*legal* Emulation Resources


hedwards

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I had a crazy thought. Would it be possible to write an application that can extract the ROMs from Wii Virtual Console games off an SD card?
The ability to rip and replace roms in VC wads already exists, but but ripping it from the SD card as a VC game and not with an app on the Wii is what would make it hard. It may be possible.
And unless you could get the government officials to go along with it, that would be a felony. It comes down to the proper interpretation of the anti-circumvention section of the DMCA. It's obviously not intended to prevent one from cracking the app for personal use provided that you've paid for it, but in practice I'm not so sure that such activities would hold up. Either way though you'd likely have to go to trial to make the determination.
 
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GuyMontag

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3D Realm released some of their old DOS games as freeware:
<a href="http://www.3drealms.com/news/2009/03/several_old_games_released_as_freeware.html" target="_blank">http://www.3drealms.com/news/2009/03/sever...s_freeware.html</a>

edit: Forum update broke my link. Try this: <dontbreakitagain>http://www.3drealms.com/news/2009/03/several_old_games_released_as_freeware.html</dontbreakitagain>
 

Prometheus

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Thanks muchly, Guy. I added it to the first post - or, at least, I tried to... Unfortunately, all of the links appear to have broken! :(
 

Jourdy288

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Is this a legal ROM site? I'm not sure, but I'm hoping:

http://www.pdroms.de/
 

Loonie

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Jourdy288 said:
Is this a legal ROM site? I'm not sure, but I'm hoping:

http://www.pdroms.de/

PDRoms' content is entirely homebrew, so there should be no problem.
 
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Jourdy288

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Loonie said:
Jourdy288 said:
Is this a legal ROM site? I'm not sure, but I'm hoping:

http://www.pdroms.de/

PDRoms' content is entirely homebrew, so there should be no problem.

OK, thanks.
 
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Prometheus

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Thanks very much, Jourdy288. Unfortunately (well, fortunately, as it is a very good resource, but I'm sure you get what I mean :p) PDRoms is already in the list. That said, it's been difficult to see it properly for a few days because I haven't had time to fix the mess that an edit turned it into. It's been repaired now, though. :)
 

skeezix

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You should not forget fair use. There are many ways to obtain ROMs that are legal and yet often forgotten.

The obvious but hard ones are .. if you own original carts or arcade pcbs etc, then dumping the roms. This is really not vbery hard, but can be costly or difficult to acquitre the originals. ie: For arcade pcbs, you'd need to get the boards, and get an eprom dumper/burner, but the applications to analyze the roms and file them/rename them, etc are easy to come by. Its actually very easy to do, once you have the stuff (But an eprom burner/dumper is $50-$200 depending on features and chips supported.) Dumping carts like an Atari 2600 cart etc is same deal.. get an eprom dumper and away you go. I got a 'decent' DOS-based eprom burner years ago that works for any game up to about 1995 or so (give or take), so Iv'e dumped my own arcade pcbs (good for repairing similar pcbs) and carts. Opening carts is a bitch, I might add.

So get on ebay and yard sales and buy carts!

Also consider..

If you buy (say) a PC emulator that is legally licensed (there are many.) Or a PSX emu that include sega games. etc. Consider -- you coudl both pull the rom files out of these (often not protected at all), or even just use them for 'license' sake. ie: I'm not sure about legality, but if you buy a Sega emu from Sega, for PSX (For say $2 in the bargain bin), do you know consider it that you have license to all those games? I know people who went around scooping up allt he PSX and used PC emus they could find, and end up with licenses to _hundreds_ of games for every system they could find... for just a few $! But myself, I've gone and ripped roms right out of such things -- I bought the licensed copy, so I bought the roms.

There are companies who sells roms with license, though they usually go out of business. Star ROMS for awhile was authorized to sell Atari roms for arcade games and some 8-bit games. They were like $5 ea or something, which was a bit much (Esp to me who owns most of the arcade pcbs anyway), but just to get more legal rom licenses, I bought a bunch up.

Nintendo .. they used to (Still?) sell those cards with NES games printed on them in dot-patterns, and you coudl use the NEs Player cart for gameboy (or something?) that would read those cards and let you play the games. Well guess what -- the card has the rom on it, and gets you a license.. so you can rip the rom from the card (scan the card and use an app to decode it), or just consider it a license and then go download (again, not clear on the legality there. since really, downloading is usually (but not always) illegal, even if you're licensed to own the end result.)

Still, buy up thoseold NES game player rom cards, and rip the roms right out using easyto use software.

Theres dozens of crazy ass techniques like these, so you can legally get roms and licenses damned cheap. Just no one iscreative nymore when you can just go download 'em :/

jeff
 

skeezix

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I forget.. did anyone comment about legal public domain releases?

Like the Vectrex romsets are fully release to the public, as long as they are as-is and ownership is attributed. (ie: They're not to be hacked up, editted, etc.. but they're free to copy around.)

Likewise, I think Scott Adams text adventures might be under a similar license.

Lots of those sorts of dillios around.

jeff
 

Prometheus

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skeezix said:
You should not forget fair use.
I haven't forgotten it, but it doesn't apply to all countries (for example, if memory serves, there is actually no such thing over here, believe it or not :huh: ), so I left it out in order to avoid stuff that might not be ok from one place to the next. :)

ie: I'm not sure about legality, but if you buy a Sega emu from Sega, for PSX (For say $2 in the bargain bin), do you know consider it that you have license to all those games? I know people who went around scooping up allt he PSX and used PC emus they could find, and end up with licenses to _hundreds_ of games for every system they could find... for just a few $!
I do this (in fact, it's how I've built up almost all of my MAME collection, except for one game for which I have an actual board :) ), but I personally consider it more of an ethics thing, as I'm not 100% sure on the strict legal definition (which probably differs from place to place, as well) myself. (I suppose the same goes for the fair use stuff, as far as countries that don't have such provisions go, too, to my mind.) I wrote a post on my blog about this sort of stuff today, funnily enough. :lol:

skeezix said:
I forget.. did anyone comment about legal public domain releases?

Like the Vectrex romsets are fully release to the public, as long as they are as-is and ownership is attributed. (ie: They're not to be hacked up, editted, etc.. but they're free to copy around.)

Likewise, I think Scott Adams text adventures might be under a similar license.

Lots of those sorts of dillios around.

jeff
Ooh, I didn't know about the Vectrex ROM-sets - many thanks for that info! :D Do you happen to have a link, by any chance, please?

I think the Scott Adams text adventures are available here, so those are definitely in. :)
 
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skeezix

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Regarding vectrex, you'll have to do your googling. The first hit I got just now was gamespy:


There are exceptions. Some companies have released their games to the public domain or condoned not-for-profit distribution. An example of this is ROMs for the Vectrex. These are perfectly 100% legal, as long as they're not distributed for profit.
http://classicgaming...des.Detail&id=8

But at some point years ago (I've been doing thisa way too long :) I found an official statement about it (that I even thought was authentic.)


Back when I was first hacking away at arcade emulation (it wasn't done before), life was hard. A few peopel got stuff out before I did (Neil Bradley got the Atari vector games out, and there was one other lad, I forget right this moment.) I'd done just a couple games (Phoenix and Space Invaders, both very ewasy to emualte.. good first tatrgets since I had the schematics and pcbs handy, anyway.) .. not long later, out popped Williams Arcade Classics/Collection by.. Digital Eclipse I think it was. They've continued to pump out emus for all sorts of platforms over the years. For awhile, they bundled roms right in the .exe or in data files, and were trivial to find. Like Bubbles.exe would have the rom embedded in it, and you could just hex search for it and dump it right out. Took 5 minutes (but I knew what to look for.)

Anyway, google away :)

jeff

For Infocom, they released several 'big collections' (under Activision) not too long ago.. say 1999 or early 2000s. The MAsterpiece Collection was one. I have seen it in bargain bins many times. It lacks Hitchhikers Guide, but is a great and cheap one to track down.

Magnetic Scrolls released a few collections too. Level 7 is a right pita to find imho though :)

We shoudl all share collection stories.. I've got a few I should blog down.

Like classic cars.. they go down in value (when not classic), then go up in value when they become classic (ie: the people interested int hem when young, get old, and can now afford them), and then go down again when people lose interest (everyone who wants them, has them), and then go up again as they get ancient (museum show off type pieces.) Likewise with arcade gear .. there was a time when they went up in value nastily, just awhile ago, but are coming down to sensibility these days. But right before they went up, just before ebay came around, you could find them cheap .. the net was around, but most peopel didn't use it yet, and certainly not arcade operators. There was no 'book of value', and no way of finding these guys, and no one selling the pcb's in stores, and not a lot of collectors around. The usenet rgvac (rec.games.video.arcade.collecting was as good as it got, and it was full of bastards.)

One of the best was when I found an old route runner (guy who ran a dozen arcades in various towns, so he had a 'route'.) He was retired now and got rid of most of his route, but kept a few running. Most guys like this go to auctions etc to buy money makers, but don't compete with collectors much.. but you always talk to these guys, since they often have piles of stuff, and their ointerests differ to ours.. so you can find some good buys. Anyway, this guy had a _Barn_ full of gear, and evne a bus full of jukebox parts that he'd let get half submerged in the mud out back. (He'd done well in the 60s, and not cared since.. musician insanity and all :) Anyway, his barn was full .. the main floor was just empty cabinets, and he took out the pcbs and tossed them up into the hayloft. Once in awhile he'd go up there and organize.. an 'atari' pile, and so on. He even put all his vector pcbs into giant baskets and such. You'd think gold mine... but for anyone who knows how barns are made, you'll know they're leaky, mossy, moist affairs. So he had literally a thousand or two thousand pcbs, mostly from 1995 and ealier, all rotted to hell. You coudl see the rust and gunk oozing out the back of the barn. *heartbreak* Still, he had hundreds of working pcbs and cabinets from his route, and was always at every auction for coin-op gear (jukeboxes, nbilliards tables, arcade games, mechinical and redemption games etc.) (If you're a collector, you shoudl eb on top of auctions. Once I got a car, I was drivbng hours in every direction to find these things.) (hell, I used to get old telephone books, find old arcades, and track down the old owners.. who often had garages or storage units full of old gear. I bought out a retired operator once.. $5 canadian per arcade game pcb.. bought about 200 boards from him, some for $1/each, just to clear out his garage. R-Type cabinet for the win!) Anyway, I bought some stuff from this guy.. he was not an idiot as you might think, he just had different interests (making a living, not collecting.) Two great moments..

1) He asked me to name a game, any game, that I had been looking for for years, and he'd probably have it. I mentioned "Quartet", since I'd been looking for a long tiem.. not super rare, but I just couldn't find one. He blinked, smiled, twinkle in his eye, and reached behind himself almost without looking, and pulled a Quartet 2 (same game) out of a series of slots in the wall. He showed iit to me, in good condition, and then said "$200 USD", knowing I wanted it bad. Fucker! So I ended up trading hard for it, some games that made money that I didn't care so much about, and some he really loved from back in the day (including a Grene Beret.) He ilked me on thatone, but at least I got me a Quartet! (and a Bubble Bobble, woot!)

2) As we were negotiating some of these deals, I Watched a bonfire over his shoulder. Can you imagine, in that bonfire, clearly visible to me, and hurting my soul, was a Space Duel vector machine. *cry* (one of my favourites, as a game with a very interesting mechanic added to the Asteroids style. I also own a Space Duel and Asteroids PCB, I might add, and have them hooked up to the back of a _Vectrex_ to make them playable. I do have an Omega Race cabinet, but its in such hard shape I'm afraid to hack it at all, since I'm really an electronics noob ;)

Anyway, theres some stories for you. (I started collecting about 1995 or so, before the big ebay rush that initially drove prices up, and then bottomed them out again once all the collectors had what they wanted.) When I first started out, prices were not known so you could find either a deal or a ripoff depending what the owner thought, and you could find whacky old steals.. I cleaned out an old arcade repair shop once (not cleaned out, picked up say 50 games), including joysticks, stack of monitors, decals, you name it.. most of this stuff I acquired over the years I sold to get cash to feed the habit for the games I actually wanted. (And then I sold a pile of it, like 150 games or more, to get cash to get married :)

jeff
 

mindlord

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That's some great stuff, Jeff. I often read your blog, and find this stuff fascinating. I'm a bit of a pinball machine nut, but I never have the extra cash to actually purchase a machine. I keep telling my wife, one of these days... I'll be have the extra cash to blow on a _Black Knight 2000_ machine, and I can die happy.

There are tons of old arcade games that stir my blood too, but I'll probably just have to settle for acquiring licenses from compilations and building a MAME cabinet. Arcades didn't seem to hit big in my area of the country. We had one in the local mall. A small one would pop up from time to time. Only to disappear as quickly as they came. So the garages and storage units full of PCB's and such never materialized here, and it wasn't for lack of looking.

Some of that old hardware is getting... well... ancient, and at some point impossible to preserve. With the copyright laws as screwed up as they are here in the US, it's really going to end up being the law-breakers who ultimately end up preserving the heritage. I really wish that there were better time limits on this stuff, and it's great to hear that Vectrex has given the nod.
 

Prometheus

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That was a great read, skeezix. I wish I'd had that sort of luck with tracking down arcade stuff. :lol: (I was able to obtain the one game I wanted the most, back when the economy was better a couple of years back, at a price that basically came out at about £45-£50 including shipping, which was great, and I do have a very large and very loud old Electrocoin cabinet, though. :) )


I haven't had any luck with the Vectrex stuff yet (if anyone's had any luck, please let me know ;) ), so I'll have to sharpen up my Google-fu and go looking again later.

Also, on the matter of arcade games, that reminds me of another link (which I shall shortly add to the first post) - this one, containing a bunch of old arcade games 'donated' to the MAME project for free redistribution. The games are Circus, Robot Bowl, Car Polo, Side Trak, Rip Cord, Fire One, Crash, Star Fire, Targ, Spectar, and Teeter Torture (all from Exidy), Alien Arena (from Duncan Brown), Gridlee (from Videa, Inc.), and Robby Roto (from Bally/Midway). :)

mindlord said:
Some of that old hardware is getting... well... ancient, and at some point impossible to preserve. With the copyright laws as screwed up as they are here in the US, it's really going to end up being the law-breakers who ultimately end up preserving the heritage.
Ain't that the truth. :/
 
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Matthias_H

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Sorry for the spam, but here's another one on the snega2usb SNES USB reader. While I have no doubt this is all perfectly legal pretty much anywhere on this planet, Nintendo and Sega have their notorious armies of lawyers whose job consists in finding things they can use against projects like this one. Please join the legal brainstorming to help me make sure everything is absolutely airtight before the USB SNES reader becomes an ex-product :)

Cheers,
Matthias_H
 

Prometheus

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Sorry for the bump - just wanted to make it known that I've added a new link, this time to the arcade game World Rally by Gaelco, as listed on their official website. A bump should also help bring further attention to Matthias' above post, too. :p
 

bce23w

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I'm amused to note that the snes2usb guy is currently suffering through manufacturing delays. Apparently, that's something that happens. :rolleyes:
 
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