Letters from crackers
Several members of the cracking scene had letters published in magazines discussing their point of view with regards to software piracy:
Alien of the Pompey Pirates had the following letter published in New Computer Express issue 110 (September 15th, 1990) on page 5:
The software houses are as guilty of piracy as anyone else. How can they slag off pirates and then use the utilities we write? Some companies use packers written by pirates for pirates — like the Automation Packer, Jet Packer, Pack-Ice and so on. All these are pirate utilities, though Pack-Ice is public domain now. If they weren't packed, they'd be on many more disks than they currently are, and you can thank pirates for that!
Pirates have done a hell of a lot for the industry. The ST and Amiga wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as they are if it wasn't for people buying them secure in the knowledge that they can get any game they want from friends, with no fear of paying £20 to £30 for a pile of crap.
Pirates do NOT spread viruses. Quite where that idea came from I do not know. Most virus killers are written by pirates — would we really want to risk destroying large collections of games?
And pirated versions of games are often far superior to the originals. Witness a version I did of F19 Stealth Fighter — on one disk, no disk swapping there! And on a 1Mb machine, it loads into memory all in one go. Surely such simple improvements aren't beyond the skills of programmers. I've even done a version of F16 Combat Pilot with the bug that stops you completing it fixed — just try finishing the original, it will reset when you reach the last squadron. And I know of games fixed by pirates so that they work on every version of TOS, that load faster, that save high-scores when the original did not...
Contrary to what you say, cracked games are not badly hacked efforts covered in swear words. Some are, but they are not the majority.
Piracy will always exist. The average protection scheme doesn't even slow down a cracker like myself... Rob Northen makes me laugh out loud whenever he updates his protection! And, by the way, if there was any single thing that stopped many games working on the STE it was Rob's protection. Or didn't anyone notice that cracked version of games protected by him worked perfectly on STEs?
Wake up to the fact that that the majority of your readers are pirates and will be until prices are at a sensible level. If software houses put the prices down, they would get more sales. Well done to companies like Digital Integration for their cheap games, even if they are re-releases. The pirate group I am in does not pirate budget games — so tell that to Bob Hay: budget software gets pirated less than full price.
'Alien' of the Pompey Pirates.
Response: It's a shame you are misdirecting your talent, pal. My next two correspondents say all I want to say to you, 'Alien'.
Zippy of the Medway Boys had the following letter published in New Computer Express issue 138 (June 29th, 1991) on page 14:
Re: The piracy debate, the real pirates are those software companies who continually release sub-standard and often bugged games for over-inflated prices. Certain software development houses only have one 'source code' for a certain type of game so each time they release a new title all they are really doing is getting some new graphics drawn and spending a few weeks tailing up their old code and re-selling it again and again.
The unfortunate thing about this is that people will be duped into buying the crap because half the development cost went on buying a big name film licence so that parents will unwittingly buy the product for their children.
Zippy - the Medway Boys
Response: OK ZIPPY and sorry I had to cut the letter. What you say makes a lot of sense - I agree a lot of games are just re-codes of proven routines. I guess it's up to magazine reviewers to point this out, but more often than not they don't bother. Still, I don't think that sub-standard product is any excuse for cracking. Why bother, if it's crap in the first place?
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