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Video Game Reproductions
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I got really excited when the announced the TurboGrafx-16 mini and remembered having one as a kid. Really cool machine that unfortunately didn't make a lot of headway here in the states- it has its problems for sure but it hits that perfectly weird middle ground of game play between the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. It's got some really interesting hardware decisions too. I believe it's the first home console with a CD add-on- we know the famicom had a diskette add-on so it wasn't that revolutionary but it's interesting to see what came before the Sega CD. I could talk about the original hardware all day because it's really neat, but not the point of this topic.

Because it didn't take off here games are really expensive and difficult to find if you want to get into them. I definitely won't get into collecting them like I wish I could. I discovered PCE Works who make reproductions of these games though- not bootlegs trying to be authentic but a totally unique and different thing from the official thing that is just lovingly made like a dedicated fan would do. The PC Engine is the perfect platform for these kinds of reproductions too- the media is either a CD (which most of their stuff is) or a special credit-card like cart called a HuCard that doesn't have any special chips or anything like that which you'd find in other older consoles making it much more difficult to make new games for them.

I discovered them from this video, which is a great overview of what one of their reproduction collections can be like:



I think it's really cool to see something like 'here's what this release would be like if it was done by some fans' as well as supporting this old game hardware- I'd love to see more stuff like this.

What do you all think about unauthorized reproductions of old games?
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Interesting stuff! I've never actually played a TurboGrafx-16 game before - this console was a little before my time, and I was always more of a Nintendo person.

It's really cool to see fans make things like this that have such a high production quality. It's also nice that the original cartridge media seems to be more friendly to the modding/homebrew scene than, say, NES cartridges.

I don't know whether this is the case, but I'm not sure how I feel if they're making money (beyond the costs of cartridges and printing, of course) from the sale of repro games. On the other hand, they're helping keep old games alive - old games that are extremely unlikely to see an official re-release.
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Edited by: Bibby , Sep 4th, 2020 @ 2:07 am
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It was definitely before my time! I think I was playing it when it was like 10 years past its expiration date. I didn't even have any good games for it, but it was just so different of a console and nobody ever really talked about it online or anything that it definitely stuck with me.

I think there's some controversy around this kind of thing for sure. I absolutely support buying official releases where that's possible- but if it's something that isn't officially released anymore? I'd honestly rather have my money go to people producing their own variant and putting a lot of work and love into it than people hoarding these things on eBay and selling them for outrageous prices.

I think its another aspect of the "remix culture" around fanworks that I never considered before- fans releasing their own entire presentation of a product. With these releases, yes, you get the software, but the packaging and everything around it is all fan made and very distinct from the originals. It's really cool to see that. It definitely has the added bonus of keeping something alive that you wouldn't see otherwise as well- but even without that it's just d*** cool.

The more I see out of fan works in general the more I disagree with how harsh and restrictive laws around intellectual property are. I think there's certainly some amount of creativity and innovation that is encouraged by the existence of intellectual property rights but I think we need to put some reasonable limitations on them to prevent media and cultural phenomenon from dying out as well- a lot of time the fans are there to keep these things alive in spite of what laws surround them and it makes me wonder how many things we lost because there's more incentive to let these things just go away than preserve them.
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That's an interesting point about comparing unofficial releases to eBay sales. Either way, the original creators aren't earning anything, and it might be better to have fans help keep old games alive.

I agree that copyright law should be used to stimulate creativity and innovation, not stifle it. And a lot of the time, modern copyright law does the latter.

Currently, in the United States, copyrights last practically forever, and that just doesn't make a lot of sense - especially for a rapidly-evolving medium like video games/computer software. I think it would be better if copyrights lasted for only a short time (maybe just 5-10 years) and could be renewed only if the holder continues to distribute the copyrighted work. This would provide an incentive for copyright holders to make sure that video games (and movies and music and TV shows) remained available and accessible, and it would keep older obscure games out of a legal limbo.

It would also be really cool if companies were more willing to collaborate with talented, passionate fans who make things like this.
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Yeah, when it comes to 5-10 years often times the platform the software was built for isn't even sold any more. It's been less of an issue with physical media since we have ebay and whatnot but there's a ton of lost digital only software these days due to the move to digital store fronts not having a fair and reasonable way to retire themselves- obviously companies shouldn't be forced to keep these things up forever but we need some way to make sure media sold on them doesn't go away forever just because the store itself can't go on.
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