Who Is Into Emulators And Retro Gaming Here?


I thought it would be cool to have a thread about the gaming classics of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s with some cool videos to watch.

100 Mega Drive/Sega Genesis games in 10 minutes:


100 Amiga games in 10 Minutes:


100 DOS games in 10 minutes:


100 SNES games in 10 minutes:



In case anybody’s interested, the EliveCD Linux distro includes a ton of emulators out-of-the-box! It’s a really cool distro too (lean and mean), which, just for your info, includes GIMP and Blender! Well worth checking out.


Thanks for that. These two commercial emulators work great once you map the keyboard properly:


The included games in both suck however. You have to get better ROMs from abandonware sites.


Wow! Awesome thread! Those are some great videos!


Okay. I’ll bite. I’ll be “that guy” in this thread. :slight_smile:

From a legal standpoint, emulation is a dicey issue. The basic act of emulation is not itself illegal. Dev systems emulate pre-production hardware all of the time. That’s fine. Your emu is part of the devkit.

However, if you;re NOT a 3rd party developer, where emu crosses the line is in how it does the deed. Emulation often involves reverse engineering and, in some cases, BIOS code ripped directly from the original system. The latter act is most certainly illegal. The person or group who ripped that code had no right to do so. So, while it might be legal for you to download a PSX emulator, you would be in the wrong for downloading the BIOS.

Similarly, ripping a cart or DVD/CD to a ROM is - as we all know - copyright infringement. You most certainly cannot download these ROMs. It is no less illegal than obtaining a bootleg copy of Maya.

I have seen a number of ROM downloaders use the excuse, “It’s okay. I own the original game.” Unfortunately, no they do not. They simply own a license to that game. That’s what’s really being bought. The media upon which it is burnt is almost secondary. Unfortunately, most of these games have licenses that expressly forbid backups. If they permit them, however, then it’s usually in the most self-contradictory way possible. IOW, you can back up your DVD, but you can’t use it. Stupid. I know. Regardless. Downloading and/or using a ROM of a copyrighted work is illegal. No way around that.

The concept of so-called “abandonware” is total BS too. I’ll give you a good example of why.

Let’s suppose that skeebertus here created an awesome piece of art. Excellent work, skeebertus. Great job. skeebertus just sort of forgets about it and goes about his life. He creates, say, 100 new pieces in the five years that follow. skeebertus then sees his work appear as part of some advertisement. Worse than that, he finds out that it has been in use for the past TWO years.

Upon finding out, or even some time after, skeebertus contacts the infringing company and complains. The company then says, “Yeah, but we tried to contact you. Your e-mail was changed. You didn’t respond. You had two years to complain to us, but didn’t. Now you come along? Really? Sorry. Too bad. So sad. You’re out of luck. It’s ours now.” That’s the abandonware argument in a nutshell. Yeah. No. That’s not how it works. :stuck_out_tongue:

While it is up to the copyright holder to defend their IP, failure to do so does not result in forfeiture of that legal right. Abandonware effectively argues a “squatter’s rights” type of case. “I moved into this house. I lived there for ‘x’ number of months. Nobody asked me to get out. I can stay.” It doesn’t work that way with copyright.

In the United States of America, any creative work made after 1977 is legally protected for the life of the creator PLUS an additional 70 years after. The law was changed in 1976 and is affectionately known as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” because, well, Disney lobbied like crazy to keep this copyright from expiring and entering into the public domain.

That’s really the thing. skeebertus’ amazing piece of art here, whether defended or not, was protected. Forgetting about it didn’t mean that he left it so that it could enter the public domain. It’s protected regardless. His death would not lift that copyright either, even if his own life had abandoned his body. :smiley: If dying doesn’t make a copyrighted work abandonware then simply forgetting about that IP sure as heck doesn’t either. Life of the creator + 70 years. Period.

The bottom line here is that it might (or might not) be illegal to download an emulator. It’s definitely illegal to download the BIOS. It is without a question illegal to download the ROM of any copyright protected game. Just because all of the cool kids are doing it doesn’t mean that you should too. LOL :wink:

Having said that, just hunt down an old system and games. It might not be free to do that, but it’s also not illegal. You might have to replace the battery on some of these old cart, but at least it’ll be yours to have, hold, and treasure instead of some ISO image from a dodgy torrent site.

For my money, I own practically every system from the past, oh, 40 years. I’ve got a sh**ton of games in my library. Anything I might ROM, were I that sort of person, I already own a copy of. I personally would not feel right doing the EMU thing. To me, as I said, downloading a ROM of a game like “Super Mario Bros 3” falls into the same category of offense as downloading a copy of Maya 2018. I just wouldn’t do it. It’s illegal.

I appreciate that the community at large wants to preserve gaming history. I truly do. However, not being the legal copyright holders, it is probably not within their legal right to do so. It is ESPECIALLY not within their right to do it using such illegal and infringing means. That right [to protect gaming history] belongs to Nintendo, SEGA, Sony, Ubisoft, and every one of the other countless IP holders out there. If Square-Enix doesn’t want my territory to have some rare version of “Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest” then I can’t assume that right and just rip it from an import.

Just imagine if it was YOUR game and somebody in that scene decides to call your work abandonware, ROM it, or otherwise assume legal rights that they don’t have and try to enter it into the public domain. You’d be mega pissed. Next time you want to download a ROM, put the shoe on the other foot. Be a bit empathetic. These devs may not know that the ROM is out there. They may have totally ignored that game in the years since original publication. They still have rights though. They have rights that they could choose to exercise them at any given moment should they decide.

In light of the fact that this stuff has a shelf life on it, after which the original material deteriorates, I absolutely LOVE the idea of preserving gaming history. Let the IP holders do that though. Petition them to take on the challenge.

As a gamer, if you want to preserve gaming history, support every legally available retro system like the NES Classic or SNES classic. Buy or re-buy those forgotten classics once they enter into the E-Shop. You’ll be sending the message that you want more of this sort of thing. Like I always say, vote with your wallet. As a consumer, that’s your super power. Money.


There’s anther C64 emulator out there. This one is more in the spirit of the NES Classic and is hardware-based: The C64 Mini

Again, as such things go, it’s kinda dodgy. They openly acknowledge that the games are copyright of the original creators, but no mention is made of licensing. In all likelihood, the original creators aren’t seeing a dime. Sad. More dodgy is the fact that they tell you how to load your own games to the system. Cool, but sketchy. (Can’t say that I’m a huge fan of more than 6 or 7 of the included games either.)

As much as I’d like to play with “Garry Kitchen’s Game Maker” without digging out my old C64, this is not how I’d want to do it. If this is the sort of thing that float your boat, more power to you. Not out in the USA yet though. Amazon, EB Games, & GameStop already sell it overseas, but I imagine that they’re looking to overcome the legal hurdles North America.


The game industry you are defending does not give a damn about the fundamental legal, intellectual, electronic and consumer rights of gamers - look at the 60 to 100 Dollar horseshit being sold as AAA games since around 2010.


  • I buy a boxed copy of a game in a store for 60 to 80 Dollars but get only 1 install DVD where there should be 4 or 5. I have to download 35GB of data over the internet and cannot do an offline install. Not acceptable.
  • I pay 60 Dollars for a PC game and get a piss-poor port from console with dumbed down gameplay and simplified controls aimed at consoles. Not acceptable.
  • I buy a game the day it is released, and it hasn’t been playtested and is buggy as hell. Not acceptable.
  • Game content that should be in the main game is sold to me for extra money as DLC content. Not acceptable.
  • Every game I buy is either tied to Steam, UPlay or Origin. I cannot untether my games from these services ever, nor move games from one service to another. Not acceptable.
  • Almost all of the companies making games lie horribly about the size of the production budget. “X game cost 65 Million Dollars to make bla bla bla”. Except that when you buy the game, you see about 15 to 25 Million Dollars worth of content max. Where did the other 40 Million Dollars go? Nobody knows. Not acceptable.
  • Almost all major games use the exact same game mechanics in 2018. Zero creativity, risk taking or innovation. Not acceptable.
  • Many game reviews rate games much higher than they should be rated. I own Far Cry 5 for example. The critics rate that game 81 / 100. Objectively, FC5 deserves about 48 / 100. How in the hell did Ubisoft get a 81 / 100 Metascore for such an awfully mediocre game? The answer is that they probably bought the reviews. Not acceptable.

To summarize: I do not care what the game industry thinks its rights are. Because my rights and expectations are trampled by this 3rd rate industry every time I legally buy a game.


I’m not going to presume to know what you do for a living, skeebertus. However, given the nature of this forum, if you are a creative type then it’s more than a little hypocritical to trash the very system that’s designed to protect you too.

You’re more or less saying, “F*** them. They deserve what they get.” If you were on the other side of the equation then you’d be pissed off that some gamers with a feeling of entitlement and an over inflated sense of self-importance are unjustly enriching themselves by freely taking what you spent months or years working so hard to eventually charge for. Imagine spending ages making cookies for a bake sale only to have some jackwad with the munchies steal your platter just because you charged $2 instead of $1.50, the price they thought it should be. If you can’t empathize with that poor baker then you’re in the wrong field.

Honestly, it’s that bullsh** sort of argument that has led to a whole host of problems in the industry. An emphasis on DLC and micro-transactions. Crippling DRM. Episodic gaming. ETC and so on. Thieving gamers have ironically become the cause for the very problems they’re complaining about.

Just to address your issues…

I buy a boxed copy of a game in a store for 60 to 80 Dollars but get only 1 install DVD where there should be 4 or 5

Understand the logic behind that.

  1. Physical copies, like brick and mortar stores, are becoming an endangered species. Downloads are becoming more of the norm than the exception. Personally, I’ve bought an ungodly number of game over the past 4 or 5 years. Of those games, I think that only (maybe) 5 of them were bought at retail. The rest were digital.

If certain companies were to have their way, that would only be the beginning. We’d all eventually stream instead. I don’t that it’d get to that point any time soon, but I do think that physical copies are on their way out. We’ve already seen it happen with content creation software.

Ten years ago, all of my key apps at the time came on CD or DVD in these big boxes with equally large printed manuals. Today, every content creation app I use has been delivered to me in the form of a download. Just an e-mail with a link to an installer, some support content, and maybe a few PDFs. It’s been that way for a bunch of years now. How could I be shocked that it’d filter down to the consumed content. level?

  1. Retailers used to respect release dates and copyrights. Now they’re the ones leaking games early and making the bootlegs. Selling only the installation DVD puts a necessary kink in the system and gives pirates one more thing to have to work around.

  2. It’s a cost saving measure. Physical copies cost money. Depending on how they’re packaged and what’s inside, they can cost a LOT of money. Mandating downloads shifts a portion of that cost to consumers and their ISPs. That’s especially important to mention now that we live in a world of HD and 4K.

In many cases, they let companies like Steam worry about distribution instead of maintaining countless download servers themselves. Keeping costs down on their end Lets them put out games at more affordable price points. Sucks as a gamer, but it’s smart business if you’re a developer.

FTR, you’re complaining about $60-$80 price points, but you’re not being entirely reasonable. Games haven’t actually kept up with inflation. I’ll give you a good example. Take Golden Axe II from 1993. That Genesis game sold for $52. On the surface, that sounds cheaper. Tack on inflation and that game would sell for $90 today. That’s still well below the $60-$70 that most games retail for these days.

Golden Axe II wasn’t even the most expensive game of that era either. Back in 1993, Phantasy Star III retailed for $62. That’s just under $110 in 2018 money. Complain all you want about $60-$80. However, as a general case, games are actually LESS expensive these days. The only thing that a season pass tends to do is bring the cost up to what it would be if game prices had kept up with inflation.

I pay 60 Dollars for a PC game and get a piss-poor port from console with dumbed down gameplay and simplified controls aimed at consoles. Not acceptable.

I don’t know what to tell you. If you want more complex games then you either have to vote with your wallet, opting not to buy console influenced games, or just go out and make the game you want to play.

Don’t buy games like that if you object to them. You, and others like you, only have yourselves to blame when developers churn more of them out. They’ll only make it if you keep on buying it. You just about forfeit your right to complain when you do. At the very least, you undermine you argument when you still insist on buying into the very system you hate.

The 80s and 90s saw a ton of SF2 and Mario clones. Gamers ate them up at first. Developers made more and more of them. Gamers grew tired and stopped buying them. Developers moved on to greener pastures. The bubble burst because gamers popped it. The same thing will soon happen with pixel games, metroidvania games, and Minecraft clones.

Your money matters. That’s the bottom line. That’s what developers care about most. Deprive them of that cash if you’re so pissed off.

I buy a game the day it is released, and it hasn’t been playtested and is buggy as hell. Not acceptable.

First off, that’s nothing new. Even games back in the NES and SNES days got released in various states of (in)stability. Open up any number of copies of the same cart-based game and you might see a different rev number on the board or chips. Old school games got patched all of the time. It was less of a complaint back then because there was no internet.

The number of bugs was often fewer because consoles are closed systems. PCs, on the other hand, come in an endless variety of hardware and software configurations. That only compounds the problem. Developers cannot possibly test for every combination of hardware and software. It just isn’t possible. Even the most thoroughly tested game will ship with issues.

Second, if games seem to be released in an unfinished state then we kind of have ourselves as gamers to blame. I’m not letting the devs off of the hook. Don’t get me wrong. However, as gamers, we force these developers to adhere to arbitrary release dates or sale windows.

We want games that are super deep and complex, but insist that the developers make them in the same 18-24 month time frame. It’s super unreasonable. Sadly, too many developers choose not to release a game “when it’s ready,” instead opting to release within that limited window. Throwing more programmers and artists at the problem doesn’t always fix things either.

Our “now now now” hive mentality has created a situation where publishers feel pressured to release now with the full knowledge that they’ll patch later. Shame on them for doing that, but also shame on us for not being more patient.

Game content that should be in the main game is sold to me for extra money as DLC content. Not acceptable.

Again, I refer you to my point on inflation. Phantasy Star 3 retailed for $62 back in 1993, That game would sell for almost $110 today.

Now let’s look at a game like Far Cry 5. That standard edition of the game only retails for $60, which is cheaper than what Phantasy Star 3 would have cost both then - in 1993 - and now in 2018. Let’s assume that you feel compelled to have the most complete Far Cry 5 experience. You skip over the Deluxe Edition and go GOLD. OOOOOH!!! You’re now paying $90. That’s still nearly $20 cheaper than the inflation adjusted cost of a pricey 1993 game.

Unless we’re heading into Capcom or Namco levels of suckery, most games are still cheaper today than yesterday… even with DLC or season passes in the mix. Always take inflation into consideration.

Every game I buy is either tied to Steam, UPlay or Origin. I cannot untether my games from these services ever, nor move games from one service to another. Not acceptable.

Not every game’s like that though. Some games sell through services like GOG, which don’t screw you in the same way as UPlay or Origin. Of course, that’s not the norm. DRM is par for the course because piracy has become so easy.

Even so, back in the day, publishers would screw over gamers and protect games via code wheels, entry of keywords from the manuals, or mandating that the disc be in the system to play - even when fully installed. DRM stinks, but it’s just the latest form of anti-piracy measures.

Having said that, not all publishers or developers are keen on DRM either. The team behind the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 are as anti-DRM as gamers. They seem to have indicated as much in this most recent E3 event. Whether or not they keep to their word upon release is another issue. However, have faith that not every developer assumes that the gamer is an aspiring pirate.

Even if DRM measures like UPlay were to disappear, anti-piracy measures in general won’t. Developers will just get more creative. Remember the gun that fired only chickens for gamers who ran bootleg copies?

Almost all of the companies making games lie horribly about the size of the production budget. “X game cost 65 Million Dollars to make bla bla bla”. Except that when you buy the game, you see about 15 to 25 Million Dollars worth of content max.

I agree. Game budgets are WAY out of control, a trend that started with Wing Commander 4 way back when. Again, understand what’s going on here though. You’re getting $20mil of content, but the developers are working from a $60mil budget. Why?

Look at some of those bts documentaries. A lot of developers are squandering their budgets on “research” - which usually involves trips, oddball purchases, and so on. Stuff that ultimately doesn’t create more content. PLUS,. just because you see only $20mil of content doesn’t necessarily mean that the $60mil budget is getting wasted. As with movies, a good portion of budget goes toward marketing. Getting that hype machine going isn’t free. On top of that, how many modern games use celebrity talent for voice overs or likenesses? That doesn’t come cheap either, even when the celebs opt to work for peanuts.

That budget money IS going somewhere. It just isn’t always in the exact somewhere you want it to go.

IMO, developers should work with more restrictions. Smaller budgets might make productions less grand, but it would also force more devs to be more creative and cost conscious. Limitations sometimes force devs to do more with less. Unlimited resources can often be a very bad thing. You’re 100% right.

Almost all major games use the exact same game mechanics in 2018. Zero creativity, risk taking or innovation. Not acceptable.

REALLY!?!? That’s your complaint. How about the fact that most games are still using the same mechanics as games made in 1998? :smiley: Hell, depending on the genre and franchise, some games are using the same mechanics today in 2018 that games were using back in 1985.

All of that aside, gameplay has gotten stale because safe sells. Innovation is risky. Why dump $60mil into a maybe when you can just dump that same cash into a whored up clone of yesterday’s big hit? Get what I’m saying? If that $60mil innovative and groundbreaking risk doesn’t sell well then lots of people are out of a job. Churn yet another roster swapped NBA or PGA game instead and everybody keeps working for another day. Is it fair to gamers? HELL NO! Can you see why they do it? Sure.

Again, it’s easy to complain about this stuff. Voting with your wallet is where you get the chance to be heard. More people need to do that. Be the change or stop complaining. (Not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t complain either way. You just lose a leg to stand on in your argument if you don’t speak with your wallet first.)

Many game reviews rate games much higher than they should be rated.

I’m kinda torn on this one.

I’ve written product reviews before. I understand that these things have to be written a certain way. You can’t always write from the perspective of a hardcore fan or longtime user. Speaking to the wider audience sometimes leads to more forgiving reviews. On the flip side, I abhor reviews that gush. I hate it when reviewers look like they’re sucking up to the developers. It makes you wonder if these reviewers have been bought off, which happens sometimes.

Again, you’re right. It doesn’t always happen. It usually doesn’t. Sometimes it does. Movie have the same problem, which is why Rotten Tomatoes has become such a thorn in the side of movie makers. Too many bought and paid for reviews. Hell. Even with safeguards, Amazon has that problem too.

Ideally a good reviewer is one who tries to be objective and examine the product from multiple angles.

As far as your view of Far Cry 5 goes, it’s all subjective.

Lots of people loved the Telltale Batman game. I thought that it was total crap. Too buggy. Too linear. Choices, including button presses, usually didn’t matter. Puzzles designed for 5 year olds. It was basically an overpriced “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. It was a long way off from traditional clicky adventure games like Sam & Max and massive departure from Telltale’s own Back to the Future. Again, lots of reviewers (and gamers) loved that Batman game. I hated it. To each his own, I say. Similarly people hated Deus Ex Invisible War, but loved Mankind Divided. The opposite was true for me. Hated MD. Loved IW.

What you love or hate is a personal thing. As a gamer/consumer, take reviews with a grain of salt. They are what they are. A review is only one person’s opinion. It is by no means the final word. Only you can say for sure what you like.


I don’t know enough about the games industry to corroborate what skeebertus said, I can just say that I don’t PLAY any modern games, because they’re all shooting games :frowning:


So I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking for, but there are no shortage of excellent new games in genres other than shooters.

Like platformers? Check out Ori or Cuphead.
Citybuilders? Skyline or Frostpunk.
Turn-based strategy? XCOM and Civilization series are still going strong.

And so on. There’s more variety of games now than at any point in history; you’re just not hearing about some of the more obscure genres because they don’t have multi-million dollar marketing budgets.


I share Skeebertus sentiments - fuck what gaming companies think. Activision are one company that I would love to see get a hard and bloody nose. They are utter c**ts.

I do play modern games. Supply drops/loot crates and Season Passes are a fucking disgrace. The consumer is not protected from these ‘pay up front, wait and see’ scams. Currently Black Ops 4 is pissing off gamers, and that is before it is even released.

Until players can start getting better protection against these borderline gambling practices, plus full refunds when a game proves to be with problems, then as far as I am concerned, gamers should treat these companies with the same contempt as they are treated.


What? No love for the NEC PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16? Let’s rectify this.

50 Great PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 games


I’m pretty old :wink: , so most of my emulator playing is for the C64.

Also lol at the primitive digital speech in some of these, but it was amazing at the time.







@SecretSoup: I see no Chimera or Aztec Challenge there. Your post is invalid. :wink: :smiley:


Thanks, Meloncov, I might check them out sometime :slight_smile: (I’m not sure what I’m looking for either :slight_smile: )

…and how DOES one get to hear about the more obscure games? :slight_smile: Like, where did YOU? :slight_smile:


@iamhereintheworld: Online game stores, usually on the device you play games on. I peruse PSN from my PS4, Nintendo Game Store from my Switch, or Steam from my PC. They always have a writeup, trailers, and reviews from other buyers. I’ve discovered several games I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise just by checking out what looks cool to me and then checking outside reviews e.g. metacritic etc. Also perusing game news/review sites like IGN.com. I like shooters but I never really play them…there’s a lot more than shooters out there.

@cookepuss: In this day and age of accessibility, “don’t use things you don’t own” will be a tough sell. Its not my intention to ‘encourage’ it but as far as preventing others, good luck. It’s like being a vegan lol. Do your thing, but preaching might be a waste of time. Roms are easy, fun, nostalgic, with little obvious downside, and not much preventing it, so people will do it. No to mention, many game devs no longer exist and there is no other way to play those games if it were not for emu/roms. The industry needs to find a way to handle it. As an example, record labels tried suing Napster and users but streaming services like Spotify have probably done more to curb music piracy than litigation and intimidation. If Nintendo charged a low monthly rate for their entire back catalog of old games instead of charging 5 bucks AGAIN to play gen 1 NES games AGAIN that could make using roms more hassle than it’s worth for many. A video game company’s primary reason for being is to make money, so they should adopt a model where they aren’t losing out on old IPs. Clearly there is a market. I see your points and they are valid, I just think a lecture isn’t going to be very effective. Do you not have MP3s or any other un-purchased retail media at all? If not, if you are fully clean, then hey, more power to you.

@skeebertus: ^ That said, I also can’t agree with your justification for using roms, especially by bashing the companies that make them. Your anger/annoyance with them may be deserved but dissatisfaction doesn’t give anyone the ‘right’ to use their IP. If you download a Super Mario Bros rom, It’s stolen, period. That point can’t really be debated, can it? The question is not whether emulators are legal (in most cases its either plainly not or its a grey area). The question is just whether you care to let that stop you because it’s so easy and not really enforced. You don’t really have a legitimate moral or legal defense. It is what it is. IMO its more about ease and value. I have my fair share of illegally obtained MP3s. I was under no illusions that I had the ‘right’ to use them or some other justification to theft. I now use Spotify or Youtube 100% of the time because its easier. I have purchased many retrogame bundles and re-releases but i still use roms. Sony has PSNow, I hope Nintendo follows suit in the fall with their online service.


While I get that the BIOS code etc. is covered under copyright, I do not get the comparison to an image created by an artist. I’m not going to try to argue this from a legal perspective, because the law is what it is whether I or anyone agrees with it or not.
An image created by an artist is like a game in that it is a unique finished work. It is hard to defend the theft of a creative work in the example given. The BIOS code is also a unique finished work. But does it deserve the same protection? Without the corresponding hardware (real or virtual) and software to run on said hardware, it is little more than a curiosity. It is more like a tool than a creative work, its logic determined by necessary functionality and its creator having long been compensated. Nintendo aren’t going to start making their old systems, they are going to emulate them. That so little attention has been paid to the emulators themselves, compared to the ROMs, tells me that even the legal owners of this code tend see little intrinsic value in it.
It would be nice if we could all afford every retro system we would enjoy playing, and if there were enough of each make and model to satisfy that demand. These machines are increasingly rare and they will not work forever. The idea that it’s more important to respect the copyright of a single BIOS at the expense of preserving dozens or hundreds of created works is where I have the biggest objection to the notion of simply adhering to the law here.


Just to quote what US Copyright law says on this topic…

“Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.”

I think that the key words here are “original works of authorship.” Nothing there specifically limits it to artistic works. It just has to be intellectual property. A good example of a protected non-creative work might be an autobiography. That is itself not creative either. However, due to the fact that it is a so-called “original authored work,” it’s protected. The copyright in this case likely applies to the specific depiction of the events, but not the events themselves.

BIOS code isn’t creative. You’re right. It’s just a lot of 1s and 0s. However, what’s being protected, as with the autobiography, is this very specific expression of those 1s and 0s.

When you look at it, copyright law is basically acting as an extension of the First Amendment. That simply states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As you can see, nothing about the First Amendment speaks to the right to artistic expression or create intellectual works. However, the courts have interpreted it to cover those things too. They probably felt that not protecting that sort of thing might lead to banning, burning, or the overall policing of ideas.

Copyright law basically says, “We understand that you have an idea.The constitution understands that you have the right to that idea. Now we’re going to ensure that nobody tramples over your right control the method and scope of the dissemination of that idea.” If the First Ammendment provides you with the right, copyright law looks to protect it. It’s a safeguard of sorts.

BIOS code is protected because it’s the original and specific expression of an idea. As interpreted by courts, the expression of an idea a right, not a privilege.

Makes sense?

Nintendo aren’t going to start making their old systems, they are going to emulate them.

And that’s where it gets tricky.

Let’s say that Nintendo comes up with a NES emulator and so do I. We each tackle the problem differently, but achieve the same results. Nintendo’s version of the emulator is protected. That is an original work of authorship. It is the specific expression of an idea. In making the NES emulator, I may have the same idea that Nintendo did. However, in doing it MY way, I’ve expressed that same idea in a different manner. IP law would protect my unique expression of the idea even if the idea itself wasn’t unique.

Here’s where it gets dicey. My emulator is harmeless. I can run original ROMs that I created on it without pissing people off. My emulator may do everything exactly as I perceive Nintendo’s system did it, but theres no telling whether or not it actually runs legit code.

This is the thing. Where it gets messy is when I want to use that potentially harmless emulator on a ripped game. For argument’s sake, let’s say Mario Bros. In ripping Mario Bros, I’ve decided that my desire to have the game code supercedes Nintendo’s own right to control the scope and method of its dissemination.

Being that Mario Bros is an original work of authorship, Nintendo (as the author) legally controls how or even if the game ever sees light of day. I can’t replace their judgment with my own simply because I feel like it.

That so little attention has been paid to the emulators themselves,

Actually, a fair amount of attention is often paid to 3rd party emulators. There’s always the question of whether or not invasive reverse engineering was involved.

The idea that it’s more important to respect the copyright of a single BIOS at the expense of preserving dozens or hundreds of created works is where I have the biggest objection to the notion of simply adhering to the law here.

The needs of the one versus the needs of the many? Is that REALLY the argument you want to use? That’s the same faulty logic behind eminent domain. While there’s certainly some merit to what you say, voiding the rights of one to protect the rights of many practically undermines the system itself.

There’s such a thing as fair and equal treatment under the law. Either everybody’s protected by these laws or nobody is. George Carlin did a funny bit on this years ago. If you have a right then nobody can take it from you. The moment somebody can, however, it’s no longer a right. It is simply a temporary privilege.

As that applies to IP, if I do indeed have rights to my original work of authorship, nobody should be able to summarily strip me of it no matter the reason. The moment they do, it becomes patently clear that I never had that right to begin with. It was an illusion. It was, as Carlin might put it, a “temporary privilege.”

Moving back to the issue of games and BIOS… Saying protecting that games is more important than the BIOS is hypocritical. The BIOS should matter as much. In the eyes of the law, they both matter as much. Period. Who am I to say otherwise? The moment I choose to violate the protections afforded to the BIOS creator, I’ve decided that such protections simply don’t matter. Some like minded schmuck can come along and violate my IP rights using similar logic because, well, why not?

“But, officer. You don’t understand. That 55mph speed limit didn’t apply to me because I was REALLY in a hurry. Other people weren’t in as much of a hurry so it applied to them though.” :smiley: You really can’t pick and choose when to obey the law like that, which is why self-defense or defense of others is a tricky move for an attorney in a murder case. The extenuating circumstances must be pretty extreme.

I’m not arguing that games shouldn’t be protected. I’m just saying that we should be careful how we do it. You can’t simply say that “x” person’s rights matter less because the desires of “y” group matter more. That’s long been the justification for all sorts of persecution throughout history.

I’m also not saying that there aren’t unjust laws. There are. The current version of copyright may well be one such unjust law. However, until such time as it is overturned or amended, this is the law we have. Love it or hate it. Don’t like the law? Lobby to get it changed. Don’t want to put in that work? How can you complain?


I’ve bought the same game many times over. So what? Again, we’re not buying these games. We’re only buying a license to play them. Should Nintendo do as you say? Sure. That’d be nice. They don’t though. If I really like the game and wish to experience it again on a platform that’s not outdated, yeah, I’ll pay for that license again. Seems only fair to me. My old license covered the old platform, not the new one. At least I know what I’m paying for. Only Nintendo can own Mario Bros. I’m just buying a limited right to play it.

I just think a lecture isn’t going to be very effective.

To a mob? No. It won’t be. However, maybe there’s one person in the crowd who gets it and agrees. Maybe there’s that one person who can have sense talked into them. It’s insanity, tbh. What artist wouldn’t want to have their rights protected? Arguing that your rights matter, but the other guy’s don’t is crazy. Just because I think that “x” car should cost $5 instead of $50k doesn’t mean that I should then decide that it’s okay to take it and drop a $5 bill at the scene. I’m not the one calling the shots.

By the same token, Nintendo has rights to their games. They have the right to control distribution. They have the right to market and sell them. They have the right to control the imagery. Those are legal rights. I can’t suddenly decide that my desires matter more than those rights. Why? Just because? I much have a massive ego to assume that I’m the center of the world then. :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you not have MP3s or any other un-purchased retail media at all? If not, if you are fully clean, then hey, more power to you.

The MP3s that I own are the ones I’ve bought legal licenses to. I have spent an ungodly amount of money on such things over the years. I’ve also got a lot of albums and singles NOT on MP3 simply because they’re not available in that format. Could I rip and convert them? Sure. I could even break out the old vinyls and rip those too. Such devices exist. I don’t though. Not my legal right.

Same logic to software. Can’t afford it? Can’t have it. Period. That’s my rule. I’ll do without. I’ll use open source. I’ll scrimp for an expensive app if I really want it. I won’t warez though. Not just about morality. It’s about legality. It’s about fairness, to myself, the developers, and the industry at large.

(More than a few cops, lawyers, & military types in my family. The law is a big thing `round these parts. LOL)


Not gonna lie… I miss the days of a nicely boxed game without needing to pay a premium (limited edition) price to get a printed map, sexy looking printed manual and install discs that aren’t tied to UPlay, Steam, Origin, whatever… and LAN multiplayer without needing internet