A Short PSA About Downloading Old Games For Free

I was playing an online game recently where a guy was sharing links to a YouTube video where you could get Counter-Strike, Half-Life, and the original Halo on PC all for free. Of course, anybody with common sense can tell you that’s not a good idea for a multitude of reasons. King among those reasons would be just how fishy the offer sounds. What is purposed is comparable to the cool looking pair of shades at a Dollar Store, with the compromise most likely being a nasty Computer Virus. While that’s bad in and of itself, what’s even worse is the legality of it all.

Now, before I start, I should preface this by saying that I am not an expert when it comes to law. I’ve never studied, nor ever looked into too hard, but I at least know the surface of it — don’t steal things, don’t murder, don’t do drugs, etc. If I screw something up here, please correct me. It shouldn’t take an expert to tell you Piracy falls under the former listing, as it amounts to stealing from whoever created or is responsible for the product you’re downloading. What constitutes piracy is questionable at best. In regards to releases from this year or just a few years ago, it’s absolutely an act of theft. In regards, however, to 10 years ago or even 20-30… well, that depends. It’s considered theft if somebody still owns the rights to whatever is being downloaded and they’re active about that property. As the original Half-Life and Counter-Strike games are still up for sale and are heavily promoted via discounts, it’s a safe bet to say that pirating them can’t fall under the trapping of a legal grey area. As for Halo, that’s an uncertain bet. Microsoft — clearly — is still pursuing the Halo franchise as it’s their main cash cow in the Video Game market and has been for many years. Despite this, I don’t believe the original Halo: Combat Evolved as seen a release on the PC since it’s boxed-copy version in the early 2000s’. Halo 2 did see a similar fate in 2007 (I believe), albeit one chained up to Microsoft’s then-new Games For Windows Live program.  With this in mind, it’s probably not too safe to snatch a copy of it but it probably won’t bite you too hard right now.

This post, of course, is not just about whether or not you should take up this specific offer. All offers that cost either nothing or little-to-nothing almost always have a Catch 22 to make up for their lack of budgeting. In the case of downloading old PC games that have a slim chance of ever being sold again, the catch is that they may not run properly on Modern PCs’, if at all. With catches like these in mind, it’s a good idea to apply common sense to any offer you’re given. If you see a YouTube video offering links to the original Half-Life (or any other similar game) while it’s still being sold, maybe consider the overall legality of it before you pursue that download. Nearing a contrary, if you see a short 3-second video with a robot saying “links in the description” and decide to download it, it’s your fault you got that virus… also, it most likely isn’t legal, to begin with.

I write this warning because I had to talk somebody down from taking the very specific offer. Not everybody can think on their toes on a whim, so I decided to write this if you ever find yourself in a similar circumstance.


I can’t make up my mind, sorry

I’m going to come out and be honest: I deleted my previous 2 posts because I cannot make up my mind. As someone who does reviews as a hobby, they did not live up to the standards I set as a hobbyist and refuse to keep either post on my site. Whether you liked them or thought they were meh, I personally hated them with a passion. I might re-visit the subject when I’ve played enough Breath of the Wild and Nier: Automata to make a clear, concise conclusion. For now, I have no plans to discuss either game any further than I have tried to.


Changes in ‘Freebie Fridays’ and Schedule

I think this is something you may have noticed by now, but I am terrible at keeping a consistent schedule. As a result, ‘Freebie Fridays’ will no longer be every Friday – just about any Friday I think of. The rest of the time I’m not writing one, you can expect a miscellaneous and maybe a review-or-two here and there.

The issue about reviews for me is simple: I don’t buy new games that often. I have a big wishlist, but right now I don’t have the time, money, and effort to go through that wishlist and buy every game in it to review them. You can expect reviews whenever I feel like writing them, which might not be often, but don’t expect more modern games (like, from this year or a few months ago or something like that).