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Posted by NickyDubz (272 posts) -

​I hate pirates. It is as simple as that. Pirates steal from hardworking people every day and it sickens me. Developers work hard for hundreds if not thousands of hours to give us, the users, the best experiences they can. Be it a big developer like Bethesda or a small independent company like Team Meat, their sole purpose is to entertain us. And that is how they survive. I respect that and that is why I firmly stand against piracy. I just feel it’s bad for the industry at large. ​

Here is where my conundrum is found. As a lover of all things video games, I love looking back and seeing where games have come from over the last 20 to 30 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 we have witnessed a leap in quality and standards that is extremely remarkable when you think about it. Imagine 30 years ago when a single block was the greatest chance Earth had against the menacing alien invasion. Now we all create our Dragonborn and lay waste in Skryim’s massive open world. I want to witness that evolution and there is no greater way to do that than to play the games.

​So here I am, a recent college grad drowning in debt and all I want to do is play old SNES/Genesis Games and experience the evolution of the hobby I love so much. In order to do that I have to go Ebay or Craigslist and over pay for a system and maybe get one or two games or find a second hand shop who also charges based on rarity so a copy of Chrono Trigger is 70 dollars. SNES games should not cost $70 its nearly 20 years old. I understand the economics of it all, supply is low and demand is high thus high prices. But why should I pay Joe from Joes Game Store to play Joe and Mac when I can download it online for free and have the same experience. In either case the developer makes $0 off the sale. Am I still a filthy, money stealing pirate? I want to say no but it’s such a gray area of weird that it still makes me wonder if I’m just a big hypocrite. It’d be different if I could go and buy a copy at a reasonable price at the star not some shady looking strip mall “game” store or flea market but I can’t.

I realize that some games get remakes and I’m going to buy them their as that’s the right way to do it. I’m not concerned about playing on an original system. Chrono Trigger on the DS is a great port and I know the money went to a developer who worked on it not the Gamestop employee who took the sale. And when I can buy a version of the a game for the Virtual Console I am all for it. But when I get to some more obscure NES, GB, Master System games, it’s easier to go download the entire game library and just play on my PC with a controller. So am I a hypocrite or are my justifications valid? Please internets tell me if I am a terrible person.

#1 Posted by NickyDubz (272 posts) -

​I hate pirates. It is as simple as that. Pirates steal from hardworking people every day and it sickens me. Developers work hard for hundreds if not thousands of hours to give us, the users, the best experiences they can. Be it a big developer like Bethesda or a small independent company like Team Meat, their sole purpose is to entertain us. And that is how they survive. I respect that and that is why I firmly stand against piracy. I just feel it’s bad for the industry at large. ​

Here is where my conundrum is found. As a lover of all things video games, I love looking back and seeing where games have come from over the last 20 to 30 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 we have witnessed a leap in quality and standards that is extremely remarkable when you think about it. Imagine 30 years ago when a single block was the greatest chance Earth had against the menacing alien invasion. Now we all create our Dragonborn and lay waste in Skryim’s massive open world. I want to witness that evolution and there is no greater way to do that than to play the games.

​So here I am, a recent college grad drowning in debt and all I want to do is play old SNES/Genesis Games and experience the evolution of the hobby I love so much. In order to do that I have to go Ebay or Craigslist and over pay for a system and maybe get one or two games or find a second hand shop who also charges based on rarity so a copy of Chrono Trigger is 70 dollars. SNES games should not cost $70 its nearly 20 years old. I understand the economics of it all, supply is low and demand is high thus high prices. But why should I pay Joe from Joes Game Store to play Joe and Mac when I can download it online for free and have the same experience. In either case the developer makes $0 off the sale. Am I still a filthy, money stealing pirate? I want to say no but it’s such a gray area of weird that it still makes me wonder if I’m just a big hypocrite. It’d be different if I could go and buy a copy at a reasonable price at the star not some shady looking strip mall “game” store or flea market but I can’t.

I realize that some games get remakes and I’m going to buy them their as that’s the right way to do it. I’m not concerned about playing on an original system. Chrono Trigger on the DS is a great port and I know the money went to a developer who worked on it not the Gamestop employee who took the sale. And when I can buy a version of the a game for the Virtual Console I am all for it. But when I get to some more obscure NES, GB, Master System games, it’s easier to go download the entire game library and just play on my PC with a controller. So am I a hypocrite or are my justifications valid? Please internets tell me if I am a terrible person.

#2 Posted by cmblasko (1203 posts) -

As long as it's not available on XBLA, PSN, Steam, eShop, what have you, then I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

#3 Posted by NickyDubz (272 posts) -

Sorry for the block of text will edit when I get home :/

#4 Posted by doobie (605 posts) -

not a terrible person. just a little self entitled

#5 Posted by Laurentech (127 posts) -

Yes, you're a terrible person, but it's not because of this.

#6 Edited by SpaceRunaway (861 posts) -

Sorry, I couldn't get through that, so I'll wait for the edit. I don't think anyone will call you a terrible person for playing old games on your computer though.

I did want to point out that paying a lot for old games is easier if you look at it like this: Chrono Trigger retailed for $70, which back in 1995 was worth about 100 dollars in today's money, according to the bureau of labor statistics. Looking at it like that, it's (almost) like you're getting a discount on it. Well, okay it's not like that at all, but that's how I justify my purchases to myself.

So, yes, you're probably a terrible person, but not for any of the reasons you outlined.

Edit: @Laurentech: Damn, you beat me to it!

#7 Posted by LikeaSsur (1513 posts) -

The fact that you felt the need to seek confirmation of your justifications should tell you all you need to know, pirate.

#8 Posted by believer258 (11820 posts) -

I don't think you're a terrible person for playing ROMs instead of playing on their original consoles.

I do think you're a terrible person for not waiting to properly write out and format this, then asking me to read it. Why not wait until you can get to the computer that you're going to post this from? That's not easily readable. I know you said you're going to edit it, but again, was this so urgent that it couldn't wait?

#9 Posted by groin (846 posts) -

yes

#10 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1431 posts) -

Go turn yourself in to the cops.

#11 Posted by living4theday258 (679 posts) -

nah your not.

#12 Posted by JerichoBlyth (1044 posts) -

No - they have made their money on those games. They do not actively sell them anymore in stores. Don't let them sell old products to you unless they're improved.

#13 Posted by Stete (731 posts) -

No, you are not.

#14 Posted by Demoskinos (14779 posts) -

WALL OF TEXT.

#15 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@NickyDubz said:

Sorry for the block of text will edit when I get home :/

You're not a bad person for playing ROMs, but you are for the lack of formatting :P

#16 Edited by Pezen (1596 posts) -

@Demoskinos: More like a picket fence of text.

Edited to add: Why would you need validation from strangers to do what you want?

#17 Posted by RenMcKormack (1074 posts) -

Yes you are a bad bad person. AND I AM WEARING A WIRE!!!!!. FREEZE NES POLICE...I have been waiting for this day for a long time.

#18 Posted by alexl86 (621 posts) -

It's sometimes annoying that more obscure, but great games don't get a rerelease on these download services. At the same time, the games that don't get a rerelease aren't the games that had the biggest impact (though many have inspired more successful games). Ultimately, while I don't condone piracy of older games, it's not as big a problem as pirating newer games, simply because there's more money being lost on the newer stuff. Some games are practically impossible to get a hold of legally, so you're pirating games that have practically no monetary value(that's not to say it's worthless, certainly all you really need is to call Nintendo to put it on Virtual Console.
 
Again, I'm against piracy and I don't do it, but I also see that pirating obscure games that are not currently on sale and has no future plans isn't really harming the industry.

#19 Edited by yoshisaur (2708 posts) -

No, but your impatience in posting the thread makes you a bad person.

#20 Posted by RandomHero666 (3181 posts) -

If you weren't gonna buy a game in the first place, or are unable to.. imo there is nothing wrong with pirating it.

Hey, if you were a game dev would you rather someone play your game without paying for it, or not play and not pay?

#21 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

it's alright. used games developers aren't going to get the money for it. games that cost a lot aren't even worth it.

#22 Posted by gaminghooligan (1439 posts) -

If u can get it legally you should, but most old games and their creators have moved far past caring about their older titles. So if it's impossible to find, then using a ROM is okay in my book.

#23 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

Trust me, the anxiety you are feeling over this is hurting you far more than your lack of $70 in the craigslist economy is hurting others. Just make a decision and accept it.

#24 Posted by Rainbowkisses (472 posts) -

No you are not. I sometimes use emulators because I think no human being should have to pay $70 to play Ninja Five-O

#25 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I have to roll my eyes when people actually ponder stuff like this.

No, downloading games - new or old, does not make you a bad person. I doubt anybody on this site knows someone who pirates that they would consider a bad person. (at least due to their pirating)

Am I still a filthy, money stealing pirate?

It's hard to steal money you never actually paid, isn't it?

You can argue that piracy = a lost sale, therefore money is lost, but that's not exactly a very solid argument.

edit: and I buy most my games before anyone says anything! I'm not willing to pay money for second hand copies of PS2 games when I can just emulate them with better graphics for free.

#26 Posted by laserbolts (5319 posts) -

People around these parts tend to treat piracy like its murder. My best advice is to ignore those people and do what you want. You aren't a bad person if the only questionable thing you do is pirate a video game.

#27 Posted by Phatmac (5725 posts) -

I called the cops. You're going to jail, fucker!!!!!!

#28 Posted by AltonBrown (950 posts) -

@Rainbowkisses: You should, though. Ninja Five-O is sick.

#29 Edited by JasonR86 (9659 posts) -

@NickyDubz:

The responses you're going to get are really subjective. Here's my personal take. Some might agree others may not.

On the one hand, there's an issue of availability and usability For example, I grew up with a Colecovision. As far as I know I can't legitimately play any of those games on new TVs because you need an RF connector (though I might be wrong). I would need to find an old TV with that connector. Those TVs will eventually no longer be around for me to buy. So what then? Does my Colecovision and the games for it just become paper-weights? Also a lot of older games go out of print and many people won't sell those games to new users. So those experiences can't be had legitimately.

There's also an issue of money and space. Out of print games can be sold for as much or as little as the seller dictates. There are some basic standards but the sellers aren't held to those standards. Also consoles are big, spacious things and games take up space too. But an emulator and roms are as big as one's computer.

On the other hand, no one has an inherent right to play a game because they've decided they wish to do so. I don't own an SNES. But I would like to play several games from the SNES that I never had the chance to. That doesn't give me any right to go download SNES roms and play them in an emulator. Old games and new games alike are products to be bought and sold. Just because a person doesn't have enough money, space, resources, or the availability is limited for a product does not mean that one should be given free reign to take that product without payment. We are not always entitled to have what we want.

Now back to reality. I understand that people are going to download roms and isos (and whatever other format is used for the different consoles out there). I did it when I was in high school because, like many people, I didn't have enough money to buy what I wanted so I just took it. But as I've gotten older my views have changed and my income has grown. I can't have every single game I want. But I can afford to play many games because I have a job that allows me to partake in this hobby.

So I don't expect people to not download games. But I hope that when people can afford it they buy the games they want, and maybe even the games they downloaded, legitimately.

#30 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

No, playing roms of old games is perfectly fine, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just being a self righteous asshole. That being said, I don't actually like playing old games on my computer for a couple of reason:

1. The Controller

2. Save States

I just like the feel of the NES or SNES or Genesis controller that the game was designed for, and that's how I want to play it. Save states just kind of ruin the integrity of some games because it's so easy to just start save stating every 10 seconds to avoid ever dying or taking damage, and it kind of ruins the experience for me. I'd rather just not have the option so that I force myself to play the game how it was originally made.

Also, there's just something awesome about hooking up and playing old NES games on your old NES. That being said, if you aren't looking to horde a bunch of old electronics in your house/apartment/dorm/room then there's no reason why you shouldn't play those roms.

#31 Edited by Aetheldod (3558 posts) -

@DoctorWelch: It called having good morale and ethics

Ahoy there matey .... her´ ya pirate stuff

#32 Posted by Genkkaku (735 posts) -

If one day when you have money you retroactively make up for your sins.. but until then..

@RandomHero666 said:

If you weren't gonna buy a game in the first place, or are unable to.. imo there is nothing wrong with pirating it.

Hey, if you were a game dev would you rather someone play your game without paying for it, or not play and not pay?

I'd rather they PLAYED and PAYED for it in the ideal situation

#33 Edited by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

You know, it's not really up to you to decide how much something should cost. It's quite common for things to become far more expensive with age (I mean look at Transformers figures: ones that cost around ten dollars when they first came out can now cost you around three thousand. It's just how things work). I would also argue that if the only reason you want to play old games is to see the evolution of games, there are plenty of legally available, easy-to-access games to be able to do that without resorting to piracy.

Give all the justifications you want, you're still condoning piracy. At the very least, you are still condoning an uploader's actions by downloading what they are providing (even if downloading the retro game isn't hurting anyone (which I'm not 100% convinced it doesn't), that uploader is probably uploading a lot of more recent stuff that would definitely hurt the industry. Do what you want, but there isn't really anyway to get away with it without some level of guilt.

#34 Posted by Levius (1115 posts) -

I personally have no issue with people downloading games that now cannot be bought from the developers.

#35 Posted by crusader8463 (14421 posts) -

It makes you a hypocrite of your own beliefs.

#36 Posted by Amafi (705 posts) -

@RandomHero666 said:

If you weren't gonna buy a game in the first place, or are unable to.. imo there is nothing wrong with pirating it.

Hey, if you were a game dev would you rather someone play your game without paying for it, or not play and not pay?

I would rather have no one play my game than a bunch of selfentitled pubescent pricks stealing all my shit.

But yeah, roms are fine. If your only other recourse is getting a 25 year old system and paying someone on ebay money for a cart (none of that money goes to the rightsholders) then whatever.

That's hardly the same as "I want to play this game but I don't want to not go out drinking this weekend so I'll just steal it" thing some people spout.

Of course, with something like Chrono Trigger you do have several ways of buying the game for way less than $70 and actually pay the people who own it at the same time (psn, dsi at the very least).

#37 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

As long as you're playing (and enjoying) it unironically, you're fine.

#38 Posted by PillClinton (3291 posts) -

@Sooty said:

edit: and I buy most my games before anyone says anything! I'm not willing to pay money for second hand copies of PS2 games when I can just emulate them with better graphics for free.

Basically my sentiment. Out of print and stupid expensive from some shady dude on Ebay = emulation for me.

Now Wii games on Dolphin, that's another issue. Sure, I download iso's of Wii games, but I do my part and pay up for a boxed copy, which I proceed to never open and shove somewhere where it'll collect dust.

#39 Posted by thedj93 (1237 posts) -

you arent a bad person for downloading stuff illegally, that's just silly. i suggest you learn how to do what you want without second guessing yourself so much. if you feel like you are cheating some dudes out of their hard-earned pay 20 years removed, send one those devs an email about the issue and maybe they'll send you a paypal

#40 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1632 posts) -

There is a simple method I use in situation like this. If the game is readily available and the money spent will go to the proper people, I pay for it. If the only way to play the game is to give a ridiculous sum of money to a re-seller on ebay, than I am fine playing the ROM. I, like you, want to support the video game game industry, so if there is a way to do that I will always choose that route.

#41 Edited by Ben_H (3349 posts) -

I buy old games just to have old games, but I have no issue with this, especially when you are getting way overcharged for games. Though keep in mind this is coming from a guy who paid $70 for Super Mario RPG, but I am kind of a collector so it is easier to justify. I've always wanted all the Mario RPG games. 
 
Edit: After 2 months, the novelty of owning a SNES has not worn off. Best game-related money I ever spent. It has reminded me of why I like games, which is something almost no 2012 title has done so far.

#42 Posted by haffy (673 posts) -

I download music, movies and tv shows. So for me to get angry over someone downloading games would be pretty silly.

#43 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

You're a horrible person and will go to hell

#44 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4728 posts) -

I wouldn't say so. Sometimes I get nostalgic and want to play Super Mario Bros. 3. I haven't owned an NES for about 15 years, so what the hell, ROM it up.

#45 Posted by FateOfNever (1831 posts) -

Nope, you're fine. Those games have already made the publishers and developers all of the money it's possibly going to make them, short of it getting re-released on a new console. Even then, you shouldn't feel bad.

Also, if it helps you feel better, depending on the games, and the era of said games, you should remember that because cartridges have batteries, and more and more the games that it matters for (those with save games) are starting to fail and thus lose their saves, you could also be taking a gamble. I mean, how much of a total bummer and rip off would it be to drop 70$ on a SNES copy of Chrono Trigger just to find out that "oh, it won't hold a save game" and thus is near useless. You can't just take it back to the publisher or the retail store and say "hey, this doesn't work." and get a new copy, you're just boned.

And if that doesn't help, think of it this way - those game developers spent hours upon hours making that game. I think, at this point, they would care more about having you play and experience what they created than whether or not you paid Joe Dudeguy 100$ for a copy of the game because it's not readily available anymore. Play classic games on ROM for the developers, man! Do it for the developers that want you to experience the game they made! Do it for them!

#46 Posted by ninjalegend (428 posts) -

Being a good/bad person is subjective nonsense. If you take a good look at yourself an like what you see, you are doing well as a human. Needing approval from some ancillary people you don't care about or some book or text dictating rules is a sign you may not be comfortable with what you are doing. Examine the behavior, find out who it hurts and how, and make said decision. Crowd sourcing the answer is not a good option. It makes one dependent on others and won't help you sleep at night if indeed you eventually find fault in the decision you crowd sourced. Needing a rule set makes you one of the drooling mindless masses incapable of rational thought, decreasing the ability for you to hold the very concept of I. Planet earth does not need more of those.

#47 Posted by HappyCheeze (93 posts) -

Yo you a cop? you gotta tell me if you are!

#48 Edited by Binarynova (150 posts) -

As far as downloading retro games there's another aspect of this that people haven't mentioned yet: history.

It's sounds a bit silly but it's true: video games are a part of our cultural heritage. In centuries to come video games will say something about the culture of the time. For that reason it's important that video games survive. Let's put something into perspective here. A large number of the NES games released in the US were developed and/or published by companies that don't exist anymore. If they do exist, many of them have been swallowed up and forgotten about by larger corporations. "Arkista's Ring" was developed by Sammy. It's a fun little action-rpg you've probably never heard of. If you asked Sega about it, they'd be just as clueless, despite the fact that Sammy is a subsidiary of Sega. If we left these games in the hands of the corporate world there would be some games that people worked long hours on, for crappy pay, that simply wouldn't exist any more. Do you think "The Learning Company" still has original copies (even digital ones) of "Broderbund's" NES games? "Mindscape" was purchased three times in four years ('94-'98). Now they're gone (as of 2011). You think they bothered to save all the games they'd produced in the 80s?

I grew up playing NES games, and then Gameboy and SNES games. I used to play retro roms on my computer a lot, but lately I haven't touched them much (I poke around at them sometimes). But I do make sure that I have my folder with all its roms accessible when I get a new computer. There are people out there taking the time to make detailed databases of information for thousands and thousands of old games. They keep huge collections of common and ultra-rare rom alike. We should be very glad there are people out there willing to drop thousands of dollars on rare cartridges or arcade boards on EBay to make sure a digital copy gets made and backed up.

Anyway, I think there are legitimate reasons to keep roms around that have nothing to do with playing them. But more to the topic, I wouldn't stress out about it. There's absolutely, positively, no way to give Nintendo or SNK money for a new copy of Crystalis. So you know what? It's not affecting anyone's bottom line to download that and give it a play. They're only interested in protecting their retro games in the off chance they decide to milk them for more money later. But even games that are still in production, like Super Mario Bros... those games have made their fortunes multiple times over. So don't let it bother you.

#49 Posted by Sean2206 (264 posts) -

If it's the only way they are available it's totally reasonable especially as there is just no other way to play some old games and they should be preserved in some way.

#50 Posted by MrCaptain (364 posts) -

You are a textbook hypocrite.

You say you hate piracy and then you try to justify why YOU should be a pirate.