Media piracy has been a thing pretty much ever since movies and music were available to play in your house, and with the advent of things like internet downloads, even video games and comics have gotten in on the action. Of course, companies are less than pleased when people are blatantly stealing their products, so they sometimes came up with weird ways to try to get us to stop. Ways like:
1) VHS Tapes – FBI Warning
Because we all know the FBI has nothing better to do than find me for copying my rental tape of Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation.
2) Serious Sam 3 (PC) – Immortal Scorpion Monster
Pirated copies of Serious Sam 3 came with a bit of an added challenge; you would be constantly hunted by a scary-looking monster that you not only couldn’t kill, but it would chase you through the whole game at top speed. Apparently revenge is a dish best served immediately.
3) MPAA – Stuntman Commercial
Fun fact: was once in a theater with a friend who was known for downloading movies illegally, and they accidentally played this commercial, where a stuntman implores you not to steal movies, twice. We assumed it was because he was there.
4) The Secret of Monkey Island (PC) – Dial-A-Pirate
A lot of older adventure games had physical components that you needed to use to authenticate the game, and the funniest was almost definitely Monkey Island‘s Dial-A-Pirate wheel.
The methods just get weirder from here…
5) MPAA – “You Wouldn’t”
Let’s get real here: i would totally download a car if I could. Who wouldn’t?
6) Leisure Suit Larry (PC) – Trivia Questions
To both authenticate your copy and assure that you were over 18, the game asked you questions that apparently no kid would know. Of course, these references are now decades old, so nobody knows them off-hand.
7) Sprint – “Crime Deterrent”
I mean, that’s one way to advertise your new phone…
8) The Witcher 2 (PC) – Rapid Aging
In potentially one of the most disturbing bits of anti-piracy programming, sketchy copies of The Witcher 2 end up making protagonist Geralt romance not the absurdly attractive women he gets the option to do so with, but the village grandmother.
9) This Flyer
I mean, that really says it all, doesn’t it?
10) Earthbound (SNES) – Last-Minute Wipe
Japan is evidently more patient with their punishment of software pirates, because this one doesn’t trigger until the end of the game. If you pirated Earthbound, the game would crash right before fighting the final boss… and delete all your saved data in the process. OUCH.