Most video game enthusiasts know about EmuParadise.me
. Due to their large selection of ROMs, ISOs, and console emulators, the site is the go-to for people who want to play classic console games on their PCs.
Apparently, companies such as Nintendo have been cracking down on sites like this one recently, so their closing appears to be a preemptive measure. According to the open letter linked above:
It’s not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences. I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it’s not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble.
This is an extremely emotional decision for me after running this site for so many years. But I believe it is the right thing for us at this point of time.
Thus, we have decided to make a new start. We will continue to be passionate retro gamers and will keep doing cool stuff around retro games. But you won’t be able to get your games from here for now. Where we go with this is up to us and up to you.
And yes, posting ROMs on the internet is copyright infringement, and yes, games publishers do have the right, under current copyright law, to go after sites that host them. (Though, as I’ve said in the past, I think that current copyright law is fucked up).
However, my concern here is more one of preservation. Because, simply put, most video game developers don’t seem to be interested in re-releasing a lot of their older games.
While it’s true that Nintendo and other publishers have re-released a few of their more popular games, such as Super Mario Brothers, a lot of those games have been lost to time. For example, there were 721 SNES games released over the consoles lifespan. Only 74 of those games ended up on the Wii’s Virtual Console, and even fewer to the 3DS, WiiU, and Switch.
Also, you know how there are a bunch of early Doctor Who episodes that are missing because the BBC basically taped over them? That’s also the case with a lot of classic games, because the developers simply don’t have the original code for them anymore.
Then there’s the fact that with some games, if you want to play them in a language you understand, the only real option is emulation. For example, you need to use an SNES emulator and ROM if you want to play the first two Shin Megami Tensei games in English, because they never got an official release outside of Japan.
Then there’s the simple fact that older games are extremely difficult to find, and when found, are often prohibitively expensive.
There are other options of course, but EmuParadise was one of the more trustworthy, since it was one of the few sites all but guaranteed to not infect your PC with a million viruses.
Anyway, to sum up, copyright law is fucked and I think a lot of corporations are a bit too zealous in its application.
(Also, like said in this tweet I found, video games should be made available at public libraries, like movies and CDs are. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.)
(And now, some housekeeping: if you would like to support what I do here, I have a Patreon. Posts go up there for patrons a day before going live on the site, so it’s definitely something to consider. I also have a Ko-Fi and PayPal if one time donations are more your style as well. Either way, thanks for reading!)