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Community => The Rumpus Room => Topic started by: Duck on 01 Jan 2004, 23:45

Title: Abandonware
Post by: Duck on 01 Jan 2004, 23:45
I'm new here, so if I've somehow violated a sacred charter by posting this here, please, for the love of god, just tell me.

In case you don't know, Abandonware is the name given to software (mostly old games) that is no longer sold or supported by its publiser. Most extend this definition so that it also has to be at least five years old. Many people decide to provide abandonware for free download, which really upsets the copyright holders.

The IDSA (or whatever it's called now) has recently been cracking down on a lot of Abandonware sites, telling them to get rid of their members' software. Most sites comply, some do not. The gaming community generally likes Abandonware, as it provides an easy way to get old games that are otherwise extremely difficult to find. In fact, some gamers are under the impression that downloading free Abandonware is legal. They're wrong.

Most of the classic adventure games are now abandonware. Quest for Glory one through three, the Police Quests, most of the Space Quests (I think all, but I could be wrong), and many other classics fall into the relam of Abandonware. It's nearly impossible to get any of these games legally without heading onto Ebay or something similar. That would be the reason for the support of gamers.

Now, the gamers like it, and the publisers don't. Well, nobody likes the publishers, either. How about the people everybody cares about - the developers?

Suprisingly, the general reaction of the developers is that they're happy someone is still playing it. The vast majority of them would have no problem with releasing their old games for free so that they could still be appreciated, if they owned the rights. Unfortuanately, they don't. The publishers do.

However, these are the same publishers that are making it so bloody hard to get the games in the first place. They say that if they re-release these games, they won't make a profit, and let's face it, they're right. But what do they do then? Do they just let the games die? What do you think?

Oh, and one more thing - how badly are you allowed to swear on these forums? The rule dealies aren't very explicit on this.
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: TerranRich on 02 Jan 2004, 00:50
Heh, yeah, we're very well aware of what abandonware is. :P

I feel that there should be official tiers of game status. For example, once a company goes bankrupt, by law, their games should fall within the "abandoned" category, as well as when a company decides to officially stop supporting a certain game. If a company retaliates against a person or persons for giving away their game for free on a web site (while the company seemingly stopped supporting it), then that company should have that game available for purchase to fall back within the "supported" category.

I'm a firm believer in systems, no matter what the scenario. :)
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: Pumaman on 02 Jan 2004, 01:57
Yeah, I think most of us are in favour of abandonware when the publisher no longer sells the game. Personally, I think that computer software should legally become freeware once it is 10 years old - the computing world moves so fast that software 10 years old is obsolete anyway.

Some game publishers have been good enough to make their old games freeware - such as Revolution recently did with Beneath a Steel Sky, but there are several others (notably Lucasarts and Sierra) who feel that they would be missing out on a potential money maker by doing so. (Of course, practically speaking they wouldn't get away with selling a collection of old DOS games into a Windows XP marketplace these days, so I'm not sure what hopes they're clinging onto).

If an abandonware case ever came to court, I think it would be very hard for the company to prove that (for example) Police Quest 1 being on the internet for free download had lost them any revenue, but of course nobody has the time or money to bring a test case to find out.

Oh, and one more thing - how badly are you allowed to swear on these forums? The rule dealies aren't very explicit on this.

There are no explicit rules, it's down to common sense. So long as you only swear when there's a good reason to, and don't go randomly chucking swearing into your posts, there shouldn't be a problem.
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: James Kay on 02 Jan 2004, 03:22
When a company goes bankrupt its IPs usually go to the people that buy up the corpse or it is given to debtors (or is that creditors) whom are owed money by the bankrupt company. IPs almost never dissappear into thin air.
And as such, however much you may dislike it, Abandonware is rarely ever legal.

And caes can easily be made against abandonware. E.g. there was some ruckus not too long ago about Zork. Some sites were giving it away for free but so was the original IP holder. So what's the problem, you may think? Well, the IP holder wanted to generate traffic for their website (which results in higher traffic, better advertising and marketing opportunities) by having the game exclusively available from their own site. And that makes perfect sense. And they won, all other versions had to be taken down.
Now it may not be viable to distribute the old Sierra adventures at this time, but look at the resurgence of old arcade games in packages like Konami Arcade Classics and Sega Smash Pack both on the Gameboy Advance? There could be a time that these games are "classic" enogh to generate some extra revenue, so I can totally understand the IP holders wanting to keep tabs on that.

Sorry to be a spoilt sport, I want old hard-to-get games too, but as it stands Abandonware is legally iffy. And you should be aware that the IP holders can legally pull the rug from under any site offering this "service" to us gamers.
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: densming on 02 Jan 2004, 04:51
Hmm, good discussion.  I think that people who offer illegal copies of 10+ year old games on the internet are in reality just as likely to be prosecuted by the publisher as anyone who, say, re-releases an already-existing game (like Tierra/AGDI for instance).   Actually, I would think that a re-release or an unofficial "sequel" of an existing game would be more likely to be shut down than an illegal downloadable copy of the original game, since a sequel really could hinder potential profits of a legitimate game by the publisher in the future.

Take Leisure Suit Larry 8 for example.  If Sierra actually does end up putting out this game, then they would certainly want to shut down any kind of fan-made sequel that people have or are in the process of making.

But I think that, with this exception aside, a website that offers free copies of old, no longer supported games can do no more harm than re-kindling the interest in these old games, and possibly in the publisher who put it out originally.  As we've seen with AGDI, big companies like Sierra have no interest in shutting these guys down, probably since it keeps part of their own gaming market alive.
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: Paper Carnival on 02 Jan 2004, 11:47
If there wasn't any abandonware, where would I get the nice old games? Some abandonware sites don't have only abandonware though... I mean, in an abandonware site I found System Shock 2 :P. It's not *that* old, is it?

Quote
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Oh, and one more thing - how badly are you allowed to swear on these forums? The rule dealies aren't very explicit on this.

There are no explicit rules, it's down to common sense. So long as you only swear when there's a good reason to, and don't go randomly chucking swearing into your posts, there shouldn't be a problem.

[censored] (@$*& )@&$_ @88-2 12+@$+&@ #@ $+ &##@& #* _*#&$_[/censored] (did I push the limits?)

PS I know where to find the full cd version of S&M.... But I ain't telling you  ;D
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: scotch on 02 Jan 2004, 16:48
Sam and Max is still sold on CD (with Grim and The Dig), and updated so it works on windows XP, so it's hardly abandonware.

I don't know what legal measures should be made for abandonware.. I think Revolution have been very good with LoTT and BASS, it'd be nice if that became standard practice but publishers would have to start doing it since they usually own the games.
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: Privateer Puddin' on 02 Jan 2004, 17:22
Sam and Max is also sold with DOTT
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: Matt Brown on 02 Jan 2004, 17:39
Lucusarts is still the only comp that still sells its old games. Seirra is on a case-by-case-baisis actually. I have written them before, and have gotten premission via emails to "go ahead and download this, but dont come crying to us if it doesnt work or screws up your pc". Robin Hood and Freddy Phraskis (sp?) fall into this catagory.
Really. All you got to do it ask.
I'm curious to know ho wmuch dough LC makes off MI, sam and max, etc...enough to keep selling them I suppose
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: eVOLVE on 02 Jan 2004, 18:32
The few games developers that can and have released old games (Rockstar, Revolution etcetc.) really understand how much of a boost it is to their name as well as potential future projects... Codemasters said that they'd release some of their games for free a while back, but I haven't seen any...

This topic interests me because I'm currently compiling an article about free games (i.e. what should be done to abandonware games, devs giving them out for free).
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: Duck on 02 Jan 2004, 21:19
I guess I didn't give my opinion on this. I think that the publishers have every right to protect their intellectual property, but on the other hand, I think that property should really belong to the developers. After all, did Sierra come up with Half-Life? No, it was Valve. Did LucasArts come up with Armed and Dangerous? Once again, it was Planet Moon.

But the fact is, the rights do belong to the publisher, and if they want to be a bunch of cranky old bastards and make it so that the only way you can get the game is second-hand from internet auction/old game sites, they have that right. It's not convenient, and it really hurts pretty much everybody, but they have the right to do that.

That said, while I wouldn't download Quest for Glory or Space Quest, I would download one of those rediculously old text-based adventures that came out before 1985 or something like that. Seriously, how much money are they going to make from that?

Keep in mind that I think that warez is crap and the people who provide it should be stoned in the street for what they're doing to the industry.

And thanks for the confirmation... this forum is going to be a lot different from others I frequent.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: kl4Uz on 14 Jun 2004, 23:47
Well Sierra isn't _that_ bad - at leat they released Caesar I for free...
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Baron on 27 Oct 2004, 06:56
This thread really interested me so I tried to do some research into the legal lapse period for copyrighted software -and let me tell you, it was a lot harder than it should have been!  I mean, seriously, for something that a lot of publishers and users get really worked up about, you'd think this info would be easier to find.
     Anyway, here's the best I could do.  In the United States the closest thing to applying to adventure games seems to be the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998.  It applies to such diverse media as images (pictures/paintings) and movies, so I will assume it will also apply to adventure games.  This act seems to solidify 1976 legislation that allows a copyright to exist for the duration of the lifetime of the creator, plus fifty years.  After that the material should enter the public domain.  HOWEVER, in lieu of uncertainty about the ramifications of digital technology on copyrights, a moritorium of twenty years was placed on copyrighted material passing into the public domain (*cough* actually it was likely movie studios like Disney lobbying, as they had a lot to lose).  Thus, no new image based material will enter the public domain until at least 2018, and if the creator isn't dead yet than the clock isn't even running.
 
     ASIDE -> I wonder if publishers pay health care premiums for the artists whose material they own, just to extend the life of the copyright?

      So, legally it looks like no computer games will automatically become public domain for a very, very long time. 
      Having said that, I personally do not believe this should be the case.  The time line is far too long for an information-based culture.  I agree that intellectual property should be protected, but in the medium of computer games I think that a 10 year period from the first release date would be fair.  Where branding is relevant (for example the popular "King's Quest" brand), I think copyrights should be extended so long as a) the product is available for purchase and b) the brand is "kept alive" with new material added at least every three years.
This will encourage the constant evolution (and profit) of valuable intellectual material under the direction of the copyright owners, and leave material without perceived value to the constructive imaginations of the public.  Either way, the fans win.
     As for how to legislate these rules so that anyone without six years of law-schooling can understand them, however, is beyond me....
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Bugalicious on 21 Nov 2004, 12:50
To start the 'clock' from the first release wouldnt be that good. Seeings many companies make updates and whatnot that can make a crap game way better, that dont come out for month or years. (such as the quake 2 patches that make multiplayer easier etc. (bad example i know)).

But still Abandonware is a good thing (in my view), because it allows you to play those really old games that we grew up on, without spending years looking around in bargain bins and ebay.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: jrl2222 on 22 Nov 2004, 03:05
To start the 'clock' from the first release wouldnt be that good.
I think copyrights should be extended so long as a) the product is available for purchase and b) the brand is "kept alive" with new material added at least every three years.

I do think it is a hard choice. Go into any toy store these days and you can buy the old arcade games on the battery operated plug straight into your TV set joysticks.

Classic games being sold still. Yes you can download most or all of those games. Remakes or the original roms on an emulator but they still make money. If someone put out a control like that with say quest for glory point and click games wouldn't you buy one? I would. But if I came across a site that had them all there for download hell I would download them too. I have downloaded movies from the net before and know how to get xvid versions of any movie I want. I still buy DVDs though.
I guess my point is you can't really set a limit on something because someone somewhere will pay to have it even if you can get it for free and then the big name company will claim the lost sales due to illegal copies.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: DCillusion on 01 Dec 2004, 05:38
I knew someone who was taken to court by a Sierra rep for distributing Betrayal at Krondor.  The judge asked the Sierra lawyer how one would buy the game legally, and he had no answer.  The case was dismissed, but within a week Sierra was selling the game online - (of course, with another lawsuit threat).  The game was removed from the site.  I think this is a pretty standard argument.  Abandonware exists because companies can't claim they're losing money unless they can prove they're actually SELLING the game currently.  Most companies don't bother because they pay more in electric bills just keeping the mints running than any sales they may acrue.

P.S.   - Anyone who knows about "Chainsaw Monday" should download a Space Quest game faster than you can say Vivendi

 - Konami just released Metal Gear Solid 1 as Abandonware to boost excitement for Snake Eater.....Why don't other companies think of that!!!!

 - The ISDA only recognizes the rights of a game after its original run if the publisher is a paid member.....Crapzilla!!!!

- Warez is a tough subject given that the first program Microsoft released came from "warez" stolen from Steve Jobs, and no one seems to say anything about Windows.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: strazer on 02 Dec 2004, 23:44
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- Konami just released Metal Gear Solid 1 as Abandonware to boost excitement for Snake Eater

Solid? Are you sure? Don't you mean the old old MSX/DOS versions?
Where did you read this?
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: Secret Fawful on 03 Dec 2004, 02:45
PS I know where to find the full cd version of S&M.... But I ain't telling you  ;D

So do I. ;D
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: DCillusion on 03 Dec 2004, 06:04
Home of the Underdogs has Metal Gear Solid - With a statement about Konami's release.

- Yep, just checked.  Still there. -
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: strazer on 03 Dec 2004, 06:15
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With a statement about Konami's release.

I must be blind, I can't find it. Do you have a link to this statement?
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: DCillusion on 03 Dec 2004, 06:45
I didn't look for the statement again, sorry  :'(.  I just did a search to see if the game was still there.  I read the statement when HotU first posted the game - it was in the announcement blog.  I'll try to find and get back.

P.S. - Thanks to Strazer for following up to see that the game "SOLID" was available, and not some oooolllllllddddd title.

I hope software doesn't fall under the Millenium Copyright Laws.  If someone told me I had to buy a new trumpet every six months because my old trumpet can't play "God Save the Queen 2K5", music would become freeware every 5 years too.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Dave Gilbert on 03 Dec 2004, 15:30
That's strange, considering that they just re-released MSG1 with new graphics this year.  "The Twin Snakes" it was called.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: DCillusion on 03 Dec 2004, 17:37
I think the PC audience is a harder sell than the cube.  It's the only forum where Konami is competing with Splinter Cell. 

It's the same reason Resident Evil 2 was re-released on the GameCube, (with almost identical graphics), for $45.  It's on the PC, with the same higher res textures, for $20.

PC users aren't so quick to bend over and take shovelware.  Konami wants people to buy Snake Eater, (upcoming to the PC).  If they re-released Solid to Computer Users with a new price tag, They would just be embarrasing themselves.

- On the other hand, each platform a company supports, generally, has a different project director.  Maybe the PC director believes in Abandonware.  He wouldn't be the first developer with this mentality.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Haddas on 04 Dec 2004, 21:23
http://www.the-underdogs.org/game.php?id=5057  ;)

Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Secret Fawful on 05 Dec 2004, 21:19
No, they do. I've seen it.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: voh on 04 Jun 2005, 13:36
I've been in the abandonware scene since '99, and am still known well enough (I ran one of the popular abandonware rings from 2000 until 2004).

My opinion should be clear enough - Software that is abandoned is abandoned. If the rights are held but there are no plans to ever publish it again, why keep the rights and lock it up where nobody who might enjoy the product can get it?

It's like with Keen 6. iD owns the rights, doesn't want to release it, Apogee would love to, but can't. I emailed Joe Siegler about it years ago and he admitted that they'd love to release it as freeware - and had thought about it - but didn't own all the rights to it - and couldn't.

It's just a bunch of party poopers. Fans are fans. Revolution understood - giving BASS out on the web created a good feeling in fan's tummies concerning Revolution. When Flight of the Amazon Queen became freeware, I jumped up and shrieked from happiness.

The fact that I can't legally purchase a lot of the golden oldies anymore - and no, paying 30 USD for a second-hand 2-floppy game + 10 USD shipping to where I live isn't interesting enough - pisses me off greatly.

Abandonware serves a purpose. However slight it is - it's about bringing the games back to the fans.

And I'm like... totally an abandonware fanboi yo.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Kweepa on 08 Jun 2005, 05:43
It's like with Keen 6. iD owns the rights, doesn't want to release it, Apogee would love to, but can't.

iD occasionally bundles the Keen games with "iD anthologies". If it was already free, there would be less incentive to buy one of the anthologies. Plus, they may decide to make Keen for cellphones or fridges or toilet seats or whatever new platforms are out there. If you've already played it for free that's a lost sale.

Quote
The fact that I can't legally purchase a lot of the golden oldies anymore - and no, paying 30 USD for a second-hand 2-floppy game + 10 USD shipping to where I live isn't interesting enough - pisses me off greatly.

"interesting enough"? That's a poor argument. However, second-hand games don't provide any revenue to the game makers - if that's the only way the game is likely to ever be available, then sure, why not abandonware?

I too am frustrated that I can't buy old games "new" and get royalties to the creators. I think it would be pretty neat to have a standard way to, say, paypal the developers of old games. After playing some games downloaded from the underdogs I felt I'd cheated them. For example, "Superhero League of Hoboken" - I felt a real glow finishing that, and really wanted to reward Steve Meretzky and his team. (Then I remembered the Space Bar. Did I really pay full price for that? Wah!)

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Abandonware serves a purpose. However slight it is - it's about bringing the games back to the fans.

I fully agree with this. If the authors and publishers agree too, everyone wins.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: on 20 Jul 2005, 18:37
I was one of the lucky ones who picked up the Sierra Anthologies in the late 90s.  I'm a pretty popular guy with my friends because of it.

I think that this is a pretty complex problem.  The point that the games are unavailable so why not enable free distribution is unassailable.  I used to feel this way about old console games no longer in development.  I didn't think twice about hoarding ROMS from discontinued systems, and then Nintendo started re-releasing them in stuff like Animal Crossing and for the Game Boy Advance. 

Suddenly they were available again, and it sounds like Nintendo is going to go even farther with their new system, offering access to "classic" games on-line.  It's rumored that this will be free, but there will still be an economic incentive to buy the new system to get access to them.

Granted these old console games are much easier to emulate and re-distribute than the adventure games we all love, but this business with console re-releases has made me think about these issues a little harder.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: JeebusSez on 21 Jul 2005, 00:14
GTA1 (http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/gta.html) and GTA2 (http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/) anyone?

I've been trying to hunt down a copy of Theme Park for years. I barely snagged a copy of Theme Hospital from a bargain bin before the behemoth that is EA games quashed Bullfrog for good. It was dirt cheap (about 5 bucks) and I'm glad I grabbed a copy.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: guybrush on 03 Aug 2005, 19:41
Sam & Max. Oh, how I hate it. I spent almost a week looking for it, and still nothing. Only French and Italian versions. I need English! Well, I found English version, but it's 80 MBs big, and that's not very good with my 56 Kb/ps. In my country, there's nowhere to buy it, believe me, I've looked for it, so please please could you tell me where to find a normal 8-MB English version. I do respect Lucasarts and everything, but this is just unbelieveable! Pleaseee.. At least e-mail me or something... I could order it from America, England and so on, but I would get at least extra 50 bucks to pay. So, understand my suffering.. :'(
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Scummbuddy on 03 Aug 2005, 23:13
eBay.

This thread is for discussing truly abandonware software only.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: PyroMonkey on 26 Aug 2005, 18:21
I've heard something about really old ROMs (A file containing data for a console game, can be played on a computer through emulators) being legalized or something, although I don't neccesarily believe it.

If that's the case, I see absolutely no reason why abandonware can't be legalized. It's pretty much the same concept.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Scummbuddy on 26 Aug 2005, 21:36
In those cases, some developers allow for the game to be converted. In this case, there are also legal roms and illegal roms.

But then, there is the idea that if you own the actual game, then you can have the rom for your own keeping on your computer. Which makes sense to me, at least under the law of being able to make one back up of your product. Then I've "heard on the internet" that you can download games you do not own and keep it for no more than 24 hours. It may be 'true' but to me it sounds just like an internet rumor run wild.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Elianto on 28 Aug 2005, 12:10
Speaking about legal abandonware someone can post a list of Adventure Games declared abandonware and free from copyright owner like flight of the amazon queen?
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: strazer on 31 Aug 2005, 23:35
Lure Of The Temptress (http://www.revolution.co.uk/_display.php?id=10) comes to mind.

As for legal abandonware in general, here's a nice forum thread at Neowin.net listing a lot of free stuff: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=65246
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: 1337_123f13x35 on 18 Feb 2006, 12:35
I think it's INSANE not to distrubute games for free if they're not being SOLD anymore... thanks to abandonia.com I'll be able to play baldies and ascendancy even if I lose the cds one day and burnt one's I should soon make as well:P

:D

Even if My house is burnt down i mean
:P
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Steel Drummer on 07 Mar 2006, 23:55
I'm new here, so if I've somehow violated a sacred charter by posting this here, please, for the love of god, just tell me.

In case you don't know, Abandonware is the name given to software (mostly old games) that is no longer sold or supported by its publiser. Most extend this definition so that it also has to be at least five years old. Many people decide to provide abandonware for free download, which really upsets the copyright holders.

The IDSA (or whatever it's called now) has recently been cracking down on a lot of Abandonware sites, telling them to get rid of their members' software. Most sites comply, some do not. The gaming community generally likes Abandonware, as it provides an easy way to get old games that are otherwise extremely difficult to find. In fact, some gamers are under the impression that downloading free Abandonware is legal. They're wrong.

Most of the classic adventure games are now abandonware. Quest for Glory one through three, the Police Quests, most of the Space Quests (I think all, but I could be wrong), and many other classics fall into the relam of Abandonware. It's nearly impossible to get any of these games legally without heading onto Ebay or something similar. That would be the reason for the support of gamers.

Now, the gamers like it, and the publisers don't. Well, nobody likes the publishers, either. How about the people everybody cares about - the developers?

Suprisingly, the general reaction of the developers is that they're happy someone is still playing it. The vast majority of them would have no problem with releasing their old games for free so that they could still be appreciated, if they owned the rights. Unfortuanately, they don't. The publishers do.

However, these are the same publishers that are making it so bloody hard to get the games in the first place. They say that if they re-release these games, they won't make a profit, and let's face it, they're right. But what do they do then? Do they just let the games die? What do you think?

Oh, and one more thing - how badly are you allowed to swear on these forums? The rule dealies aren't very explicit on this.


actually, you can download sam and max hit the road at www.removed.com  8) (there is a game section somewhere) and at www.removed.com there are TONS of abandonware graphic adventure games (but most are in foreign languages).  :'(

No abandone ware links on the forums, please.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: skyfire2 on 08 Mar 2006, 06:10

actually, you can download sam and max hit the road at www.removed.com  8) (there is a game section somewhere) and at www.removed.com there are TONS of abandonware graphic adventure games (but most are in foreign languages).  :'(

what the fuck? i searched that site for 1 hour and i couldn't find sam and max hit the road (i'm not joking).
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: SpacePirateCaine on 08 Mar 2006, 08:18
The link you're looking for isn't actually "www.removed.com" - that means that the link has been removed by a moderator, because it leads to abandonware links, which are discouraged on the forums. (That's what the last sentence there means. That was written by Mr. Colossal)

If you're looking for that particular game, you're going to have to look elsewhere, I'm afraid. And besides, Sam & Max isn't abandonware at all. I wish it were, but it falls entirely and unabashedly under the 'warez' category ( which we don't condone at all here... You know, it being illegal and all), because LucasArts still hold an iron grip on their products.

Now, let's see if I can't say something at least vaguely relevant to the thread...

There are a lot of LucasArts games out there that I never got the chance to play, Day of the Tentacle included, back when they were available. Now that I'm an adult, and have money to spend on video games like that, it's damned near impossible to find anything on the shelves. I kick myself often for not picking up those old Adventure Packs that LucasArts had released a while back.

Of course, those Adventure Packs are a very valid reason why they aren't releasing their games as abandonware - and if the game companies are actually doing something, like updating old software to run on more recent machines, I'm all for it. I'm going to be very glad when the Sierra 'Quest series' collections come out. I lost my 15th anniversary edition of Space Quest somewhere, so that's one thing I'm going to be very eager to replace.

One thing I think is odd about abandonware, though, is that I've noticed that I have a lot less patience to play games through when I haven't paid for them. Maybe my attention span was just cut bitterly short after I turned 20, but I've noticed that when I can get something that easily, I don't feel nearly as motivated to really put any large amount of effort into finishing. And the games I do want to play through often don't work well on my computer. DosBox is a wonderful program, but a bit buggy on this ol' clunker of a laptop.

Still, the most handy thing I've found about abandonware is that I can replace games I rightfully own but can't play, like the Wizardry series - I had five through seven (And still have the manual), but lost the floppies for Bane of the Cosmic Forge ages ago. I have a CD-ROM of 7, but couldn't get it to actually install. Now I'm playing through Crusaders of the Dark Savant again, and (though realizing how sparse the game world really is) enjoying it at least a bit.

Fun, at least for nostalgic purposes.

Realized I probably haven't said anything in this wordy post that hasn't already been mentioned, but oh well.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Anym on 18 Apr 2006, 02:37
I'm in favor of abandonware, under the conditions that abandoned-ness only depends on whether a game is still being widely and legally available (even if it's in a different version) and not on some arbitrary number of years (companies like Apogee 3D Realms that still most of the back catalogue should be supported) and that games are removed from circulation if the copyright holder cares enough to complain about the games being available themselves (like Bethesda Softworks or Team17 regularly do). Even though the ESA (formerly IDSA) similarly acts on behalf of its members, I dislike them.

I think expressions like "released as abandonware" and "legal abandonware" should be avoided. The latter is a misnomer, usually refering to games that have been made available for free, and the former seems to be an oxymoron. If a company re-releases a game, no matter if for free or commerically, it can hardly be considered abandoned.

What I really don't like are people claiming that abandonware is legal or those that are actively waiting for a game to become abandonware. Abandonware should only ever be used as a last resort, when a game is no longer available through its publisher nor through retailers.

Of course, abandonware being legal is just one of many myths regarding copyrights on the internet. It's just as false as saying that copyright infringement is okay if you infringe it for no longer than 24 hours. I haven no idea where that notion comes from as it seems very counter-intuitive to me. The myth about ROMs (which I for myself usually consider to be no different from PC software, some of them being abandonware, some being freeware and some being neither) being legal comes from an exception in the DMCA refering to
Quote from: U.S. Copyright Office
Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access.

However, this exception refers to the circumvention of copy protection mechanisms (illegal under the DMCA) and not the distribution of the programs and games themselves.

Oh, and Konami really had nothing to do with a CD-rip of the Microsoft-published Windows version of Metal Gear Solid being available at Home of the Underdogs.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Anghellic on 18 Apr 2006, 15:18
<<No links to sites that offer warez please.>>
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: MarkPhantom on 07 Aug 2006, 01:03
I get eternally frustrated by the way the ESA covers games that are neither going to get sequels or games that are impossible to find anyway.

Example, Laura Bow 2 and Little Big Adventure. Unless we ever get a third LBA (never gonna happen) or a third Laura Bow (even less likely) we have to twiddle our thumbs, unless we want to take a less legal route. I tend to find Sierra Online are the worst people for the legal side of things.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: on 11 Aug 2006, 02:25
Abandonware is one of the best things since Lucas itself. It's a shame that the ESA still protects a fair amount of games (the good ones, obviously). However, those games are still owned and usually sold by their companies, so they aren't lost entirely.

Still, I'm in favor of abandonware as well. It's like warez, but with more nostalgia and it's legitimate. Just make sure you have a good DOS emulator!
Title: Re:Abandonware
Post by: on 25 Aug 2006, 01:13
I guess I didn't give my opinion on this. I think that the publishers have every right to protect their intellectual property, but on the other hand, I think that property should really belong to the developers. After all, did Sierra come up with Half-Life? No, it was Valve. Did LucasArts come up with Armed and Dangerous? Once again, it was Planet Moon.

But the fact is, the rights do belong to the publisher, and if they want to be a bunch of cranky old bastards and make it so that the only way you can get the game is second-hand from internet auction/old game sites, they have that right. It's not convenient, and it really hurts pretty much everybody, but they have the right to do that.

That said, while I wouldn't download Quest for Glory or Space Quest, I would download one of those rediculously old text-based adventures that came out before 1985 or something like that. Seriously, how much money are they going to make from that?

Keep in mind that I think that warez is crap and the people who provide it should be stoned in the street for what they're doing to the industry.

And thanks for the confirmation... this forum is going to be a lot different from others I frequent.


I worked as a professional programmer in the game industry for years (xbox w/ Microsoft as publisher was the latest).   The publishers always paid us up front for a title.  So, they really do own the IP--they paid for its maturation.  The game and the developers are both marketed by the publisher.  "Cool" developers are just as much a part of the product as the game.


Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Chroelle on 14 Nov 2006, 14:52
Being aware that I posted something a bit like this short of an hour ago elsewhere in here I am gonna post it anyway.

The only thing I think we can do is get permission from developers to get the games released as freeware. Abandonware is a weird term, that has so wide boundries that it really cant be used.
Abandonware is simply: A product where the copyrigthholder is not going to defend his copyright anymore... Well that doesn't make it legal. If I leave my wallet unattended at my office, then it is still a crime if you take it for keeps.

So my hope is that more will join up in this project, where we try to get developers to release games from back-in-the-day by asking them nicely and showing interest.
The site is mine and we host alot of great freeware.
http://www.forum.connect-webdesign.dk/viewtopic.php?p=10973#10973
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: LimpingFish on 01 Jan 2007, 21:09
Figured this might be the best place to post this.

According to Abandonia (http://www.abandonia.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=13536), a number of adventure games now fall outside ESA protection.

These include Monkey Island 1+2, Willy Beamish, and more. Their status may change in the future, but for the moment they are considered abandonware.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Balin on 03 Jan 2007, 20:51
Quote
These include Monkey Island 1+2, Willy Beamish, and more. Their status may change in the future, but for the moment they are considered abandonware.

Serious?! If so, that's good news!


Balin
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Domino on 05 Jan 2007, 01:11
I grabbed Monkey Island 2. The only one i don't own and the only MI game i haven't played. It still doesn't seem legal and will delete it if it isnt, but since they have it for download, i decided to download it. It works great under ScummVM.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: LimpingFish on 05 Jan 2007, 18:38
The legality of these games is moot until the ESA submits a cease-and-desist on behalf of the copyright holder.

Abandonia is probably the closest to a "legal" source of abandonware, in so much as they comply with the ESA and remove games if they are still being sold.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Unknown_Terror on 31 Jan 2007, 02:08
I would have really hoped by now that Lucas Arts would have classed "Monkey Island" as abandonware, i know i could & have easily found a place to get it for free, but christ, They are Very Old Games. Rockstar set a good example by giving away GTA 1 & 2, but I don't think Lucas Arts ever will
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: TheCheese33 on 31 Jan 2007, 23:09
NOOO! LucasArts just updated the copyrights of Monkey Island 1 and 2!  :'(

Could anyone send me a copy?
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: LimpingFish on 25 Mar 2007, 19:59
According to our good friends at Abandonia (http://www.abandonia.com), Quest for Glory I - So you want to be a Hero, Quest for Glory II - Trial by Fire, and Manhunter - New York are now considered abandoned. So grab them before Sierra files with the ESA and denies everybody some old-school adventure goodness.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Steel Drummer on 26 Mar 2007, 01:20
Thanks for the tip. Just a question: If you download something once it becomes abandoned, but then it gets protected again, is it illegal to have the game?
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: LimpingFish on 26 Mar 2007, 20:23
I wouldn't worry about it. Put it this way: No one is going to sue you for having it. :)

Once the ESA moves to have a game removed from a site like Abandonware, it's goal is to stop the "illegal" distribution of said game. Once a game is withdrawn, the ESA's job is pretty much done. They've served the interest of the game's current copyright holder and that's that.

The fact that people may have downloaded the game during the time it was considered "abandoned" is of little consequence.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: covox on 27 Mar 2007, 01:05
Listen to the words of the UK's most respected computer journalist: emulation and abandonware do not hurt the games industry. At all. Do they preserve the cultural heritage of that era? Yes.

http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/rob-o-tron.htm

While legally (at least in the lawsuit-happy US) reprehensible, morally you're in the clear if you're trying to obtain an title that is out of print. Saying otherwise would begat images of an Orwellian terror society controlled by the major publishers.

Sadly the DOS abandonware scene took the king's portion of the shafting administered by the IDSA to oldgame networks. Coupled with the staggeringly huge vastness of software made for DOS alone, that's probably why no-one has tried to make a TOSEC/definitive end-all collection of games for this historically-significant platform.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Steel Drummer on 27 Mar 2007, 01:59
As far as I'm concerned, LucasArts has abandoned their adventure game titles. Sure, they might be selling some of them, but they treat them as if they don't exist.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: LimpingFish on 30 Mar 2007, 20:48
LucasArts still sell The Dig, Sam and Max, Full Throttle, Curse of Monkey Island, Escape From Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle.

The only LucasArts games I would even contemplate considering as abandonware would be those pre-MI 2.

But judging how LucasArts treats it's IPs, (frowning upon fan-made sequels to Zak McKraken, Indiana Jones, etc) I wouldn't class any LucasArts adventures as abandonware.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Steel Drummer on 30 Mar 2007, 20:56
Yes, but if they really cared about adventure games, they'd still be making them.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: ManicMatt on 31 Mar 2007, 19:58
Yoda, it's their wallets they care about, not the adventure game scene. Even if it must be comparitively loose change they get from those games nowadays.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Renal Shutdown on 01 Apr 2007, 04:13
A bit late, i realise, but..

If I leave my wallet unattended at my office, then it is still a crime if you take it for keeps.

Imagine I've just started at said office.  The company you worked for went bust/moved premises a few years ago.  Also, you left the company a while ago.  I phone the contact number/write to (and/or visit) the contact address stated in the wallet.  Nothing.  No one has a way of contacting you, as you've moved on.  There's 3 x $1 bills in the wallet, a nickel caught up it in the lining that I'd need a knife to remove, as well as a few unread business cards you've picked up on your travels.  "Suzie" tutors A level and O level French and Greek.  I've always thought about learning another language, but that's beside the point. There's also a coupon for saving 20 cents on your next VHS rental, from a rental shop that has closed down and has now become a butchers.  (Happened to me, b*st*rds).

Now, the dilemma..

I could hand the wallet in to the police, and hope they give a damn.

Or..

I could keep the $3.05, and just assume you have a new wallet and have found someone else to teach you how to swear at foreigners.

Personally, in the long term scale of things, handing in a wallet just gets dumber and dumber by the day.  The longer a game has been released, the less immoral a piracy is.

Abandonware, to me, is where the makers are past the point of caring about piracy, but are just too lazy to make it free (ie, remove copy protection).  Most people aren't going to buy it, even if it WAS available.  The few that WOULD buy it, probably already own it.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: LimpingFish on 01 Apr 2007, 19:43
I agree that it's mostly laziness on the part of the copyright owners, and when they do step in it's usually because they wish to "protect" an existing IP. After all, it's in retaining the IP rights that any future monies can be derived.

LucasArts would rather keep the Monkey Island IP inactive, rather than risking it's integrity by "officially" announcing a free-for-all on MI 1 and 2.

True abandonware, if such a thing can exist, would probably be a game made by a developer that's no longer active and/or published by a company no longer trading, with an IP copyright that's no longer actively enforced.

But even meeting these criteria, somebody would still own the copyright regardless. It may have reverted to the person who originally designed the game, or to the original shareholders of the dead developer/publisher.

Only those games which have publicly been made "freeware" by their current copyright holders can be considered "true" abandonware.
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: ALPHATT on 07 Apr 2007, 15:55
I have a link where all of you can find abandonware dos games
http://www.dosgamezone.com/

and you may need a DOSBox here's a link for it
http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/download.php?main=1 ;)
Title: Re: Abandonware
Post by: Patternjake on 25 Oct 2009, 21:23
Im glad that the developers of Steel Sky made the program freeware instead of abandonware since it makes finding and playing it so much easier.

I still think it is a good enough game to continue to sell it!