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Atonement: rebuilding my video game library

I remember when my family got our first computer, the dude who sold us the computer had a bag full of CDs for us to choose from. In the collection, he had maybe a hundred games we could choose from. My eyes lit up as I went over the collection. When I noticed the titles which I recognized (due to my school mates talking about them), I selected them. One of those games was the very first Command & Conquer.

Anyway, that was the beginning of PC gaming for me, and it has continued since then. Over the years, I’ve played many different games. Many, many, many games. And in case you didn’t know already, me, and probably 80% of the other kids in my school played tons of games too. And if you’re thinking, wait, how could you afford so many games at that age? Welcome to Malaysia (or south east Asia) – the land of pirated goods.

Almost the games I had ever bought in my life were pirated. There was this one Chinese RTS game which only cost like RM15, which was very cheap for an original game. Anyway, the only other original games I had in my collection (3 to be exact – Hitman, Halflife, and World of Warcraft) were given to me as presents. But yeah, back then when I wasn’t making any money, I was either dropping a few notes for some pirated discs, borrowing them from my friends or just playing demo versions of games (which came in CDs of some gaming magazines).

You could say I wasn’t a very good kid. Pirated games used to cost RM25 a disc, which then dropped to RM15, RM10 and I think they’re like RM5 now? And then came the age of broadband and I never bought a game again – I just downloaded them off torrent sites for free. But when I wasn’t making any money, I couldn’t afford to drop a hundred bucks on some cool new game which I had heard about, and my parents wouldn’t have any of it.

So you could say I was a pretty shitty human being (sorry devs!). This habit continued all the way until I started working and I discovered Steam sales and Humble Bundles – which I’m thankful for. Why? You ask. Well, when you can purchase original games for a fraction of their original prices (some of them at very good prices, I might add), wouldn’t you do that?

Anyway, since then I’ve amassed a huge Steam library of games (over 500 titles). Most of them games from bundles I’ve purchased over the years, and the rest of them during Steam sales. Including games which I have yet to play, I have also been purchasing old games which I’ve played before. Which is why I called this post atonement.

I love games, I love developers, and it has been unfair of me to not buy games legally when I was younger. I should have just not played those games instead. But what’s done is done, and I can’t turn back time. So this is what I’ve been doing – buying my favorite games from my gaming history. Sure, most of the developers who worked on those games back then probably aren’t around in the same companies anymore. But for what it’s worth, it helps me to alleviate my conscience.

I don’t know if anybody else is in the same shoes as me, but yeah – do the right thing. Don’t pirate games, kids!

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