Escapist Podcast: 028: Listener Question Bonanza!

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

028: Listener Question Bonanza!

This week, we dedicate a whole episode to your questions.

Watch Video

As far as piracy goes, I think downloading any illegal copy for any reason whatsoever is wrong (notwithstanding people who otherwise cannot reasonably get the game). After all, whenever you download an illegal copy you are giving an incentive towards pirates that facilitates their practises. And therefore I think it is wrong to do so.
Also, I'd like to throw Fallout 3 out there as an example of a game rich with American culture that I was also able to get into, despite being British. In fact, I think playing that game has made me understand American culture in a better way. For instance, now whenever I see a shot of, say, the Washington Memorial, I go like: "yeah I recognize that; and on the other side of that long stretch of water is the Lincoln memorial; and then on the other side of 'the Mall' is Capitol Hill and on the way to there are the Natural History Museum and the National Archives..."
Another example is something that I noticed in Dead Rising, that I played over the holidays and that is that in one section of the game there is a hunting store, which sells guns. But the interesting thing is that you would never see that here in Western Europe. And even though it was one of those moments that took me out of the game, that tiny detail did make me understand "daily" American society in a better way. (But then the whole game has rather deep underlying themes about consumerist societies.)
So my point here is that even though a game isn't set in your society, it might help you come to understand other ones in a better way. And I think that sort of assimilation can be a really fun experience too.
And finally I'd like to disclose my thoughts on the comments about the Bible and changing it. Because personally I've always considered the Bible to be something that has changed a lot and been "restructured" over the years. For one, the Old Testament is comprised of parts of the Torah, but not all of it and differing between branches of Christianity. So to say that there is one definite version to begin with brings up some tricky issues.

Always nice to hear some discussion on the piracy issue, and even nicer to hear some of my own viewpoints on the subject brought forward.

Yes, every copy pirated is not a lost sale, but some are. There is no absolute here to take your claim upon.. regardless of where you stend on the issue.

Yes, piracy technically isn't theft because no one is losing a physical item.. but this sort of thought process pretty much implies that videogames (and other forms of piratable media) are just bits of ones and zeroes potentially on a disc that costs, at best, a few pennies. I don't know about you, but I don't think back to the best games I've ever played (or even the worst ones) and remembered the disc or the code on that disc. I think back to the experience of playing the game and that is where the value for me is derived.

If you are not paying for a game then you are still getting the experience of having played said game, which is the whole point of playing the game, then you have essentially "stolen" the game regardless of whether there was a physical disc or payed for download involved. As said in the podcast, maybe not an issue of technical theft but certainly one of dubious morals. And this applies to whether you ever intended to buy the game or not. You pirate it, you play it and get the experience. At that point it's pretty easy to argue about whether or not it was or wasn't worth the money.. but it's also irrelevant because you've already experienced it and your value judgement will be tainted by being, in essence, done with it.

STALKER is Ukrainian, not Russian. Just for the record.

Just want to throw this out there - Blizzard lets you download clients of any of their games from battle.net, as long as you have a cd key for it to tie to your account.

Hey, just quick on "We'll see some of those old games in the public domain soon"--no, you won't (unless your definition of "soon" is decades long).

US Copyright Law stipulates it lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. For corporations, it's 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication (whichever is less). Meaning you probably won't see these games in the public domain for at least another 50 years. PONG for instance, will remain outside the public domain and property of Atari, Inc until 2067.

The 50 year figure is probably that most of the world has a copyright length of author's life plus 50 years.

Fun fact (for comparison's sake), the original US Copyright was 14 years with a 14 year extension if the author renewed it. Also, (and quick aside: I'm not supporting piracy of videogames, but I do oppose criminal penalties for offenders) copyright infringement (including what we now call piracy) wasn't a crime until the DMCA in 1998. Prior to that, it was a matter to be pursued in civil court by the holder of the copyright.

biophobe:
Just want to throw this out there - Blizzard lets you download clients of any of their games from battle.net, as long as you have a cd key for it to tie to your account.

That sort of thing has grown (but probably not started) as, in my opinion, a positive outcome of digital distribution. Publishers have always played "games are a service... no no... now they're a product... no... service again... aaaaaand product. service. product" depending on which gave them the advantage at any given moment. With Digital Distro so advantageous for Publishers to work the 'games are a service' that now they're willing to offer consumers some of the advantages that any other service in another industry would provide (including other software industries).

The piracy debate thing kinda makes me shake my head. There's too many reasons and too many answers on piracy and how to deal with it. It also doesn't help that piracy being a 'loss' seems incorrect terminology to me. A game losing sales to a different game would deserve the 'loss' moniker, but piracy is more akin to either enabling or preventing a buy in most First World countries (USA, Europe, etc) where these piracy issues are raised. While in second/third world countries in which people have no money to buy the games, piracy is a more like means to bypass the harsh inequality that is the economic system, a sort of loophole to enjoy a product people have made.

And for the little guys/girls thing, I'd say (From what I've come across) that guys tend to be more physical in their interactions while girls are more verbal/mental. While slightly away from it all, I'd look at how guys bully others compared to girls bully others. If guys bully someone, it's normally about physicality between the bully and the bullied. And if the bullied fights back and takes down the bully, either they no longer even see each other or the rare chance the bully/bullied become friends. While I see girls as bullies much much crueler, in which the bullied can't fight back because they'd just get worse treatment.

Bears CAN be jerks, one time we found one eating some cake frosting my mom had thrown out.
To be fair, my mom did make the best frosting, so at least it had good taste.

I don't think I've ever disagreed with Susan as much as I do right now. When I'm buying digital media, I'm buying the right to use that media, and this is how the publishers are treating it as well (the specific copy of the game doesn't matter, just the CD key). In fact, with publishers locking down games in the manner they are, such as when EA limited Spore to three installs, they are specifically showing that you are not owning a product, you are owning the right to play this game.

That being said, if I own the right to play a game, I own the right to play that game. Period. I'm not "renting" a game until the disc breaks or the technology changes. My license key, disc, or, as the case may be, broken disc signifies that I have the right to play that game, and I will play that game however I want. If the developers want me to pay for the same game again, they must add something, whether it's an expansion, updated graphics, or convenience (money-sucking Wii store full of retro games).

A question for you: I do not have a computer that runs Windows 98 anymore. But I do have games that require me to run them in Windows 98. I get around this by installing and running those games in Windows 7's "Windows 98 mode". Is there a difference between this and using an emulator/ROM to play SNES games (for which I own the cartridge) on my computer? Or using WINE to play Windows games on a Linux computer? Because the only differences I see are extremely superficial, and nobody's going to tell my brother-in-law he can't play Windows games on his Linux box if he can get it to work.

I just have a quick question that can be answered in the forum; Why do some episodes cut off at the end? It can be rather jarring when I'm not watching the time.

Thanks, and keep doing what you're doing. Love the podcast/website.

sunami88:
I just have a quick question that can be answered in the forum; Why do some episodes cut off at the end? It can be rather jarring when I'm not watching the time.

Thanks, and keep doing what you're doing. Love the podcast/website.

You mean the playback cuts off? No idea.

I will say that we sometimes run over time with our hardware, which is why there's sometimes a weird edit right before the end.

HobbesMkii:
US Copyright Law lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. For corporations, it's 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication (whichever is less). Meaning you probably won't see these games in the public domain for at least another 50 years. PONG for instance, will remain outside the public domain and property of Atari, Inc until 2067.

Assuming it's not extended AGAIN. I'm in Canada, and we just got Jung and Hemingway into the public domain while Europe just got Joyce and Woolf. But less than a week after that, the Canadian government is considering putting a stop to any new entries into the public domain for the next twenty years.

If copying something you have no right just so you can save a few bucks is immoral, then stealing it from the public just so you can make a few bucks is just as bad. I'm not saying the pirates are right or justified, far from it, but we have plenty of evidence that corporations that hold copyrights are no less in the wrong.


Azuaron:
In fact, with publishers locking down games in the manner they are, such as when EA limited Spore to three installs, they are specifically showing that you are not owning a product, you are owning the right to play this game.

Are you? If the EULA says they can revoke that right at any time, all you own is privilege to play at the owner's sufferance.

Azuaron:
If the developers want me to pay for the same game again, they must add something, whether it's an expansion, updated graphics, or convenience (money-sucking Wii store full of retro games).

Hear hear. A lot of copyright holders in TV/movies/music - which has a notable overlap with video game copyright holders - have been trying to lock down on time and format shifting. So because I work late I shouldn't be allowed to PVR a show? Is it wrong to copy my old VHSs to DVD before the tapes fail or my last VCR dies? (Now downloading a DVD rip would be wrong due to higher quality - improved version, that's not what I originally paid for. But if don't mind a VCR-quality DVD, or if a DVD version doesn't exist, then I think I'm perfectly in my rights to copy that sucker to DVD.)

But I'm a fan of emulation overall. I'm never going to see another Bubble Bobble cabinet ever again and getting my C64 and disk boxes out of storage for a game of Delta seems an insane waste of gasoline when I can spend 1 minute downloading an emulator and the crack Remember did that even includes a trainer.

Azuaron:
A question for you: I do not have a computer that runs Windows 98 anymore. But I do have games that require me to run them in Windows 98.

No comment, as I do have a keygenned version of Win98 running in a virtual PC (hey, another emulator) on my PC. Not very legal, but with Microsoft steadfastly trying to kill XP I doubt they'll be selling me 98 any time soon.

Formica Archonis:

HobbesMkii:
US Copyright Law lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. For corporations, it's 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication (whichever is less). Meaning you probably won't see these games in the public domain for at least another 50 years. PONG for instance, will remain outside the public domain and property of Atari, Inc until 2067.

Assuming it's not extended AGAIN. I'm in Canada, and we just got Jung and Hemingway into the public domain while Europe just got Joyce and Woolf. But less than a week after that, the Canadian government is considering putting a stop to any new entries into the public domain for the next twenty years.

If copying something you have no right just so you can save a few bucks is immoral, then stealing it from the public just so you can make a few bucks is just as bad. I'm not saying the pirates are right or justified, far from it, but we have plenty of evidence that corporations that hold copyrights are no less in the wrong.

True that. Modern copyright law has lead to a tremendous distortion of the whole concept. Copyright was supposed to do two things: 1) protect artists from those groups that would seek to deprive them of their livelihood by granting them exclusive publishing rights for a duration of time, and 2) after that time was over, to facilitate the transfer of private works into the public domain. It's now used by corporations to hold publishing rights in de facto perpetuity and crush artist innovation, increasing their own profits while actively preventing others from achieving similar profit.

If you'd like to know what the London Blitz was actually like, two good books to read are:

Blackout and All Clear, both by Connie Willis, an american author :) .

Oh and btw, the quality of the podcast was a little off this time. Noise and off-angle mics ? What happened ?

Have you folks thought about putting a softknee compressor on the VO submix ? I mix this kind of stuff almost every day(re-recording mixer by trade). And a decent denoiser package like Izotope RX2 costs $350.

I listen to your podcast through a denoiser and a softknee compressor. I just grab a new noiseprint from each podcast and set the threshold of the compressor up. It makes for a more relaxing experience, for me that is. Here's the Reaper session (http://reaper.fm) http://stash.reaper.fm/11368/Escapist-Listen-028-with-jscomp-Reaper-Session.zip

The compressor I used is free ( http://electric-snow.net/plugins.html ). You sound good, and this improved it for me. That's all.

Still listening to the podcast. Read those books if you really wanna know. Good stories. Lots of awards.

Finished listening to the podcast now.

Neat. I've repurchased some old games that very same way. Convenience and steam deals :) . Who can resist Deus Ex for $2.50 for example.

As for Star Wars. Yeah, I watched that film at the cinema three time in one week when I was six. I fell in love with film music because of it and became a sound editor and re-recording mixer because of it. It blew the dust out of the sci-fi genre alright. People didn't line up to see it after they left the theatre to get out of the cold.

Looking forward to next weeks cast.

Always good to get another of these. I'm bummed about the ending though.

Uhh... how exactly does Star Wars form a significant part of someone's identity?

Not gonna lie, that notion didn't go down too easily.

Zhukov:
Uhh... how exactly does Star Wars form a significant part of someone's identity?

Not gonna lie, that notion didn't go down too easily.

It got me interested in space travel and science. It jump started my imagination and inspired me to try my hand at creative writing. I made up my own stories about being a hero fighting the forces of evil, piloting space ships. It got me reading other science fiction stories, so that I could explore other universes and learn about other alien cultures.

It's possible that I would've done all those things without having seen Star Wars when I was 6, but then again, I might not've. That's what I mean when I said Star Wars helped make me who I am.

Sweet,

Got my Baldurs Gate 2 reference.

And I am the completly same, I bought the bloody game about four times.

The last one was the nice big box with everything in 2 DVDs.

I enjoyed the piracy debate, some very strong points on physical medium vs digital medium.

I think one point was misinterperated. "I was never going to buy the game" is not an ethical justification, it simply means that every pirated download does not equal a loss.

Personally Ive pirated a couple games I already own.

But Steam really put an end to that for me. Shame as a Canuck I have to pay for GB usage.

Susan's stance is typical of what turns people away from games entirely: pay through the nose for any minor convenience, be grateful publishers throw anything your way at all.

Personally, I don't think file sharing needs to be excused or that there is anything wrong with it at all. People still help creators of the things they like, if only for the selfish reason of getting more good things out of them in future. I myself donated to almost all free software I use on regular basis; to Vim, for instance, I gave over $100. It is a fact that file sharers buy more content than average.

Erm... a Snickers bar is a British chocolate bar. They started out as the Marathon bar and changed their name when they went international.

James Bowe:
Erm... a Snickers bar is a British chocolate bar. They started out as the Marathon bar and changed their name when they went international.

Ok, bad example, then. Oh, well.

Susan Arendt:

Zhukov:
Uhh... how exactly does Star Wars form a significant part of someone's identity?

Not gonna lie, that notion didn't go down too easily.

It got me interested in space travel and science. It jump started my imagination and inspired me to try my hand at creative writing. I made up my own stories about being a hero fighting the forces of evil, piloting space ships. It got me reading other science fiction stories, so that I could explore other universes and learn about other alien cultures.

It's possible that I would've done all those things without having seen Star Wars when I was 6, but then again, I might not've. That's what I mean when I said Star Wars helped make me who I am.

Ah, okay. That makes a lot more sense.

Thanks for elaborating.

Are we buying games and the discs are just 'incidental'? Steam says yes. However, is Steam just cool and an exception or is it the way of thinking we need to adjust to for an 'infinite' economy? Ideally as we move into the Cloud-era we won't have these grey areas anymore and piracy will only ever be theft, until then I do not equate piracy with theft so long as I have bought the product in question.

So cannot agree with a lot of the piracy argument, especially Susan in this one. The idea that I need to "pay for the convenience" of the new format, might hold some water, but it is illegal for me to do this format change myself, so its a monopoly on the right to keep the information accessible by modern devices.

If I buy a game, like Shadowrun on the SNES, and later I buy a toaster with the ability to run Shadowrun but only if the files are modified to run on the toasters OS. I should be able to manipulate my game to be toaster-friendly if the tools exist. I should not have to wait and hope somebody with the licence feels it might be profitable to target the demographic who like to play cyberpunk games while their toast is on. Then let them do it, tack on a mark up and sell it back to me.

My copy is mine, it is out of the system. If I copy it and sell on the cartridge it is akin to theft. If I copy it and destroy the cartridge no problem. I don't owe the developers more than one retail sale of their software, which I am happy to pay. But that is where I draw the line, the gaming community should be allowed to help each other preserve our collections that we paid for. NOCD cracks, emulators, etc should all be legal provided the user has parted with money for their copy.

I dont generally like piracy, but I very much disagree with the idea that someone talked about where they said piracy and theft are ethically the same. (Was it Steve or Tito? I have trouble remembering which voice is which... I know it wasnt Susan :P)

If copying is "ethically the same" as theft, that would suggest that depriving someone of their property has no ethical problems, since its addition made no ethical difference to the scenario. I honestly cant comprehend how that makes sense.

If I, lets say, photocopy a book, thats analogous to piracy. The idea seems to be that that is somehow ethically no worse than physically taking the book. In the first instance both I and the owner of the book now have the book, in the second I now have the book and deprive the original owner of the book. It seems clear to me that there are two seperate ethical issues. Firstly, it is unethical to copy the book. Secondly, it is unethical to stop the other person having their book. If I just copy the book I have done one unethical thing, but if I take the book I have done two unethical things - it is less ethical.

I suggest the following scenario which to me is the same in ethical terms as stealing a book, but perhaps easier to see the ethical issues: If I photocopy somebody's book, and then burn that persons book so that they cant get it back, is that ethically no worse than just photocopying their book?

I'm psyked I have a section named after my question, but I am disappointed my name wasn't read. :'(

But now that I listen to your reason on why you don't make Python references, it makes sense. They are out dated and don't lend themselves to easily use in conversation.

Airon:
snip

As mentioned during the podcast, this week was a bit of a jury rigged set up. Rather than our typical omni mics, I had to use a bunch of lavs which are not ideal for our recording area.

Everyone is talking about piracy and copyright, but I'm more interested in gender-bending in RPGs.
I almost always play female characters for a variety of reasons.
The powerful female hero is something I got from growing up in the 90s. That means the gender equal power rangers (till the green/white guy there were 3 guys to 2 girls), Xena and Gabrielle (so much better than Hercules), Veronica from the Lost World, Janeway and Seven of Nine from Voyager, and Buffy and Willow. I was even heavily exposed to Sailor Moon because of my sister. So for many guys I've talked to from my generation, the strong female hero is normal, desirable, and cool. Femshep is just awesome!
I don't put myself in the character so much as treat it as an interactive movie, so I play what I think is cool to see. Of course, it gets deeper than "looks cool", I feel for the character a lot.

Caffiene:
sniparoo

I think the ethically the same thing is much broader than what you are saying. Simply put, consuming a product that was intended to be sold without paying for it is equally unethical regardless of how you came to have the product. Trying to add different values of unethicalness to the specific methods is missing the bigger point. (also ethics is not math) Or rather, once you've broken the main barrier of unethicalness (ie acquiring something for free) you can start discuss just how unethical it was, but not as a way to discuss whether or not you should have done the act in the first place or whether it is justified.

Or a more pleasant note, I played Folklore. I liked it.

burningdragoon:
Or rather, once you've broken the main barrier of unethicalness (ie acquiring something for free) you can start discuss just how unethical it was, but not as a way to discuss whether or not you should have done the act in the first place or whether it is justified.

I absolutely agree that they are both unethical, and neither should be done... But the original idea was phrased as there being "no ethical difference", which to me implies we are talking about degrees or differences in how unethical the two options are. There is a lot more detail to discussing "ethical differences" than simply ethical or unethical.

This is one of my big problems when people call piracy theft. To me, it undervalues piracy by implying that it needs to be related to theft in order to be unethical, when we should be arguing that it is unethical by itself despite being different to other scenarios such as theft. The vast majority of arguments by pirates are about the details (or at least in my experience the ones that are genuinely interested in discussion, as opposed to defending themselves and having no interest in changing their behaviour regardless of what anyone says), and if we dont address the details pirates will simply dismiss arguments because we obviously arent interested in listening to them and having a discussion.

IMO its important to recognise the details in order to have any credibility in arguing on how the details affect (or dont affect) the situation.

Slycne:

Airon:
snip

As mentioned during the podcast, this week was a bit of a jury rigged set up. Rather than our typical omni mics, I had to use a bunch of lavs which are not ideal for our recording area.

I suggest more training for emergencies like that :) . "No,no, don't scratch it or crawl under the table with it." That sort of thing.

Sounds like you're doing a mixdown at recording time if you couldn't cut some of the messy parts out of it.

Podcast usually sounds great, minus some slight dynamics issues, which is a personal matter of taste I admit.

Dear Greg Tito,

Long time listener. Your story of how you realized WoW was boring you and you got burnt out on mmorpg is getting old. Please refrain from telling it every podcat.

Love,

BDC

PS
I enjoy your D&D features. Very insightful.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here