VOGONS


Abandonware and Dosbox

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First post, by catchaserguns

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I've been seeing a bunch of posts with people who ask for help and got their games from Abandonware sites. I understand the moderators' stand on this completely. There is too much piracy on the internet. Dosbox is a tool for people who own copies of old games and want to play them on their new systems. Unfortunately abandonware sites always refer to Dosbox to play their pirated games. The moderators on this site to my understanding stay away from helping with pirated software. If Dosbox is considered helping people with such software then someone would think that Dosbox is aiding and abetting in a crime so they would through legal means to close down and outlaw Dosbox. I say this when you ask for help in a game if you have a legittement copy, these people will help greatly. BUT if you have abandonware please go to the site where you got it from and talk to them. These people here want to stick to the law and keep themselves safe.

Reply 1 of 91, by leileilol

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Rules are rules. Abandonware sites are all darkish gray areas mostly because they just put stuff up what they believe is 'abandoned' rahter than officially complying with the developer, publisher, etc.

Not only do they suck for that, but for tampering the archives too with their own save games, redundant folders and archives and such. It just shows how serious most are at 'preserving history'

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Reply 2 of 91, by Dominus

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The biggest point against abandonware is of course that these are pirated copies that should never be supported. BUT there is a second reason for not supporting abandonware: abandonware isn't "safe" in the meaning you never know if the files are correct, not corrupted or in the case of games that run files from CD-Rom whether the game downloaded is able to run thus...

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Reply 5 of 91, by DosFreak

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Please do not have any more crazy ideas. This board cannot handle them.

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Reply 7 of 91, by Zup

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abyss wrote:

I hate a crazy idea what if the next dosbox had an auto detect to find out if the copy is legit.

Maybe you could show a messagebox every time DOS exec function is called, asking "Is your program legal?", and Yes/No buttons.

As far as I know is as reliable and non-intrusive as some commercial protections 🤣 🤣

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Reply 8 of 91, by Dominus

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I was on the edge of doing something crazy back when the Exult project was swarmed with support questions for obvious pirated versions of Ultima 7. Back then the Exult tools were sophisticated enough so I could have made a special usecode (that's the scripting language of Ultima 7) with changed conversations. Then I'd have uploaded this to various sites and when people came and reported this question I could have told them right away that they are using a pirated copy 😀
But this is a scheme to evil even for me 😀

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Reply 9 of 91, by DosFreak

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heh. If you were a Ritual developer you probably wouldn't have had a problem doing that.....of course you'd spend all of your time stopping "pirates" from playing your games while you would release a mediocre shooter....

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Reply 10 of 91, by frobme

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abyss wrote:

I hate a crazy idea what if the next dosbox had an auto detect to find out if the copy is legit.

Sort of doable but a nightmare to maintain. Way back when with Atari800 I got so tired of people using incorrect ROM files that I built in checksums for all of the correct, from the hardware versions in my code. It would warn you but not stop you if you loaded a modified ROM (sometimes people modified them for legit reasons, although I technically allowed them to patched after they were in place with no complaint).

You could build a table of MD5 sums for known versions of games, but it would be a) huge b) subject to lots of interpretation, as most games were released 4 times by 4 different companies c) result in a huge freakin data file you'd have to reference every time you loaded an exe.

So yeah...crazy idea!

-Frob

Reply 11 of 91, by avatar_58

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Excuse me? As someone who has been abandonware in the scene for years I have to say something here. The webmasters of these places are NOT "sticking it to the law" nor do they support piracy. In fact most respectable forums/sites will direct you to buy links if they are available.

Abandonware refers to unsold, unsupported games. A victimless crime if you will. It does not include games that people refuse to pay for. Don't lob classic games lovers in with those who actively steal games regardless of status. If someone downloads Alley Cat (unattainable, unsupported, basically dead) who in the holy hell does it harm?

Abandonware may be theoretically illegal, but don't go labelling them as generic criminals simply because they keep old unattainable games on the internet. Any self respecting abandonware website will remove all games which have buyable links or if the creators ask.

Reply 12 of 91, by leileilol

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If that were true then why is Blood everywhere, even on the Gli2DOS site when it could be purchased from an online store?

They aren't doing their job at "respecting the developers" enough. Abandonware sites are a JOKE and rarely have rarities 🙄

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Reply 13 of 91, by catchaserguns

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I only made this comment to get the people who got their games from abandonware sites to go to those from where they got the game and have them help them. Abandonware sites have forums that they help people with the game. That way they wont be bothering this site.

Reply 15 of 91, by avatar_58

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leileilol wrote:

If that were true then why is Blood everywhere, even on the Gli2DOS site when it could be purchased from an online store?

They aren't doing their job at "respecting the developers" enough. Abandonware sites are a JOKE and rarely have rarities 🙄

Thats a sweeping generalization. A true abandonware site strives to only upload unsold games. I'm not making excuses for every two bit old warez website. Also if a dev/lawyer asks it gets taken down at respectable sites like HOTU or Oldgames. Just because some guy makes a yahoo free site and sticks Doom on there doesn't mean it gos for everyone.

Also if you want to get down and dirty about it - Blood is NOT sold nor supported. Prove me wrong, go to Monolith's website and try to order it. "Used" games are not considered part of the available option, because quite frankly the quantity is limited to that specific purchase....it's no longer produced.

However Blood will be removed from respectable websites because WB (current owner) will contest it. Therefore it would be done. However until they ask it's fair game, because it's unsold.

Reply 16 of 91, by Bjomesphat

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A lot of the games I used to play were on floppy discs, but since my computer doesn't have a floppy drive (same with nearly every other new computer) I can't really buy the game as I would have no way to play it.

Besides, nearly every game I download, I have owned at one point, but have since lost. Like I made a post about Epic Pinball and Silverball, I owned those games way back in the day, but have no idea where they are now, so I have no problem downloading them from an abandonware site.

And since there's such a fine line between what's illegal and what's not, if someone comes here asking for help, I'll give it to them, it's not my business where they got the game.

And besides, can you even buy these games new anymore? Like if you bought it, would the developer make a profit? I would think you would only be able to find used copies of these games or buy them from a private seller where the developer wouldn't be making any extra profit.

Reply 17 of 91, by franpa

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avatar_58 wrote:
Thats a sweeping generalization. A true abandonware site strives to only upload unsold games. I'm not making excuses for every t […]
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leileilol wrote:

If that were true then why is Blood everywhere, even on the Gli2DOS site when it could be purchased from an online store?

They aren't doing their job at "respecting the developers" enough. Abandonware sites are a JOKE and rarely have rarities 🙄

Thats a sweeping generalization. A true abandonware site strives to only upload unsold games. I'm not making excuses for every two bit old warez website. Also if a dev/lawyer asks it gets taken down at respectable sites like HOTU or Oldgames. Just because some guy makes a yahoo free site and sticks Doom on there doesn't mean it gos for everyone.

Also if you want to get down and dirty about it - Blood is NOT sold nor supported. Prove me wrong, go to Monolith's website and try to order it. "Used" games are not considered part of the available option, because quite frankly the quantity is limited to that specific purchase....it's no longer produced.

However Blood will be removed from respectable websites because WB (current owner) will contest it. Therefore it would be done. However until they ask it's fair game, because it's unsold.

did you miss the site leileilol linked to? up the top it has amazon (AKA: A LEGIT SHOP THAT SELLS STUFF) links to blood and its expansion...

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Reply 18 of 91, by Wintermute

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Did you actually look at the Amazon Shop? Amazon itself doesn't sell this game, it only redirects to resellers over the market place.

So avatar_58 is right: The game isn't produced or sold anymore from the original company.

Reply 19 of 91, by `Moe`

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Bjomesphat wrote:
A lot of the games I used to play were on floppy discs, but since my computer doesn't have a floppy drive (same with nearly ever […]
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A lot of the games I used to play were on floppy discs, but since my computer doesn't have a floppy drive (same with nearly every other new computer) I can't really buy the game as I would have no way to play it.

Besides, nearly every game I download, I have owned at one point, but have since lost. Like I made a post about Epic Pinball and Silverball, I owned those games way back in the day, but have no idea where they are now, so I have no problem downloading them from an abandonware site.

And since there's such a fine line between what's illegal and what's not, if someone comes here asking for help, I'll give it to them, it's not my business where they got the game.

And besides, can you even buy these games new anymore? Like if you bought it, would the developer make a profit? I would think you would only be able to find used copies of these games or buy them from a private seller where the developer wouldn't be making any extra profit.

Games that get resold usually come on CD, often full game collections on CD. If the original developer is paid is irrelevant, because the law only cares about the current copyright holder. There's not a fine line, it is very clear: No go unless the copyright holder explicitly allows you to.

If you start caring about the developer, you wouldn't be allowed to buy quite a lot of games, since there are publisher reknown for imposing bad conditions on developers.

FWIW, I think the "crime without victims" argument is working, because whatever law may be (and except for certain grave crimes), a crime only becomes a crime if there is someone who can and does sue you. IMHO that's an acceptable handling of the issue, both in terms of law and respect for the original developers.