A Video Game Pirate Trades Sails For Steam

Kotaku commenter Heyitsguy was once a video game pirate, downing PC games for free via the internet. Now he is not. He tells you why in today's episode of Speak-Up on Kotaku.

2011 will be the year that I stop illegally downloading games. It began just a few years ago when I discovered torrents. I first used it only for finding shows that weren't on TV anymore, but then I discovered the games that were available.

Now before most of you attack me and call me a "pirate" and "thief" allow me to explain. I have been gaming for almost 20 years now and I can't tell you how much money I have spent on bad games or games I just didn't like. This dilemma would be amplified once I entered the realm of PC gaming. I am not saying that PC games are worse than console games, but there are a lot more PC games out there and a lot greater chance for you to get a bad one. I used to be able to trade in my PC games and get a bit of my money back at my local "Now Giant Video Game Store Chain," but they stopped trading PC games and that left me with a huge stack of discs and crystal cases of games I no longer wanted.

Hence my inclination to use these torrents to obtain games and test them out before I end up spending all my money on games with cool box art and well-timed screenshots. I would only spend about an hour on each of these games to test them and most would be uninstalled from my computer within 24 hours. Those that I enjoyed I would order online at a good price. Eventually, though, the convenience of downloading the games would have me forgetting about all the "legal" stuff.

Near the end of 2010 I had stopped paying for PC games all together. If I ended up liking a game, I wouldn't even bother to order it, I would just keep playing till I beat it and then move on to another game. I never saw myself as a "pirate" or thought that I was doing anything bad, I was just gaming. I had forgotten about supporting the industry and being a true gamer. But that has changed over the last month for two reasons.

The first reason being Steam. I have been a user on steam for about 5 years now, but only used it to re-play half-life 2 or portal. It stayed like this until this past holiday season. Steam had a holiday sale every day for 2 weeks and every day I woke up wondering "What games am I going to buy today?" Through Steam I had the convenience of downloading my games and also getting them at great prices. I bought a total of 22 games over the course of their sale and only spent about 50 dollars. I feel absolutely no remorse for buying any of these games.

The second reason is the 3DS. I've known about the system since it was first announced at E3 2010, but it was the line-up at the recent Nintendo World that has me wanting to pour my money back into the Industry. I really don't care what they price the system at, I will be there to pick mine up at my local "Giant Video Game Store Chain" the day it's released along with a number of games that may or may not be good games. My skepticism of games has diminished and has been replaced with awe, something I haven't had since maybe the era of the N64.

What was a pirate, now reformed into what I once was.

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