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January 28th, 2009, 19:55
Tech site bit-tech.net has an op ed by Joe Martin delving into the state of abandonware, both substantively and ethically.
From the intro:
As PC gamers, we tend to be as much about the good games of old as the up and coming new releases. We know that, while Crysis is all very pretty and fun, there’s a lot of nostalgic joy to be had by going back to some of the old Infocom titles….being primarily PC gamers we’re in the unique position of being able to get a lot of our favourite old games easily and for free.
After going into some detail about what constitutes abandonware and what makes it legal or illegal, the author gets into what's going on now to make it more available:
Thankfully though, in this grim and mostly copyrighted situation there are a number of good people out there who are fighting to make abandonware more available.

The motives for doing this can vary greatly of course and, while there’s a large amount of people who just want to download free, old games, there’s also a lot of folks who want to see the software saved and preserved.

Preserving these games serves two uses – not only do you ensure it can survive even if physical copies are destroyed, but you can keep it until the copyright runs out and it becomes true abandonware. Once the copyright has expired games are often legally distributable…
The artcile ends with a list of the author's favorite abandonware, including Albion:
Though the learning curve can be pretty steep in this top-down RPG, the game is consistently fair with players who take the time to explore and understand the complex world of Albion. While the game itself is a fairly familiar mix that’s similar to the old Final Fantasy games – top-down navigation and turn-based combat for the most part.

What really sells Albion however is the obvious love and care which the fictional world has been built with, including some rather striking artwork
More information.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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January 28th, 2009, 19:55
I'm pretty much against piracy in most forms, but there are several cases in abondware that I see no problem with it:

1) It simply isn't available through any legitimate source. I'm hesitant to buy any software off eBay as nearly every piece I have has turned out to be pirated.
2) You already own it, but have no way of putting it on your PC. I still have all the disks from Ultima, Wing Commander, and most of the Sierra games, but I don't have a 3.5 drive anymore (much less a 5.25 as some of them are). I see no problem with downloading a game that I already own. Another example might be a game that you have for a defunct system (C64 here) that even if you had a drive, you couldn't get it on your PC.
3) You have the media, maybe even have a drive that can read it, but the media is damaged. Many of the older games (Sierra in particular) guaranteed lifetime replacement for damaged disks, but no longer honor that.

I realize that these arguments might not hold up in court, but that's the way I look at it.

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January 28th, 2009, 20:43
I agree, at least with your points 2 and 3 (the first one is a bit dubious, and personally I've bought several games from eBay that were out of print but readily available as "abandonware"). But regarding the last two points - even if I still had a 3.5 drive I might download those games from the net, because I can now download them much faster than a 3.5 drive would be able to transfer them onto my hard drive
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January 28th, 2009, 21:27
Completely agree - there is some point when the 'archival' status of a game should come into play, much like I can download James Joyce and turn it into an eBook to read anywhere rather than carrying my huge copy of Finnigan's Wake around …

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January 28th, 2009, 22:09
I bought new shrink wrapped copy of albion from amazon last year. But Im more happy for people playing these old games than concerned about "abandonware piracy" so I dont really care if people load them for free. Som of the abadonware sites are very nice archives full of pics and information of old games. Like public libraries.

In the last 3 years I have bought tons of used stuff from ebay, amazon, huuto, playtrade (and few other places) and only one time did I receive possibly pirated game (didnt pay more than 7€ for it though).

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January 28th, 2009, 22:16
So is there someone going around taking these things off abandonware sites if they become available again from places like GoG?
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January 28th, 2009, 23:01
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
So is there someone going around taking these things off abandonware sites if they become available again from places like GoG?
I hope so!

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January 29th, 2009, 01:44
I rather take kind of an philosophical approach:

Games are meant to be played. That's he very nature of games.

If they weren't meant to be played, they would be something else, but not "games" anymore.

So, when companies sit on games, so to say, and refuse to give them away in any form - normally through commercial selling - then they are stripping "games" off their very essence: Their purpose to be played. That's why they are there, normally.

That's how I see it.

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January 29th, 2009, 01:55
… and music is meant for listening, video for viewing, books for reading.

And so when something is 'out of print' for whatever reason, the ethics of 'piracy' change in some ways. But once they are 'in print', what is the responsibility of those who have enjoyed without paying during the 'out of print' time?

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January 29th, 2009, 04:23
A long time ago (1992), I designed and developed an RPG that was published by SSI. It's available on Abandonware sites, and I say: Great! I'll never see another cent from sales, and SSI has gone the way of the dodo, so who cares? I'd be honored if someone dug up my old game and actually played it.
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January 29th, 2009, 04:35
the problem is like music its not the artists/devlopers rarely hold the rights even many years later. the publishers could careless years down the line as long as there's no large profit in it for them to rerelease it. i've supported independent musicians for years but its reassuring to see so many indie developers these days. as for the older ones it would be nice to know if the orginal devs are getting a cut at all from the addition of older games in downloadable form at sites like gog or impulse.

i always prefer the hard copy of any media, but if i know the creators are going to get a bigger cut i'm highly inclined to go the download route, which sometimes is the only route anyhow with games or music.
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January 29th, 2009, 12:21
Originally Posted by Jaimi View Post
A long time ago (1992), I designed and developed an RPG that was published by SSI. It's available on Abandonware sites, and I say: Great! I'll never see another cent from sales, and SSI has gone the way of the dodo, so who cares? I'd be honored if someone dug up my old game and actually played it.
Which game out of interest?
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January 29th, 2009, 13:07
Originally Posted by curious View Post
the publishers could careless years down the line as long as there's no large profit in it for them to rerelease it.
That's in my eyes the problem: The profit-orientedness.

Things that are rather culture (music, games) than merely products/wares are treated as merely wares & products.

There is a total ignoration of the cultural part of such a thing.

To me, this is just sign of a more general trend: The commercialization of culture.

The commercialization of everything.

(Hope my grammar's halfway right - got a difficult day regarding English grammar today.)

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January 29th, 2009, 20:24
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I rather take kind of an philosophical approach:

Games are meant to be played. That's he very nature of games.
If they were written by artists in their spare time, sure.

But they're not. They're written by professionals who do this for a living.

So, when companies sit on games, so to say, and refuse to give them away in any form - normally through commercial selling - then they are stripping "games" off their very essence: Their purpose to be played. That's why they are there, normally.

That's how I see it.
It's a very romantic view point, but then you should refuse to play any games that haven't been made like that In reality a game is a product. Commissioned by a company from a group of professionals. What that company does with their own commissioned work is entirely up to them - they've paid for it to be made after all!

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
That's in my eyes the problem: The profit-orientedness.

Things that are rather culture (music, games) than merely products/wares are treated as merely wares & products.

There is a total ignoration of the cultural part of such a thing.

To me, this is just sign of a more general trend: The commercialization of culture.

The commercialization of everything.

(Hope my grammar's halfway right - got a difficult day regarding English grammar today.)
Grammar's fine - concept is off though Welcome to our capitalist world. In it there is room for both commerce AND culture. But if you have made something to be commercial then it's only fair to respect the commercial side of things. Games made by professionals are commercial things - hence the very term 'professional'.

To make games by professional people yet have them be culture, you must strip away our capitalist society and instead vote for communism or some other resource sharing system where another measure exists to show debt owed apart from coins. Then we could all pay a common measure to the government, who would distribute it freely to artists to make cultural things like games for everyone to enjoy.

Personally, I think coins work quite well at sharing resources/talents, but each to their own
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January 29th, 2009, 23:22
Originally Posted by Benedict View Post
Which game out of interest?
Prophecy of the Shadow.
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January 30th, 2009, 03:20
Originally Posted by Jaimi View Post
Prophecy of the Shadow.
So you're Jaimi R. R. McEntire. No, I don't actually know you; I just got that from the manual to the game. I bought a copy of it on Ebay a few years ago in quite good condition. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. You just may have decided the next game I'm going to play. DOSBox, here we come!
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January 30th, 2009, 15:48
Originally Posted by Necrosis View Post
So you're Jaimi R. R. McEntire. No, I don't actually know you; I just got that from the manual to the game. I bought a copy of it on Ebay a few years ago in quite good condition. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. You just may have decided the next game I'm going to play. DOSBox, here we come!
Reviews seem positive

I shall check it out on abandonware, sounds interesting Must be about the only SSI rpg from that era I didn't play . . .
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January 30th, 2009, 15:57
Old games belongs in a museum.

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January 30th, 2009, 20:42
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
If they were written by artists in their spare time, sure.

But they're not. They're written by professionals who do this for a living.
Wait a moment.

You believe that games are not meant for playing/to be played ?

For what reasons are they called "games" then ?

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January 30th, 2009, 20:51
If there's a way to compensate those responsible for quality - I'll be right there to do it.

If the compensated are not deserving of compensation, I don't have the slightest interest in compensating.
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