Piracy -How I feel about it

I grew up with pirate videos and pirate games. I watched every movie available this side of Betamax. I had tens of new Spectrum games per week. With the odd exception I can honestly say I valued and appreciated none of them.

It became about acquisition rather than appreciation for any one movie or game. I became a Collector rather than a beneficiary of art and/or entertainment. Only when DVD came out (around 1998) did I begin to realise how much I had missed in the great films of my past -missed because of youth of course, but also because of a lack of atmosphere due to poor quality picture and sound, as well as getting lost in a race to view two, three, seven movies in one day.

I had drawers full of Spectrum games with maybe 10 games per tape. I spent more time copying them and arranging them in the drawers than playing them.

I now see the same thing for other people with R4 Nintendo DS games especially. Those who have them rarely seem to play any one of them -or rarely seem to be “gamers”. They are collectors, happy to know they have something, even if they barely play/ view/ use it  -and best of luck to them. But they’re missing out.

I believe I (and my family) have a healthy appreciation for most individual titles. We wait and often are uniformly over-excited to get & play, say, the latest Mario game. We enjoy this excitement and we give a game time to sink in -perhaps partially because it has just cost us 40 euros or more.

So I don’t oppose “piracy” on moral grounds. I couldn’t care less about that. I’m not convinced it’s theft or anything near that in most cases (but I won’t get into that now). I’ve installed the USB Loader on the Wii, ripped my Mario Galaxy and Wii Play games, then promptly forgot about it.

I believe “piracy” -even 100% super quality AVIs or whatever- takes something from the whole experience. A great game/ movie/ book needs to be consumed whole and possessed -or it must possess you. You feel it inside like a drug. The good kind. The non-chemical kind. Piracy (or what we call such practice) gnaws at this sense of possession -at least for me. We lose something of the thrill and the overall experience. This often stops us from appreciating its greatness in the first place. Even reviews or remarks on a movie (or game) based on a “pirate viewing” I disregard for this reason.

“Pirates” are not experiencing the whole package so can’t be trusted (or even trust themselves) to have gotten the most from it or to be able to review the experience the buyer will have. That’s not to put down the pirate. Do what you feel like, but in my view the pirate is a victim of the Cameron creed that “more is more”. When you can stand back from that and see the wood from the trees it’s obviously not true in many cases.

I’d rather buy and play, say, 4 DS titles in a year than have a card with 100 at any one time. You simply don’t get the quality experience from them. I’m not a pirate -but for selfish reasons. It spoils my enjoyment of and appreciation for and patience with whatever is at hand.

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