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(re: re: re: re: Swapping and the Weezer Idea) Home of the Underdogs also try to specialise in games that didn’t do so well though maybe they don’t stick to that rule (there’s quite a few available that certainly did well in the UK when released).
Although many companies care about their IP, it’s fair to say that many also turn a blind eye to this illegal activity. As long as sites like HOTU don’t go near any current title, which would have a direct affect on sales, they let the practise continue. Sierra on the other hand are seemingly managed by people who are over-paranoid about ‘their’ back catalogue. This is quite funny really ’cause the type of title people would actually be able (and indeed want) to download from HOTU probably wouldn’t include ANY that were developed post the Ken Williams era. (The funny bit: they are paranoid about the Intellectual Property that they paid for, not what they had created themselves). On the other hand you do have to see their point. The IP belongs to someone and that someone has a right to it being made available in how they see fit – even if it means it’s placed in a time capsule and buried…
Games companies would do well to look at Revolution (developer of the Broken Sword series). They are actually helping the classic gaming community not resisting it. They *gave* the source code (of Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword) to the developers of SCUMMVM (an emulator that executes Lucasarts SCUMM based games – although it now, rather obviously, does more than that!) and even some technical assistance when needed. They then took the unprecendented step of releasing the full CD game (of BASS) as freeware. Although it is unlikely they could/will release Broken Sword as freeware (it’s still for sale in Europe under the Sold Out range label), SCUMMVM should have support for it in the next release – again with help from Revolution.
Sierra could do a huge amount for the classic gaming community by developing a decent AGI and SCI interpreter all in one package that works great on NT based operating systems (2K, XP). Then setup a website with games available for download for a few dollars ($5 for example) and let the cash trickle feed in. As long as they could break even on the cost of developing the interpreters, this would do wonders for their game’s fanbase. I bet some of the original developers (still employed or not) could ‘easily’ do it should Sierra feel like being in the mood to allow them to do it 🙂