Over the past few weeks, since the release of the A500 Mini, a number of downloadable compilations have appeared. More concerningly, USB sticks boasting such downloads, are being sold on Amazon and eBay. But should you trust these products?
In the space of just a few minutes, I’ve found two USB sticks for the A500 Mini. The first, USB Stick – 1600 Extra Games for the A500 Mini Console, costs £15.99, and has the following description:
1600 Games on a USB stick for the A500 Mini. Handpicked games including all of the classics . From football games, to arcade games to adventures and everything in between. As an industry veteran I know what the biggest and best games were. Not the rubbish on other sticks which you have never heard of. Please note this is for the usb only and not the console. Also this is Abandonware and does not infringe copyright. My product is not affiliated with the A500 Mini brand or the manufacturer.
Meanwhile, A500 MINI – The Full Monty. 3000 games and 1000 demos is £22.99 and its listing declares:
Nearly 3000Additional Games for the A500 Mini all on one USB stick. Along with nearly 1000 demos This is the Full Monty pack including the latest update. Abandonware, so does not break copyright.
Now, those claims about abandonware are interesting. We’ve seen several times over the years that games declared (by “someone”) to be abandonware were anything but. Furthermore, unless a title is given up formally as open source, or given away by publishers and copyright holders, abandonware is a somewhat mercurial label with little to back it up other than “they’ve ignored this property for x years.” There is no realistic way to check the copyright on so many pieces of software. Furthermore, the sellers can’t guarantee that every single game and utility and application works correctly on the A500 Mini. They simply haven’t yet had time to properly test them all!
Yes, there are thousands of disks out there that have been made public domain, but you don’t need to pay for them. Such collections are already available to download, collections that other people have spent time building and developing over years and months. The people selling these USB sticks are profiting from other people’s time and effort. You’re free to go along with that, but it doesn’t seem fair on the developers, publishers, and compilers of the collections, does it?
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.