Encore Extra Stage #07

Yes, there wasn’t a column last week. Yes, you can blame DDR Extreme coming out last Wednesday for that. Yes, I warned you ahead of time. Yes, there’s a kick ass review of it, which is the longest review I’ve written, and the longest Extreme review you’ll EVER see. Yes, I’ll be coming up with more statements that begin with “yes”. Yes, I was lying about the previous statement.

Seriously, last week’s column was forsaken in order to spend some quality time with my new DDR title, and to touch on as much as I could in my review. Which is why it looks much more kick ass than the other three-paragraph reviews you’ve seen around the Internet. (Wait a sec…you’ve been to other Internet sites than Inside Pulse? SHAME!) And in all honesty, it felt good to step away for a week. Allowed me to clear my head a bit.

The week was pretty good to me overall. Aside from the game, I got another call through to Orange Lounge Radio on Sunday where I got to voice my opinions on said game. Kind of a warm-up before I really got into the review, but a hell of a lot less cordial. Check the replay next Thursday evening to hear me, and hear us go off on our wrestling section again!

I also called in WEDNESDAY for their “Outside The Box” show and participated in the “Bopmania” game, in which I proceed to awe my opponent with my Donkey Kong knowledge. Sorry, Brad! I just happen to know…stuff…about games and…yeah.

In any case, on with the show, I guess. This week is going to be a week with a strict purpose. I’m going to do the time-honored task of cleaning out my Inbox, but with a little twist…


KILLING THE EMULATION DEBATE WITH MAIL

That’s right. The universal theme in my mailbag two weeks ago involved the subjects of emulation and piracy. Apparently, I opened up a HUGE can of worms with this issue, as I received several various opinions and such. So, I decided to devote the main topic of conversation this week to this. Let’s begin!

I read your comments on the piracy/emulator/rom issue. Earlier this week while in English class, I was wasting time on a computer looking for an address to use from Nintendo.com for a practice resume thing. I stumbled across a FAQ section on Nintendo’s corporate site regarding their take on piracy. I thought you might find it interesting:

(NOTE: What followed was the entirety of Nintendo’s piracy statement, which is too large to reprint here. So, to sum up, Nintendo claims that any form of playing illegally copied ROMs of their games on emulators is frowned upon, and the “back-up” rule does not apply. So in essence, according to Nintendo, if you HAVE a ROM, you’re breaking the law. You can read the whole statement here.)

It seems that Nintendo is quite finicky to say the least on the issue of emulators. I know that every rom site claims that all you have to do is own the original or you can only keep it 24 hours, but since Nintendo is claiming it’s all illegal no matter what, I was wondering what your take on it might be.

-Jeff Patterson

This does raise some interesting points. If you take the time to read the whole piracy statement, Nintendo DOES say that ROMs are completely illegal in any which way, shape, and form. But remember that this was taken DIRECTLY from Nintendo themselves. So now we enter the gray area of this either being (1) true, or (2) Nintendo doing a splendid job of protecting their copyrights through a few “half-truths”.

But after reading this, I see some of their points. I know several people who download ROMs in order to have a “back up” copy of games they already own. You know, just in case something happens, and blah blah blah. On the other side of the coin though, this is not YOUR back up of the game. This is someone ELSE’S back up of the game, which they are illegally distributing, and has probably changed a lot of hands during such time. So you’re still taking part in piracy, even if you own the particular game you’ve downloaded.

And I must admit that I do not have the technology to back up cartridge data, such as Genesis carts. I have since deleted my Genesis ROMs in their entirety. It may not be my favorite thing to do, but damn it, it’s the RIGHT thing to do. I will NOT support video game piracy in ANY form, readers. You can be sure of that.

The statement also brings up some points I made last week, and pretty much confirms them. Here a couple of answered questions that I completely agree with.

What Does Nintendo Think of the Argument that Emulators are Actually Good for Nintendo Because it Promotes the Nintendo Brand to PC Users and Leads to More Sales?

Distribution of an emulator developed to play illegally copied Nintendo software hurts Nintendo’s goodwill, the millions of dollars invested in research & development and marketing by Nintendo and its licensees. Substantial damages are caused to Nintendo and its licensees. It is irrelevant whether or not someone profits from the distribution of an emulator. The emulator promotes the play of illegal ROMs , NOT authentic games. Thus, not only does it not lead to more sales, it has the opposite effect and purpose.

ROMs do lead to increased awareness of a product, but every ROM downloaded = one copy of the game not purchased by you, John Q. Gamer.

Isn’t it Okay to Download Nintendo ROMs for Games that are No Longer Distributed in the Stores or Commercially Exploited? Aren’t They Considered “Public Domain”?

No, the current availability of a game in stores is irrelevant as to its copyright status. Copyrights do not enter the public domain just because they are no longer commercially exploited or widely available. Therefore, the copyrights of games are valid even if the games are not found on store shelves, and using, copying and/or distributing those games is a copyright infringement.

Like the example of Metroid I used last week, Nintendo owns all the copyrights to the game, and has full rights to make it as available or unavailable as it sees fit. Which is why we have three re-releases of Metroid in two years. Of course, this ALSO means that if a company hasn’t released an update to a game that hasn’t see an update in years, it is still illegal to have the ROM of it. So sorry, you can’t keep your copy of Alex Kidd , or Actraiser, or 3D World Runner. Sega, Nintendo, and SqEnix still own the copyrights. And that leads to the next point:

Haven’t the Copyrights for Old Games Expired?

U.S. copyright laws state that copyrights owned by corporations are valid for 75 years from the date of first publication. Because video games have been around for less than three decades, the copyrights of all video games will not expire for many decades to come.

So if you want to download ROMs of the games above, good news! All you need to do is wait until 2065, and then you can go to town!

Still, the fact remains that despite what a company says, the emulation front is still a massive gray area. Companies say one thing, ROM sites say another, and you’re left wondering what’s true and what’s not. That’s the trouble with piracy law, I guess. Which is why I choose to stay out of it most of the time.

Well, onto the other e-mails…

hiya alex.

One quick thing from the emulation front.

I have an SNES and think that for its time it was the best system on the planet. Mainly because of the Final Fantasy series.

Want to guess which game I couldn’t buy for years and emulated?

That’s right sir, it was final fantasy five. While Metroid is available in all forms. and I don’t like piracy, They never let me have my damn final fantasy five game. But then there’s this handy rom.

I must say though, I’m impressed with your lack of downloading any pirated game. Though I think that the 24 hour thing is not true. Just a common myth. The person who holds a copyright is the ONLY one who can make a copy of the item. Hell, it’s technically illegal to make mix tapes.

Nintendo and Sega have both come out and said that even Renting a video game shouldn’t be legal, so I don’t know why they’d allow a 24 hour rom emulation on your computer.

Ciao Bella!
Philippe

(1) Final Fantasy V, eh? I’ll give you that its one of the better Final Fantasy games, and I’ll give you that it kinda stunk that Squaresoft didn’t release the game in America until Final Fantasy Anthology on the PS1. However, it STILL doesn’t make it right to download the ROM.

In fact, the various FFV ROMs that were floating around the Internet were sometimes guilty of TWO counts. One, the game was illegally copied and distributed. Two, some ROMs were illegally HACKED and altered with English text. Now, I may come off sounding like a hard-ass here, but no matter WHAT the precedents are that keep a game from being released, and no matter how much someone tinkers with a foreign ROM to make it more playable, it’s still illegal and wrong.

If you’d like a current example, take the most recent crop of Dance Dance Revolution titles. Within the latest Japanese and American titles, there are certain stage modifiers that only appear in certain game modes, such as Nonstop/Challenge courses and Mission Mode. Well, certain folks have taken it upon themselves to hack into the game and modify the code to make these modifiers playable in regular gameplay. I’ve seen this done before, and I have screenshots to prove it. Again, having the option to play with these special options is nice, but if Konami didn’t enable them in regular play, they’re NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PLAYABLE. Hacking the game to enable them doesn’t mean Konami gave the okay.

(2) After reading the Nintendo stance on ROMs, I can’t really vouch for the 24-hour “rule” either. A lot more research is needed to clear this up, and that’s time I really don’t have these days.

(3) Yes, it’s technically illegal to make mix tapes, and custom music CDs, and copies of movies, etc, etc, etc. It’s also illegal to take such properties and pass them off as your own. Sometimes I think that if you make a copy of something you bought, but ONLY for your own personal use, there’s really nothing companies can do. You’re not making a profit, and no one else is benefiting from them. But again, everything is a situation.

(4) Video game renting is a much more “controlled” environment than ROM downloading. Companies like Blockbuster and Gamefly have paid for each copy of their games, so the game companies have already made their money. Games must also be returned after a specified amount of time (if you don’t have something like a Games Freedom Pass). When you download a ROM, no money changes hands at all.

Next letter, GO!

re: SNES and you missed out

Yeah so did I. I went from a NES straight to the Playstation, completely skipped the 16 bit generation. Was more into Computer games back then, and had my good ol Amiga to keep me company.

Anywho, long story short.. I have 1 word for you when it comes to SNES games. Well, it’s sort of a word. More of a proper name. Yeah, that’s what it is. It’s a really good name, only has 4 letters in it, and almost everybody knows it. Oh, I spose you want me to tell you what it is eh? Well I’m not going to, nyah nyah neener neener!

..

Oh ok, you’ve convinced me with your non-response.

EBAY.

Hit up ebay and search for “snes lot”.. you find tons of games for *dirt* cheap, and usually complete systems. I bought an snes off ebay, complete with *45* games, for 75 bucks. Only thing wrong with it, was that it was missing the video cable-hookup-dodad. Well guess what? It uses the exact same hookup as the n64, and the exact same hookup as the gamecube. One stop at the local EB Games later, and I got me a working SNES. Just takes some patience and you will eventually land that uber deal.

Right now I’m on a quest to find me a top-loading NES. God damn those are hard to find cheap.

Chad Smith

I’ve already explained that I’ll use eBay when I’m good and ready to purchase an SNES with all the trimmings. As of right now, I’m NOT ready to commit around $50 to a system and games, for that would take away from Nintendo DS purchases I plan on making in a couple of months. Perhaps if I come into some extra money this Hanukkah, I’ll consider finally making up for my past sins.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn’t have nuked $25 for copies of Sonic 3D Blast and Fighters Megamix for my Saturn. But, that’s life.

And these letters take care of ROMs and piracy, hopefully putting this issue to rest. Now we move onto Part 2 of my mailbag, which consists of…


REGULAR, BORING E-MAILS

Well, boring in the sense of “not about controversial matters”. Not boring in the sense of…well, you know what I mean!

This first letter responds to my loving Pokemon talk from last column:

About the Help system in the new Pokemon games: You can easily turn it off in the options menu by setting the controls to “LR” (where L and R move you from box to box) or “L=A” (basically allowing you to play one-handed if you don’t mind scrolling to “cancel” or “exit” in menus since you won’t be able to press B). So there’s really absolutely nothing to worry about as it concerns the Help system, because it can be great for newcomers and it can be turned off by veterans.
That leaves the ONLY real (albeit minor) problem with the game being the “flashbacks” when you turn the system on, since they can’t be turned off and can only be skipped to a certain degree–even pressing B as soon as possible, there’ll still be a slight delay since the game was loading the flashbacks, and there’s the “fade-in” screen. To be honest, it’s probably not so troublesome for casual players, but for those who would reset for shinies/females of a mostly male species/the right nature/good stats/whatever else, it’s a bit annoying.

Hey, I didn’t know you could turn off the Help system. Thanks for the heads up!

As far as the “flashbacks” are concerned, it’s really not that big of a deal. It only adds a 3-5 second delay when you know how to get around it, and I kinda like knowing that I switched my Rhydon and my Tauros in Box 3 during my last turn. Um…yeah.

And speaking of Shiny Pokemon, I actually encountered one during my last play through! The problem is that it was an Espeon that belonged to a trainer in the Battle Tower, with no possible way to capture it. Figures I finally found a Shiny, and they wouldn’t let me have it.

Oh well, at least I still have my Shiny Metapod in the G/S/C world.

The next letter has good ol’ Christian respond to my words to his last e-mail:

Christian from Game Crazy here again.

I wasn’t trying to challenge you. I didn’t know if you knew so I thought I’d pass along the info. I’m not enough of a Norwegian Athlete to completely keep up with each and every scene. That’s why I read people like you who can give me the info I need to serve my customers.

BTW, got to play some DDR Extreme last week in Vegas at the Vendor show. At least I believe it was DDR Extreme, I never got to see the front end of the game. I was way too Canadian and bombed on anything but the easiest stuff. I rocked the Casba though on KR Vol3 (I know that was it because I was singing Hoobastank’s “The Reason”.) We also tried Intec’s new wireless pad and that was excellent along with their new wired pad. They went to the same factory that makes Konami’s pad and said “Put the same stuff on the bottom please.”

Just a little preview of my Vendor Show Report.

I was kidding around about “challenging” there, Christian. Its just another one of my CRAZY attempts at humor. Sometimes they fly, sometimes they crash and burn.

And way to play games before I can! You probably played Extreme if you saw stuff like “Go West”, “Kids In America”, and “Music (Bostik Radio Edit)” on the song list. Otherwise, it could have been Ultramix 2.

Finally, a comment on my Guilty Gear X2 #Reload review:

Nice review. But a False Roman Cancel doesn’t mean you do the original move. An FRC is done with very specific timing after specific moves, and only costs 1/4 of the Tension Bar, instead of 1/2.

Also, SP characters ARE different.

(1) Thanks for the correction on the False Roman Cancels. I MEANT to put that down, but I guess I got my signals crossed when thinking of other 2D fighting games. Just wait until Guilty Gear Isuka comes out, and the ability to upgrade FRCs into “YRCs” comes into play. Only 1/8 of the tension bar, baby!

(2) And aside from the ability to shift to Gold and Black characters, how are SP characters different? I’d love to know.

(Whew) Probably my longest mailbag segment to date. Never before has it spilled over into the main part for the column, either. I have you readers to thank for that, and I definitely hope more of you write in into the future. You are AWESOME!


RECENT DDR AAA ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Remember two weeks ago when I claimed that this section would explode once DDR Extreme came out?

Well…if you’re not interested, prepare to do a LOT of scrolling…

(NOTE: ALL of these were performed on DDR Extreme US.)

#861 — Only You — Heavy (7)
#862 — Believe — Light (4)
#863 — Bizarre Love Triangle — Light (4)
#864 — Only You — Light (3)
#865 — Music (Bostik Radio Edit) — Light (4)
#866 — Planet Rock (Swordfish Radio Edit) — Light (3)
#867 — There You’ll Be — Light (3)
#868 — Move Your Feet — Light (3)
#869 — Move Your Feet — Standard (5)
#870 — Highs Off U (Scorccio XY Mix) — Standard (5)
#871 — Wonderland (UKS Mix) — Light (5)
#872 — Like A Virgin — Light (3)
#873 — Funk Boogie — Heavy (6)
#874 — Funk Boogie — Standard (5)
#875 — Funk Boogie — Light (4)
#876 — Funk Boogie — Beginner (1)
#877 — Your Rain (Rage Mix) — Light (3)
#878 — Only You — Standard (4)
#879 — Go West — Light (4)
#880 — Higher (Next Morning Mix — Challenge (7)
#881 — Kick The Can — Heavy (7)
#882 — Only You — Beginner (1)
#883 — Don’t Clock Me — Light (3)
#884 — Waiting For Tonight — Standard (5)
#885 — Like A Virgin — Standard (5)
#886 — Do Me (H.I.G.E.O. Mix) — Light (5)
#887 — Do Me (H.I.G.E.O. Mix) — Standard (7)
#888 — Firefly — Standard (5)
#889 — A — Standard (6)
#890 — A — Heavy (8)
#891 — Wild Rush (From Nonstop Megamix) — Challenge (7)
#892 — Waiting For Tonight — Light (4)
#893 — Tsugaru — Standard (6)
#894 — Trip Machine Survivor — Standard (8)
#895 — Don’t Clock Me — Standard (4)
#896 — Your Rain (Rage Mix) — Standard (4)
#897 — There You’ll Be — Standard (6)
#898 — Theme From Enter The Dragon (Notorious Mix) — Light (3)
#899 — Never Ending Story (Power Vocal Club Mix) — Light (4)
#900 — .59 — Standard (6)
#901 — .59 — Heavy (7)
#902 — .59 — Beginner (1)
#903 — Maximizer — Light (6)
#904 — Planet Rock (Swordfish Radio Edit) — Standard (5)
#905 — Ladies Night — Standard (5)
#906 — Diving — Light (3)
#907 — Diving — Standard (5)
#908 — Ladies Night — Light (4)
#909 — Simply Being Loved (Somnambulist) — Light (4)
#910 — Never Ending Story (Power Vocal Club Mix) — Standard (6)
#911 — You’re Not Here — Light (4)

There. 51 AAAs in a matter of three days. Hell, 52 if you count my only “Hands & Feet” AAA with help from the EyeToy on Music (Bostik Radio Edit.) But I’m not counting it…yet.

My road to 1,000 suddenly seems a lot shorter.


PLUGS & SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

Okay, guys, this isn’t funny. It’s starting to get lonely in here! First, Lee, then Bryan…and now MISHA?!? Am I the last dude from the old site that still has a column?

(ahem)

…Oh, hi Cory! Didn’t see you over there for a second!

Views You Can Use

Rapid FireBryan Berg
I know he’s been gone a week now, but Berg needs a proper send off. Bryan Berg can be considered one of the finest columnists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. His keen eye for the video game business world was incredible, and its something I hope to emulate one day when I step foot into the fast-paced world of business. And the fact that he essentially passed the torch to me in the columns department is an honor to say the least. I’m sure one day we’ll see him again in some capacity other than this, but as of right now, Bryan, I’m gonna miss you.

The Daily PulseAlex Lucard
Lucard is a genius for pointing out that while Sony and Microsoft have grabbed the games market by the balls for right now, Nintendo will prevail in the long run. Some may laugh at Nintendo for pandering to the younger crowd, but the fact of the matter is there are more “younger” gamers these days than there are “older” gamers, believe it or not. With Sony and Microsoft essentially ignore this generation completely, Nintendo makes games that they can enjoy, along with us teens and 20-somethings. And when these kids grow up, they’ll remember Nintendo as the guys who did them up right. (NO, not like that! PEDOPHILES!)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video GamesMisha
Another column bites the dust, as Misha officially scales back his duties to handle reviews. And now Christian doesn’t have a home to put his Game Crazy release dates in…again… (Or does he? HEY! CHRISTIAN! OVER HERE! WE’LL TALK!) In any case, Misha will be missed on Tuesdays.

Gamer’s BAAD HangoverCory Laflin
Cory still has a column? JOY OF JOYS! In any case, it’s been an emotional time for him, with FUN real life crap, and I understand completely. Real life deals always comes before IP shenanigans, Cory. Remember that.

From A Gamer’s BasementA.J. Angeloni
A.J. decides to be a man and review quite possibly the worst Dragon Ball Z game in history: DBZ Taiketsu. Believe me, A.J., I agree completely. I played it once, and my eyes burned for several days afterwards. (The REALLY should put a “hazardous material” label on that thing or something.

Outside The Box

Orange Lounge Radio gets the coveted AUTO-PIMP spot once again. Why? Because there’s no other Internet radio station has the combination of Skie, Dark Sakura, and Loki on it. NONE. That combination will ALWAYS keep me listening. And it should keep YOU listening as well.


FINAL WORDS

And so goes another wonderful Friday morning…er, afternoon…er, whenever you read this thing. I had fun! Did you?

Tune in next week when I bash the hell out of DDR Festival. Yes, I said BASH. And you’ll know why very soon!


Alex Williams, The Norwegian Athlete