More noise than signal

Why piracy is necessary.

So I’m at a loose end t’other day, being in the rare position of having a few hours to kill and no immediate idea of what to do with it. Glancing around my immediate environs I spot a copy of ye olde EA game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, part of the long-running, surely needs no introduction from me RTS series that’s about as old as I am. Seeing as I never quite got round to finishing this back when it was first released, I figure I’d slap it on the ol’ hard drive, fire it up and give it a quick blast.

Theoretically, this is an excellent plan hampered only by EA’s coding being so, shall we say, sub-optimal that the thing just wouldn’t work. Installs to hard disk fine, then just falls over on having the temerity to attempt to play it. Patched to the latest revision. No worky. Do the usual messing around with the never-yet-useful compatibility options of WinXP. No worky. Download and install 60-odd meg of the latest graphics drivers, a ludicrous size itself worthy of another rant. Still no worky. Consult Google. No answers, but lots of whining about it’s status as ‘fuxxored’.

I have, naturally, solved this problem. I have solved this problem and can now happily make mincemeat of red commie scuzzbuckets to my little heart’s content. How have I solved this? Why, by heading off to the ever useful Megagames website and downloading the No-CD patch, which in this case is perhaps better described by calling it an ‘Actually Make Game Work’ patch. So despite having paid good money to the corporate monolith for a legit copy of the game, the reward that gave me was a few hours of needless head-scratching that I wouldn’t have had to endure had I just downloaded the damn thing of a newsgroup in the first place. Grrr.

It’d be unfortunate were this an isolated incident, but hardly noteworthy. Of course, it isn’t, as between plain poor coding and increasingly ludicrous DRM and anti-copy measures all of which are defeated by serious pirates within days, anything you buy has a better than evens chance of falling over at some point. Some of the ruder schemes will even see a game refuse to install if you’re running perfectly legitimate CD image mounting software like Daemon Tools or Nero Drive Image, for no readily discernible reason I can come up with. Again, if you’d taken the dark path and downloaded it this is handily stripped out for you. Sure, the publisher doesn’t their pound of flesh but at least you can play the damn thing.

Piracy is often sited as the force that will destroy software development, typically by, er, software developers and their Federation Against Software Theft PR branch. If so it’s taking a damn long time to do it, as any number of playgrounds with any number of C90 tapes stuffed with ZX Spectrum games will attest to.

Piracy had better not be stamped out. It’s the only way most of us can actually play the damn things even after buying them.

I suppose they could just be coded to work in the first place…….Bwahahahahahaha! I crack myself up, sometimes.

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