Piracy is the Only Thing Keeping Many Old Video Games Alive

Illustration for article titled Piracy is the Only Thing Keeping Many Old Video Games Alive

Pirating new video games is a crime. But there's long been a rather grey area around the piracy of old games. And when I say old, I don't mean 2008 old. I mean 1988 old.

Sure, the blockbusters turn up on services like Nintendo's Virtual Console, and original entries in still-running franchises can be bundled and sold to a new audience, but they're the 1%. What about the 99%? The Amiga games that scored a 6/10, the NES platformer that sold 1700 copies and nobody can even remember its name?

They're important too, yet without the act of piracy, many of them wouldn't exist anymore. This great piece over on Technologizer, called Why History Needs Software Piracy, examines the conundrum, arguing that "If...copy protection schemes had been foolproof, as intended, and copyright law had been obeyed, most of the programs published on those fading disks would now be gone forever. Many cultural touchstones of a generation would have become extinct due to greed over media control."


Given the popularity of MAME and people playing old SNES and C64 games on emulators it's probably preaching to the converted for you lot, but it's an interesting read regardless.

Why History Needs Software Piracy [Technologizer]

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To expand on the idea that many games disappear over time, this is why I'm opposed to the push towards eliminating used games and physical media. Being able to acquire used games allows people to get their hands on all kinds of old games. It's quite unlikely that developers and publishers will sell all of their games forever, and availability of download-only games can be terminated in an instant.