There Are Alternatives to Video Game Piracy

Daniel Starkey writing for Offworld:

Some, perhaps most, people in industrialized countries have the luxury of seeking out media they care about and stories that speak to them, and they can afford to support that work with their money. But for others like me, it can feel like a seemingly insurmountable struggle. To live even in relative poverty deprives of you new ideas; it deprives you of the tools and education you need to escape. In the most severe cases, it locks you out of society–out of voting, out of socializing, and out of connecting with others.

This is obviously a very personal decision that we all make, but I disagree with large portions of this article.

When I was younger there was the barest of excuses for video game piracy due to the lack of free options and my family was poor. There are more options now. For people who live in the United States or other countries that have internet access and libraries you can borrow books like I did when I was younger, and now you also have access to an enourmous library of free (both as in speech and as in beer) games available for a free operating system or on Windows and Mac OS X.

The one thing that bothers me about those options is that I no-longer have a good place to point people who are looking for good, free games. That used to be the Linux Game Tome, or even my own LGFAQ game list, today I’m not sure where to point people besides the Internet Arcade at archive.org.

Everyone I know who worked on games for Linux over a decade ago is now a professional game developer working on big games like Call of Duty and others great places if they decided to keep doing it.

Author: Jack Slater

A Philadelphian exiled to Hawaii. You can follow or contact me on Twitter where I’m @TimeDoctor, via the contact page, or via e-mail to zjs AT zacharyjackslater dot com

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One thought on “There Are Alternatives to Video Game Piracy”

  1. I don’t think that free games can fully satisfy ones “need” for games.

    For example there is the “social pressure” (“Soon it was too out of date to play newer games, and I felt alone again, unable to participate in the culture building and growing around me.”): Your classmates aren’t playing Supertuxkart or OpenArena, but probably recent commercial games.

    And apart from that I don’t know any open source game that comes close to the experience of Half Life, Bioshock, Portal or Bastion (to name just a few games I personally enjoyed). Not just from the graphics point of view, but from the atmosphere that’s created and the stories told.
    I don’t even know many free 3D *single player* games (there are a few great MP games like Xonotic etc or even free to play games like TF2). There’s The Dark Mod, but apart from that? (Probably a few others and I’d be thankful for a list, but I guess we can agree that it’s hard to get games that tell interesting stories in interesting environments for free).

    Just to be clear: Creating SP campaigns (and the basics like monsters + their AI) is lots of work and doing that well is even harder, so it’s totally understandable that it’s so rare for people to do it in their free time (or releasing it for free), so I’m not bashing open source game projects or anything.
    I just think that you miss a lot if you’re restricted to free games.

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