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Abandoned Games

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

334

Ghost Pig writes "The people of Exiled Gamers have put together an Abandonware Campaign with which they hope to be able to convince game publishers to rescue titles from their current 'Abandonware' status, and make them available for the public to play (legally) once again. They have made mention of quite a few titles that have slipped into the status of Abandonware (titles that it's no longer possible to buy at retail, and that are near impossible to locate on sites such as eBay), which includes System Shock 2, Freespace 2, as well as older titles, such as The Chaos Engine, Alien Breed and Flashback."

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Thats what abandonware is! (-1)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184342)

rescue titles from their current 'Abandonware' status, and make them available for the public to play (legally) once again.

But that's what abandonware is! when a publisher hasn't done anything with their copywrited works for so long then it's legally like public domain, except they still hold the copyright, but it's legal to distribute or copy and use without notifying the original owner.

Look at all the abandonware gaming sites around, you can download so many things there from publishers that have let titles go too long without doing anything with them, like outrun and donkey kong and so on

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (2, Insightful)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184360)

Abandonware isn't a legal term; it means nothing. Just because the company hasn't done anything with their game doesn't mean they aren't entitled to enforce their copyright. Morally, we could discuss it ad nauseum. Technically, however, it's illegal to distribute such games.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184440)

"Just because the company hasn't done anything with their game doesn't mean they aren't entitled to enforce their copyright."

While generally true, this is not absolute. Laches [wikipedia.org] can (and will) apply in some circumstances.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (5, Informative)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184370)

No. It's not legal. It's just a law that isn't enforced much, in that most copyright holders of really old games don't bother chasing up abandonware sites, since it's not exactly a huge revenue loss.

Some do, notably Sierra and Lucasarts, though.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184379)

But what about threat of lawsuit??

Ben

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184381)

Your understanding of the current law is flawed. Now, personally, I'd favour a situation where as a precondition for maintaining a copyright monopoly the copyrighted work _has_ to be made available at a reasonable price* (i.e. "kept in print" if it's a book), or the monopoly is lost... but that's not what the law says at the moment.

* since copyright monopolies are distortions of the free market, it should be unsurprising further price-fixing market meddling is required to counterbalance them somewhat, it shouldn't be left up to the copyright monopoly holder to set an arbitrary asking price.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184386)

Which statutes support your claims? Or are you just making this up? Go on - proove your claims.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

BarneyRubble (180091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184398)

No it doesn't unless the copyright holder says so or relinquishes the copyright. However, for many of these old games the copyright holders seem to have no interest it pursuing the infringements. I guess this is either because they see it as harmless or the potential reward for enforcing is too little to justify it.

  Abandonware is illegal but whether its ethical is more complex.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184414)

..publishers that have let titles go too long without doing anything with them, like outrun and donkey kong..

Donkey Kong.. yeah, that game never amounted to much. *cough*

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184475)

Monkeys aren't donkeys! Quit messing with my head!

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184531)

Aye.. I can see you've played Monkey-Donkey before.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184553)

You've never gotten to the donkey level? You obviously really suck at the game then...

WRONG! (5, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184421)

Abandonware is NOT legal to copy around as it's NOT legally public domain.

Something goes into the public domain when:

1) The rights owner explicitly places it there.

2) The rights duration expires.

Unless either of those two happens, it's still Copyrighted and the rights to publish (i.e. make and distribute copies) belongs to the rights holder or their successors in interest.

It's infringement, through and through. What the "abandonware campaign" seeks to do is to get the status changed on those titles or get a publishing permission so that they can be distributed legally under whatever conditions they can manage to get the rights holders to grant distribution rights on.

Re:WRONG! (1)

NateE (247273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184689)

So when would the "rights duration" expire on an old, out-of-print game?

Re:WRONG! (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184707)

In the United States, and assuming that the copyright owner of the game in question is a corporation, the copyright will expire 90 years after the game was published. Assuming Congress doesn't extend copyright terms any further.

legal abandonware (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184432)

Abandonware in general is not legal, at least the way the term is often used.

The only situation where you can truly expect it to be legal is when the company holding the copyrights went belly-up and even then you would need to find out whether anyone bid for the copyrights.

You could try to construct a moral or legal argument involving abandonded property, but a bona fide effort to find out whether the holder of the copyrights really gave up his rights might involve approaching the holder with an offer of 1 million bucks if he sold you a copy. I guess no-one would go to these lengths.

Re:legal abandonware (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184655)

The only situation where you can truly expect it to be legal is when the company holding the copyrights went belly-up and even then you would need to find out whether anyone bid for the copyrights.

But that describes the core problem, and the reason we have "abandon"ware in the first place...

Consider a game produced by a privately-owned company, consisting of one person with no offspring, no known relatives of any degree, and no outstanding debts... If that person died, no one could "own" the copyright, but the copyright would still exist. You still couldn't legally copy that game.

Now, in the real world, you have much more complicated situations that the one I just described, but leave about the same chance of someone legally reissuing the game. For example, company X went under in the 1985 videogame crash and all its assets (including copyrights) went to dozens of different companies and individuals, many of which might not even realize what they got in the deal. One (or more) of those went under in the 1993 Comic crash, with a similar diasporic outcome. Who "owns" the copyright to a given game produced by company X?



You could try to construct a moral or legal argument involving abandonded property, but a bona fide effort to find out whether the holder of the copyrights really gave up his rights might involve approaching the holder.

Yet we have a curious irony here - With a physical object (a sunken ship, for example), yes, you could call it abandoned/salvage/whatever, and legally take posession of it. With abandonware (or books, or music, or any form of intangible "property"), even though everyone could in practice have a copy of it, the law doesn't allow that, and you commit a crime by copying it even though getting permission to copy it would require nothing short of ubiquitous consent from everyone on the planet.



When dealing with older games with a well-defined still existant owner, we get into an ethical (if not legal) grey area. But for games that would take thousands of hours of research just to come up with a pool of probable owners who never even heard of the game in question? That needs to change. Nothing "sketchy" or "contrived" about it!

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184438)

It's not legal. It's just that most publishers aren't going to bother doing anything about it, and that's not guaranteed.

Re:Thats what abandonware is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184471)

It's not legal to distribute "abandonware". Abandonware is nothing more than a name for really old "warez". It's in no way a legal form.

Someone hire a spell-checker! (-1, Troll)

ThePeeWeeMan (77957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184347)

I can understand some of the other mis-spellings, but "abadoned"? WTF?

(also: frist psot?!)

Re:Someone hire a spell-checker! (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184751)

I can understand some of the other mis-spellings, but "abadoned"?

Ironically, Abadon is the hebrew word for "Ruin, destruction". So the "Abadoned" games would be actually be the recycled ideas and sequels with few hours of play we've been buying at suborbital prices.

Correct me if I'm wrong ... (0)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184348)

But isn't freespace 2 an open source sequel/clone to freespace 1?

Consider yourself corrected (5, Informative)

Electrode (255874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184377)

Freespace 2 was a commercial game, produced by the same people as Freespace 1. Several years later the source code to the engine was released.

Re:Consider yourself corrected (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184388)

The freespace 2 license said that you were allowed to copy it and give it away to friends, though.

Yeah, but, that's not the same as... (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184444)

...what they're trying for. Unless I have an actual friend that has it, I can't legally obtain the data to PLAY it on my Linux machine, as much as I'd like to do so. What they're trying to do is get the license grant ammended so that it's legit under specific circumstances (i.e. You can't make money off of it, you can resell it, etc...) to distribute the game data with the Open Sourced engine or FOR the same.

Re:Yeah, but, that's not the same as... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184755)

Freespace 2 isn't that rare, it's gone through several budget rereleases, with some looking around you can find one.

Leave them "dead" (4, Interesting)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184349)

Personally I'd rather they left them in the "grey" area or released them as freeware. Quite often I've played a game left for dead, found it to be really worth it and hence became a fan of the company. I'd like to hope others have done this as well and hence we're all found some new games and new intrests.

I tend to pirate games I can't get any other way. If I could buy them then I woukd, but with the current market there just isn't space on the shelves for older games and the retailers would make no money off them so wouldn't even want to stock them.

Leave them where we can get them for free. That way we can check out the history and decide if the latest one would be worth investing in or not.

Re:Leave them "dead" (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184479)

Better yet, set up some sort of clearing house where old game licenses go to die, and let us buy a legit license (and download the program to play) for a nominal fee (five bucks maybe?)
This would solve a few things - legitimatize the "grey" area redistribution of 'abandonware', and let those that pirated the game when they were poor college kids living on less than $400 a month (to cover rent, food, clothing, bills, etc) buy a license to clear their consience. A few years ago I bought a new in the box copy of Gunship for the C=64. Not to actually play the game, but simply to put to rest a karma inbalance for the many, many hours I spent playing that game on a friend's computer using disks (5.25" floppys) that had the word 'Gunship' written on them in black magic marker.

Re:Leave them "dead" (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184515)

So, you want something like GameTap? [gametap.com] Granted, it's more of a subscription/rental service, and I'm not too sure how extensive their library is, but it seems like the first step (well, *a* first step).

Re:Leave them "dead" (1)

Kevon (177103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184523)

Do you think it really rebalanced your karma to pay $5 or $10 for a game made 15 years ago that cost $40-$50 when you were actually playing it? Do you really think the people who worked on and made Gunship back then actually got any of the money you paid for your purchase?

Re:Leave them "dead" (1)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184480)

What's a game you can't find any other way? When you've got eBay, Amazon, USENET forsale newsgroups, and so forth? If you give yourself time to find it, put out a few searches, you can probably find what you need.

I think "can't find any other way" is probably a euphemism for "can't find for a price I'm willing to pay".

Re:Leave them "dead" (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184606)

Sonic 2 beta comes to mind.

Many really quirky Japanese titles you've never heard of which become legendary among small communities.

Many Japanese Playstation games. Dreamcast games in the same way.

You have to remember, some of us don't believe in credit cards. We also don't trust handing money over to someone who has a name like Superhappyboy9982 with top "karma", that his friends could of given him. Remember a lot of people are dodgy and I can't be bothered to trust them on a number you can easily manipulate.

Amazon is a good source for new stuff. But if I can't open the wrapping fresh from the factory I won't order it without checking it out in person. My "good condition" could be "Mint condition" to someone else just as easy as it could be "I threw it to the dog and he only sort of ate most of it.. but you can still read page 38 to 42 without any problems".

I live in England where we get royally shafted on the Japanese market. Getting most the stuff I want is extremely difficult, let alone trying to find a limited run Japanese SNES game which no one has even heard of outside the small community it's built up. I have at least 50 SNES games in a cupboard behind me from all over the world, just as many Mega drive/Genesis and such.

You could argue that because fans translated the old Shin Megami Tensei games on the SNES (and hence I pirated them), that ATLUS now have made 6-7 game purchases out of me. There is no way I would of found the Megaten series if they hadn't been pirated and translated, hence I wouldn't of taken any notice of ATLUS, hence I wouldn't of bought SMT3, DDS1, DDS2.

In the same way I couldn't get Super robot taisen. Now ATLUS has picked up the rights to the only 2 games they can release.. Guess who has both on pre-order?

So yea, maybe once in a while I decide to be cheap and "steal" a game. Maybe some times I can't get hold of them. But I see no problem with a little underhanded dealing as long as we both win in the end.

I suppose you've never done anything even remotely close to illegal. You're a regular perfect human being with no faults and everything right?

Re:Leave them "dead" (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184744)

I was taking you seriously right up until "could of."

Abadoned ? (0, Offtopic)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184359)

If memory serves, Abadon was the name of a demon (major or minor I am not sure) - so whats going on here? Are they talking about porting these games to *BSD or something?

Re:Abadoned ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184487)

It seems only the RSS has that typo

Re:Abadoned ? (1)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184671)

The main site _had_ that typo .. not that my screenshot "proves" anything since anyone could claim I GIMPed it :D

*SIGH* Damn editors had to go ruin my joke, and us normal users *can't* edit our posts once we hit submit. Double standards! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! :D

Re:Abadoned ? (0, Offtopic)

Bootvis (913169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184577)

Totally Offtopic [wikipedia.org] but here you have it.

Typo in Title (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184365)

as above!

Never Fear! (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184366)

Just like all the old arcade games, these will be preserved by users like us. As for being available legally, I don't see any company really caring. Look at all those Mame games floating around.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Nostalgia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184373)

Two things about "abandonware".

One companies do revive some of that material. Just look at what Atari did with their classics.

Two doesn't anyone shop used anymore? I saw Freespace for sale yesterday in a boxed set with another game.

Dink Smallwood (5, Interesting)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184382)

A plug for one of my favourite games — Dink Smallwood [rtsoft.com] . Two years after the game was published, it was "On 10-17-1999 released the game as freeware, no ad-ware, no spyware and no strings attached." Now that's an example to follow!

That was one cool and wicked game [wikipedia.org] , and because they included the source of the original game (the map, etc; not the engine, IIRC), I was able to recompile the game so that I started with 500 Strength, 50000 money, etc and have lots of fun ;)

You should check it out, it's the funniest (in a wicked sort of way) RPG I've ever played.

Re:Dink Smallwood (1)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184391)

I want Command and Conquer to go abandonware... The greatest game ever played... But it can't because of... ESA -> a terrible thing that prolongs copyrights long after nobody cares.

Re:Dink Smallwood (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184427)

. . .a terrible thing that prolongs copyrights long after nobody cares.

The very reason that copyright used to require renewal. If the holder didn't care enough about his rights to fill out a form and send it in introduction to the public domain was accelerated.

It was a simple plan; and it worked.

KFG

Re:Dink Smallwood (5, Informative)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184481)

Victim of "It's a wonderful life".

Seriously. Someone at the studio forgot to register/renew it, so it passed to the public domain. TV networks started airing it at christmas because it was royalty-free, and it became a big hit. The studios got pissed that they weren't making money, and lobbied congress. The irony is if the movie hadn't gone public domain, no one would have ever seen it...

Re:Dink Smallwood (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184496)

Maybe all those 'old' games will get a new lease on life when a good part of the several billion people in Asia & India start getting cheap low power computers that can't run 3d intensive games.

Heck, if those companies were smart, they'd be offering NOW to bundle their games with the cheapo $299-$499 computers. I doubt they'd get much money per unit, but that isn't exactly the point.

Re:Dink Smallwood (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184455)

Search for QQP's Battles of Destiny. It isn't the same, but once you can see past the slightly boxy graphics to embrace the game underneath - it is pretty good. And it was released as freeware also.

Re:Dink Smallwood (1)

Gorath99 (746654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184474)

ESA (or anybody else) isn't to blame here. C&C is far from abandonware as you can still buy it in stores as part of the C&C: The First Decade set. It's pretty cheap, even.

Sounds good (0, Offtopic)

grungy hamster (970187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184383)

I'd love to get my hands on Vib Ribbon or Rez.

Re:Sounds good (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184454)

I'd love to get my hands on Vib Ribbon or Rez.

Then go over here [gamequestdirect.com] and buy Rez. They've obtained the rights to repress some rare/in-demand games.

Re:Sounds good (1)

macshome (818789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184478)

Bah. The DC version of Rez is superior. You just need to be prepared to pay for it on eBay.

Re:Sounds good (1, Offtopic)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184506)

But does it come with a trance vibrator [gamegirladvance.com] ?

That's an okay idea, but... (5, Insightful)

goofyheadedpunk (807517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184393)

I'd much rather have the source code to those games, as opposed to having them go on sale again. You know why? Because when the companies who own those games decide to stop selling them (again) you'll have to go right back and beg for them to sell them (again). If they release the source not only will you be able to obtain it whenever you want, but you can port the code to play on modern systems (meaning you don't need the silly hack of emulators or having an old DOS machine sitting about).

Open Source: Ensuring that my kids don't have to listen to Dad tell the same "Oh man, when I was your age I played this great game, but we'd need to find an old binary and a goddamn 60 year old computer to play it..." story over and over again.

Losing information is serious business. Games are quickly becoming part of our shared culture. Think of how much our culture loses by losing those games to time? I can still read ancient Greek and Arabic poetry but I can't play Master's of Orion on my PPC Linux box? I don't know, something seems really fucked up about that.

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (1)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184429)

Open Source: Ensuring that my kids don't have to listen to Dad tell the same "Oh man, when I was your age I played this great game, but we'd need to find an old binary and a goddamn 60 year old computer to play it..." story over and over again.

What if 60 years from now you have the source code but you don't have a compiler for the now defunct C language? :D

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (1)

the_bard17 (626642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184485)

Port it.

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (5, Funny)

goofyheadedpunk (807517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184575)

What if 60 years from now you have the source code but you don't have a compiler for the now defunct C language? :D

When you said that I was suddenly reminded of a scene from Star Trek: First Contact. It occurred on Earth, shortly before Zefram Cochrane went on his first warp flight. Geordi La Forge, excited about meeting his idol and seeing the first warp ship is gushing. While looking at parts of the ship he's saying things like "Wow, I haven't seen something like this since high school!" To which Cochrane replies, "Wait, High School?" "Yes, in the future we learn about warp drives in high school. In fact, I went to Zefram Cochrane High School."

Then I thought about the increasing abstraction of my field (which happens to be computer science) through time ( For example, I could write a simple chess AI in a couple of days that would have been a major research effort maybe forty years ago. ) and came up with this: A group of GNU hackers from the early 22nd century, in a freak compiling accident, are transported through time to the late 80s. While there they meet a desperate RMS (revered as a god in the early 22nd century) who happens to be furiously hacking after losing all his source to a platter crash, freak tape backup fire, and an inappropriately emptied trash can accident which took all his notes on the compiler to a trash heap grave. The compiler hacker, BLT, has been left behind to assist RMS whilst the other hackers go off to rescue un-free code long lost to the ages. "Oh no, what am I going to do, future GNU/Disciple? I've got a talk in three weeks about my fancy new compiler, but all I've got now is a few source files that bootstrap themselves to say 'Hello, oppressed people of proprietary systems!'" "Don't worry RMS, I can code a C compiler in about 20 minutes. I did it in junior high" "Wait, junior high?" "Yeah, well, in the future a C compiler is usually a required project in the opening week of computer science classes. Pretty much anyone can do it, to various degrees of success; sort of like most people can do algebra now. In fact, I went to Richard M. Stallman high school. There was a statue of you out front. The shadow of you beard shielded by lily white skin from the evil day star at lunch."

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184722)

I know not what the languages of the future will be called, but I'm sure it'll likely compile C programs. :)

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184470)

I'm assuming you'd also like them to release the arts and assets in addition to the source code. Otherwise you have yourself a nice engine that doesn't do much until you put together your own models, textures, sounds, music, and whatnots.

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184532)

Well, for practical reasons that's not going to happen. Old games often contain licensed code, all sorts of media content and so on that are probably specificly licensed for that game. While these licensors may or may not care about it today, even if they're all willing to release it as open source, someone has to make the rounds and get all the necessary approvals. Whereas releasing it as freeware they can probably just do like that. I would say even that would be a great improvement over the current state.

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184607)

I don't know, something seems really fucked up about that.

amen to that.

Re:That's an okay idea, but... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184647)

If they release the source not only will you be able to obtain it whenever you want, but you can port the code to play on modern systems (meaning you don't need the silly hack of emulators or having an old DOS machine sitting about

The source code is the least of your problems.

You will it far more difficult to "port" game assets to a modern system.

The background art, sprite animation, and MIDI musical score for "Maniac Mansion Deluxe" were new. The game engine was off-the-shelf AGS.

Manic Mansion is a trivial problem compared to recreating the background art and character animation for a late LucasArts game like The Dig or Grim Fandango.

iD has been generous in releasing older game engines. But Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake still have commercial potential.

Preservation through emulation (1)

The Famous Brett Wat (12688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184691)

Making the code available isn't usually a path you can easily take unless you plan for it up front. Even the Netscape guys had a lot of work to do before they could release Mozilla as open source. I think the best thing to do for these old software packages is emulate the old hardware. MAME and its ilk are what's going to keep 1980s arcade games alive forever: not source code. Same applies for PC abandonware. In the best cases, the emulator maintainers will get permission to distribute the abandonware binaries with the emulator, as happens in a few rare instances now.

Old games were pretty nice (3, Interesting)

Seta (934439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184399)

A lot of old games were really nice. The one in that list that really stood out to me was Flashback. I played for ever just to beat it, and it was among the first games I really liked. That along with Another World were really fun games. A few other not noted in the list at the site are the "Space Quest" series (Space Quest 1 was *awesome*! First game where "lick ground" was a valid command!), the "Kings Quest" series, and also the "Quest for Glory" series (Though it's not fun being killed completely randomly by bees.) All fun games, and really entertaining. Comparing them to some games these days will make some say "They really don't do it like they used to". Games these days are a lot more graphics centric.

Re:Old games were pretty nice (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184550)

I have a compilation of all 5 Quest for glory games laying about somewhere. I'm pretty sure they were updated to be playable on windows 98 (I'd assume you could play them on xp, also). I never did make it all the way through the 2nd (or even play 3, 4, and 5). I could probably play the first one all the way through in a day or two with out looking at any cheat guides still. Did you ever play Black cauldron? similiar game play (I think it was Sierra too). I'm pretty certain that can be found on the net for free from the publisher.

They need to be released on the DS or PSP (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184400)

All of those games will be perfect if recoded and released for the DS or PSP. they all are very suitable for small screen formfactor and with a little reprogramming can even add decent features such as Save and autosave to make them even more enjoyable.

These companies are pretty much morons for not trying to squeeze more out of their games that sold well from the past and these portables are the perfect place for them.

System Shock 3 (4, Interesting)

T-Kir (597145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184406)

Well, EA recently renewed the trademarks on System Shock 3 [gamershell.com] .... although they have probably done this just to sit on it (and stop fan made successors?). AFAIK the IP relating to the SS series is owned by different companies (this was in an interview on one of the SS fan sites).

Bioshock the spiritual successor to the SS series, so we'll just have to see how that lives up to expectations when it comes out.

Another world Hi-res (3, Informative)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184410)

Speaking of abandonware, there is also the option of taking the old DOS game and optimize it for current hardware and OS:

On April 14th 2006, a Windows XP/ME/2000/98 version of Another World, with high-resolution support and more detailed background graphics, was released as a tribute to the original game on the Another World website. The port is shareware; to unlock the full version, a special key must be bought from here for 7 euros.

You can download it from:
http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/index.h tm [anotherworld.fr]

Re:Another world Hi-res (0, Troll)

Viriatus (886319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184516)

where can i get the key?? i can't find it in emule

Re:Another world Hi-res (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184633)

Dude! The key is SEVEN FUCKING EUROS!! You only have to pay $8.64 for a legal copy. I understand warezing a $50 game, but come on!

Another World is no longer abandonware (4, Informative)

boa13 (548222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184423)

Another World (aka Out Of This World in the US), a technological predecessor to Flashback and a great, mythical game on its own, lost its abandonware status a few days ago when a High Resolution Collector's Edition was released by its author, Eric Chahi. It is currently being sold online for 7 euros, a demo is available. You can also play the official Gameboy Advance port, if you have an emulator or a flashable game cartridge.

Official Website (still being translated; download links at the bottom of the page)
http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/index.h tm [anotherworld.fr]

Official Website in French (lots of very interesting details about the making of the game)
http://www.anotherworld.fr/ [anotherworld.fr]

Buying the Game
http://www.magic-productions.fr/aw/index.php?lang= us [magic-productions.fr]

Official Gameboy Advance Port
http://www.foxysofts.com/index.php?l=content/gba/a nworld.inc [foxysofts.com]

An Excellent Review (from an excellent site)
http://www.idlethumbs.net/display.php?id=13 [idlethumbs.net]

An Excellent Interview (from same site)
http://www.idlethumbs.net/display.php?id=44 [idlethumbs.net]

Re:Another World is no longer abandonware (1)

Sippan (932861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184678)

Hooray! This was a great game, I still play the Amiga version from time to time. I wish Flashback would be released in the same way. Who has the rights to it? I guess the original company is long gone.

Most game companies . . . (2, Insightful)

user no. 590291 (590291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184431)

. . . aren't going to be interested in releasing for free old games that might diminish the desire for the purchase of new games (or in the case of arcade/console classics, repurchase of the same games). The effectively perpetual copyrights of these programs have mostly passed to companies with interest in selling current games--the occasional and lauded freeware release of an old game will continue to be rare as hens' teeth.

Re:Most game companies . . . (1)

CRC'99 (96526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184488)

I talked to Maxis a few years ago about asking if I could put up a copy of the original SimCity that I bought on 2 x 720Kb floppies online for people to download free of charge.

After a week, I got a reply back saying that no, I'm not allowed to as it's a copyrighted work. I'd love to offer this for people, as the original SimCity is a blast to play because of it's simplicity - even if you have to jump through hoops to make it work!

One example... (2, Informative)

MTO_B. (814477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184441)

This is sort of what happened with my favorite game: Continuum / Subspace.
Subspace [wikipedia.org] was one of the first massive multiplayer games for the internet... I played it first in 1995 with a 24k modem... and I continue playing it year after year, still my favorite game.

Virgen Interactive released the game after it gave up on selling it (I guess it was too much ahead of times). The most popular client for it is Continuum. [wikipedia.org]

Download Continuum / Subspace clients at:
http://www.subspacedownloads.com/ [subspacedownloads.com]
http://www.trenchwars.org/Trench/index.php?action= Downloads& [trenchwars.org]

Give it a try & join the hundres of players online! :-)

I hope other abandoned games can find such a future as this Virgen abandoned product.

Re:One example... (1)

whirlibulf (911135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184542)

^excellent game :)

Another game is Netstorm, which was practically abandoned by the publisher, Activision, as it came out. The developers went bust, and a bad release time, lack of marketing and flaw allowing easy pirating meant the game sold terribly. About 4 years ago, Activision took down the last remaining multiplayer server and Netstorm, being a very focused multiplayer game (though it can be single player, the AI is nothing compared to the tactics required against humans,) practically died.

Luckily the loyal (and possibly addicted) community kept it alive and it now exists as free abandonware, available at http://www.netstormhq.com/ [netstormhq.com] , with new user-made patches (it's not open source, btw) and a loyal community.

It's a very unique game, definately worth trying ;) Kind of like chess + tetris.

More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetStorm [wikipedia.org]

Even if a publisher would want to do this... (3, Insightful)

Gorath99 (746654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184446)

Even if a publisher would want to release one of these old games, they may not be able to due to contractual obligations or practical considerations.

For instance they may have to pay royalties to the developer or licence fees for a software component or trademark for every copy distributed (even if for free). This is particularly troublesome if the party to pay is now defunct or if the current owner of the rights is unknown or disputed. The original contracts may even be missing.

If there was serious money involved they could perhaps be compelled to sort such issues out, but since that isn't the case, most publishers really don't want to go through all the hassle.

A damn shame for sure, but that's just the way things are.

Re:Even if a publisher would want to do this... (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184489)

I was going to comment along similar lines, but instead decided to read the thread to see if someone else mentioned it. Just because a publisher had the rights to publish a game at one point, doesn't mean that they have those rights in perpetuity. A lot of times the agreement with the developer is for a limited term.

For instance, suppose a game was developed by Company A in 1990. They then signed a 5-year publishing contract with Company B. Everyone remembers the game being released by Company B. My understanding of TFA is that today they would petition Company B to relinquish the copyright for the game. Problem is that Company B no longer has any rights to the game. It solely lies with Company A. All that happens in this case is that Company B gets annoyed at GamerSite X for wasting their time.

Without knowing specifically what agreements were signed behind the scenes, it makes it difficult to know who exactly they should be pursuing to release the game to the public domain.

This could as well be applied to other software. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184463)

In fact it should be applied to other software, Applications like earlier versions of autocad. The company I work for has license for software that runs within the autocad software, however of the two licenses only one was upgraded to run in newer version of autocad.The non-upgraded license requires an earlier version of autocad. This autocad license did not transfer with the purchase of the assets of a bankruptcy from which the company I work for, obtained. But the license for the other software did.

Ultimately by not forcing, or trying to force people to upgrade in the game of license shuffeling the software industry might just get a wakeup call as to what the consumers really want.

maybe the consumer was doing just fine with what software they were using or maybe they really needed different improvements overall that didn't break what they were fine with.

The company I work for could make use of a legal 2000 version of autocad. but apparently its abandoneware to force upgrading of software packages that includes software autodesk doesn't own or sell.

And thats not supportive of consumer choice.
   

What about (1)

Orionetheus (914838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184467)

The neverhood? Hugo? Those were my two favourite games as a kid....I beat the neverhood in 3rd grade, hows that for impressive? That game was designed for college students.

Re:What about (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184500)

Ahh, Neverhood. Played the demo, never got around to buying it. Plasticine and point-and-click. Genius.
I beat the neverhood in 3rd grade, hows that for impressive? That game was designed for college students.
Just read that sentence back to yourself out loud.

Games are getting ported to mobile devices (5, Interesting)

boa13 (548222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184468)

It looks like more and more "abandoned" games are being ported to mobile devices, the low resolution, low power of which is a good match to the capabilities of the computers they were developed on, that many years ago.

Check this page for example:
http://www.magic-productions.fr/mobile_games.php [magic-productions.fr]

Currently, it mostly contains classical Amiga titles, ported to Symbian-compatible phones. I guess in a couple of years it will also contains PC games from the mid-nineties, as mobile devices keep improving.

If I was owning the rights to a famous computer game of yore, I sure would be very cautious, today more than ever, not to miss an opportunity to license it again. Today is a bad day for abandonware.

Re:Games are getting ported to mobile devices (1)

Brent Spiner (919505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184495)

Currently, it mostly contains classical Amiga titles, ported to Symbian-compatible phones.
Wow, I had a hard enough time playing Amiga games with Amiga/Atari joysticks, playing Turrican with a keypad must be like playing golf with a sledge hammer.

Republish Close Combat 3! (1)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184482)

Please, please republish Close Combat 3! Its still the best from the series!

Re:Republish Close Combat 3! (1)

WillyPete (940630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184651)

And maybe this time add some AI, so the NME doesn't wander into every minefield they possibly can. The best interface and unit selection of the series, sure, but the AI was terrible. How hard can that be on static maps?

TetrisMax is the only title I would want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184490)

opened and updated to run on OSX. It's the best Mac Tetris I have found. I like Quinn, but it lacks the cow. you old TetrisMax fans know what I am talking about.

Gene Wars (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184492)

One underdog I loved to play was Gene Wars.

For those who don't know it, it is about growing funghi to feed your creatures, which you can cross-breed into pretty weird variations. It is cool and was only much later followed up by games like Impossible Creatures.

There were two things that might have kept the game from being more popular:

- The screen is very small and displays only a few creatures (fine at the time, but annoying later, when 1024x768 was standard)

- There is no strict mission progress or thread to follow. This makes the game very boring for those who like to operate under stress and time pressure. I found it interesting to find ways to entertain myself, but YMMV

Dark Sun 1 and 2 (1)

ggambett (611421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184505)

I'm pretty sure Dark Sun 1 and 2 are officially abandonware, but I want more! Since everyone reads Slashdot : over the years I've been working on and off in reverse engineering them in order to make an open source client, to play them in modern machines. It would be excellent to find anyone working on this same project, or even better, an original dev or someone who has or knows who has the rights to the source (if it isn't lost forever).

The other games I loved and I'd like to see in a new edition (hardware accelerated, for example) are Twinsen's Adventure and Twinsen's Oddysey. Anyone has or knows who has the rights? After so many acquisitions I kinda lost the track.

Flashback ported to SDL (1)

Outlyer (1767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184511)

A great developer did a full engine for Flashback in SDL, it's called REminiscence [lycos.fr] , and it even supports the MOD files from the Amiga version. His version works out of the box on Windows and Linux/BSD/etc.. I also ported the same program to Mac OS X [punknews.org] so while it's not trivial to get the data files, it's at least playable on all major platforms.

Re:Flashback ported to SDL (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184766)

I tried it, but the keyboard support sucks. I can no longer do the roll move, and that's REQUIRED for the more advanced levels in the game.

Freescape2 license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184519)

as far as i know freescape2 as an unique and quite interesting license, something like this in the EULA:

"if you've brought this game you are entitled to make copy for your friends"

Re:Freescape2 license (5, Informative)

rackrent (160690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184595)

It might have been changed since I bought my copy of Freespace2 oh so many moons ago, but the EULA on the disc I just popped in reads like standard boilerplate....but there is the bit about giving it to "friends" (in bold)

This software product, FreeSpace 2 (the "Software"), is
intended solely for your personal noncommercial home entertainment
use. You may not decompile, reverse engineer, or disassemble the
Software, except as permitted by law. Interplay Productions and
Volition, Inc. retain all rights and title in the Software including
all intellectual property rights embodied therein and derivatives
thereof. You are granted a revocable, nonassignable limited license
to create derivative works of this Software solely for your own
personal noncommercial home entertainment use and may publicly
display such derivative works to the extent specifically
authorized by Interplay in writing. A copy of this authorization, if
any, will be provided on Interplay's World Wide Web site, located at
http://www.interplay.com/ [interplay.com] or by contacting the legal department of
Interplay Productions in the US at (949) 553-6655. The Software,
including, without limitation, all code, data structures, characters,
images, sounds, text, screens, game play, derivative works and all
other elements of the Software may not be copied (except as provided
below), resold, rented, leased, distributed (electronically or
otherwise), used on pay-per-play, coin-op or other for-charge basis,
or for any commercial purpose. You may make copies of the Software
for your personal noncommercial home entertainment use and to give to
friends and acquaintances on a no cost noncommercial basis.
This
limited right to copy the Software expressly excludes any copying or
distribution of the Software on a commercial basis, including,
without limitation, bundling the product with any other product or
service and any give away of the Software in connection with another
product or service. Any permissions granted herein are provided on a
temporary basis and can be withdrawn by Interplay Productions at any
time. All rights not expressly granted are reserved.


etc. etc.

Shadow President 1&2... (1)

LEX LETHAL (859141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184535)

Made by DC True, this game really sticks in my mind. Recently the Superpower series has resumed the theme, but Shadow President was the original. I still have the instruction booklet but over the years I have misplaced the 5 1/4" floppy.

In the early 90's I remember seeing Shadow President 2 on CD.

Home of the Underdogs (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184565)

Surprised no one has commented, but HotU is currently down and has been for a while, looking at it's wikipedia article. Does anyone know what's going on anymore, since even www.the-underdogs.info is down.

Re:Home of the Underdogs (1)

WillyPete (940630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184715)

I'm hurting for them, too. However, their predicament underscores the problem facing we old game lovers. I have pulled gigs and gigs of stuff from Home of the Underdogs over the years, but I've never donated a cent, so all they've gotten out of me is a thin stream of ad revenue and some new users I sent their way. Not much compensation for the best freeware game site out there. I am ashamed of myself, and if they come back, I'm going to donate SOMETHING in exchange for the thousands of hours of fun they've provided.

I'd suggest any other leeches out there start coughing up some loot, too. It can be pretty amazing what an infusion of cash can do to a site/developers motivation.

some are already doing it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184590)

Apogee (now going by 3D Realms) have released a bunch of their old game for free: Here [3drealms.com]

I'm now going to suggest something that I suggested at least a year ago and is even more feasible now:
CD burning stations in game stores. It need not be bigger than any of those displays which have a working playstation or whatever in them for people to use, so wouldn't take up more sales space than stores as used to giving up with those machines.
It would basically be a computer with a huge wad of storage space filled with game disc .iso s and a CD-R drive. Take your own disc (or buy one from the desk) put it in, put a few pounds/dollars in, choose your disc and burn away - it could even have a lightscribe drive to put a line-art version of the original disc art onto it. (or it could have a printer to print a sticky label and a copy of the license agreement).
All it needs from the game companies is their consent, the .iso of a disc and a pdf file of the manual (which would be included in the disc image). With the beauty of broadband internet, or just DVD discs to be copied onto the machine, it wouldn't be all that hard to keep updating the catalogue available in the machine.
Easy as pie.

What about the remakes? (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184604)

These days there seems to be a lot of remake projects for abandonware games as well – one of my favorites is Ultimate Stunts [ultimatestunts.nl] , which is developing a GPL'd, OpenGL-based, 3-D version of the classic DOS "Stunts" game. Obviously not all the remakes are good ones – and it would take forever to remake every single abandonware game – but I'd have to say this one's coming along really nicely, and they've actually managed to create a good-looking game that has real gameplay, and not just graphics (well, a lot of it's still in development but from what I've seen it's rather faithful to the original) – something that most game developers today still don't understand!

Getting back to the topic, though, I'd have to say that some of the remake projects really are worth checking out – not all, but there are a few that are totally worth it. That way, not only will you have to worry about abandonware and licensing issues, but you also don't have to worry about backwards compatibility issues and limited resolution and all that other stuff you deal with when playing 80's games.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to re-build my 486 so I can finally beat all those old shareware DOS games I've collected over the years – long live actually challenging puzzles!!

Near impossible to find? (1)

bubkus_jones (561139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184620)

When I bought my copy of SYstem Shock 2 on ebay a year ago, it took me all of 15 minutes from "Hey, I wonder if I could find that game on ebay" to clicking the buy it now button. $10 including shipping and it was in my hands a week later. I still play it regularily.

Freespace 2 was even easier, I actually found it in a used game/movie store for $5.

I can easily say that those two are my favourite games I have ever played.

Activision released Civ-CTP2 this way (2, Interesting)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184645)

And even with a lot of the code and content ripped out of it (like the music) for copyright reasons, and despite not being under the GPL, it still has a fair number of people modding and improving it. If you aren't going to make money on a property anyway, the good will from such a gesture could help your other products.

Redneck Rampage (2, Interesting)

TheRealBurKaZoiD (920500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184696)

Personally, I'm looking for a copy of redneck rampage. Yes, it was a stupid game, but I've never laughed so hard at an FPS before in my life.

Eye of the Beholder (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15184736)

I liked the EOB series a lot. Not only it immersed you into the dungeons (the Skeleton Warriors level on EOB2 was creepy!) with the lack of background music and the sound effects (has anyone noticed that Silent Hill uses exactly the same technique?), it also provided a very good story with subquests here and there.

I've been searching for clones or an open source engine for this kind of game, with no success. But I'm glad this game was listed.

Panzer Dragoon Saga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15184792)

This is what I wish would happen with Panzer Dragoon Saga. It was one of the best games ever.
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