Strathclyde Telegraph

Pay to win: The Games Changed

AAA released in 2017 were heavily influenced by the mobile gaming market. From EA’s implementation of ‘pay-to-win’ boosts in the latest edition of Star Wars Battlefront to loot boxes being featured in a single player game like Middle Earth: Shadow of War, no genre is safe from the cash-grabbing strategies pioneered by games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans.

Paywalls, loot boxes and purchasable in-game currencies now plague the mobile market, with games advertising a lack of any of these as a noteworthy feature. Fed up with the restrictions of modern mobile games many people have turned back to handheld console gaming through the use of emulators.

Emulators are computer programs that enable one computer to perform like another. This means that an app can allow a phone to think that it is just about any console that released before the Playstation 2. There are scores of emulators to choose from available on all app stores with many decent emulators available free of charge. However as with most things paying a couple of extra quid gets you a much more reliable and effective product.

It is not as though one can simply download one of these emulators and have all 1,229 games of the Gameboy Advance library at hand, the next step requires one to pass into a bit of a legal grey area. Games are played on emulators through the use of ROM files, which here are essentially digital versions of the little cartridges you used to slot into the back of your Gameboy. On the face of it downloading a ROM file of an already released game or program is technically illegal and an infringement of copyright, although there is substantial debate surrounding the terms of release and production.

Practically it is very similar to piracy of modern PC games, as well as films and TV shows, with most who indulge in these activities taking countermeasures such as avoiding downloads from peer-to-peer networks. The true risk here is held by the websites offering downloads of these files, and crackdowns by game publishers are not an uncommon occurrence.

By Jacob Wright