So piracy is wrong. We've established that. So what happens when copyright law serves only to slap at the very fans of the technology in question? Case in point: Emulated video games from the old NES, SNES, Atari, Commodore64 and other "retro" games including older arcade cabinets are quickly fading into oblivion as the hardware necessary to run them is eclipsed by the newest and fastest and bloodiest the gaming industry has to offer. There is a small but loyal (fanatic?) following of old-school gamers who have taken the talent and time to painstakingly create emulators for these old systems in order to run these classic games, and even the worst of them is worthy of at least a try. The best rival anything the major software companies have to offer.
The emulators are often free of charge, out of the goodness of some altruistic code junkie's heart, and the commercial versions are far cheaper than even one of the old cartridge games cost when new. Thousands of games exist between the old systems, many of them classics, even when measured against the best and brightest of the new generation. I used to spend hours (ok, days...) playing games like Super Mario 3, Excitebike, 1943 and one of my all-time favorite games for any system, Black Tiger. I must have put several hundred dollars in that game alone.
Now the legalities: the problem is that you cannot play an emulated game unless you possess the original cartridge from which the ROM was loaded and emulated. This presents a quandary: do we let these games fade into oblivion, fondly remembered, but legally dead, or is it our duty to maintain this priceless treasure belonging to gamers old and young? To clarify: if the game companies could get together and release these games as legal compilations, I would be happy to buy the disc(s) and commence smashing goombas and munching Pac-Man dots, but as long as those companies are concerned more for protecting their little spot of turf, I fear it is but a mirage, wavering in the heat coming off the massed ranks of lawyers. I wish I had the skill and talent to take a chunk of 1's and 0's and resurrect my old favorites, but alas, I do not. Knowing someone out there does and has, however gives hope that all is not lost, and there really is an infinite lives code to punch in at the title screen of the console. [Britt Godwin]