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Gaming Abandonware: The Ethics and Essentials

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 24 Jan 2009.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  2. The_Pope

    The_Pope Geoff Richards Super Moderator

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    Nice article, Joe. I'm not sure how many people are worried about the legality of Abandonware, given how widely just-released first party games are rampantly pirated these days. The trade in ROMs for emulation on various platforms is also a sticky issue.

    Abandonware is something of a curious concept, if you consider other media rights, as fans of it suggest that because XYZ company has gone bust or their hardware no longer available, the game must therefore be free.

    Imagine if all films ever released on VHS or Laser Disc magically became free in 2009 just because their hardware is obsolete? Not the strongest argument I grant you but music, film and book copyright (and therefore royalties) last DECADES, but seemingly not in the gaming universe.

    A more serious point I wanted to make having read this article - I fear Abandonware (the free kind at least) will become less and less available in the future. License owners will be far less likely to release their IP when all kinds of ancient games are being repurposed for Mobile Phones and plaforms like Xbox Live Arcade. I probably won't be the first person to dub this Nostalgiaware but suddenly there is a new way to make fresh cash from 1980's franchises, so why risk that by giving games away for free?

    Some developers will continue to do it, as a way of "giving back" to their fanbase. But I fear big publishers won't, and anything that isn't already "public domain" will possibly never be...
     
  3. naokaji

    naokaji whatever

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    I agree, even if for a different reason, I think in the age of digital distribution the argument that you can't buy a certain game anymore will go away, try to buy a legal copy of lets say the orginal simon the sorcerer now in game, you won't be able to, but take HL2 in 10 years for example, if steam will still be around you will still be able to buy HL2 legally from teh orginal developer / publisher.


    Nice article and GOG rocks, I've used them and I am more than happy, especially with the fact that they patch the games to be compatible with vista.
     
  4. Jordan Wise

    Jordan Wise Baby called to see the boss...

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    Syndicate is well hard! How the hell do you shoot people on the first level? I've clicked the damn gun and all they do is follow the target!
     
  5. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Great article. It's honest and informative, which is what the Abandonware scene needs.

    Though it's no longer updated, The Home of the Underdogs deserves a mention, even if only for its vast library of reviews on the games it hosts/links.
    http://www.the-underdogs.info/
    I'm not sure if their downloads still work, but they did the last time I checked it out.
     
  6. Goty

    Goty New Member

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    What, no Starsiege: Tribes?!

    =P

    Tribes was my first online FPS and was the title that really got me into PC gaming. I think I might have to go grab a copy and see if it will run under Vista....
     
  7. bowman

    bowman Member

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    Syndicate is the best game ever. Yes. Anyway, the free version doesn't work in 64-bit. I guess I'll just have to hope GOG.com gets around to releasing it.. Unfortunately all the morons have voted all kinds of crappy games up on top of the wishlist so I guess it'll be years before it happens.

    Rumor has it there's gonna be a sequel now.. Who wants to bet it'll be a consolized tragedy?
     
  8. Matticus

    Matticus ...

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    Excellent article. A nice way to kick off a day of not doing my work.

    On the subject of making games freely available. Rockstar has made it possible to download the originals GTAs and Wild Metal for free. Not exactly no strings attached as you have to sign up to their mailing list, I imagine you can cancel your subscription to this if you wanted anyway.

    And they state that they have been made to run on "modern PCs" so I assume they have actually bothered to put a bit of work in aswell.
     
  9. stoff3r

    stoff3r New Member

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  10. Bluephoenix

    Bluephoenix Spoon? What spoon?

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    surprised Freespace 2, descent, etc are not on the list, as volition and interplay are nowhere to be seen and no one picked up the licenses, but there is a project to improve Freespace 2, the Freespace 2 SCP (source code project)
     
  11. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    I did download GTA 2 a while ago. It worked on XP, but the CPU worked at 100% almost all the time.

    It was still fun, though. :)
     
  12. UncertainGod

    UncertainGod Well-Known Member

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    Syndicate is one of the greatest games of all time and I would love it if GOG added them to their catalog so everyone go HERE and vote for the syndicate games.
     
  13. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Home of the Underdogs doesn't have active abandonware downloads at the moment - it's constant falling down.

    Also, Starsiege Tribes is given away as freeware, so no abandonware ;) Freespace 2 has been kind of donated to the community, but Interplay is still very much alive and working on a Fallout MMO. They went bankrupt etc, but managed to stay in business by selling certain licenses off.
     
  14. bowman

    bowman Member

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    ^ THIS.
     
  15. Skiddywinks

    Skiddywinks New Member

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    Syndicate <3
    Blood <3

    bowman; Get DosBox. I recently finished Syndicate (again) on my Vista 64 install by using DosBox. It is dead easy to use, and even if you have no idea how to use Dos (I was in the same position), the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
     
  16. Omnituens

    Omnituens New Member

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    The thing about system shock 2 is - I WOULD buy it if you COULD. Make it work on newer machines and release it on steam = £££

    OR remake it in a newer engine (ie source, not that godawful U3 engine) and charge more for it. Id buy it.

    Who here WOULDN'T buy SS2 in the source engine?
     
  17. Jordan Wise

    Jordan Wise Baby called to see the boss...

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    Wahey, another person that thinks UE3 sucks (Its all shiny headless shoulder men) and Source Cheesecake!
     
  18. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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    Seconded. As well as the original Starsiege (mech based combat), predecessor to Tribes but using the same engine.
     
  19. Cobalt

    Cobalt New Member

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    SS2 in source would be epic win. I've played that game so many times over the years.
     
  20. bigkingfun

    bigkingfun Tinkering addict

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