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Category: Games

the tragedy of digital gaming, or how i learned to stop worrying and love the rom

To preface this blog entry I am forced to admit that I was one of the sorry suckers who went panic mode buying games as the inevitable curtain call of the 3DS and WiiU eShops,

This is what I like to call feeding the beast.

This is exactly what Nintendo wanted me and the other millions of people who love their games to do.

Artificial scarcity is something I detest, as I feel it's both a manipulative way for often times already insanely rich corporations to get more money as well as barefacedly anti-consumer.

Now you may be thinking to yourself "I thought it was about security concerns!" and to some extent you'd be correct.

The older the infrastructure for digital storefronts get the harder it is to ensure a consumer's safety. Vulnerabilities open up and become clearer, making it easy for bad faith actors to see bank details, credit card information, or even get access to saved data and camera and microphone functionality. And this is a perfectly reasonable thing for anyone to worry about, but especially as it could bring forth a lot of terrible press and possibly even lawsuits.

However, there's fixes for this. PSN and Xbox Live have added annoyingly complicated but still workable sign in processes and kept their stores up.

Alternatively, they could take the stores down and offer the digital copies via their website or generate digital codes for any games asked for. Cumbersome? A bit, but still accessible for the average person.

Nintendo refuses to do this.

I am not opposed to spending money on games I want to play or series I am passionate about. I've bought Persona 5 twice, I mentioned earlier how I scrambled to get the eShop games I wanted to play before the shutdown, and just a few short months ago I made a number of digital PS3 store purchases. If I'm given the option to buy the games I'm interested for a reasonable price I will not hesitate to do so.

But Nintendo time and time again refuses to give people these options, even going so far as to opt for a Disney vault strategy, announcing limited time digital releases and their end dates on the same day.

That's where piracy comes into play.

Let's do a thought exercise. Let's say I had a Gamecube and I wanted to play Pokemon Colosseum. Not only would Nintendo make no money from this purchase, as they don't sell the game anymore and it's only available secondhand, but secondhand it goes for anywhere from 200-300 dollars.

There is no accessible way for me to spend my hard earned money on this game.

What other choice do I have?

This is a controversial topic, and if you disagree with me you might be thinking one of two things.

"But piracy is illegal!"

Illegality does not constitute morality. Plenty of immoral things are legal and plenty of moral things are illegal. Places all over the world have legal child marriage, I think there's plenty worse things I can do legally than download a rom of a game that I can only buy secondhand for hundreds of dollars.

"Just play different games, you don't need to play everything you want to play."

This one always aggravates me more. The thing that matters most to me in life is art. Creating, enjoying, criticizing, building upon, thinking about, writing about, loving, hating art. Moreover, I believe access to art, consuming and creating, is a human right. The only barrier between me and the art I want to view should be my ability to handle it's topics and my own death.

Capitalism and art are diametrically opposed. Art is our lifeblood as a species. The ability to make and understand art is one of the few things that separates us from every other living breathing ball of flesh that is only motivated by it's own instinct to survive.

Maybe you don't agree, or you think I'm being dramatic, or you don't think it's morally sound. But I think that gatekeeping art behind impossible amounts of money is disagreeable, dramatic, and morally disgusting.

Goodbye eShop...

...Hello Homebrew Channel.

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