Ten Hilarious Anti-Piracy Methods for Video Games
In response, game publishers use a variety of methods to combat these software pirates, and the two groups are constantly at war trying to stay one step ahead of the other. The techniques used to prevent individuals from pirating their software have ranged from cumbersome to plain silly. Here are among the most memorable anti-piracy methods.
10. Monkey Island's Dial-A-Pirate
The original copy of The Secret of Monkey Island shipped with a cardboard dial with various pictures of pirates on it. Before the player could actually begin the game, he would have to align the face on the dial to match the one displayed on the screen and enter the date that is displayed before the game can successfully run.
9. Leisure Suit Larry 2's Black Book
Games like Leisure Suit Larry II: Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) feature a method of copy protection that required players to posses a physical copy of the instruction manual. In this case, when the game started up it presented the player with a photo of a random woman. The player must then look through the physical instruction manual (called the "Black Book"), match her image with a telephone number and input it into the game. The game wouldn't start without going through this tedious step. Remember, this was before scanners were common!
Unfortunately, the Lenslok wasn't calibrated for all screen sizes, so individuals with large or small screens weren't able to decipher the code. To top it off, many games were shipped with the incorrect Lenslok, making it useless to begin with. Clearly, the device wasn't very popular, and was only used for less than a dozen games.
Dongles were an unpopular method of piracy protection in the 1980s, and was used for games and other forms of software. The dongle had to be plugged into the computer in one way or another, and the software wouldn't run without it.
6. "Check the Back of the CD Case!"
|THIS is where the secret codec is.|
Metal Gear Solid often forces players to break the fourth wall. In this situation however, it's a sneaky way to integrate anti-piracy into the gameplay.
At an early point in the game, one of the characters tells protagonist Solid Snake to "look on the back of the CD case" to find a secret radio frequency to progress in the game. Many players at the time had no idea what this meant, and tried to examine every single object within the game. As it turns out, the hidden frequency was located on the back of the physical CD case that came with the game. Who would have guessed? Those who played copied versions of the game didn't have the CD case and were out of luck. Unfortunately, those who rented the game came across the same problem.