Many reading this I would assume purchase video games with their own money, whether due to the risk of getting your console banned, wishing to support the industry or just being unable to hack your console to accept burned discs. But to fight back against those who might choose to pirate their latest labour of love, developers have implemented many standard as well as many creative penalties into their games.
The most common, and boring, of the protections take the form of digital rights management (DRM). Whether it takes the form of something included on-disc which enables a game to run only with a legitimate physical copy of the game, or some form of phone-home authentication, this controversial method of protection has been used by developers for decades now. Then we have the more creative options, where developers up the ante and either make pirated copies display warning messages, become almost impossible to play or shackle the player to some form of virtual punishment.
There have been many fantastic examples of the latter over the years. Some such examples include:
Spyro: Year of the Dragon (PS1): Implemented a complex anti-crack system which took months for crackers to defeat. After displaying a warning message a couple of hours into the game, a player’s experience was riddled by glitches such as language switches; collectable “eggs” would randomly delete themselves from your progress bar and much more. Technically it would be possible to complete the game… but it would not be a fun experience.
Earthbound (SNES): Players would face a significant increase in enemies throughout the overworld, while other stages would soft lock the game. Getting up to the final boss battle, however, it would freeze and wipe your save file, meaning that the ending would forever be beyond your reach.
Game Dev Tycoon (PC): In a specific version of the game that developers Greenheart Games uploaded to the internet, once players progressed far enough in the creation of their game development studio, all their games would be hit by piracy and eventually fail. You can read more about the outcomes of this from Greenheart Games’ founder Patrick Klug HERE.
Persona 3 (PS2): While there was nothing in the game preventing you from continuing the original release while cheating, in-game navigators Mitsuru Kirijo and Fuuka Yamagishi would berate the protagonist with some less-than-happy words.
So why do I bring these up? In the last couple of months on Youtube, content creators have begun creating videos depicting very authentic looking anti-piracy warnings and anti-piracy punishments of their own creation for different video games. This started with the most unlikely of games, Mario Party DS, in a video created by content creator Joey Perleoni. This new trend then expanded to additional Nintendo games, and then to other publishers and gaming platforms.
I cannot recommend highly enough that you take some time to explore these anti-piracy videos on Youtube, and see just how far creators go to provide an authentic-looking fake anti-piracy screen. To get you started, please see a few of my personal recommendations below:
1Mario Party DS Anti Piracy Screen by Joey Perleoni
While consistently focusing on Mario Party DS all this time, Perleoni released a handful of other anti-piracy videos which are of much higher than the OG video above. You can view them all on their Youtube Channel.
2Persona 5 Royal Anti Piracy Event by Faz
What is a bigger punishment than being unable to continue playing Persona 5 Royal past the hour mark? How about having several key scenes spoiled for you – such as the existence of Lavenza or the true culprit behind the mass shutdowns?
Faz creates a lot of Persona-related videos on his channel, which you can check out by clicking HERE.
3Super Mario Galaxy Anti Piracy by SPG64
With the initial focus on Nintendo consoles, you bet some amazing content creators created anti piracy dilemmas for Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii. This is one such example, with everything from ominous warnings to being unable to do nothing but hurtle Mario into a black hole.
Creator SPG64 has created an assortment of these anti-piracy screens in recent days and weeks. You can check them all out by visiting his channel HERE.
4Animal Crossing: Wild World Anti Piracy Screen by micah price
While many of these videos give players an opportunity to settle in before facing the wrath of the anti-piracy system, this video by content creator micah price dives straight into punishing you for having an unofficial copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World on the Nintendo DS. Price went even further in his other anti piracy screen videos, going as far as depicting a Nintendogs where your pirating ways led to the death of your pup…. you monster!
5Mario Kart DS Anti-Piracy Screen by Louis Miles
Several Mario Kart games have received their own versions of fake anti-piracy screens, but this one around Mario Kart DS from Louis Miles stands out to me. It depicts Mario getting chased by a shadowy figure, before glitching out and showing a surprisingly tame warning message.
While this is the only anti-piracy screen from creator Louis Miles as of writing, you can check out his other videos HERE.