly, I'm torn on that matter. On the one hand, people should benefit from their brilliance. On the other, the corporations prefer to hoard these treasures, putting them at risk to corporate crash and burn. Can you imagine what would have happened if Sega had gone under during the Dreamcast era? Five generations of console history wiped out, just like that.

Honestly, piracy may not be the ideal solution, since people are always eager to steal, but with the options being extinction or illegal copying, well, my answer becomes: ARRRRRRRRRRRR MATEY.
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Re: Piracy? Archiving VS Being an Asshole

Postby carlsojos » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:21 pm

Black Sword wrote:Something like 25 years have to pass before games go into the open domain....

25 years is the bare minimum as dictated by international law; it varies by country (try 95 years in the United States, many countries are the author's lifetime plus [generally over 50] years). The ESA, one of the biggest wet work organizations against game pirates, unofficially lowers the enforcement priority of games over roughly 15 years old if there is no activity around the title in question, but that doesn't mean they won't hunt you down if they decide to do so. It's pretty rare for them to give a second warning, from what I'm told, but they do occasionally sanction the hosting of really old games that are under their protection. Just don't make them mad if you do- Abandonia really got hit when they forgot to ask for permission on a single "protected" game.

My biggest complaint is that the law really doesn't take into consideration the relatively short lifetimes of consoles compared to more universal mediums like books.
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