10 Most Ingenious Anti-Piracy Measures In Gaming


Avast ye scallywags! There be pirates in these here waters. Battling piracy is a relentless pursuit for
all hard-working developers because, if those pesky seadogs can find a way to play a game
without paying for it, they’ll certainly find out how. The pirates are an ingenious bunch, but that
doesn’t mean clever developers haven’t implemented a few traps and surprises to prevent,
punish or expose the theft of their games. Surprisingly, these methods are often quite
tongue-in-cheek, permitting devs the last laugh as they make those pesky thieves walk
the plank for their foul deeds. So shiver all your timbers and get your hands
on… video game deck, because I’m Ben from TripleJump, and here are the 10 Most Ingenious
Gaming Anti-Piracy Measures. 10. No parkour – Mirror’s Edge Set in a futuristic dystopian society, this
first-person action-adventure title sees parkour as the most sought-after skill on any Linkedin
profile. The world, story, and gameplay all rely on
spryly navigating over all manner of obstacles, whether they be the real rooftops or the metaphorical
barriers and twists in the narrative. So important is this aspect of traversal,
that, without it, the player could not experience any of what the game has to offer. Thankfully though, our protagonist, Faith
Connors, is swift, agile and technically skilled- Well… unless you’ve illegally downloaded
the game, that is. Any player who chose to obtain an unofficial
copy of Mirror’s Edge would find themselves struggling to complete even the tutorial level,
as Faith clumsily bumbles around and topples straight over the sheer edge of any skyscraper
she can find. Granted, this may all be funny in a fail compilation,
but it renders the title unplayable. The clever programming trick causes Faith
to slow down as she nears any obstacle, until she casually strolls to her death at the base
of those impossibly-clean buildings. Oh, and if your wondering about how difficult
it would be to keep this city clean, especially with Faith-shaped smears on the sidewalk from
pirated copies of the game, we’ve got a list for that. 9. Don’t drink and drive – Grand Theft Auto
IV If you were to boot-up an illegal copy of
GTA 4, you may be quite happy with your foray into the criminal underbelly of society, perhaps
feeling as though you’ve embodied a GTA protagonist IRL by stealing it… but, without
the murder, of course. However, crime doesn’t pay. Soon enough, your uppance will come, intent
on destroying your ability to revel in borrowing cars from friends, meeting beautiful ladies,
and hosting quality fireworks displays. For you see, as you reach your safehouse,
the camera will start to shake uncontrollably and incessantly,as if you’re drunk. If you somehow soldier on through the nauseating
experience, however, brace yourself for another surprise. Wobble your way into the driver’s seat of
any car, and you’d find the vehicle accelerating automatically, soon reaching top speed and
starting to burn out. While modders eventually found a fix, you’ve
got to hand it to Rockstar for spitefully punishing the naughty players and proving
that – as we’ve already said – crime doesn’t pay. Unless you’re playing GTA Online of course,
which, judging from the size of that swanky penthouse, shows that crime pays quite well,
actually. 8. Codes in the manual – The Secret of Monkey
Island See, even pirates are against video game piracy. Cast your mind back to days long past, a time
where video games had actual manuals within their boxes. Yes, bound physical pages, often in colour,
bearing lore, advice, controls, even the secret to eternal life. Or so the legends say… First released in 1990, Monkey Island was
born in an era before games were torrented illegally online. Instead, pirates were forced to copy the actual
disk. In fact, this was quite easy to accomplish
back in the day; and even a novice could complete this simple task. Hence the “dial-a-pirate” wheel was developed. Upon firing up Monkey Island, players would
be asked to match a location with a date, along with specific pirates from the wheel’s
artwork. The player had to rotate the wheel, match
up the symbols, and note the resulting code. Yeah it was a bit daft, but it was also very
clever. Then again, the same can be said for the series
itself, I suppose. Naturally, it wasn’t long before pirated
copies would be accompanied by photocopies of the wheel, but it certainly threw a spanner
in the works for those wishing to steal the game. Hmm, actually, I might need to combine that
spanner with an octopus tentacle and an orange for a puzzle… can I have it back? 7. The hideous scorpion monster – Serious Sam
3: BFE As head of the Yorkshire Mafia, Peter “Hell’s
Heritage” Austin can attest, the descent into the world of crime can infiltrate one’s
psyche, pervading all areas on one’s life like a sentient beast intent on destruction
and strife. Or, more literally… It can appear as an unbeatable scorpion monster
in Serious Sam 3: BFE. Croteam, the game’s developer, introduced
this formidable creature to slaughter and distress those who pirated the game. It’s hideous, aggressive, and alarmingly
fast. Skillful players may be able to dodge the
onslaught for a short time, but this creature will never relent. He’s always there, always hunting, always
at your heels. The creature is immortal and unrelenting,
and often succeeds in rendering the game unplayable for most crafty pirates. Of course, there are those who deem this to
be akin to an ungodly “hard mode”, and seek to complete the game with the scorpion
trailing after them like Ashley Graham post-las plagas mutation. Either way, this beastly scorpion ruins the
experience, making the playthough more arduous than enjoyable. Perhaps this truly shows that crime does indeed
have a sting in its tail. 6. Kaboom – Command and Conquer: Red Alert
2 This real-time strategy title, set in the
same alternative timeline as Red Alert, contains two separate campaigns, each with distinct
story lines for each playable faction. Players are tasked with strategically defeating
enemy commanders while defending their own territory. In addition, they must seek to gather funds
and produce effective military units, both of which are vital for the success of the
missions. This, however, can be quite difficult to achieve
if your carefully crafted units spontaneously explode as soon as you try to use them. That’s right; this anti-piracy measure transforms
your battle-hardened units into delicate and volatile devices, intent on anxiously detonating
at the earliest opportunity. Within thirty seconds of starting a match,
the players were forced to watch helplessly as their squads and bases were reduced to
ash and shrapnel, leaving their territory without defence, their army without the ability
to attack, and the battle inevitably lost. Some argue that, to maximise the frustration,
the detonations should have occurred a little further into the match, thereby rendering
any desperate progress absolutely worthless. However, in preventing the players from even
firing a single shot across the battlefield, they are denied any of the courageous glory
of the series, instead surrendering to utter, embarrassing defeat every single time. 5. Bye-bye save files –Earthbound
The “Mother” video game series consists of three instalments: Mother, Mother 2 (aka
Earthbound outside of Japan), and – you guessed it – Mother 3. In Japan, the series is quite popular, but
it’s Earthbound itself that has garnered the most substantial cult following. However, players hoping to pirate a copy of
this famous instalment would soon encounter several layers of infuriating anti-piracy
protection which ranged from simple to downright ridonkydonk. For instance, if the game is played on a PAL
console, a message will instantly call you out for your naughty behaviour. If Earthbound is hacked to allow the player
to skip any of the frozen anti-piracy screens, more enemies will be spawned in an attempt
to make the game less enjoyable. Essentially, the player can try to enjoy a
cracked copy of the game, but the developers have ensured that, at every opportunity, your
time and efforts are squandered. They seek to ruin your time with the game,
deleting data, preventing progress, and, worst of all… making you move from your comfortable
position on the sofa and forcing you to traverse the vast expanse of your living room to reset
your Super Nintendo. 4. The pirate becomes pirated – Game Dev Tycoon
This title lets you step into the shoes of a video game developer as you hustle to establish
your business in such a competitive industry. You start out in a musty garage, tapping away
at your keyboard, your head full of hopes, dreams and motivation. You slowly build your business, developing
skills and establishing a reputation in your field. You work hard, day and night, sweat on your
brow, aiming to reach the staggering heights that you’ve dreamed of for so long… Only to be rendered bankrupt by the illegal
distribution of yourprecious intellectual property. Yep, if you’ve pirated Game Dev Tycoon,
your in-game company will suffer the same fate. The pirated version of the game lets you launch
your new business, but soon causes you to start haemorrhaging profits due to piracy. The problem only gets worse until your entire
business fails. The in-game notifications are specifically
scathing, but some players actually complained about this apparent aspect of the game on
social media, thereby outing themselves as the same pirates they so vehemently hated. The messages were penned by Patrick Klug,
founder of Greenheart Games, because he accurately predicted that the game was likely to be torrented,
leading to a rather sobering response when many players were made to sheepishly reflect
on their actions. 3. Super Invasions – Dark Souls Ah, From Software… you treat me so harshly
but I just can’t quit you. Our toxic relationship provides both frustration
and joy, exhilaration and devastation… and I wouldn’t want it any other way. However, gamers wishing to cheat on this beloved
developer would soon find themselves cowering beneath the crushing torment of From Software’s
vengeful wrath. But don’t accuse them for not having a sense
of humour, for they revelled in the opportunity to punish players and retailers for breaking
the Japanese street date. Cue evil genius laughter.mp3 as the developer
unleashed max-level black phantoms onto those who booted up the game before the release
date. These 1,900 HP juggernauts sought out those
pesky pirates and delivered swift, gruesome justice on behalf of their overlord. And to put that HP count into perspective,
you’ll be lucky to have that much health after significant grinding. They’re level 145, all their stats are 99,
and you will die. It’s not as if this series needed any help
in ramping up the difficulty, but this anti-piracy/street date breaking measure is made even more hilarious
because of From Software’s usual merciless treatment of the players. The overkill is glorious in its swooping,
vengeful brilliance – the dark souls of punishing players for breaking street date,
if you will. Even in the world of Dark Souls, where death
lurks in every corner, these phantoms became the terrifying bogymen that even a roaring
bonfire could not hold at bay. 2. Strange happenings – Spyro 3: Year of The
Dragon Those booting up a pirated copy of Spyro 3
would soon encounter Zoe in Sunrise Spring, whereupon she would warn you about some strange
goings-on in the Forgotten Worlds. These bizarre occurrences are vast and utterly
frustrating. Barely a single element of the game will progress
normally, therefore hindering the player at every opportunity. Aiming for a 100% run? Not gonna happen. Numerous enemies will simply refuse to drop
gems, and many gems usually found on the floor will just not be there. If you successfully manage to play for a few
precious minutes without anything going wrong, the game may just lift Spyro into the air
and return him to the start of the level, or you might be randomly returned to the wrong
Home World. Egg collections will be reset, Moneybags will
demand payment for areas that you’ve already unlocked, transportation will not work, portals
take you to the wrong places, and – a classic staple of anti-piracy – you may just find
all of your data has been wiped. For such a colourful and cheerful series,
this title does not offer much mercy in response to thievery. It’s absolutely riddled with spiteful booby-traps
and malicious tricks, many of which would even garner respect from the likes of From
Software. 1. Pirates get their personal information made
public – Cross Days Cross Days is a Japanese erotic visual novel,
developed by the appropriately named “Overflow” studio. It is a dramatic slice-of-life style of story
that follows Yuuki Ashikaga as he becomes the subject of infatuation, an almost unheard-of
plot in the anime genre [sarcastic]. Although you should never feel ashamed of
being yourself or enjoying the things that you love, erotic visual novels are a guilty
pleasure for some players. They’ve opted to appreciate this style of
game in their own time after all, preferring not to broadcast their appreciation loudly
to family and acquaintances. However, enjoying a saucy novel could be the
least of your worries, because aTrojan in the code of pirated copies seized players’
personal information and posted their web history to social media. Those wishing to have their information removed
could do so after publically declaring that they had downloaded such a game illegally,
but not before the internet was made privy to your potentially-scandalous browser history. Been searching for TripleJumpfanfic? Now your grandmother knows. Been listening to remixes of Peter saying
“panties” a million times in the 10 Weirdest Collector’s Editions list? Now your workmates know. And there’s no way for you to complain because
the information release wasn’t actually an underhanded act. In fact, the Trojan was actually explained
in the software terms of service, if you bothered to read it before rushing to play your filthy,
filthy, game. Ahoy, me hearties! There be our list. But arrrr there any other funny anti-piracy
measures that you’ve heard of? Sound off in the comments below! You can follow myself and TripleJump on Twitter
here, and while you’re at it, why not support the things you enjoy by having a look at our
patreon. Finally, don’t for get to like the video,
share it with your friends, and subscribe to the channel. I’m Ben from TripleJump, and thanks for
watching.

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18 Comments
  1. G33k Culture

    Firstish!

  2. JWisejr

    Vidagams

  3. Callum Armitage

    Deserves a like just for Ben's pirate voice

  4. Brian Henegar

    Probably the Michael Jackson experience replacing all of the music with the sounds of vuvuzelas and not allowing you to get any more than one star on any song if they detected the game was pirated

  5. Rick Daniel

    Ben videos are always worth the full watch.
    Ben videos with Ben slapping Richard in Slo-mo are just a treasure.

    Edit: 13:52 for those who can't wait

  6. matt fahringer

    any game made by Bethesda. oh wait im sorry bugs and glitches in their games are meant to be there

  7. Luke Warm

    Hmm my comment disappeared for mentioning the one in The Witcher 2 involving the grandmother. It was quite vulgar tbf

  8. aiooty19

    I remember playing a pirated copy of Spyro 3 when I was a kid (a friend of mine had no regards for copyright). You only scratched the service, mate. It would also randomly change language if you played the PAL version, randomly remove eggs from your atlas (sometimes getting you stuck in a homeland because there was no vehicle to get out) and even disable your start button, so you couldn't save. It's the main reason why I decided to buy the game, so I could enjoy it in peace.

  9. Rory Keeson

    Slap that richard and pay for games

  10. Njp2K9

    Zool on the Amiga had a wheel too if I remember correctly

  11. mike santini

    My spyro disc was so scratched and would do it sometimes unless the Sony store sold me a pirated copy

  12. Pelago _

    That mirror's edge one kills me, so good

  13. Billy Kidman

    Hell yeah I love copy+paste content

  14. Hadi Hijazi

    I heard that if you pirate the Arkham games, Batmans cape will glitch out making it impossible to glide

  15. Joy Wilson

    60 k subscribes, hell yeah my dudes.

  16. Kyle White

    Just in time for lockdown 👍

  17. nicholas McColm

    the pc version of abadia del crimon (spannish computer game), when you enter the cherch some guy starts chanting "pirata! pirata!" at decreasing speed and pitch then the game crashes.
    crisis: bullets are replaced with harmless chickens. (surprised nintendo didn't do something similar and start having cuckos attack you at the start of breath of the wild if that game was pirated!)
    alan wake: the tichilar character dons an eye patch (so funny!)
    pokemon fire red/leaf green: one of the npcs encourages you to buy the game than threatens to kill you.
    pokemon 5th gen: pokemon don't gain experience and saving at a pokecenter bricks the cartridge.
    five nights at freddies: the player can't quit the game until subjected to a jump scare.
    garry's mod: displays an error message with the steam ID as an error number. most pirates fall for this when asking for help troubleshooting and get banned because of it.
    Batman: arkam City: similar to mirror's edge. Rocksteddy responded to complaints about this by claming "it's a bug in your moral code."

  18. DR3D1

    Ironic that the Visual Novel's anti-piracy method is actually ILLEGAL in several countries, including Japan. If a developer or publisher is this butthurt to such miserly actions that they're more than willing to break the law and hide it behind pseudo-legal Terms of Service, they're not worth anyone's money in the first place.

    By practice, I am against Piracy. As it is a for-profit industry that is parasitic to the core and doesn't solve any problems(any exceptions listed only proves the rule of consistency that piracy doesn't solve any problems).

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