Once upon a time, when I didn’t have access to the internet, I pirated games an awful lot. It was just how we wound up with new games. You wouldn’t buy games very often – kids that did were either wealthy (nobody I knew) or had rare strokes of luck. Otherwise, it was everything swirling around on these little shared communities of 3.5 floppies. When someone wound up with a CD burner, it was amazing how that exploded things.

I realised at one point I was pirating things and not playing them. I’d play them for a little bit then delete them to clear up the disk. Very few things I loved enough to want to keep – and of those things, some of them I’d bought wholesale, like the Quest For Glory series.

As an adult, with my own money, I made a decision to buy things. I think the last game I pirated wholesale was Half-Life 2, and I then bought it. I went back through my old games and legitimised them, buying legal copies of them.

I don’t honestly know the last game I actually pirated. I’ve borrowed some games from friends, played them on a console for a bit, then returned them. I’ve tried out a few games on my Nintendo DS and then bought them – but broadly speaking, I just don’t seem to have the itch to pirate the way I used to.

Today I bought a game a friend really likes for two dollars. I feel a bit bad about it, because chances are the game is worth more than that – or at least the effort of the people involved oculd be – but damnit, I just don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll like any of the games I bought tonight – hell, I won’t be able to try them for weeks.

But what I will probably do, if I do like it, is go back, and buy another copy for more than two dollars.

This is a strange situation to be in. It’s like I feel I should re-legitimise things I’ve already bought.

I suspect this is tied into the way I feel guilty about everything.

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