When is it okay to steal a digital game?

What‘s the exact threshold that you don’t care anymore?

I think it depends on something else. I used to pirate quite a few games as a youngster because I didn't have any disposable income.

Now I'm a grown man with a job and less free time, so buying the games I want to play is easier. But I would feel like a jerk if I told some kid with no money he was "killing video games" because he pirated some heavily advertised blockbuster game he couldn't afford.

I believe in The Bible, officer

Never. That‘s why I always put them back when I’m finished with them.

I bought my gaming laptop last February and one of the first things I did was download a ton of games on MAME. Those downloads are the reason why I legally purchased the following games:

Atari 50th Anniversary Collection (because I wanted to play Tempest, Tempest 2000, Asteroids Deluxe, and Centipede the way Atari wanted me to)
BlazBlue Centralfiction, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, Under Night In-Birth, Kill la Kill -If (because even though I was playing Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge and loving it, I discovered Street Fighter 3 and thought "I love this animated look. I bet there are modern, better versions of this type of game.")
Mortal Kombat 11 (I loved MK2 as a kid, haven't played a MK game since, and thought why not? Steam has it on sale.)
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade, DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviors, G-Darius HD (because I love these type of shooting games and wanted to see all the modern updates)
Deathsmiles, DoDonPachi Resurrection, Mushihimesa, Trouble Witches Origin, Ikaruga (I discovered CAVE via MAME, so I went straight to Steam to see what was available.)
DOOM BFG Edition (never really played Doom before)
Hyper Gunsport (downloaded Dog Patch - enjoyed it)
Parkitect (because I pretend I'm the owner of the world's largest arcade, so I obviously need to house that arcade in a theme park of my own design.)
Dragon's Lair 1 and 2, and Space Ace (because I can't have an arcade without including these)
Capcom Fighting Collection (I forgot these games existed until I played them again on MAME - I wanted to support Capcom rereleasing them )
Groove Coaster, DJMAX Respect V (because my imaginary arcade needs to have rhythm games)
Tetris Effect Connect (the arcade games were fun -- wanted to know how the game's evolved)
Space Invaders Extreme (because Space Invaders was not as good as I remembered and I wanted a version that was fun)

The companies who produced the games listed above all benefited from me downloading digital games.

I've never pirated a game, but I think pirating things is pretty all right, but not very cool to pirate from small, independent publishers.

I pirated a lot of music and movies when I was younger. Terabytes worth! This led me to many of my favorite filmmakers and bands, which has led me to buying most of their stuff or go to see them in concert multiple times. Which I think is a not so uncommon journey for people my age. So I imagine if I did pirate a game like Stardew Valley or Hollow Knight, I'd eventually be someone who owned both of those games and the subsequent games made by those people.

@“edward”#p105499 Similarly, I got into my favorite band (the decemberists) when a friend gave me a burned dvd of all their music up to that point. I‘ve bought so many records, shirts, tickets, etc since that the band owes me money now. I do think there’s something to be said for making it accessible able to just try something out (tho streaming has rendered this point largely moot)

POV: You go to EmuParadise in 1998 to download Link to the Past

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Fade to black


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You hear a strange voice say “Welcome to a place that exists between dream and reality. It is a room that only those who are bound by a contract may enter.”


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Something is written on the paper in front of you, there‘s a place below to sign.


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[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/6h3QIlo.jpeg]


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You accept, and Igor pulls the card of the Gamer Arcana


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[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/wqyFOVP.png]


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### “The coming year is a turning point in your destiny… your future may be forever lost”


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Stealing games is one of those risks you take when you’re young that determines the type of person you become. Will you steal this treasure in order to create social links and contextualize how messed up the world is around you? Will it be a gateway to be consumed by the system?


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To break the cycle, you must define when to stop pirating games. There are wrong answers. Good luck :smiling_imp:

@“yeso”#p105482

</s>*<e>pirates your Bible</s>*<e>

[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/rVp9HPh.png]

nintendo may not go after pirates through the legal system, but they will send wetwork operatives to take them out. In fact that‘s the plot of the movie Kill List if anyone’s seen it. Those guys work for nintendo

I've got for sure really mixed feelings about pirating games!

I'm a small creator so it hits me really viscerally that maybe instead of paying the tiny amount of money I'm asking for my small game, folks would rather pirate it. At the same time, if folks can't afford my game, I'm completely okay with them just having it! Growing up I never had enough money to play all the games I wanted to, so I get it. I would rather folks directly approach me to get a copy though! Like, don't go to some sketchy site to get it, just message me on socials!

I'm also completely ok with pirating games that aren't easily available, either because they've been pulled from storefronts, or because the device they were made for is no longer supported. Collecting vintage games can be great, but it's also orders of magnitude more expensive than buying them at retail, and the collector market just keeps increasing, especially now that folks are buying old MIB or even CIB games as an investment. I am completely glad I downloaded an ISO of Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru, because it's just dumb to pay collector's prices for something like that if you're not a collector. I wish more older games for consoles could be obtained legitimately, but in most cases, they just never will, either because publishers don't understand that there would be demand for them or because rights have lapsed (hello Astro Boy GBA). I don't think we're ever going to get to that point where all the old games we're interested in are available legitimately in any form. I know this thread is about digital games, but I think this still applies.

The big negative for me about piracy is with folks who can afford a game, or lots of games, but for whatever reason just pirate absolutely everything, especially when it's new. All of the folks I've known who do this over the years always have the same exact talking points about it, mostly that they wouldn't have ever bought the game otherwise, so they're somehow doing the creators a favour by playing it for free, or that piracy is okay because a corporate giant like Microsoft and a tiny team making their labour of love game in their spare time are equivalent exploiters (this is literally an argument a dipshit my partner works with tried to use on me at an Xmas party to explain away why he was playing a Switch game that wasn't officially released yet on his very expensive home PC, which he also had to tell me all about, including how much he paid for it-- classy!). I mean, I get it! Sony or Nintendo are gigantic companies! I am very squarely an anti capitalist, but I also acknowledge that we're all trying to survive in a capitalist hellscape, so maybe consider paying some folks who made their labour of love game the $10 they're asking for it, if you can afford it. But I'd just prefer it if folks like my partner's colleague just levelled with me and said they just didn't want to pay for games at all rather than trying to explain it away by how ideologically pure they think they are.

Personally my metric is a combination of “It depends on who made it” and “It depends on something else,” the something else (or rather the something elses) being the degree to which I feel confident the money will actually go to the people I want to support, how much I believe in the creative goals, and one's own individual capacity to afford games.

I 100% support piracy in principle--there is no goddamn reason a digital good should have artificial scarcity applied to it. There is at least most likely no goddamn reason why we collectively should not be able to provide at least basic life necessities to everyone in the world. And a non-commercialized internet would be a near science fiction level resource for upgrading from universal fulfillment of basic necessities to everyone, to providing a universal enrichment and advancement to everyone. We have a pretty impressively comprehensive facsimile of the sum of human knowledge and experience on a device you can use with one hand while taking a dump, using some extremely rough napkin math you could store a digital copy of every published book that exists in a little pile of a couple dozen harddrives (or a few hundred if we wanted to save a bit of money on smaller drives), and, assuming you had access to a 1GB internet connection, create a 1:1 perfect copy on the other side of the planet, in, idk, a couple of days? It'd be faster to ship the harddrives on a plane but the principle is still that we have an incredible miracle technology that capitalism makes it impossible to not squander on stupid bullshit.

Like, sure, it doesn't make sense with water or electricity either, but you really mean to tell me that it makes sense to intentionally throttle the Magic Sum of Human Knowledge and A Whole Lot Of Its Creative Output Fountain an increasingly large number of us have just sitting around in our homes, because we individually haven't flipped enough burgers that day? Get real, it makes no sense.

However, as @Karasu said, we are all trying to make it out here, no ethical consumption under capitalism doesn't mean consumption is strictly amoral, if anything it's really more like we have a responsibility to consider the ethics of consumption under capitalism independently of what the system presents as the ethics of economic activity, because the mode of production is the amoral part of the equation here. By design, it will not necessarily emphasize moral actors or filter out immoral actors within it for us, never mind overall giving the vast, vast majority of personal autonomy and collective control to the most immoral actors (you know, capitalists). Too often that point is used to say that you individually shouldn't feel guilty for participating in something immoral when the point should be that whenever feasible you should still try and make the most moral choice you can.

In other words, like a good little communist, in my opinion the morality of pirating videogames or any media really is a question of class solidarity. In the decision to pirate or not pirate a game one should consider how one's available resources to consume can have the most positive impact. Usually what that boils down to is how much of that cash you spend will actually end up in the hands of the people who actually make the game and who or what you want to support. While also taking into account that it's almost impossible for anyone to move money between each other without at least *some* amount of capture from bad actors.

For instance, I would never even dream of paying even less than the full price for, say, to give a super obvious answer, a Necrosoft game. I personally want to be able to contribute to the idea that games made by developers who have flat pay structures and promote an unapologetically progressive cultural vision for the world. I feel fairly confident that paying every dime for a Necrosoft game is worth it because I know that is going to support the livelihoods of people I respect and, to bring it back to my theoretical framework, feel class solidarity with.

Necrosoft is the gimme example, though. Everything gets a lot harder to determine past the level of confidence granted by, like, being able to ask the head of the studio a question personally because we post on the same forum. But usually we can make some decent assumptions based on the size of a studio, whether a particular game has got a publisher and especially if that publisher is large and notable, the studio's administration and executive structure, whether any of those are publicly traded corporations, whatever. Unfortunately, this industry is structured in such a way that economic success does not have to be all that substantial before more and more of a game's individual price tag is going to be captured by bad actors, so, you also kind of have to account for that. Because it was distributed on Steam, Gabe Newell was a beneficiary of my purchase of Necrosoft's _HYPER GUNSPORT_ more than I'd like, but that's an unfortunate reality we can't really get around right now.

I think you can also adjust based on what kinds of games you believe in creatively enough to buy even if they don't really need your money. I did feel not great about Bobby Kotick and Activision Blizzard shareholders being beneficiaries of my purchase of _Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,_ but I believe in the From Software creative vision. There's also expertise and legality and just your own personal priorities to take into account. Maybe I would have pirated it if I could have figured out how to pirate PS4 games and done so without any real risk, but it's too late to consider that now.

Lastly I think you also gotta show class solidarity to yourself. No one should threaten missing rent because you want to support indie game developers. I pirated a few mid-tier games I maybe wouldn't have otherwise when I was really poor and miserable and just wanted to be able to engage in my hobby of choice, with the silent promise that I'd support those developers in the future. I don't do that very often, though. I mean, there's enough out there that is morally not as objectionable to pirate that it's probably best to just pirate shit that's on discontinued platforms or whose developers got paid upfront a long time ago.

In other words, maybe for me there are more reason to not pirate than to pirate, so one should try and do so with moral responsibility if you are going to.

Stealing is one of the coolest things you can do

gamer Jean Valjean and nintendo Javert

I reject the premise I guess. As someone who pays for more games than anyone I know, and who downloads more roms and isos than anyone I know, I see little to no correlation between them. If anything the games I buy the most are the ones I pirate the most. I‘ve paid for Ninja Gaiden on the Wii virtual console, the Wii U virtual console, the 3ds virtual console, the NES mini, and I paid some rando on ebay for an NES cartridge. I’ve also downloaded Ninja Gaiden onto every computer I have ever owned, every phone that I have ever owned, a jailbroken vita, an ouya, a few tablets, and my mister. I also have it on my Switch through the NES online subscription.

Hideo Yoshizawa, who directed and wrote the game, left Tecmo around the time I was born, and therefore I highly doubt he's seen a single penny of any of my purchases of the game. He certainly didn't see a single penny of the money I paid someone on ebay to ship their old NES cartridge to me, which is often the only alternative to piracy for most games that are less famous than Ninja Gaiden. None of the other folks who worked on the game got my money either.

So am I stealing Ninja Gaiden when I put the rom I've payed for half a dozen ways, and continue to pay a recurring fee to play on my Switch, onto my MiSTer? Technically yes, I suppose. But like, come on now lol

Here‘s a list of games i think it’s okay to pirate

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@“TracyDMcGrath”#p105554 I see little to no correlation between them. If anything the games I buy the most are the ones I pirate the most.

You're not the first to make it itt but this is a great point. Buying games and pirating games are not mutually exclusive. Hell, as I half and perhaps archaically understand it, you're legally in the clear a lot of the time to use a ROM of a game you own a legitimate copy of, so even if a ROM being made available online is due to piracy, and perhaps technically downloading it is illegal, your actual use of it is not always going to be an act of digital piracy.

This is an kind of a interesting question, or at least an interesting place to ask this question, as the average insert credit forum maven will likely interpret that by pirating a game one means to download a ROM and play it via an emulator. However the I suppose real ethical meat and potatoes of the discussion really centers on the act of pirating a game in order to **not ever** have to purchase it. Two subtly different questions in terms of morality.

So I guess to add on to my above argument, even if you do pirate a game, a timely purchase of a new copy at some point resolves most if not all potential moral quandaries surrounding the piracy. I suppose we could point out that certain distribution methods mean that there's a lot of shitty emphasis on launch window sales and if a game is heavily discounted your support is greatly diminished in comparison to paying an original price or whatever, but like, now we're getting much closer to making individuals responsible for systemic failures which I don't think is really fair. How often are those figures relevant to developers vs. relevant to shareholders? Of course those are often intertwined, but, not always.

I'm also still all about the punk rock/tape trading DIY pay what you can style ethos. If you can't afford a game from a small developer in February, so you pirate it to play it, but then purchase it in June when it's on sale because you really loved it and the experience of playing it stuck with you, and/or there's DLC you want to check out now or multiplayer features you didn't get around to trying, well, maybe that's less support than what you'd show if you got it at launch for full price, but it's still more than the zero you'd be paying if you didn't play it and forget about it by the time it was affordable to you.

It's okay to pirate a game when:

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a) it‘s no longer in publication for the hardware or version you want to play

>! b) it’s being sold by bad people who don‘t deserve money

>! c) it’s being sold by well meaning people who still don‘t pay the actual developers

>! d) it’s bad

>! e) it‘s potentially keeping you from doing drugs

>! f) it might make a child happy

>! g) it would be enjoyable to play with a SO or close friend

>! h) pirating it will impress your communist friends

>! i) it will piss off your conservative friends

>! j) you do it out of spite

>! k) you’re having a bad day

>! l) you pay it forward and donate to charity on behalf of the creators without telling them that

>! m) you are a bad person

>! n) it‘s extremely easy

>! o) the download speeds are faster when you pirate it

>! p) the price is getting marked up by scalpers

>! q) it’s available at the library but someone else borrowed it

>! r) it‘s a sierra game that costs more than 20 dollars

>! s) you spent all your money on funko pops or gachas

>! t) your deity of choice has appeared to you in a vision and said it’s okay and nobody can prove that they didn‘t

>! u) you’re an atheist

>! v) you are convinced that you are a victim in this situation

>! w) the cops won't find out about it

>! x) your uncle works for nintendo

>! y) you are a videogame character in real life

@“Karasu”#p105519 I don‘t like how people justify stealing stuff by saying they hate the company who produced it. For example, there are people who complain about Marvel Comics for whatever reason and use that reason to justify pirating their comics. I think someone called it “hate reading” once, like "haha… I’m reading your book for free and there's nothing you can do about it." I used to see that all the time with movies. I knew someone who hated Brie Larson and her take on Captain Marvel, so to stick it to her he went to the theater to see something else and then snuck in and watched Captain Marvel.

I feel like if I really don't want to support a movie, game, comic or whatever because I know it compromises my values, I need to tough it out and not engage with the thing. Not paying for the thing but enjoying it anyway does not absolve me from enjoying the thing.

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@“IncompatibleKaiser”#p105570 m) you are a bad person

Love this, it's like arguing to your DM that because your character is aligned Chaotic Evil, it's actually good for the overall integrity of the roleplay to Fireball the orphanage without prompt