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This sounds very familiar…

December 12th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

I hate game pirates. I’m mostly an ethical person who thinks that taking without paying isn’t nice. It’s not an issue of anyone being hurt, but an issue of propriety and manners. I’m very Canadian.

But this letter to Game Developer reminds me of my own youth. Well, my college days. I turned old when I hit 19, so it’s not quite youth.

About a third of my social circle had computers of their own in their dorm rooms and all told, bought maybe five or six games a year. We played about five dozen. Piracy was rampant, naturally, and this was Fredericton, New Brunswick, not exactly black market central. Bulletin Boards were full of cracked software, all with the ghastly ASCII art of the cracking team.

I played pirated versions of Harpoon, F-19, many Sierra adventure games, Hardball, etc. The copy protection schemes back then were mostly code wheels and manuals. Starflight II had a shiny map with tinted stars you had to identify, constantly confounding my color-blind friend. But most of the time you could open a hex-editor and take out all the stuff that stood between you and the game.

And the love affair with gaming hasn’t stopped. I now buy every game I play (well, at least the ones I’m not sent review copies of) and appreciate that what I was doing back then was wrong. But I wouldn’t give those years back.


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