Avast, Ye Mateys!

Avast, Ye Mateys!
Pirates Anonymous

Darren Sandbach | 17 Feb 2009 13:00
Avast, Ye Mateys! - RSS 2.0

It was nothing short of a revelation. This meant I could play every new release without paying a dime. I immediately logged on to their website, registered for their forums and asked where I could get more.

Fast forward six months. I moderated the group's forums, had a collection of discs numbering in the hundreds and nowhere near enough time to play all the games I had obtained. But it still wasn't enough. While the compilation discs had grown in popularity, so had the forum. New traders began to appear, integrating themselves into the community by offering more than just the same old rips. Full disc versions of games were now common, but still out of reach of my 56K modem. My attitudes toward ownership slowly changed. Now, only the "proper" versions would do.

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By the time I moved home after graduating from college, my collection occupied an entire bookshelf, proudly displayed like trophies. I had no intention of playing any of them. I continued adding to the collection solely to satisfy my own sense of vanity. I wanted them because I could have them - no greater reason was necessary .

This continued for years. I always looked for the easiest and cheapest way to get games for free in any format. I acquired an EZ-Flash cart for my Game Boy Advance, chipped my old PSOne and fitted my Xbox with a new hard drive set up for stealthed online play. I feigned to live by the code that I would buy everything I played for more than an hour. Except, of course, I rarely played anything for more than an hour, and if I did I simply found a reason not to buy it.

Then the first of two watershed moments occurred. Halo 2 was about to come out, and I wanted to be first in line for a retail copy. I'd been using my chipped Xbox online for a while - with an authentic copy of Project Gotham Racing - and the Live service seemed like it was worth every penny. I couldn't wait. And then, with only 24 hours to go until release, Microsoft came down with the banhammer.

It turns out that "stealthing" thing hadn't worked so well. I was banned, and absolutely gutted over it. This single event killed the Xbox in my eyes, and I switched back to the PC.

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