Thursday, September 3, 2015

On a Nerd to Know Basis: Piracy

After writing a post about Amiiqo last week I realized that I wanted to discuss my own history with video game piracy. I do not endorse piracy, but for a while in my teen years I sailed the seas of the internet plundering what I liked.

I started using LimeWire when I was 12. I primarily used it for finding Nintendo 64 roms to play on my computer. In the grand scheme of piracy this was pretty mild. Nintendo had not been selling the N64 for some time so if I went out to buy games for my N64 I would only be giving money to Gamestop. I am not too worried about giving money to a re-seller like Gamestop, they seem to be doing alright. Really, I don't think finding roms of older systems causes any major problems in the video game market. So long as the systems are long out of production and games aren't being published it only affects those trying to re-sell old games/systems. It keeps prices for old systems/games reasonable by giving a free option for people who just care about playing and not owning the old games.

A few years after my N64 rom heyday I was told about a product that would drastically increase my video game piracy. One of my dad's co-workers told me about Nintendo DS karts and how they allow for DS roms to be played on the DS handheld. I was intrigued and since I was a 15 year old with no job, the idea of free video games was enough to convince me to purchase a kart. I ordered a CycloDS Evolution and a sizable micro SD card to go with it.

Here's the general idea of DS karts. It is designed like a DS game cartridge with a slot to hold a SD card. When inserted in the DS it disguises itself as some other DS game so that it can launch when selected from the menu. After launching it, it pretty much looks like a big menu with all the game files you load on to the SD card from your computer. You select which game file to load and then you're playing your illegally emulated game!

I loaded up my kart with dozens of games right away. I dowloaded roms from sites that all seemed a little less than legal. For a teenager with a DS and little money, having a kart was pretty great. It allowed me to play games with no financial risk of a game being bad which was pretty handy. However, and now we are getting to the moral of the story, I found that when I had so many games to choose from that I never got really into any particular games. I think I work better with a game when I can't just leave it when it briefly loses my interest. I need to push myself through some of a game and being able to jump to something else without paying for it isn't good for me.

To force conclusion, I no longer seek any way to pirate games. I have more money now than when I was a teen and I like to support games I like by actually purchasing them. I like completing games because it gives me more bang for my buck and it allows me to build a collection of games I can display and browse in the physical space. I am not one to judge those who pirate games or amiibo, or anything, but I think giving it up has been good for me overall.

Personal Historically Yours,
-Peter