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The legal status of the old Black Isle games?


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So there are a lot of fans of Black Isle's games here, for fairly obvious reasons. Being a huge fan of PS:T, it pains me that the game has been out of distribution for a long time now, and that it failed to get what additional recognition it might have gotten, had its publisher and developer survived longer, or had they been able to properly publicise it during and after its release. I'm sick of seeing, on PS:T boards, "where can I buy this game?" followed by the response "you can't" or "spend a week checking your nearest fifty electronics shop bargain bins: you've got a one in ten chance you might get lucky." Of course, it can be purchased on Ebay, but this doesn't seem to be a popular option for most gamers, for whatever reason.

 

Is it indeed the case that Interplay still exists as some sort of post-bankruptcy zombie husk holding onto certain assets, on the brink of technical rather than merely de facto oblivion? The distinction between PS:T being literally abandonware, and PS:T being held (along with the rights to the Planescape license for the purposes of the title, otherwise possessed by WotC) by some merely titular remnant of Interplay which retains control over certain properties would seem absolutely crucial. A lot of old games have seen some sort of redistribution in recent days, from measures as obvious as NES titles moving to GBA, to remakes as strange as Age of Empires for Pocket PC. And I won't accept the answer that there isn't a large enough audience. Even Infocom's text adventures have gotten rereleased repeatedly over the years, and I have to think the audience for PS:T is larger than the audience for Leather Goddesses of Phobos or Zork. Given the fame PS:T has in the RPG community, it's quite frustrating that it lingers in legal limbo, if indeed it does, with no potential for redistribution in any form, but without passage to the status of abandonware either. I'd far, far rather a living, functioning publisher owned it, but does anything own it at present?

 

What is the status of Interplay's properties?

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I think Interplay lost the distribution rights to PS:T after their breakup with WotC. That's why there are no newer prints and Interplay gave up the webpage. Technically someone, I guess Interplay, still owns PS:T, so pirating it would be illegal, but since the game has been out of print for years you won't hurt the owner's profits by getting it from the internet.

 

Since I bought the game shortly after it was published the problem does not affect me at all, but I would have no qualms downloading it.

 

I'm not sure if the game would profit from any rereleases. It has been on the market for years and I guess that everybody who wants it owns it by now.

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Maybe someone will release Interplay's back catalogue on budget sometime, I doubt games like BG2 will stay out of circulation for long. Whether or not PST gets another release I don't know, the fact that it comes on 4 CDs makes it unlikely since it was never hugely profitable in the first place. I seem to remember there being a version that was squeezed onto 2 disks though which is no great shakes for a budget game. Personally, I managed to find a shrink-wrapped copy of the original PST on eBay a couple of years ago which only cost a few pounds.

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All of Interplay's D&D stuff is in a weird legal limbo. Interplay has no rights to use the D&D license anymore, so they can't produce new copies of any of their old games that used it. That includes titles that use place names, so that's why Atari can farm out Baldur's Gate 3 to someone else. However, aspects of the games do belong to Interplay, so it's not like Atari can just put out the games themselves. Basically, to see any of those games again will require an agreement between Atari (which holds the D&D rights) and Interplay (or it's successor).

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Planescape: Torment has been re-released in a new "PC best buy" edition. My retailer has a whole bunch on the shelf.

 

 

 

edit: I mailed them just now asking who's responsible for the re-release. awaiting reply.

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"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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Seriously, has anyone ever lost a game? Back in the days when games came on a dozen 3.5" floppy discs, it was essential to make backups because the data would be corrupted so easily. But now? It makes no sense.

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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Sure I have lost both my original fallout and fallout2 (resently bought the fallout multipack because I wanted to replay them and couldnt find my originals).

I have also missplaced one of my four torment discs (solved that in a slightly more shady way). And I'm not sure where my BG2 copy is....

 

So yeah people loose game copys at least I do...

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Sure I have lost both my original fallout and fallout2 (resently bought the fallout multipack because I wanted to replay them and couldnt find my originals).

I have also missplaced one of my four torment discs (solved that in a slightly more shady way). And I'm not sure where my BG2 copy is....

 

So yeah people loose game copys at least I do...

 

Plus copies can get scratched.

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Seriously, has anyone ever lost a game? Back in the days when games came on a dozen 3.5" floppy discs, it was essential to make backups because the data would be corrupted so easily. But now? It makes no sense.

 

I lost my copy of Civ2 a couple years ago. Picked up a new copy in a bundle with Civ3. Twas strange because the bundle was $18 yet on the shelf above it was Civ3 by itself for $41.

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Seriously, has anyone ever lost a game? Back in the days when games came on a dozen 3.5" floppy discs, it was essential to make backups because the data would be corrupted so easily. But now? It makes no sense.

 

Yeah, and floppies aren't the worst of it.

 

My original Tunnels of Doom data tape (yes, casette tape) seems to have corrupted itself. And to think the bloody thing's only 22 years old. They don't make data storage like they...oh...wait...

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Yeah, I also lost my originals of PST and recently purchased a dual pack that comes with Soulbringer through one of the Amazon Vendors.

 

Except I can't get the game installed. Its the 2 disk version and I suppose it installs the game with the 1st disk because it never asks for the second during install. Then when I try to start the game up I get an assertion error.

 

Sorry to go off the subject but any pointers?

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I recently saw a rembundled package of BIS games on the shelves here in Germany which had BG + expansion, BG2 + expansion, IWD + expansion and IWD2, so someone must have the rights to distribute them.

 

Next time I'm in the shop, I'll check who the publisher is.

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Yeah, I also lost my originals of PST and recently purchased a dual pack that comes with Soulbringer through one of the Amazon Vendors.

 

Except I can't get the game installed. Its the 2 disk version and I suppose it installs the game with the 1st disk because it never asks for the second during install. Then when I try to start the game up I get an assertion error.

 

Sorry to go off the subject but any pointers?

Whenever I installed PS:T (4 CD version) the only disc used during installation was the first; the other three are only used in-game, unless you manually do a full install. You haven't by any chance applied the official patch have you? The 2 CD version is already patched and re-patching causes problems.

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Seriously, has anyone ever lost a game? Back in the days when games came on a dozen 3.5" floppy discs, it was essential to make backups because the data would be corrupted so easily. But now? It makes no sense.

 

I lost my IWD expasion disk (HoW), and I played bg so much, my play disk died on me.

 

So making a back-up copy of at least the play disk usually is a good idea. And now that some games are discontinued, it would be a good idea to back them up in case they get lost since buying a new version will not be possible at some point.

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My original Tunnels of Doom data tape (yes, casette tape) seems to have corrupted itself.  And to think the bloody thing's only 22 years old.  They don't make data storage like they...oh...wait...

 

 

The tapes were pretty stable if you compared em to the tape units, those bastardly devices never worked properly. You had to run the master tape all the time to calibrate, and if anyone even sneezed while you did it, you had to start all over again. Gah.

 

 

 

And regarding Torment, the re-issued "PC best buy" is released by the company of the same name who in turn is owned by something called KE Media.

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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I usually lose every cd I get .. :"> which is why I always make an iso copy of it (don't worry I don't distribute it) .. so I have isos of every old game on my harddisk, much easier that way!

Fortune favors the bald.

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Yeah, I also lost my originals of PST and recently purchased a dual pack that comes with Soulbringer through one of the Amazon Vendors.

 

Except I can't get the game installed. Its the 2 disk version and I suppose it installs the game with the 1st disk because it never asks for the second during install. Then when I try to start the game up I get an assertion error.

 

Sorry to go off the subject but any pointers?

 

 

It sounds like you installed the Patch, I did that too.

 

 

I usually lose every cd I get ..  :"> which is why I always make an iso copy of it (don't worry I don't distribute it) .. so I have isos of every old game on my harddisk, much easier that way!

 

 

You do realize HDDs are more unstable than CD-Rs right? As soon as your HDD goes, you can say buh-bye to all your games. :)

 

 

 

As for the quandry of getting copies of PS: T, and the Fallouts, I bought both of them in Dual Jewel form from Amazon like Azure about a month ago. Aside from hiccups due to me trying to install the patch for Torment, there were no problems. Torment has held up amazingly well IMO. The graphics are still fairly impressive, sprite based though they may be...Fallouts haven't aged so well, but the RPG value is still there.

 

There's a ton of the dual jewel versions for all three games on Amazon. I don't usually buy from Ebay though, as I've gotten a scratched disc buying used from there before. Meh.

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I have to think the audience for PS:T is larger than the audience for Leather Goddesses of Phobos

 

This game sounds like TEH WINNA! Where can I find it?

 

You can download both of the Phobos games at Home of the Underdogs.

We now bring you live footage from the World Championship Staring Final.

 

staringcontest8og.gif

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I usually lose every cd I get ..  :"> which is why I always make an iso copy of it (don't worry I don't distribute it) .. so I have isos of every old game on my harddisk, much easier that way!

 

I find it's not the CDs I lose, but the damned CD keys needed to install games these days! Plus for the UK market they tend to package the games differently (they have a DVD box fetish over here) but don't change any of the text, so the packaging says "the CD key is in location X" when it's actually in completely different location Y! Often on the minuscule and useless little manual supplied with the game, which is of course the first thing to be lost. Argghh :) I hate copy protection.

 

Rant over :)

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I've "lost" my copy of Halo, the game just refuses to install. On a more literal note, I've also lost both Vice City and Thief: Deadly Shadows. I have NO idea where either game disc is.

 

I have to get PS:T, though. I feel I'm missing out on something great. Will look for it next time I'm in a shop.

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Hi, thanks for the replies.

 

I didn't install the patch sinse I checked any PST forums I could find and read about the problems that occur if the patch is installed.

 

Which is why I'm confused as to what the problem is. My 2 disk version of the game was already 1.1 when I purchased it.

 

Thanks for the advice though! :blink:

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I usually lose every cd I get ..  :"> which is why I always make an iso copy of it (don't worry I don't distribute it) .. so I have isos of every old game on my harddisk, much easier that way!

 

I find it's not the CDs I lose, but the damned CD keys needed to install games these days! Plus for the UK market they tend to package the games differently (they have a DVD box fetish over here) but don't change any of the text, so the packaging says "the CD key is in location X" when it's actually in completely different location Y! Often on the minuscule and useless little manual supplied with the game, which is of course the first thing to be lost. Argghh :p I hate copy protection.

 

Rant over :)

 

 

Keygens fix that easily enough. I've lost my AvP2 disc though....can't find it anywhere and it's making me sad. I'll have to purchase another copy when the price drops another $10. Or copy a friend's. :ninja:

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