AQWBlaZer91's Top 10 Countdown: The Top 10 Anti-Piracy Measures in Video Games

Avatar image for AQWBlaZer91


Forum Posts


Wiki Points



Reviews: 335

User Lists: 0

Edited By AQWBlaZer91
Member since 2010 • 749 Posts

Game developers have been in many battles to protect their IPs against the greatest crime that thrives all over the gaming industry and that is piracy. Instead of forking up the dough to support the gaming devs they instead steal it by downloading illegal copies without having to pay a single penny. In response to the piracy scene many developers have came up some ingenious ways of punishing free loaders and various anti-piracy measures to get people to buy a real copy. Whatever it is a code verification or S-Ram checks developers I am here to punish all pirates by showing off my Top Ten list of Anti-Piracy Measures in Video Games. There are a dozens of games with the best ingenious punishments awaiting pirates who snagged their games illegally but here are the first of many that were very memorable.

10: A Square Root of a Fish

Game: Skullgirls

Skullgirls was a charming and enjoyable fighting with some very weird and insane characters. Should anyone decide to even pirate the game nothing will happen and it allows the player to play the game without any effect, that is until that you beat the game with any character. No matter what character you use or how many times you beat it you won't get a single character ending but instead you'll be shown a message saying “What is a square root of a fish? Now I'm sad.” It turns out that it was an anti-piracy message made to catch pirates out for their shameless act. One person even posted a message on Twitter exposing him as a pirate and then the developer responded “Oh that, it means that you should have bought the game instead of pirating it.”

9: Lack of Abilities

Game: Batman Arkham Asylum

Rocksteady gave the fans a true Batman experience with the Batman Arkham games and the first in the serious came with Arkham Asylum which was a huge deal, for gamers, for Batman fans and also for pirates. Rocksteady however has a nasty for surprise for pirates who swiped the first game in the Arkham series. Normally later on you find a room where you had to glide to avoid Poison Gas but pirates would not know about the glide because in the pirated versions you apparently do not have abilities to get around it making the game literally impossible to beat. Someone even posted on the forums and made it look like real copies were getting the bug till it was proven that it made to catch out pirates with the response, “It not a bug in the game's code but a bug in your moral code.” Pure savagery.

8: Going to Jail

Game: Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders

Many games in the 80s and 90s had a classic way of dealing with pirates in ways of a passcode or answering a question which was a way of proving that you actually owned the game. If you didn't have the manual cause you either lost it or you just straight up downloaded it for free then you wouldn't be able to either progress further or even play the game. Zak McKraken a classic point and click game from the minds at Lucasarts had a rather fitting punishment awaiting pirates where when you make it to the airport you had to type in the correct code via the exit visa code. If you failed to type in the correct code then you would end up in Jail and you are then reminded of your nefarious deeds of piracy and hopes that you rot in there encouraging you to buy a legitimate copy. A rather genius design from the developers something that I'm sure many gamers from the old computer days will miss.

7: Broken Lift

Game: The Talos Principle

Some of the anti-piracy measures are pretty cool and well done cause of the simplicity of trapping these pirates and in this case it is being trapped in a broken lift. Should a pirate nick themselves a pirated copy of The Talos Principle nothing happens and allows the player to even play it. It's one of those where it fools priates into thinking that everything is working if you got yourself a free copy, that is until you go inside the lift and it grinds to a halt. There is no way to get it to move or any other way out of your predicament, it is just you with a lift that won't budge. Someone took to the forums and posted a message which of course exposed him as a pirate and made it look like legitimate copies where getting the bug until proven otherwise.

6: Everything goes KABOOM!

Game: Command & Conquer Red Alert 2

Building bases and units are the key components of Command & Conquer before you are off to destroy the enemy's base. It's not until suddenly as you are building your base and units that suddenly everything blows up. That is what happens if you dared to pirate Command & Conquer Red Alert 2, every a time a match starts 30 seconds later everything blows up causing you to fail every time which is hilarious but it would sometimes happen in some legit copies as well, but it was later patched out. It's like commander has second thoughts about running his army and wants to go out in a bang taking all else with him. At least it's amusing to see how EA can troll pirates whilst being complete scumbags to gamers themselves, yes I am well aware of your most recent wrong doings EA.

5: Error and Ban

Game: Gary's Mod

Gary's Mod, a complete enjoyable gem where you can build your finest maps and other masterpieces and share them with others around the world and best of all besides the high replayability and huge enjoyment factor it's very cheap. If you still think that the price is too high and you chose to pirate it then you are certainly not going to enjoy it. When you start the game on any mode it will crash and give you a message “Unable to shade polygon normals.” The twist here is that if you post the error message into the forums your Steam account will be given a permanent ban. In weeks of this exploit it has managed to catch over 2500 pirates, well done Steam.

4: Firing Chickens

Game: Crysis Warhead

In any shooter you want to use the best weapons to kill down any enemy standing in your way right? Well what happens in cracked illegal copies of Crysis Warhead your weapons don't fire bullets but chickens that do absolutely no damage at all. This makes the game much next to impossible, you'll might be able to beat the game in this condition if you punch your way through but you'll likely be turned off from the challenge.

3: Your Games Get Pirated

Game: Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon allows you to create your own dream game company and create games and get feedback and huge profits from each game your made. It's another game that you can buy dirt cheap but it has serious consequences for those who try and steal it. Get this, word is getting out about your planned release of your next platformer, puzzle, sports or shooter or whatever and it looks like things are going swell for your studio or does it. Instead what happens in the pirated version is that any of the games your studio makes get pirated and then you are given a message that people are downloading cracked versions of games rather then buying them legally causing your studio to lose money. All of the money that went into your studio would then continue to plummet down further and further till your studio hits bankruptcy. Once again pirates took to the forums which caused them to expose themselves as shameless thieves that they are and wanting to have DRM or other copy protection on their ingame products. A very meta but perfect response to tackle piracy game devs, well done.

2: Increased Difficulty and Deletion

Game: Earthbound

Earthbound was a game that didn't that much praise and attention compared to other SNES games on the market at the time, but since then standards have changed and Earthbound afterwards become a SNES cult classic and one that is being sought after and treated as a true SNES collectable. It's style and setting is unlike what you would see in other SNES RPGs and eventually became one of the most popular SNES RPGs of all time. Some people would find it difficult to appreciate and pirates would certainly not be able to appreciate what the game had in store for pirates. The game increased the encounter rate of random battles which hampered the flow of the game, this was supposed to put people off with the increased challenge but however many people tackled difficult games like Dark Souls in all of kinds of way showing that gamers are up for a challenge. If you did ever decide to put up with the increased difficulty the jokes are on you as when you make it to the final boss the game does a security check during the second phase of the fight and if it detected something was off with the cartridge then the game will crash. When you reset the game afterwards you'll find that all of your saved data has been completed wiped out. That is absolutely brutal Nintendo but well done.

Honourable Mentions

The Sims 4 (PC): Complete Pixelation

Michael Jackson The Experience (DS): Vuvuzelas

Serious Sam 3 BFE (PC): Unkillable Enemies

Kirby's Dream Course (SNES): No Tomatoes for you!

Grand Theft Auto IV (PC): Shaky Camera and Bad Car handling

1: Losing Inventory and then Deletion

Game: Spyro 3 Year Of The Dragon

Just like with Earthbound, Spyro 3 has a nasty punishment in place to trick and troll any pirates who dare to steal the game. The previous Spyro games did get a fair share of pirates but thankfully with the third game the developers put their foot down. When you start the game you'll be given a message that you will experience problems that would not occur on a legal copy. If you chose to go through with it however then you are in for a surprise, a rather nasty surprise. Upon collecting gems or eggs there is a chance that they might get removed from you, important characters will no longer provides hints and tips and also the game crashes a lot. Topping it all off if you make it to the final boss it will delete your save. Another harsh and brutal punishment but a brilliantly executed one at that.

It comes to show you, always support the devs and never steal or promote piracy in any shape or form. Tell me in the comment what other memorable Anti-Piracy measures

Written By Anthony Hayball (AQWBlaZer91)