Flamebait Friday Debate: Is pirating Telltale games okay now?

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Okay, so just to get this out the way right from the start, pirating games is a shitty thing to do. I used to laugh at those ads on old DVD’s that would equate stealing a movie to stealing a car, but as I’ve matured and become more ingrained in the culture of games and movies, pirating just sucks. People work for literal years to make that content and to deny them pay for their hard work is a dick move. However this is the Flamebait Friday Debate, so I don’t want this to turn into a big ol’ preach, but rather ask a question I’ve been juggling with recently: Should I buy the Telltale games or pirate them?

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I ask this because it was announced recently that nearly all of Telltale’s catalogue of games would be disappearing off Good Old Games and the future is uncertain when it comes to their distribution over other digital storefronts. Now, as I’m sure you no doubt know, there was a huge furore last year when Telltale Games suddenly shut their doors and let their entire workforce go without any kind of severance package.

It was a devastating blow for many and I think for the industry it was one of the main events that reignited the discussion around worker’s rights in the games industry. On a personal level, it hit me really hard too. I adore the Telltale Games; Hell, I dreamed of working for them one day. They demonstrated some of the finest scene and character writing ever put in video games and really pushed the envelope on well-paced, well-structured video game writing.

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But now that Telltale has been gone for just under a year now, what happens to their games? I don’t think anyone really knows. In the music and film industries, royalties can be paid out to relatives or representatives whenever old footage or audio is used after the artist’s death, but nothing like that exists in video games. How would it even work, with massive teams only able to take a small percentage anyway, they’d probably walk away with a pittance.

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So my question for the FFD is more of a moral conundrum: Is it better to pirate Telltale Games? None of the original developers will receive that income and, for all we know it’ll end up in the pocket of some bigwig shareholder who didn’t pour their blood, sweat and tears into those games. The thought of that kinda pisses me off, but in the same breath we’d still be stealing their work, right?

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So what’s the solution to this? Do you think it’s better to pirate a game if you don’t know where the money is going or would you still classify that as theft? I won’t be marking answers out of 10 this week because I think this is a little more serious than Videogame Dentist.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: May 31, 2019

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