Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

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Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby Collector » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:43 pm

Apparently the publishers have taken notice of archive.org's hosting of abandonwarez with online game play and do not like it.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/04/v ... d-archives

However, archive.org would have a much stronger case if they actually had original copies of the media. What they have is the typical warez/abandonwarez copies that have been bent, spindled and mutilated. More often than not archive.org would have a much stronger case if they actually had original copies of the media. What they have is the typical warez/abandonwarez copies that have been bent, spindled and mutilated. More often than not they are cracked, hacked, ripped or modified in ways that introduce bugs not present in the original distributions.

Some of these bugs are well known enough to indicate right away when someone has an illicit copy by just reporting a certain bug. Crashes or bugs can occur when a game's script is bypassed to get past some copy protection scheme when it also bypasses the setting of timers. Rip out speech or video resources to keep the size down and the game might crash when it cannot find the missing resource.

And I would certainly not call a copy of a game archival quality when a cracker also adds his signature to the game resources to be displayed during game play.

I have looked through archive.org's collection and found many games that contain files indicating that my installers had been used on these warez versions. If they were truly preservationist they would be doing it like the Software Preservation Society does. The make archival quality images of the original disks. This collection is not available for download to the general public unless it is images of a game that that person contributed.

These images are from reading the magnetic flux of the disks that captures all of the information on the disks, including hidden "bad" tracks for copy protection, such as the Infamous CPC that Sierra used during the AGI era. I covered this in my post about Data Preservation & Imaging Diskettes.
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Re: Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby Rath Darkblade » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:36 am

Interesting... I had no idea that modifying games could be legal (at least according to EFF, that is) under certain circumstances (i.e. to preserve a game's playability, after the server it needs is shut down).

What servers would these be? If I remember correctly, some online games like Diablo II needed an online server to be playable - or perhaps I remember it wrongly? Regardless, games like WoW and Starcraft II will be rendered unplayable if Blizzard decides to shut down their WoW/SC2 servers. Same with TF2 and Valve. Games like Everquest are already unplayable because there are no servers.

Are there any others?
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Re: Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby Tawmis » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:48 am

Rath Darkblade wrote:Interesting... I had no idea that modifying games could be legal (at least according to EFF, that is) under certain circumstances (i.e. to preserve a game's playability, after the server it needs is shut down).

What servers would these be? If I remember correctly, some online games like Diablo II needed an online server to be playable - or perhaps I remember it wrongly? Regardless, games like WoW and Starcraft II will be rendered unplayable if Blizzard decides to shut down their WoW/SC2 servers. Same with TF2 and Valve. Games like Everquest are already unplayable because there are no servers.

Are there any others?


To correct you, EverQuest is still VERY playable. SOE has made it (finally) free to play a year or two ago. So EverQuest is still very much around.

One game that had a server was Neverwinter Nights, that was hosted by Bioware. They eventually took the server down - but the game still allowed you (from day 1) to connect to another person's machine (if they have a module running) that allowed you to play it (and the campaign) via IP address and such - but the actual Bioware server was taken down.

However, as I understand it - some other MMOs have people have made "stand alone" servers - such as for City of Heroes, which Cryptic Studios shut down.
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Re: Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby notbobsmith » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:34 am

Rath Darkblade wrote:Interesting... I had no idea that modifying games could be legal (at least according to EFF, that is) under certain circumstances (i.e. to preserve a game's playability, after the server it needs is shut down).

What servers would these be? If I remember correctly, some online games like Diablo II needed an online server to be playable - or perhaps I remember it wrongly? Regardless, games like WoW and Starcraft II will be rendered unplayable if Blizzard decides to shut down their WoW/SC2 servers. Same with TF2 and Valve. Games like Everquest are already unplayable because there are no servers.

Are there any others?


One has to expect that an MMO will eventually end someday. But there are some mostly single player games that could be unplayable if a server is shut down. One issue is DRM. Some single player games check with a server to validate that you have an authorized copy. Tawmis mentioned Neverwinter Nights. I have the GOG version which is DRM-free. But I bought some premium modules not included with the GOG version a while back for my CD version. Those modules perform a check with Bioware. Right now it still works, but for how much longer? Last year there was talk that Games for Windows Live might be shutting down. I have Viva Pinata which has a very minor online component that I never used. But if GFWL went offline, it would render the game unplayable. GFWL received a stay of execution, but how much longer will Microsoft bother to maintain it?

This isn't a DRM issue, but there's also the case of Mass Effect 3. It is a single player game, but there is a multiplayer component that ties into it in a certain way. Eventually, the multiplayer will be shut down. What will happen to the single player campaign in that case?
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Re: Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby Expack3 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:18 pm

Collector wrote:Apparently the publishers have taken notice of archive.org's hosting of abandonwarez with online game play and do not like it. [snip]


When certain people working for the Internet Archive dedicate an entire blog post just to tell a somewhat-popular YouTuber "You're not in our target audience, so you can't complain," it definitely gives the impression the Archive's leaders believe they're above all this legal stuff and, thus, don't give a darn.
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Re: Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby notbobsmith » Fri May 08, 2015 10:53 pm

Found a pretty informative video on the topic of game preservation.

http://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-poin ... 0-6424754/

The museum looks pretty cool.
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Re: Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games

Postby Collector » Sat May 09, 2015 3:51 am

They didn't mention SPS, but as long as it is focusing on preservation in the US I guess it does not matter. One of the problems with archive.org is that it is too indiscriminate. I do not consider old warez copies worthy of archiving and that is the vast bulk of their "collection". The other problem is that they had to force the issue by making all of it available for online play then advertised it widely and loudly enough to catch the attention of SPA, which probably did more damage than help with preservation.
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