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"Video Game Preservation" is a Mere Pretext for Piracy... and a Poor One at That

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Oct 25, 2017
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I see your point OP, but you missed a little tiny important bit...
You dont consume all the medias you listed the same way as a game.
Visiting a museum to see a painting is a feasible thing. Heck you often have reproductions of these. You can even see them on the internet. And multiple people can do it at the same time, it'll barely take 20 minutes.
For movies ? It's harder but still possible since a movie can be enjoyed in a theater with many people at the same time in 2 hours.

Tell me how you can do the same for video games.
Tell me for exemple how can we do that for a 50 hours long RPG, considering video games involve playing by yourself ?

I'm not rooting for piracy, but let's be honest:
Copyrights laws are fucked up in some cases.
And if it werent for some sites, I believe some games would just disappear.
 

RM8

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Oct 28, 2017
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JP
We're missing something like 91% of all films made before 1930 because no archival copies were made
Good! Stealing is stealing, and it's a good thing this happened.

Imagine believing that, lol.

Wasn't there a news story like a year or so back that Nintendo downloaded a Mario and put it up for sale? I always thought that was funny.
It goes to show you how good these companies are at preserving their own stuff. And that's a Mario game.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Wasn't there a news story like a year or so back that Nintendo downloaded a Mario and put it up for sale? I always thought that was funny.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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I feel like you're conflating preservation efforts (digital backups) with piracy (ROM sites) simply because it suits your narrative better.

Companies should be taking steps to preserve their own works and make them readily available to people. If they cannot or will not do so, someone will do it in their stead and distribute it as they see fit.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Reading the thread, it really seems the main thing that most posters disagree, and frame their arguments, on is the accessibility part of game preservation.

If you believe accessibility is the most important part, then roms site can be considered critical to game preservation and thus cannot be lost.
If you believe accessibility is just a part of it, or that it can be limited, then roms site can go from being unimportant to being an issue in the industry.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't some old books survived precisely because they were illegally copied and distributed?
Tbf, those methods gave rise to different groups that created ways to preserve the different mediums in legal ways, which is what organizations like in the op are trying to do.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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A lot of the "we need to preserve games!!!" talk you hear here is a front for "I wanna play this shit and not pay any money". There is no feasible way people are rippint all these games themselves (especially these old ass games) and then play them through emulators legally. It's not a right to play any game you want, you're not owed this and to argue that it's fundamental to the hobby is honestly just some bullshit in my eyes. No one needs to play obscure Saturn RPG that sold 1000 copies. The argument of "how else would you play it" holds no weight because you don't need to play it, it's just some shit you want and are not willing to shell out the money for. No one is entitled to play games at a price they deem reasonable. That's not how it works.
But corporations and creators aren't entitled to copyright protection, either. It's not their right to stop people from copying and sharing their work so the largest number of people can benefit from it. By default, all works are in the public domain; it requires giving a creator or corporation access to a huge bureaucracy and the enforcement and protection of the courts to work, none of which the creator or corporation pays for. The people decide to grant a legal privilege to creators because it is in their best interests to do so, because it encourages the creation of more works. The only entitled actors in this situation are corporations who assume they are entitled to property in their intellectual products, instead of this being a favor, monopoly, and subsidy granted to them on the condition that it serve the public good.

It should be blindingly obvious that our current system of intellectual property does not serve the public good. This is true even of legacy media, but it is especially true of a medium that has preservation challenges, like video games. IP only exists to enrich the public domain in the first place; originally, you'd make a map, say, and give it to the library of congress, and they'd keep a copy, and give you the exclusive right to copy that map for the next 14 years. In exchange, the library of congress (or patent office) would have a copy of your map on hand, and once the copyright term was over they would make it available to anyone who asked. The fact that this made more things enter the public domain was the only reason the copyright was granted in the first place.

So, no, we are not entitled to play any game we want, and we're not owed access to them. But neither are corporations entitled to deprive the public and posterity of works that that should be in the public domain on the off chance they might profit from it 70 years after its first creation. By any reasonable standard, the public loses much more than they gain by allowing orphan works to wither on the vine; the number of works made possible by being able to sell them 40 years after publication is minuscule, while the public has a significant interest in ensuring they are preserved. These copyright terms are the law, and were lawfully enacted, but we don't have to, you know, like it. They are lawfully enacted laws that pervert the purpose of IP law in the first place and, in the final analysis, represent private actors looting the public treasury for their own gain. They could only possibly be passed by a legislative process that is so captured by private interests that it can't claim democratic legitimacy. We should still obey it in the meantime, because it's, you know, the law, and the solution is to change it, but that doesn't mean we need to accord it an ounce of respect or assent more than we have to. And condescendingly lecturing citizens on entitlement while entitled Disney executives cut 7-figure bonuses based on selling works that were created long before they were born accords this dirty process much more respect than it is entitled to.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Iwatodai Dorm
Be right back, I'm going to buy my 800 usd Panzer Dragoon Saga copy from a scalper just because Sega let that game to rot on a system that has a high probability to die soon.

Am I cool enough for you, Era?
 
Oct 25, 2017
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The two arcade/console game publishers everybody else needs to be looking at in this regard are Sega and SNK as far as I'm concerned.

Both are basically doing a shotgun approach, releasing dozens of emulated classics on every platform under the sun -- all the modern consoles, PC, and even their own mini consoles. What's best is if you buy the Genesis and SNK classics on PC, you can just take the ROMs out of the files. I wish the likes of Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, etc., could be convinced to do this for their back catalogs of that era.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Vice City
peltz i love you but you're a madman

no museum is gonna capture all the licensed stuff lost to the ages without MAME/etc, we literally only have some films because collectors held onto them forever and someone decided to share - ive read numerous articles on even criterion pieces coming of this

Piracy hurts no one and people that complain about it are generally bootlickers.
yeah i'm largely with this guy
i own snatcher, panzer dragoon saga etc but everyone should play those, and not have to fork over like a stack to an ebay reseller to do so, that's dumb and benefits no one
 
Oct 25, 2017
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A lot of the "we need to preserve games!!!" talk you hear here is a front for "I wanna play this shit and not pay any money". There is no feasible way people are rippint all these games themselves (especially these old ass games) and then play them through emulators legally. It's not a right to play any game you want, you're not owed this and to argue that it's fundamental to the hobby is honestly just some bullshit in my eyes. No one needs to play obscure Saturn RPG that sold 1000 copies. The argument of "how else would you play it" holds no weight because you don't need to play it, it's just some shit you want and are not willing to shell out the money for. No one is entitled to play games at a price they deem reasonable. That's not how it works.
"people should have the right to freely check out old works" is literally the entire idea of the public domain, admittedly a concept that has been broken to the point of practical non-existence in the US thanks to corporations rewriting copyright law in their favor
 
Oct 28, 2017
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I’ll play the devil’s advocate and bring forth the theory that retro gaming wouldn’t be as anywhere near the phenomenon that it is today without the emulation scene/piracy.

StarFox 2 wouldn’t be in the SNES Classic if it wasn’t for leaks of the beta rom making its way onto the Internet.

The PlayStation Classic uses a freeware emulator that exists because of the emulation scene.

The progresses in emulation, including but not limited to save states, filters, rewind, etc were all perfected because of the emulation scene.

The main reason why so many people want those games on official channels is because they played them on PC illegally to begin with. No sane person is going to spend the hundreds of dollars asked to get a legit copy of Little Samson.

Fuck this.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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I can't say it's morally wrong or something that severe but there I find it weird the options are "pay a lot" or "pirate" for some. The ease (and true lack of any real harm) of pirating digital goods means the "not having access" is just not something that enters people's minds. Games are corporate works by large numbers of people though (usually) so I guess it's different than pirating some music that a single artist has purposely chosen to limit access to.

It also feels like the conversation is way more intense than it needs to be when one considers the amount of basically accepted piracy that goes on. Yeah company x has not made that obscure PC engine CD game available on modern platforms, but they also don't see to care about you downloading it, so why are people screaming at one another.

I do research on games preservation too don't call me a bootlicker pls.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Ahhh love threads where posters basically tell poor people they don't deserve to play video games. I didn't know they were such a privilege that you're only allowed to play them if you shell out $500 per title that is no longer available.
 
Nov 2, 2017
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Austin, TX
Next you people are going to try to convince me that libraries should be illegal because it’s unethical to read books without paying scalpers huge fees for the last few copies in existence

Yeesh
 

Deleted member 11018

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Oct 27, 2017
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Don t limit yourself to well spread games, think of the very limited pcb runs of some arcade games.
Without the hard work of those who decap, photograph the cells and painstakingly write bits one at a time, a lot of gems would be lost forever even for the ip holders when components rot destroy the data of all copies(old ips switch hands but storages are emptied/contents sold for scraps).
Reverse engineering IS the only way to preserve some of the games.
Necessary ? No, like it was not deemed necessary to copy some of the original negatives of lost film gems, to our great chagrin, and family of the actors cannot witness the greatness of their ancestors a century later.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Wanting to play a video game that is out of your price range is no more of a right than wanting to own a sports car. There have been plenty of products that I've wanted to own over the years but never had the money to obtain. It sucks, sure, but you're not entitled to it.
I'd like to stress the excellent posts below, two of which providing hard data to back up their arguments.

Let's for a second take out all considerations of copyright, laws and whatnot.

From a purely moral standpoint, downloading games that LITERALLY do not exist on any current medium. As in, the game will be lost to history otherwise. Is not immoral, at least you would have a hard time trying to explain how it is.

Has nothing to do with entitlement and certainly has nothing to do with sports cars.

Please note that I am ONLY referring to games that cannot be bought still. For example I can buy Super Metroid on my 3ds, so this game would NOT be okay to download. On the flip side, many other SNES games would be lost forever without "piracy".

I think the comparison to the movie industry below is an excellent example that is not dissimilar to how videogames will be lost in the future if ROMs didn't exist. It's heartbreaking to think of all the thousands of early films pre 1950s will never be seen again. I have some film buff friends that literally cry when some long lost film is miraculously found and uploaded online (preserved, so it is never lost again).

Again, I want to stress that downloading ANY game that can be bought new still (whether it's the latest disc based game or a re-release of Mario Bros on the Switch VC) is absolutely piracy and wrong.

I also want to stress that Rom sites are absolutely in the wrong generally speaking, because they host games that can be bought alongside games that cannot. It would be nice if there were more sites that specifically only hosted games that would be lost to history if they were not uploaded. Unfortunately that is too much to expect from humans these days. Everything runs on greed.

This is such a disingenuous false equivalence.

When people talk about video game preservation they are talking about the ability to play a game X years later.

Museums are preservation, but you're not going to be able to see the games be played or play it yourself. This isn't like art where it can photographed and shown. Old music and films are for the most part all available to purchase or stream legally.

A lot of old publishers are dead so they're never going to re-release the game digitally and it's a fact that every video game disk in the world today will break - piracy remains THE ONLY WAY to access some roms. You can sit on your high horses all you like, but if I can't legally obtain a game, I will pirate it
Really? This is a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of video games as a medium vs traditional. Mediums.

Paintings we can take pics of and not be punished. We have them in museums to easily access the original, and yes there are many recreations of famous paintings. I myself have a few and have also recreated a few old paintings as practice when I was a painter. I was able to do so because they were not only preserved but easily accessible.

Film is absolutely pirated to preserve it. Harmy despesialized edition of the original star wars is a pretty great example. It's currently the only way to experience star wars close to how it originally was in hd, because the creator decided it wasn't worth it to keep the original preserved.

Buildings? Not a building but the statue of liberty has been recreated Ina bunch of different cities around the world.

Books? I don't even really know where to start with that as the medium is so different and IP is also handled differently. There's plenty of books I can download for free because they're in the public domain. Only capable because of tn eyre preservation.

The thing is when you're referencing a bunch of different mediums you're making like 20 arguments at once. Games are different. They're purely digital and as such, cannot simply be photographed or drawn and preserved in that way. Once the code is lost, the game is gone. Not only that but they're tied to specific hardware that only exists for a very brief period of time, then they break down and become hard to find. It's not like they're easily accessed at museums, many games from old Gen hardware are just not able to be played or experienced by the vast majority of people.

The industry as a whole too has shown plenty of times that they have no interest I preserving original games, nor making games continually available on newer hardware.

This doesn't happen with painting. It's not like a pollock painting is only viewable on a TV built in the 70s. Buildings don't just get lost because the owner misplaced a hard drive of the blueprints. The completed works of Shakespeare couldnt suddenly become inaccessible to most book readers due to a publisher not publishing it on a Kindle.

I could go on with the analogies but I hope you're getting the point. The medium is unique and the piracy argument is unique to it.
From a journalist who chronicles gaming history:

Why History Needs Software Piracy

It may seem counterintuitive, but piracy has actually saved more software than it has destroyed. Already, pirates have spared tens of thousands of programs from extinction, proving themselves the unintentional stewards of our digital culture.

...

Piracy’s preserving effect, while little known, is actually nothing new. Through the centuries, the tablets, scrolls, and books that people copied most often and distributed most widely survived to the present. Libraries everywhere would be devoid of Homer, Beowulf, and even The Bible without unauthorized duplication.

...

The crux of the disappearing software problem, at present, lies with the stubborn impermanence of magnetic media. Floppy disks, which were once used as the medium du jour for personal computers, have a decidedly finite lifespan: estimates for the data retention abilities of a floppy range anywhere from one year to 30 years under optimal conditions.

...

Pirating also makes foreign game libraries easily available for historians to study. Some games only appeared on writable cartridges in Japan via download methods like the Nintendo Power flash cart system and the BS-X Satellaview. Those would be entirely out of the reach of Western historians today without previous efforts to back them up illegally.

...

It’s possible that Nintendo will be around 200 years from now, but it is unlikely to provide all the answers. The company will only convey the history that is in their best commercial interest to show you (i.e. Super Mario Bros. 3, over and over). Historians will show you everything without restraint — even Hotel Mario, Mario Roulette, and I Am A Teacher: Super Mario Sweater. None of those games will survive 200 years without piracy, because Nintendo would rather see those embarrassingly low-quality titles rot away in a tomb sealed by copyright law.

...

Imagine if a publisher of 500,000 different printed book titles suddenly ceased operation and magically rendered all sold copies of its books unreadable. Poof. The information contained in them simply vanished. It would represent a cultural catastrophe on the order of the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria in 48 B.C. In that fire, a majority of the Western world’s cultural history up to that point turned to ash.

Now take a look at the iTunes App Store, a 500,000 app repository of digital culture. It’s controlled by a single company, and when it closes some day (or it stops supporting older apps, like Apple already did with the classic iPod), legal access to those apps will vanish. Purchased apps locked on iDevices will meet their doom when those gadgets stop working, as they are prone to do. Even before then, older apps will fade away as developers decline to pay the $100 a year required to keep their wares listed in the store.

...

By accepting restrictive DRM into our lives, we are giving not only software publishers, but all media publishers the power to erase, control, or manipulate digital cultural history if they choose. That is why DRM feels fundamentally wrong from a humanistic standpoint: it conspires, in conjunction with time, to deprive humanity of its rightfully earned cultural artifacts.

To be sure, every creator of software should be rewarded appropriately with exclusive rights of reproduction for a certain period of time, as they are now, but only in a soft legal sense, not with a virtual lock and key that stymies the preservation of history.

...

Don’t get me wrong: it is possible to create a legal software library, but its implementation would make it nearly useless. The best a library can hope to do, within its legal limits, is to stock physical copies of officially duplicated software media on physical shelves. That means that all the problems with decaying and obsolete media come along with it. There’d be plenty of bulk and very little guarantee that you’d be able to access what is sitting in the stacks.

...

Current U.S. copyright laws have good intentions, but they ultimately jeopardize the survival of digital property because they do not take into account the rapid pace of digital media decay and obsolescence.

Our body of copyright law makes a 19th-century-style legal assumption that the works in question will stay fixed in a medium safely until the works become public domain, when they can then be copied freely. Think of paper books, for example, which can retain data for thousands of years under optimal conditions.

In the case of digital data, many programs will vanish from the face of the earth decades before the requisite protection period expires (a period of 95 years for most software published in the U.S.). Media decay and obsolescence will claim that software long before any libraries can make legal, useful backups.

...

If you love software, buy it, use it, and reward the people who make it. I do it all the time, and I support the industry’s right to make money from its products. But don’t be afraid to stand up for your cultural rights. If you see strict DRM and copy protection that threatens the preservation of history, fight it: copy the work, keep it safe, and eventually share it so it never disappears.
 
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Nov 8, 2017
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StarFox 2 wouldn’t be in the SNES Classic if it wasn’t for leaks of the beta rom making its way onto the Internet.
IIRC isn't this completely false? I thought the ROM that was included in the SNES Classic was completely new and from Nintendo's vaults and very much different from the leaked beta ROM.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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People can just call most piracy motly harmless and leave it at that. Not sure why some are trying to frame the argument in a way to imply that most games piracy are the world's destitute downloading games that can only be found for $2000. I'm sure most of the most pirated titles for most retro consoles are affordable.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Mexicali, Mexico
IIRC isn't this completely false? I thought the ROM that was included in the SNES Classic was completely new and from Nintendo's vaults and very much different from the leaked beta ROM.
I don't think he mean that is the same game, but that the leak popularized the game and showed Nintendo there was a demand for it
 
Oct 24, 2017
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It is against our terms of service to advocate piracy, so I don't think that this sort of topic can be productive on this particular forum, given the prohibitions present if someone was to take the counter view to the OP's. While the opening post makes sure not to equate emulation or games preservation in general with piracy, that isn't the case for some of the replies in this thread, and I am seeing name calling on both sides now. Hence the lock.
 
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