Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Video Game Piracy: One Day in the Land of the Pirates

Yesterday I visited my local game store. If you imagine that Indonesian local game store is the one that usually see in Gamestop or BestBuy, well, it's not. If you read my previous blogs, you'll have the idea of what I mean. During that day, one strange thing happened (which it gets less stranger cuz I had these previous experiences before); almost all the game store is closed or half its door closed. Is this what I think it is? Apparently yes, because just a couple of hours before police made a 'blitzkrieg' inspection to supervise (or confiscate) pirated software in the local software market. Actually, this software center is located in the middle of the city and it's well known to be the center of game stores and every other gaming supplies, which obviously including game softwares. Previously it was also the center of any software piracy you can imagine; movies, PC software, MP3 files, and the list can go on and on. Now that all of those are already wiped out (or so they think), the operation goes on into game software. This game-software-inspection was previously unheard of, but thanks to the popularity of PS2, now the authorities are beginning to set their eyes to a new target.

You may think that 'how come that this kind of practice still continue to live on?' Well, the answer is not always simple. In Indonesia, you can point your finger to government's weak spot against piracy. I'm not complaining, though. *Cough* thanks *cough* to that, we Indonesian gamer can enjoy the 'freedom' of choosing game software with dirt cheap prices. This kind of practice has been going on for quite a while, which can be traced back to the era of NES in the 80s. The reason why is this only recently that the authorities keeping an eye of this kind of game piracy, is because gaming has become increasingly popular to local enthusiasts. Or if somehow Sony or Microsoft has screamed loud enough so it arrives to the local ear of government officials, I dunno about that.

Anyway back to the story, I rushed to my usual game store and check out their latest 360 title collections so far. Well, as I had guessed, they have none. They only have these crappy FPS titles and some other older-than-my-grandma titles. Rather than going home with empty handed, I can only pick up a copy of Tenchu Z (yes, I'm that desperate for new titles). I mean, what more should I pick: those other titles the have that day was only FEAR, Tomb Raider Anniversary Edition, Fatal Inertia, and other junk. I'm a fan of Tenchu series since its PSone era, and I don't think I have any better choice.

I'm not saying that Indonesian is a proud consumer of those kind of software, but video game piracy is abound in here. I'd buy a PS3, which is hack-proof so far, but I don't have any interest in its current software lineup. I'll change my mind when later MGS4 come up, but what else? I'm not buying a console just to play ONE game. I'd rather not go back to my Xbox experience when I only bought that bulky thing just to play Ninja Gaiden. Now that I have a 360, I'd rather buy its Ninja Gaiden Black 360 rather than buying Xbox in the first place. But then again, who'd guess it'd happen.

I often visited that game center and see many westerners bought the pieces as well. I guess they'd think, hey this is a gamer's paradise; game software is so insanely cheap, you don't have to line up or camp up just to buy a Wii, download PSP games for $1 cheap (and DS for 50 cents), and anything in between. Like I said, we're not complaing, but we realize that this kind of situation won't last forever. Someday all Indonesian gamers will succumb to the policy imposed of buying original ONLY software game. We don't know how many more years til we reach that point, but all I can say now is, if you visit Indonesia someday, you know you have found a heaven on earth, just like 15th century adventurer found the islands of Maldives.


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