I realise that this is likely to go down like a lead balloon but I'm going to roll on down this path anyway.
So first up, I do not condone theft of any kind, if you want something in life you should earn it to some extent or you should make it yourself. I think thats only fair and while I realise this may put someone as talentless and with as interesting a history as me on quite shaky ground, I stand by this as an ideal.
Now its true that downloading something thats not yours is stealing, without a doubt, game and console emulation has always been a sticky area. A legal muddy zone has always existed around the notion of emulation with regards to games and while downloading something you dont own is wrong unless given away free its not often something you hear stories on.
Not often is it that a gamer is held up in court over charges related to downloading copies of a game.
There seems to be this split notion of what us gamers think. One camp only sees it as outright wrong and would look upon people emulating with distain.
Theres the other camp that see the downloading of games as entirely justified and will be willing to do it wholesale.
You never hear from the middle ground that might see a means to an end with a good reasonable level of choice, but Nope, its one extreme or the other.
Now in the past I have taken part in downloading and emulation of games and consoles, something that might be seen as illegal. I didnt do this because I felt entitled or to play the latest releases for free. Even if I had wanted to I wouldnt have had a pc good enough for that.
I also didnt do it because I wanted to play games I didnt have a console for as over the years I more or less had everything I could have wanted. Some games, like sonic the hedgehog for mega drive, I got suckered into paying for 5 times over on different consoles.
So why did I do it?
Its important to see now that I now dont see it as a good thing I downloaded games I had access to, or games I didnt have for the systems I did. I also want to say I dont want to say here that downloading games is the right thing to do.
I think that an issue with this topic is, people see the one idea in a lumped topic.
Emulation is the same a piracy, is the same as stealing and downloading games.
Im saying here that its probably a good thing we emulate and probably should encourage it.
Only of games consoles.
To help explain where Im going with this rambling mess I want to tell you about my girlfriend. She works in retail, a high street specialist that mostly deals in games and consoles. Where I also work part time.
The other day one of our co-workers had a young relative come in store and sit in our staff room a while as he needed babysitting for a while. This boy was of single digit age and was getting quietly bored. In a moment of kindness my lovely girlfriend offered this small boy her gameboy advance and copy of pokemon yellow.
Hed never heard of Pokemon Yellow before and didnt know how to use the gameboy advance.
Ill let that sink in a moment..
Yes were all old now.
Anyway the point this leads to is, we all love a darling that is ageing much faster then most. Games we may have played five years ago are already becoming forgotten or unknown by new generations who otherwise would have loved them ten years ago. Games of 20 years or older are becoming less and less prevalent in their original working condition and many collectors are holding tighter and tighter holds on their collections. One day there will be a world where there are no more working pokemon yellow cartages or even working gameboy advances.
Now console emulation, official emulation is a good thing, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all have examples of older games available for download to some extent or another. And services like steam offer options for classics on pc.
But all of these options are still limited in scope and flawed in design. Be that poor pricing, flawed emulation or DRM limitations.
Now as Ive said several times, Im not calling for everyone to go out and download games today. But emulation libraries or archives for all video and computer games should be an option supported by the major companies. Our personal history and heritage should be preserved and in a way that allows all older games to be experienced by the public whenever possible.
Also PC users should freely and openly be able to download emulators for any console they like. Not games, but consoles.
I own a dreamcast and games on disk, I shouldnt be made to feel bad to desire the ability to still play those games if my dreamcast breaks down beyond repair and I cant replace it. After all I do still own the game.
I think emulation has the potential to be an honestly vital thing for the games industry and we should spend less time huffing at those who partake in it and find more ways to use it for the good of games history as a whole.
And now I shall return back to my hole in the ground.