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Yahoo advocates abandonware?
December 5th 2000, 08:43 CET by Andy

Abandonware sites, which distribute copies of old games and other software, get a hint of credibility with their own category on Yahoo...

Some people argue that abandonware is no different from piracy. Others argue that it's harmless and helps to keep old games alive.

It's a legal grey area. Copyright holders rarely prosecute abandonware sites, or complain about old games being distributed, but there have been occasional legal moves.

Last month, the Interactive Digital Software Association ordered that all its members' software be removed from abandonware site Home of the Underdogs.

Yahoo's decision to list abandonware sites appears to have been a cautious first step rather than a political move, as there are no direct links to any of the contentious archives.

The four entries in Yahoo's category at the moment are a petition asking software companies to release old games as freeware; a site with links, FAQs and forums; a site supplying old games and programs that have already been released into the public domain; and an external directory of abandonware sites.

There is also a link to an article on CNET that looks at both sides of the issue, offering viewpoints from both 'pirates' and publishers.

Update: "Underdog" from Home of the Underdogs pointed out that the IDSA did not in fact order its members' software to be removed: "They didn't even contact me directly, for that matter. All they ever did was send an e-mail to our domain registrar. I have removed games of my own free will, to show that we mean no harm to their members."
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#1 by "The_Punisher"
2000-12-05 08:49:43
mario_lowang@hotmail.com
I just want to make my position on this issue known.
I SUPPORT abandonware.
#2 by "the_reformed_pianist"
2000-12-05 09:01:08
pianist@canada.com
SECOND POST!!!!!!!!
#3 by "Needle"
2000-12-05 10:00:11
mrklp@hotmail.com
I'd be interested in hearing some of the gamebiz folks opinion on this one.  Warren?  George?  CliffyB, are you out there?! :)

Technically, it's still piracy.  If you haven't got the license to use it and you didn't pay for it, you don't have the legal right to use it.  But if it's no longer being published and you can't find it anywhere, what else are you supposed to do?  It seems more a matter of principle than anything else.  The publishers/developers still have the copyright, but if they've given up distributing their product and won't be making any more money off it anyways, who's it hurting?
#4 by "AshRain"
2000-12-05 10:00:48
ikhier@wish.net
Abandonware == good. I don't find it suprising that most copyright holders don't bother to prosecute Abandonware sites. It always concerns games they don't make a profit from anymore anyway. So why bother to spend time and resources to remove the software? Not to mention the fact that if it wasn't for Abandonwaresites a lot of old games wouldn't exist anymore. Who still has all his old games on floppy? Not to mention the fact that a cd is NOT an everlasting storagemedium. If you think that you can still run all your cds 10 years from now you are living in a dream.

Not suprising that the one of the few legal actions taken against abandonware concerns an Association rather than a single company. A quite pointless action I might add cause there are about as much abandonware sites as there are warezsites. Having your software removed from a single site is like removing a bucket of water from the ocean.

Pulling these kind of sites out of the 'illegal' scene they are in now would be a very good idea. Nobody is losing money because of it. Players can expierence some nostalgia. It's pure history. If you excuse me now I'm going to download Aleste.
#5 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-05 10:11:00
warren@epicgames.com
Needle (#3):
I'd be interested in hearing some of the gamebiz folks opinion on this one. Warren? George? CliffyB, are you out there?! :)

Personally ... I don't have much of a problem with abandonware.  Yeah, it's piracy in the technical sense, but nobody is going to lose money if you download a game that's not available for sale anymore ... and even if it is, it's at someone's garage sale.  Nobody stands to lose anything if you download abandonware ... unless I'm missing a bigger picture here.

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#6 by "MildManneredJanitor"
2000-12-05 10:35:14
mistarojaz@hotmail.com
The trouble with the ISDA is it's basically toothless when it comes to stamping down on the real pirates so it resorts to childishly bullying sites like Daves or the Underdogs. If you can't buy the game in the shops & the only people making money from them are pirate publishers (Elite) then where is the problem in letting users download them. But the ISDA likes soft targets and easy wins, and what easier way to prove to their members they're doing a good job than by cracking down on some small sites... you don't see them getting worked up about GSI's involvement with ROM / game piracy over at Classicgaming.com. do you? :)
#7 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-05 12:55:49
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Piracy yes, but who does really give a shit with some 10 year old game?

I would give someone my body to a cult of cannibals if they can find Megatravellers for sale
#8 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-05 12:56:01
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
I meant at a retail also :)
#9 by "Preacher"
2000-12-05 13:30:19
preacher@unreality.org
I still got a Commodore 64 :(
#10 by "cash"
2000-12-05 13:33:57
relaydelay@hotmail.com
Who gives a DAMN!?!
I support AbandonWare sites.
I Do Not support outdated games sold at inflated prices.
I Do Not Support companies who SUE over games that are unavailable through legal ways.
How long will it take for Half-Life to be an abandonware? :D
#11 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-05 16:58:44
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
I could be wrong on this, but I understand that if companies do not "vigorously" protect their trademarks, they risk losing them. So if someone doesn't at least give the appearance of cracking down on Abandonware, it's possible they risk someone else jumping in and doing new games on old properties. Or something like that.
#12 by "mcorleone"
2000-12-05 18:22:54
kurin6@home.com
Wasteland, Legacy of the Ancients from the C64 days.  Two of the ultimate best games I've ever played and are near and dear to my heart, are abandonware.  

Some people may never be able to get over the outdated graphics, but I think that the abandonware titles don't pull new gamers in, but rather, cater to the older gamer who has great memories associated with some of the older games and don't want the piracy-kick to their karma.
#13 by "Terata"
2000-12-05 18:35:39
jstatz@ravensoft.com
I like the concept of Abandonware, for it to really mean much though, more of the copyright holders on these old games need to speak up and say they approve...  A lot of them clearly do, but don't actively say so.
#14 by "Apache"
2000-12-05 18:48:42
apache@stomped.com
Duke Nukem Forever topic :)
http://apache.planetcrap.com/story.php?id=340
#15 by "szcx"
2000-12-05 18:49:27
nedocze@hotmail.com
A lot of them clearly do, but don't actively say so.


so how do you know they "clearly" approve if they haven't said so?
#16 by "Terata"
2000-12-05 18:52:18
jstatz@ravensoft.com
Well, implied from their lack of action, or disinterest in checking up on this sort of thing in the first place.  Point taken though.
#17 by "SteveBauman"
2000-12-05 19:00:05
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com
Wasteland, Legacy of the Ancients from the C64 days.

Wasteland was re-released 3-4 years ago in some massive Interplay RPG compilation.
#18 by "GhostinmyShell"
2000-12-05 19:03:14
ghostinmyshell@triad.rr.com
Well what about roms and emus then? I cant find a copy of Final Fantasy 3(my original got stolen...sniff) for SNES anymore, and if I do the moron who owns it wants 150 bucks...

When does something officially become abandonware?
#19 by "GhostinmyShell"
2000-12-05 19:03:58
ghostinmyshell@triad.rr.com
Ooops to soon...does a game like blood 2 or shogo become abandware because the developer gave up and abandoned it?
#20 by "JamSandwich"
2000-12-05 19:22:32
jmason@rhino.nildram.co.uk
I have a Megatraveller 2 / Frontier / something else compilation CD around here somewhere...
#21 by "AshRain"
2000-12-05 22:06:15
ikhier@wish.net
As far as I know, a game becomes Abandonware 1 year after the last copy(inlcuding rereleases) of the game is sold through legal channels.

I remember reading this somewhere but it could be total bs. Especially if you consider the fact that's impossible to determine when the last copy is sold somewhere on the globe. And the 1 year timespan just seems a safetymargin to make sure there aren't any copies left for sale.

Not to mention that I know of a couple of places where I can still buy games like Dune 2 and Monkey Island 1 on disk.
#22 by "szcx"
2000-12-05 23:30:15
nedocze@hotmail.com
I remember reading this somewhere but it could be total bs.

yep, it is total bs.  abandonware is just a term people use to make themselves feel better about stealing older software.
#23 by "CreoleNed"
2000-12-06 00:00:37
cned@telus.net
Theft implies loss. If the game truly cannot be purchased anywhere, except for rummage sales and the like, who is suffering a loss when someone uses abandonware?
#24 by "szcx"
2000-12-06 00:08:17
nedocze@hotmail.com
*sigh*
#25 by "deadlock"
2000-12-06 00:29:47
deadlock@eircom.net
Just because they have a section on it doesn't necessarily mean that they condone or advocate the phenomenon. More likely they're just acknowledging that it exists. As you say, they don't actually link to the specific archives, only to less directly related resources. Where people go from there is their own business.

Maybe publishers should take note of what people are actually downloading: if there's a demand for old NES ROMs, for example, then Nintendo would do well to see which ones - with a view to reviving a character or title that people have some kind of nostalgic interest or attachment in.

deadlock
#26 by "None1a"
2000-12-06 01:10:43
none1a@home.com
When does something officially become abandonware?


It's when the game is no longer published. Most abadonware sites don't directly use publishing as a measure tho. Most will simply post any thing more then a few years old and never bother with making sure it's not publsihed. They assume a game that is say 4 years old is in fact nolonger published.

For example, Jazz jackrabbit can be bought from www.epicclassics.com, and is thus being publsihed by them. While yes epic isn't officaly releated to them in anyway they are ok with them selling them (I's assume they do have some type of deal). Yet it didn't take to long to find is listed as abandonware.
#27 by "Underdogs"
2000-12-06 02:13:28
underdogs@theunderdogs.org
Hey, cool site :) Anyway, here I am.. webmaster of the IDSA "target". My stance on abandonware is quite clear, I think. But in case it's not, please read the About and FAQ pages on the site.

I'm just here to point out a couple of things:

1) The IDSA did _NOT_ order me to remove any games. They didn't even contact me directly, for that matter. All they ever did was send an e-mail to our domain registrar. I have removed games of my own free will, to show that we mean no harm to their members. The irony, of course, is that very few people who work for most of the IDSA members nowadays even _know_ they hold copyright to these games, let alone getting upset at my site. Oh well. I'm preparing a campaign (similar to the petition in Yahoo's link) to ask game companies' permission to distribute games and/or release them as freeware. Should be launching in 2 months or less, time willing.

2) It's true that most self-proclaimed "abandonware" sites are really warez sites in disguise: they never bother to check whether games are being distributed before uploading, and basically stick up anything that's older than X years (e.g. LucasArts classics, although they ARE being sold by LucasArts). The utter lack of respect for game companies is what sets them apart from "true" abandonware sites. It's hard to tell a "true" abandonware site apart from pretenders, but there's a real difference.

Well, that's my 2 cents. Also, whoever is interested in the subject should read MobyGames' article on abandonware, as well as a recent Slashdot discussion.
#28 by "VeeSPIKE"
2000-12-06 02:21:32
appliedavoidance@mindspring.com
"As far as I know, a game becomes Abandonware 1 year after the last copy(inlcuding rereleases) of the game is sold through legal channels."


God I hope not, - that would be an almost impossible legal test. I was under the impression that it required that the copyrights had expired and not been renewed by the owner for a length of time.
#29 by "BloodKnight"
2000-12-06 03:39:26
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
I still got a Commodore 64 :(  


I still have my Amiga, C64, Atari, Apple 2, and Intellivision

D&D for Intellivision 0wnz j00
#30 by "AmbushBug"
2000-12-06 03:53:02
ambushbug@portalofevil.com
D&D for Intellivision 0wnz j00

The first time I got attacked by a dragon I fell out of my chair :)
#31 by "GlenDahlgren"
2000-12-06 06:28:08
gdahlgren@legendent.com
Abandonware (or "orphanware", as I've more often heard it referred to) is only morally and legally valid if the copyright holder has placed his work into the public domain--and this HAS occurred in some cases.  In any other situation, you cannot be certain that the copyright holder does not intend to market his work, either alone or in a compilation.  And you simply cannot be certain that the copyright holder doesn't want to keep his work private (perhaps it now leaves a bad taste in his mouth, you never know).  I've been the victim of orphanware before, and because the providers were certain of their moral ground, they refused to stop offering my software.  The organization is long gone, and the software wasn't worth much to begin with (it was one of my earlier efforts on the Tandy Color Computer), but it left a bed taste in my mouth since.

Simply put, if the author doesn't want you to have the fruits of his labor for free, you shouldn't get it for free.  His silence does not constitute acquiescence, and you cannot second-guess his intentions.
#32 by "Andy"
2000-12-06 06:51:40
andy@meejahor.com
Glen -- good to hear from you. I'd thought of mailing you about this, as I notice over on Underdogs that some Legend games have just been added.

How do you personally feel about old Legend games (for example the ones added to Underdogs) being distributed as abandonware? Do you disapprove of people doing it, or do you just disapprove of them thinking they have a right to do it?
#33 by "Quicken"
2000-12-06 07:20:01
geoffrey@access.com.au
In a very late reply to #11

I could be wrong on this, but I understand that if companies do not "vigorously" protect their trademarks, they risk losing them.


That can be true for trademarks. But this is not about trademarks rather copywrite of the software. The legal owner of that copywrite is no longer distributing the software so the abandonware sites pick it up.

Generally I don't have a problem with abandonware but I see it more as a solution to big publishers refusing to put anything out for free while also refusing to put anything on small online sales to fill whatever incidental demand may arise for one or two copies. I'd like to see more game developers and publishers work together to give away sufficiently old (and I mean old) software rather than adandonware sites like underdogs picking up the role illegally. I've got all respect for "true" abandonware in the way they've behaved but am more than glad it's them and not me hosting the stuff :)
#34 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-06 07:52:31
warren@epicgames.com
szcx (#24):
*sigh*

I'm the loudest opponent of piracy and warez you're likely to find, and I don't have a problem with abandonware.  I truly don't see a loser in this situation ... if you CAN'T buy the game.


Whoah ...  Hi Glen!  :)

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#35 by "Andy"
2000-12-06 08:00:55
andy@meejahor.com
Warren -- I'm genuinely curious, if you're "the loudest opponent of piracy and warez you're likely to find", why do you support Napster? What's your logic? Is it just a NIMBY situation, or do you see software and music piracy as so different that one's wrong and the other's right?
#36 by "Underdogs"
2000-12-06 08:01:21
underdogs@theunderdogs.org
Glen: Good point, I'm glad you're here to bring it up :) I would admit that from my perspective, the only guilt I see in doing this is exactly what you said: that perhaps I have not spent enough efforts in asking copyright holders whether or not they'd like to see their games being redistributed again. That will change in the coming weeks/months, when I remount my efforts in speaking to companies directly again.

I agree with you 100% that the copyright holder's silence doesn't imply their agreement, but in most cases, it's _so_ difficult (if not impossible) to track them down to begin with. I've tried numerous times to track down former QQP designers, as well as numerous others, all without success. Sorry to hear your experience with orphanware, as well. Although it never happened, I would immediately stop distributing any game if the game designer _asks_ me to stop. It's true that I upload them in the interest of _preserving_ them (they will undoubtedly be lost and forgotten if sites like mine do not exist), but the interests of their creators will always come first, and I respect that.

I've written many companies in the past, seeking permission. I never got any response. I have no doubt that my requests got entangled and forgotten in some corporate red tape somewhere. It's ironic, isn't it, that usually game designers who _want_ to release their creations as freeware _cannot_ do so, because the copyright is held by some giant company who barely _remember_ those games, let alone the fact that there's still demand for them. I think it's safe to say that because companies think these games no longer have any commercial viability, they simply don't _care_.

I think the strongest argument for abandonware is for those _truly_ abandoned games-- games that even their creators have forgotten about, or worse, _lost_ their own copies (!). This may surprise you, but some game designers (I won't name names) have actually thanked me for putting up the games that they thought they had lost forever, due to some HD crash or other calamities.

The best solution I see for both game companies and collectors like me is for companies to release abandonware as "permissionware": allow sites like mine to distribute the games, while retaining all the copyrights as well as the right to revoke this "license" at any time they please. This is what some Amiga sites (e.g. Back2Roots, http://www.back2roots.org/ ) are doing quite successfully. There are many benefits to this, which will be elaborated in my proposal to the game companies.
#37 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-06 08:31:16
warren@epicgames.com
Andy (#35):
Warren -- I'm genuinely curious, if you're "the loudest opponent of piracy and warez you're likely to find", why do you support Napster? What's your logic? Is it just a NIMBY situation, or do you see software and music piracy as so different that one's wrong and the other's right?

Well, as you've pointed out in the past, I'm a hypocrite.  :)  I like Napster.  I'll insert the usual disclaimer here that I buy whatever I end up liking, but it will fall on deaf ears.  The "H" word was mentioned, and everyone's brain turned off at that point.

I'm of the belief that if you warez something, that's not the problem.  The problem is when you don't go buy it when it becomes available.  That's the problem I have and the one that I rant against.  People warezing a game, likeing it so much that they finish it before it comes out, and then not buying it when it hits the shelves.  Essentially fucking the developer out of a sale they deserve.

Music ... it's much the same.  If I download music that I end up liking, I buy the CD.  I can't in good conscience keep listening to it and not support the artist ...

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#38 by "the_reformed_pianist"
2000-12-06 08:40:49
pianist@canada.com
See it's the other way around for me, I download warez games daily. I downloaded the Unreal Tournament ISO because I refuse to pay for a mod, but I am strongly against Napster. Actually, I like Napster too.


Nevermind.
#39 by "AshRain"
2000-12-06 10:15:07
ikhier@wish.net
People who whine about abandonware cause it's "against the law" should STFU.
Laws where originally created to protect people and their rights. And while abandonware breaks the rights of the copyrightholders in this case it does not matter that their rights are violated. The copyrightholders after all suffer NO negative effects whatsoever from the breaching of their rights.

Picture a lawn and a gardener. Whenever someone walks over the lawn the grass gets flattened. So the gardener has the right to charge people money to cross the lawn because he needs to maintain the grass on it.
Now if the gras died for some reason would the gardener be upset if somebody didn't pay him if they crossed the ex-lawn?
#40 by "the_reformed_pianist"
2000-12-06 11:00:22
pianist@canada.com
That's the worst example I've ever heard in my entire life.
#41 by "GlenDahlgren"
2000-12-06 11:02:19
gdahlgren@legendent.com
Hi Warren and Andy; thanks for the welcome.

Andy:  Let me be absolutely clear: "Abandonware" is piracy, plain and simple.  It just has a different moral wrapper around it.  There's no right to it.  If the author/copyright holder has not come forward and stated his wishes, it's illegal, and it shouldn't happen.  

That stated, let's explore the question: what motivates me personally?  Certainly not the royalties I receive on the old adventures.  Therefore--absent a monetary motivation--I would certainly like to see my work get to the largest audience possible.  "Abandonware" could be a possible distribution route.  However, in the particular case of my last game Death Gate (which is being offered on underdog, much to my surprise), the available download is a hacked-up version of the original.  For space considerations, the SVGA art and the voice files have been eliminated, leaving only text and automatically converted, pixellated pictures (and I'm not sure about the cutscenes).  Does the end result reflect well on me or the other members of the development team?  Was I consulted about the artistic decisions to kill some of the material that I fought hard to create?  Will everyone who plays this version understand what they are missing?  Who will they blame if their experience isn't wonderful, if they don't like the art, if they don't understand the story because of missing assets--the "Abandonware" site?  No.

Apart from the wishes of the designer, old games have real value to the copyright holder/publisher.  In the case of Gateway, we gave it away free to people who visited the Legend Entertainment site at one point.  We've also sold games to be included in magazine disks, especially overseas.  We've sold games to be included in compilations.  Do you seriously think that the (real or perceived) value of these games isn't diminished if they are freely available on the net?

Underdogs: I think I may understand why some designers/publishers don't get back to you.  What are they going to say?  If they come out and tell you to stop, they've dedicated themselves to a (potentially time and money-consuming) course of action--and if they're in a minority, they could see some public backlash for it.  In the other corner, no one but the most soft-hearted developer is going to tell you that it's fine, certainly not a publisher looking at giving assets away.  Silence allows for any future action, although I might consider it paralysis instead.  

Ashrain: I don't understand your metaphor at all, but I really like the quote "In this case, it does not matter that their rights are violated."  That's just scary enough to leave on its own.
#42 by "Andy"
2000-12-06 11:30:48
andy@meejahor.com
Glen -- thanks for that, it's really changed my thoughts on abandonware.

I've always been quite positive about abandonware (and ROMs for emulators) for reasons that have been said so many times I'll not repeat them. But if abandonware sites are supplying cut-down -- let's say butchered -- versions of the old games, then that's pretty dumb.

They say they're trying to preserve old games, but in the process they're cutting them to shreds? No thanks, that's not my idea of preservation.


Underdogs -- what are your thoughts on what Glen said?
#43 by "RyslinANDIndigo"
2000-12-06 11:36:49
ryslinmoon@yahoo.com
alright i have a headache
being in the position that i warez those game i think i want to buy to make sure i do..then getting into the numerous problems that comes with that AND then buying the damn game anyway!
and being of those here that love old games<rembering the original populous...simcity..so on>
frankly!
i am NOT paying 20bucks for a game 7 or more years out of date that i then either have to whip out ye old machine or severly beat my modern machine around to play!

sell for 5 bucks..or in sets and we will talk
#44 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-06 11:58:18
warren@epicgames.com
Andy (#42):
I've always been quite positive about abandonware (and ROMs for emulators) for reasons that have been said so many times I'll not repeat them. But if abandonware sites are supplying cut-down -- let's say butchered -- versions of the old games, then that's pretty dumb.

I agree.  Hell, I was under the impression that the games were at least complete.  I mean, these old games used to fit on a few floppy disks.  Is it REALLY necessary to butcher them?  Geez ...

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#45 by "AshRain"
2000-12-06 12:30:56
ikhier@wish.net
You won't hear me saying that Abandonware is legal. Nor that it isn't piracy.

It's not legal. It's piracy. I agree on that. Everybody agrees on that. It's not the point here. The point is if it's morally justified or not. While everything may be black and white in theory(read 'law' here), in real life things are grey.

Now GlenDahlgren, seeing the fact that you didn't understand the metaphor I will say it in a more direct, black/white way.
-----------------------
#CopyRight:
The product(read 'game' here) of the copyrightholder is protected under law against copying, distribution, etc by a third party.

#When is this right considered violated?:
When a third party performs any of said actions without authorization by the copyrightholder.

#Why does a copyrightholder has this right?:
To grant the copyrightholder the ability to respond(read 'sew' here) to anyone who copies, distributes his product without the copyrightholders permission and therefore causes a substantial monetary loss for the copyrightholder.
------------------------

When a copyright is violated when the copyrightholder is still making money of it's product the violation of the copyright matters cause he suffers a monetary or other kind of loss because of the violation.
However,
if the copyrightholder doesn't make money or any kind of gain of a product anymore nor in the future(Abandonware situation), then a violation of that copyright does not matter because the reason why the copyrightholder has this right doesn't aply anymore. While it's still a violation and the copyrightholder has every right to act against it he probably will not. Why should he? He suffers no loss because of the violation of his right.

So I say it again, rephrased a bit ;"In this case, it does not matter that this right is violated."

And concerning your problem with ripped versions of games. People who download warez know if a version they have is ripped or not. Ripped version == smaller download or chopped up in parts. Diablo II for example came in three parts. Music, speech and the game itself(before anyone starts yelling wolf, I own an original copy of Diablo II). If people play a ripped version and get pissed because of the ripped/missing parts then they have themselves to blame and not the people who made the game.

That's all for now.
#46 by "WarrenMarshall"
2000-12-06 12:36:33
warren@epicgames.com
AshRain (#45):
If people play a ripped version and get pissed because of the ripped/missing parts then they have themselves to blame and not the people who made the game.

You're making a HUGE assumption here that people will realize that content is missing.

---

Warren Marshall
Level Designer/Programmer/Corporate Shill
Epic Games (www.epicgames.com)
#47 by "Underdogs"
2000-12-06 12:41:37
underdogs@theunderdogs.org
Glen: Great points, as usual. I certainly agree with what you said about Death Gate-- which is why I attached this note in my review of the game: "(Note: The CD-rip version on this site only contains the VGA version of the game, with no voice or music. It is far inferior to the full CD-ROM version, which features excellent SVGA graphics and competent voice-acting. See the Links page for possible sources)."  I think it's quite clear to everyone (who has bothered to read the review) that they're missing a LOT of things in the CD-ROM version.

Actually, I will very soon change the download link to point to CD-ROM Access' site, because I just found out that they recently started selling "Trophy Case II" collection, a great pack which includes Death Gate CD-ROM. Your fear of my distributing the inferior version of your work will then be mitigated :)  My priority, as always, is to _find_ where these games are being sold, abandoned or not. Frequent visitors to my site will note that I frequently change download links as soon as I find out the games are being sold somewhere.

Your reasoning about why companies didn't answer me is exactly what I had thought, as well: answering either way would jeopardize their position. That's why I'm going to make a formal proposal (more like a business plan to them, actually) in a month or two. My idea is _not_ to ask publishers to "give assets away," as you put it-- because that's equivalent to releasing the copyright, something they won't be glad to do. What I'll ask would be some sort of license to distribute, much like the Back2Roots site I mentioned earlier. Copyright holders will have absolute control over the distribution, and they will _benefit_ from the arrangement. Just imagine: abandonware, almost by definition, are abandoned because nobody thinks they have any commercial _viability_ anymore. By monitoring download statistics, for example, they can gauge gamers' behavior and see which oldies have, say, sequel/remake potential (remember Frogger?). Or they can simply kill the distribution and sell the game again (say, as shareware). That's one of the many benefits I can think of. Not to mention the fact that new game designers can _learn_ a lot from playing old games. I remember Paul Reiche remarking on some forum that designers should go grab Archon from an abandonware site and play it.

Final note on "butchered" version: I _always_ try tell people what they're missing. In my FAQ, the definition of "CD-rip" is clearly stated-- missing voices, cutscenes, etc. Due to space limitation as Glen said, or my lack of good "cracking" skills, I have to rely on uploading CD-rips which are poor replica of the original. For some very rare games, that's at least better than preserving nothing at all.
#48 by "Underdogs"
2000-12-06 13:22:34
underdogs@theunderdogs.org
Glen again: As to your point about abandonware potentially "diminishing" the value of these games if they are sold in the future-- I would conceed that yes, there _may_ be some potential sales loss if previously abandoned games are sold again. I would, however, question the _magnitude_ of this-- after all, in most cases software becomes abandoned _in the first place_ because they sold so poorly in the marketplace. If they had done well, then the publishers would be astute enough to never stop selling them (LucasArts classics are a good example of this). When Legend stopped selling the wonderful Lost Adventures of Legend CD compilation, I was _very_ sad (not because I don't already have Legend games, but because now very few people will have a chance to play them). Why was it stopped, by the way? Was GT Interactive against the idea?

I love your games, by the way. I even bought Wheel of Time because you designed it-- although I'm usually very bad at action games. (seriously-- I'm not trying to flatter you here :)). Is there hope that Legend might return to adventure genre at some point in the future, or should we give up hope?
#49 by "AshRain"
2000-12-06 13:22:44
ikhier@wish.net
You're making a HUGE assumption here that people will realize that content is missing.


It is my understanding that most warez/emu/abandonsites clearly state if a download(game) is ripped or not.
Not to mention the file_idz which usually accompany games blatantly state things like "ripped by bla, cut out this, removed that"

Hackers/rippers tend to be quite informative about what they hacked/ripped.
#50 by "JamSandwich"
2000-12-06 13:23:08
jmason@rhino.nildram.co.uk
Warren: I believe you, my CD collection backs you up =)
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