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Old 07-28-2003, 11:40 AM   #1
CoolCPU
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Default Amiga Games and preservation

Hello,

This is my first post to amiga.org. I am an ex-Amiga user, having owned an A500, A600HD and A1200 (which is still packed away and I will never sell.) I still use WinUAE regularly though as I'm a retrogaming nostalgia buff and find nothing more enjoyable than loading up old games and reliving the past glory days of the Amiga. It's also fun discovering new software that, if it were not for the preservationists, would likely be forgotten and lost in time never to be seen again. Who really cares about preserving the past except for the nostalgia buffs?

Let me just say that those who are against downloading of old software certainly have the law on their side. Downloading old copyrighted software is illegal under current copyright law - no doubt about it - but I take exception to it being labelled "evil". Jaywalking, not wearing your seatbelt, women walking topless in public, those are all illegal acts in most countries too, but I wouldn't label them evil. Certainly these actions are not comparable to the evil atrocities committed by dictators like Saddam Hussein.

I will even admit to breaking the law a while back. I walked my dog through a school ground late at night, even though I could clearly see the sign reading, "NO trespassing after 10PM. NO dogs allowed." I realize that notice was put there to discourage loiterers and irresponsible dog owners from letting their dogs defecate on the premises. I was doing neither of those things and I definitely didn't feel that I was evil for trepassing. Hey, my dog told me to do it! No, wait, I'll blame it on violent video games.

Like many of you, I pirated software when I was a teenager. The reason I bought a C64 and Amiga in the first place was because I could trade games with my friends and only had to spend money on blank floppies. Granted, I couldn't have afforded to buy the vast majority of those games anyways, but my actions were clearly illegal. When I got into my late teens, I became more aware of the way businesses operate and I started to feel guilty about the copied games I had in my collection so I erased all my disks and no longer pirated. I have about 40 original games in my collection now as testament, packed away with my wonderful A1200. I also do not pirate PC games.

Still, sometimes the pirated versions were useful. For instance, my younger brother spent a lot of money (probably a months allowance) purchasing a copy of Robocop 3D to run on the A1200. I may have the name of the game wrong - it's been a long time. Anyway, the game was not compatable with the machine so it was completely unplayable and could not even be returned because the package was obviously opened. I found a pirated copy which had actually been fixed by the crackers to run on AGA machines. If you look through the TOSEC database you will notice that many cracker groups fixed some of the games to work on newer Amigas. Was it illegal? Probably, since you're not allowed to modify and redistribute software, but I certainly didn't feel bad about it. My brother finally got to play the game that he'd payed a lot of money for and he was happy.

Also, many cracked versions of software contained trainers which can make extremely difficult games much more enjoyable to play. I remember someone commenting that the trained version of Beach Volley made the game so much mroe enjoyable because you could remove the annoying time limit or something. Fortunately these days most modern game include numerous ways to "cheat" so trainers aren't needed. (ex. God mode in Quake.)

As for the TOSEC archive, I feel that they are doing a fine job creating a database of every known Amiga game ever created. They do not offer any copyrighted works on their site, though obviously they are releasing the distributions out into the wilderness for people to spread around. I also understand your concern over some of these ROM sites offering Amiga Kickstart and Workbench versions even though they are still being sold through the Amiga Forever package. I think many of these sites are irresponsible in that regard. Furthermore, many of them probably don't even have a passion for the older Amiga software that us old Amigans do, they're just souless repositories of old software. I must admit though that I downloaded a copy of Kickstart 3.0 and the Workbench 3.0 disks from a web site because I couldn't be bothered to unpack my A1200, extract the ROM, convert all the disks to ADF format and then attempt to move them over to my PC on 720K floppies. It would be a hassle. I do not have KS1.3 though, even though many games don't work in WinUAE because they need it, so I may eventually buy Amiga Forever just for the ROM. (I'm hoping that Amiga Inc. will publicly release it eventually.)

There are a number of Amiga sites dedicated to creating a large database of every Amiga game known to man, with screenshots and information on the authors and publishers, reviews, etc. Where do you think they get the screenshots from for the games? The pirated copies no doubt. They certainly can't own every original copy, and even if they did it would be very difficult to take screenshots of the games using a real Amiga - it's much simpler to download a pirated copy and take a screenshot using WinUAE.

Another, and potentionally more respectable project, is the Classic Amiga Preservation Society (CAPS). They are attempting to preserve Amiga games in their original form using a special file format. They also scan the manuals, box art and disks, trying to preserve as much of the original package as possible. You can download one of these games and you will have an exact copy of the original without crack intro screens. This is a worthy project and hopefully will encourage more publishers to allow distribution of their old games.

Both these projects - TOSEC and perhaps more important CAPS - will most likely be appreciated by historians in a few dozen years. Without their efforts none of this software would've been preserved (do you think the companies, many of whom don't even have copies of their software anymore, are going to do it for us?) Someone on another forum actually wrote that a software publisher bid on one of his old Amiga games because they needed a copy. But who cares most about preservation of old software, the companies or the fans who got so much enjoyment out of it? Should we wait 75+ years for the copyrights to expire before attempting to preserve the floppies? (They will already be dead from bit rot or buried under tons of crap in landfills.)

There are similar projects going on for the C64, Atari and other classic computers. Imagine a kid 100 years from now being able to log onto cyberspace and download the entire collection of Amiga games (copyright now expired) to his brain implant, re-living the glory days of 80s and 90s computer gaming. "Granddad sure had some pretty cool games!" Without preservation, Amiga history will be forgotten, and we shouldn't allow allow that to happen. Thankfully many publishers think the same way so we have great sites like BTTR.

Just my 2 floppies worth...

-CoolCPU-

PS: I noticed that some of the avatars available on this forum contain copyrighted images. Look at the one I'm using right now, Nintendo's Mario.
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Old 07-28-2003, 12:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Woooooow.... That's a loooooooong story...
Pheeeeew
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Old 07-28-2003, 01:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
Just my 2 floppies worth...
Jesus, I`d hate to see how much you had to say if you had a 40GB HD :-D
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Old 07-28-2003, 01:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

cool cpu: do u pirate dvd's just because u dont have a region free dvd player also==???

what you are saying here is just another lame excuse to keep on pirating..

what do u do on your pc then?? , nothing works there...unless its a lucky day,..do u pirate it?? did windows crackers fix windows ...so it would work properly on all setups??

lame....lame lame
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Old 07-28-2003, 01:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
did windows crackers fix windows
quote of the century!
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Old 07-28-2003, 01:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
did windows crackers fix windows...so it would work properly on all setups??
They would have to be doing just as good a job as the the Windblows programers. :roll:

Oooops, I forgot, incompatability was in the design, as were all the bugs. :-D :-D
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Old 07-28-2003, 01:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

lempkee,

I don't own a DVD player.

As for the PC, I have no pirated PC software whatsover. I buy the software that I want, which is very few because most programs don't interest me. I mainly use freeware and open source utilities. I did however buy Windows XP full version. I payed $300 for it Canadian and I expect Microsoft to release important patches, which they do.

A number of years ago I downloaded a CD crack for Half Life because I had the game installed on both of my computers (which are beside each other) and wanted to play over the LAN. Also, it was inconvenient to keep putting in the CD. In the name of copy protection some publishers make their software very inconvenient to use. Atleast the days of code wheels and "look the password up in the manual" are long gone.

What should my brother have done with the incompatible game that he bought? Put it on the shelf and chalk it up as a loss? The fixed version hurt no one and allowed him to play his game. Ocean doesn't even exist today as a publisher so there's no way I could even get support for the game or a new copy if my disk broke down.

If these things make me lame, then so be it.

-CoolCPU-
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
did windows crackers fix windows
If somebody could actually fix windows they ought to receive both the Nobel Prize and Mahatma Ghandi Humanitarian Award!



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Old 07-28-2003, 02:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
Ocean doesn't even exist today as a publisher
Why do you think this is??

Don't get me wrong, I think that your brother had every right to use the cracked version considering he purchased the original, but you must remember that contrary to what you stated, the fixed version DID hurt people. Piracy is/was one of the largest problems among game developers and costs them thousands(if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars.

Piracy unfairly drives software companies out of business.

Even if Ocean was never purchased by Infogrames, you still probably would get no support from them, many companies do not support products that are older than 5-7 years. However, this still does not give you the right to pirate their software, even if it's ancient and out of date, and not a viable product anymore, you have to recognize that somebody still owns it, and it is their decision what should happen with their software, not the publics.

The best thing we can do is contact these companies who own the rights to Amiga software regularly, and petition them to bring their old, unsupported products to the Public Domain, or something like Back to the Roots.

BTW, if you didn't purchase 2 copies of Half Life (one for each machine) you are most likely in violation of their copyright also. Most software purchases are actually a license to use the program on one computer only.
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Hi there,

Yup, I think my brother had the moral right to use the cracked version of the game he bought, but it was still illegal right?

But I do agree that the cracked copy was spread around by people who never bought it in the first place, so it did hurt the market. That's why I stopped pirating my Amiga games when I realized the financial impact of copying.

However, it's ironic that legal games sites such as BTTR probably wouldn't exist without the cracked copies. Like it or hate it, the pirated versions are what is keeping the old Amiga games scene alive.

Thanks for being polite about this instead of insulting me. I respect your opinion.
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Old 07-28-2003, 02:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

@CoolCPU

Welcome to A.org :-) Time for a quick mini-essay of my own...

Pirating Amiga software comes in many different stages. By far the worst is the people who copy new games, OSes etc. They deserve to be maimed in some imaginative way involving CD-Rs Get thinking, people - Amigans are an imaginiative lot :-) Of course, this also applied to people pirating the "Classic" games when they were popular.

Then there's the Kickstart. Again, people (Cloanto, A inc) can make money from it, therefore pirating it will rob them of funds.

At this point, I think I should make a confession - if it wasn't for one pirated KS3.1 image I got a while ago, I wouldn't be here, about to buy Amiga hardware when OS4 comes out. It's a long story that I'll tell you if you want, but the money I'm about to spend will easily make up for it, and and if I don't get an A1 soon I intend to buy OS3.9 for my A1200.

Then there's all the old programs that people class as abandonware. While it may seem ancient, the companies who own it could still use it (ie a "Classics" compilation, or converting them for use on today's PDAs). Seeing as many programmers are willing to let sites like Back2TheRoots use their apps, asking them for permission shows that you still appriciate their work (as well as making it legal). If the programmers cannot be traced? I guess at the end of the day it's down to you're own moral standards (though it's obviously illegal). What really annoys me is the way that some people seem to think they have a "right" to run old sofware - they didn't write it or even support it when it was popular, so they shouldn't expect that.
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Old 07-28-2003, 03:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

alx,

Sure, I'd love to hear how you got into the Amiga. It sounds like you're a rather late newcomer which is unusual to see these days. I'd love to get back into the new Amiga but I was looking at the prices of the AmigaOne and the motherboard alone is very expensive. I'll definitely be following the progress of Amiga Inc and hopefully one day will be able to come back into the fold.

I feel like unpacking my A1200 now. It as 4MB of RAM (2 fast) and an 80MB hard drive. I just need to buy a new mouse, joystick and speakers. I still have the 1960 monitor too.

Regards,
-CoolCPU-
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Old 07-28-2003, 04:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
lempkee wrote:
cool cpu: do u pirate dvd's just because u dont have a region free dvd player also==???
If he was talking about pirating things and not buying them, then you might have a point, but in the example he gave of Robocop3D not working, he had purchased the software.

I think that distributing software without permission on the basis that it has been 'improved' in some way, or some value has been added, should be illegal because you can't guaruntee that the people receiving it have bought a legal copy of the software (eg, the MyMp3 case where they were letting people listen to mp3s of CDs they owned - the problem was it would be easy for people to fool the system and get mp3s they have no legal right to, so I am not surprised or disappointed that it got shut down).

But in a case where someone makes modifications to software, then even if they obtain it as a copy from someone else, as long as they have a legal right to use the software, then that act of distribution imo should be considered a lawful one. Unfortunately now in the US, you aren't even allowed to make modifications to your own copy

Often we are told how we merely own a "licence" to use the software, and we don't physically own it - but if this is the case, surely our right to use the software should be independant of which physical source we are using? I never understood this, and it seems to me to be a case of them trying to have it both ways.

Quote:
what do u do on your pc then?? , nothing works there...unless its a lucky day,..do u pirate it?? did windows crackers fix windows ...so it would work properly on all setups??
Keep things in the correct context. If he had legally obtained a version of Windows which didn't work for him, but a friend of his had a version of Windows which did work (either because it had been modified, or whatever), then imo it should be legal for him to use that copy instead (and as I say above, I don't see how it should be illegal).

Otoh, if this other guy is distributing his fixed version of Windows to all and sundry irrespective of whether they have a right to use Windows, then he'd most likely be committing copyright infringement.
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Old 07-28-2003, 09:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
If he was talking about pirating things and not buying them, then you might have a point, but in the example he gave of Robocop3D not working, he had purchased the software.
I bought Robocop 3 aswell.

When I got it home, the hardware dongle would not fit in the joystick ports of my A600, as it had obviously been designed specifically for the A500. The shop wouldnt give me a refund, so I wrote to Ocean and they sent me back a cracked copy of the game. :-)
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Old 07-29-2003, 12:51 AM   #15
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

If you own a copy of the original, which most of the companies no longer support, and need a pirated version / modified version to use on your machine - I see no harm in it. :-D

I paid for my software and I expect it to perform. :-o
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Old 07-29-2003, 03:04 AM   #16
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

Quote:
Sure, I'd love to hear how you got into the Amiga. It sounds like you're a rather late newcomer which is unusual to see these days.
I've basically been using Amigas for as long as I can remember (my brother's A1200), and in the late '90s, I discovered UAE, and copied across the 1.3ROM, disks etc for a bit of nostalgia. Bear in mind that I hadn't seen OS2 or higher, or even AGA, so I assumed that the Amiga was a great multimedia platform that never did that much later.

Then windoze took the system down leaving me with a few floppies to back stuff up - a lot of the Amiga stuff inclucing the ROM never made it. So I looked on the net for a 1.3ROM (I'm not sure about the legalities of it, but the A500 was in the attic at that point). Instead, I got slightly confused and grabbed a 3.1ROM - booted it into UAE and realised that the Amiga had progressed more than I'd thought. Then I decided to go to Amiga.com - wow - OS3.5 and OS3.9 :-) (a couple of years ago - no OS4). I went back a bit later, saw what was happening with the A1/OS4, then tried the URL "amiga.org" :-) In the meantime, I've grabbed an A1200.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

alx,

Great story. I remember when I bought my Amiga 600 and Workbench 2.0 was just awesome. Too bad it wasn't much of an upgrade from my A500 (I think it was a mistake), but atleast I got to finally use PAL mode and see the bottom of demo screens.

I would love to upgrade my A1200, but I just don't feel it's really worth it now that I have WinUAE - it's so much faster than what I had before.
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Old 07-30-2003, 12:02 AM   #18
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Default Re: Amiga Games and preservation

cool cpu: do u pirate dvd's just because u dont have a region free dvd player also==???


__________________________________________

Some laws are stupid and need to be changed. Ask anyone in west Texas about driving 55 on I-10. Anyone who drove 56 is as guilty as those who buy a DVD and make it region free for their own use.


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