The Halls of Redemption

Matt Barton's picture

If you were a pirate back in the 80s, or enjoy abandonware titles today, do you ever wish you could in some way repay those designers or developers who made your favorite games? Of course, I've interviewed dozens of these guys, and while most of them were happy enough to get what they did, there's no doubt that they deserved far more rewards for their efforts. I'm also concerned that whereas a musician back then can still make money from his work, most of these old developers see their stuff given away for free on abandonware sites. Most of the ones I've talked to are gracious about this, but I still think something should be done about it.

So what I'm proposing is "The Halls of Redemption," a kind of website where you could donate a set amount of money directly to the people who made our favorite games that are no longer being sold today. You could also leave a thank you message to them. In return, you'd be given a virtual Redemption Token, so you'd never ever have to feel bad about enjoying that person's work again. I'd work with the individuals in question to figure out what they'd consider an appropriate donation to be, and of course if they'd prefer to donate the proceeds to a charity if their choice, I think we'd all be fine with that.

Now I'm not talking about anything currently being sold. These are strictly the abandoned games, like Mail Order Monsters, Syndicate, and so on, that aren't available in commercial form today.

Let me know what you think of the idea. I'll need help putting something like this together, so if you're interested in volunteering, let me know.


Joined: 01/21/2009
Well I think the beauty of it

Well I think the beauty of it is it doesnt have to succed. Its a homage, repect to the guys/gals who started the billion dollar industry that almost has no soul now. The people who disagree wont have to deal with it (but most will, if only to voice their opinion).

I look at it as a web based "looking back" type thing, and giving people the ability to donate to some video game related thing to either pay for games they 'should' have, or to just say Hey here is a buck or two, loved your work!

As a person who grew up in middle of warez groups and was actually active in that scene I know from downloads, etc alot of people had games they didnt pay for. Sure they bought some, but just a single game they pirated puts them in the target group... even if they "feel" they are not. The debate about right and wrong is not valid in this case, right now (agree or not) its still against the law, it was then too. There is no excuse, no reason, nothing.. While the debate can rage, untill the law is changed or modified, its still the law, you copied a game you didnt pay for, you broke it. If the law is ever changed theree will be room for optional views. Now Im not saying the law is correct or incorrect, Im just saying its a LAW.

I think a simple website with some homage to devolpers and a doante button with the IDEA its to either to just say "thanks" or to even ones Karma out (i do think we cant say its to PAY for something we didnt... that just wont fly) for our own well being cant be a bad thing. As for the games, and authors/devs/creators.. Yes that would be a sticky spot. So I would guess/suggest we dont TIE one person, but we would tie as many as we could to each game, with some interviews (if possible) etc.. and the DONATE would not be to a person, or even a game so to speak, but to the CREATIVITY of the people who made the game (again, no specific names). that way you can keep from people feeling left, out, you are not PAYING for a old pirated game, you are not donating to a specific person... just the creativity of the people who made the game (so to speak).

And again, if it fials, nobody donates, etc.. other than time, its not a loss really. As for Controversy, eh.... if we can have wars for Oil, little girls in india dyingof starvation becuase parents do not want them to live to adulthood, a planet that is slowly changeing so us poor humans wont be able to live on it etc... some video game controverys might be fun :) (sorry that was a real downer there, never ment it that way (and not to make light of those very real problems), just to say in the big scheme of things, this would be pretty much a a bug on windshield type problem.. nothing at all).

My biggest concern is really the legal part of the money, donations and such. And the pure work it will take to get something going.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
You guys are raising good

You guys are raising good points about the legality of it. I think we could get in trouble if we said that donating X amount will make it legal to pirate the game. I guess in some cases we could give them amnesty, as long as the actual copyright holder is good with it. I'm sure it's a waste of time even trying to deal with EA or any of the big publishers who do actually own the copyrights.

Clok's idea seems sound to me, though. We just need to emphasize that we're paying homage. Still, I don't think it will work without the redemption angle, since that's the hook--oh, I pirated Mail Order Monsters back in the day and played it to death. I never paid a cent for all that goodness. Now here's a way I can redeem my "sin" by donating $50 to Child's Play, and get the blessing of the designer or at least folks involved in the project. Maybe keeping this about "sin" or "wrong" is best; don't mention anything about laws or copyrights. I'd love to see someone going after us for forgiving people's sins. :) And imagine the difficulties they'd have over the charity issue. How big of a goon do they want to be?

We can also do the usual legal mumbo jumbo about how we don't represent the big companies, etc., not speaking for any of them, etc. We can also make it clear on the site that piracy is wrong and we're not endorsing it.

Joined: 01/21/2009
yes redemption is/was the

yes redemption is/was the whole point. You just have to make it clear, in NO WAY does this make pirating right, IN NO WAY does it make any kind of PAYMENT for those games. Its a way for a person to show some respect to those people and tip the good/evil scales in thier direction.

And that will be the the hard part, to word it in such a way that the point gets across, but doesnt implay we are PAYING for past games in any way.

That might be an option, have a link to the current owner/publisher (if is known) if sombody wants to SEND the money for a past game to them ... of course that would be a smaller link :) And it would just be a link to an EMAIL or contact, not a way to pay any actual money, that would be between person and company.

yes still think its a cool idea, but how to pull it off its the question. How to word it so people dont think they are PAYING for a game, but are donateing to talent/creativity/redemption (only in there own eyes).

MazinKaesar's picture
Joined: 03/14/2008

It's really a nice idea, I can help with some obscure RPG I played in the past!


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