Monday, November 10, 2008

Reasons to pirate software.

My buddy's a big gamer. Mostly sports stuff, which I don't do, but also Command and Conquer. (Check out the link. It's David Hasselhoff!)

A couple of years ago, he tried to get me and another pal into C&C: Generals. (I almost always buy games long after they come out. I don't have time to play them so, you know, why spend a lot of money on them. "But, Blake!" you say, "Why buy them at all if you don't have time to play them?" To which I remind you, "Shut up.")

"Generals", like so many games today, has so much copy protection, it's absurd. First, of course, it copies its entire contents to your hard drive. It still requires you to keep the CD in the drive, naturally. Also, you've got to enter a serial number and product key. Even if you're just playing over your home network, "Generals" will helpfully check those serial numbers so that you can't (say) play with your kid without buying another copy. Some games add to that, require Internet activation. "Generals" didn't, and I'm not sure if "Red Alert 3" does, but (for example) Spore does: A bunch of people devoted themselves to trashing it on Amazon because of that. (I have mixed feelings about that tactic.)

Meanwhile you can download a cracked version of anything that requires no CD and no Internet activation.

Even when these things work, they're supremely annoying. Your cash outlay is rendered worthless if you misplace the game manual or jewel case or in some cases a little slip of paper. Or if you can't connect to the Internet.

The requirement to keep the CD in the drive results in: a) not being able to play the game when you want, since you have to dig up the CD; b) the CD being damaged.

In the case of Red Alert 3, though, we have a situation where the last number of the product key didn't get printed. The registration helpfully aborts after three tries, so I had to initiate the install procedure five times before I discovered "M" was the magic missing letter.

Also: $60.

I'm opposed to piracy. I think people should be able to get paid for their work and set the price they want to receive for said work.

But the pirates deliver a better product.


  1. I know what you mean about the serial number. I do a lot of gaming myself and will occassionally uninstall stuff and then later re-install only to say, crap, where's that jewel case with the number.

    A tip I thought of awhile ago was to take a digital photo of the registration/serial number on the jewel case. Now I'll always have it.

  2. You know, I don't buy a lot of software these days, as I've mentioned before.

    It's not the monetary cost, but the administrative cost. Am I really going to keep a bunch of JPEGs around for serial #s? Or am I just going to download the cracked version from the web which, by the way, is also probably patched and doesn't require the CD.

    Stardock's solution is pretty good: No copy protection at all, but you need a serial number for bonus material. And once they have it, I think you can redownload your stuff.

  3. Stardock's solution is pretty good: No copy protection at all, but you need a serial number for bonus material. And once they have it, I think you can redownload your stuff.

    Yep that's what I have been doing with Galatic Civilizations.

  4. And GalCiv II has a big new upgrade. Stardock has a history of seriously improving games after release.

    Brad Wardell's practically my hero.

    Oh, I should mention by the way that Red Alert 3 does not require you to have the DVD in the machine. Yay!


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