KleinesSinchen's blog
Welcome to the personal blog of KleinesSinchen
Color
Background color
Background image
Font Type
Font Size
    KleinesSinchen Nintendo told us: “Backups are not needed.” Now they are in fact admitting (on the German website) that cartridges and consoles can fail (surprise, surprise).

    Rough translation of their claim (I have a link and a screenshot but I’m not sure if it is a good idea to post either of them): “If only this game does not work, and if it does not work in another SNES, there is a dysfunction within the game. Repairing the games is not possible anymore.”

    Look at this two sentences:
    • "It is in no way necessary to copy a cartridge."
    • "Repairing cartridges and consoles is not possible anymore. (They say this also for the case of a depleted SRAM/clock battery!)"
    Nintendo used Confuse Ray!
    Sina is confused!

    (Sina sees little yellow birds flying around her head and is going to hurt herself with a 50% probability).

    Someday I’ll end up in the nuthouse – banging my head against padded walls wearing this nice white jacket which is closed behind the back. With each bang against the wall I will be constantly shouting: "Backups are not needed! Repairing is not possible anymore! Backups are not needed! Repairing is not possible anymore!” I really have to stop reading such a nonsense!

    Cartridges and consoles can and will fail, new TVs are not compatible with old devices. From this it directly follows that copying our old (and expensive!) cartridges to a rom file for usage with an emulator is required to ensure permanent usability/availability. I already got to this conclusion in part 2.

    Now, let me elaborate a little about this attitude concerning the false claim about the impossibility repairing in case of depleted battery. They could have written something like: “If your old NES/SNES/GB(C) early N64/GBA game does not save anymore, the battery is empty. We do not offer service anymore (But we did offer the service when the battery was still new and you did not need it. [NELSON]Ha-ha![/NELSON] ) Do it yourself or find somebody willing and able to solder a new one into the cartridge.”

    I consider this not only to be bad behavior but also pure evil.

    They deliberately lie to their unsuspecting customers! They do not even tell people about the batteries inside the cartridges. Not everybody knows about the technology SRAM and the need for constant power. While most SRAM-batteries still work, the ones that also powered clocks are done for. I think it is very possible, that many second generation Pokemon games have been thrown away because of the false claims on the Nintendo website.

    The only thing missing on there is: “You can buy Zelda/Super Mario World/Pokemon Silver… on Virtual Console again. If you have a non working game, which is not for sale in the Eshop, you’re out of luck. Do not download it from illegal websites or you will go straight to hell where you will be tortured for all eternity!

    And you, Nintendo can… read the third act of Götz von Berlichingen (Goethe) if you want to know what. Backup copies are justified and technically needed and DRM sucks, period!

    Next time I will present a non-Nintendo example of a problem that only exists because of DRM.
    KleinesSinchen Last time I presented a short text snippet taken from an instruction booklet (Donkey Kong Country) and only briefly commented it. I repeat my translation of this text:

    "Warning
    Copying Nintendo-games is illegal and violates German and international copyright laws. This is also valid for so-called backup copies, whose production is incidentally not necessary in any way. Every copying of games will be prosecuted by Nintendo."

    Okay, let’s analyze Nintendo’s claims/propositions in detail:

    ’1. Copying a Nintendo game I own is a so-called backup copy.’​

    This is really easy. If somebody bought a legit cartridge of Donkey Kong Country and copies the content of the rom-chip (for his/her own usage) and keeps the original cartridge this is indeed a backup copy and not a so-called backup copy. This is impudent. Bah! So-called backup copy.

    ’2. Copying Nintendo games violates German copyright laws.’​

    I do not know enough about international laws, so I focus on the German ones. Downloading copyrighted materials violates German copyright laws. Yes. This is very true. Borrowing games from friends, copying them and then giving them back is clearly forbidden too. No discussion about that. All clear.
    But what about backing up my own cartridge? There is this thing with the anti-circumvention laws… and Donkey Kong Country uses a form of copy protection. It writes to an address in SRAM higher than 2KB. This fails on the original cartridge and succeeds on old copiers which provide more space, for games that have more SRAM.
    If more than 2KB SRAM → BOOM! Show stupid copyright screen. "It's a serious crime to copy video games… and so on."
    DKC is copy protected. But the anti-circumvention law is not relevant for software in Germany. I am not a lawyer, so I may not give legal advise. But I can read the laws. I use common sense (although this might not be a good idea when it comes to laws) and express my opinion - free speech. Look at the following copyright laws from the "Urheberrechtsgesetz". I will not provide a full translation; Correct translation of laws is a nightmare and I’m not remotely skilled enough to do it:

    Urheberrechtsgesetz(UrhG):
    §95a:
    This is the anti-circumvention law. It sounds like this: "You may not copy any copyrighted material if it is somehow ‘effectively’ copy-protected and you may not circumvent protection. Blablabla." It is not defined what is effective in the sense of this law (really clever, huh?).
    §69a:
    (5) The regulations in (many different §§) and §95a to §95d are not applicable on computer programs.
    §69d:
    (2) Producing a backup copy (by a person authorized to use the software) may not be contractually forbidden if it (the backup) is necessary to ensure future usability/availability.
    A video game is a computer program. Good. But what about the necessity of backups?

    ’3. It is not necessary to produce backups of Nintendo games.’​

    Mask ROM is very persistent. I have a lot of Nintendo games. None of the roms (the chips) has shown any malfunctions so far. Nintendo cartridges are long-lived. To a lesser extend this is also true for the consoles. I do not have any Nintendo equipment, that failed electronically due to its age. This is so awesome! Even the save battery (wear part!) in Zelda II, the stamp on the battery says 1989, is fully operational.
    The control sticks in N64 controllers wear easily and I read about bad capacitors in the N64 power supply (mine are still working tough, so no need to solder yet). The 72 pin connectors in my NES consoles are a little worn-out, and the mechanic for holding down the cartridge is not perfect anymore, but everything works.
    So they are in fact right. Right? It is completely unnecessary to make copies. Wrong. Incredibly wrong! Eventually the consoles will fail. It’s a matter of time.

    And guess what: The TV I had in the 90s is already broken. Oh, it broke long ago. Repairing was impossible: No parts available. And the next TV is also busted for the same reason. I looked at the TVs not long ago in an electronic store. Some do not have any analog input connectors anymore. So in a few years, when my current TV gives up the ghost, I will have to get an analog/digital converter to get HDMI output for the old consoles. If these converters still exist then. And if there is a model without much delay so games are playable. It may be possible to service/repair and keep the consoles usable for some more time. But it gets more and more complicated. As much as I love the old machines, at some point using an emulator is just the easiest way. Not everybody wants to invest much time (and money) in old equipment. I try my best, but there is only so much I am able to do.

    Conclusion: The text in the manual is complete nonsense.

    But this is not the end. No. Nintendo is telling us more rubbish. Not in this old instruction manual. On their current German website.
    KleinesSinchen This is the first time I upload a detailed personal opinion on a topic. That alone is not easy for me. Plus: I have do to it in English. Although I read a lot in English on the Internet and watch videos in English, I’m not quite comfortable about writing or even speaking the language myself. I often feel very insecure and doubtful and use dictionaries (online and printed) a lot. So maybe my texts look a little odd sometimes and I choose the wrong words if there are multiple possibilities with different connotations or a slightly different meaning.

    There are two conflictive demands – I think both are justified:

    There! Already! Grrr! The LibreOffice spellchecker does not like the word ‘conflictive’. I have taken it directly from dict.leo.org! Maybe I should have chosen antithetic, oppositional or opposed.
    1. The copyright owners want to make money by selling licenses to the end user. They do not want their content copied thousands(or millions) of times without being paid. I will not highlight their point of view in my text a lot because I’m not a content provider/producer/publisher or whatever, but an end user. It is not my job to bring forward their arguments. They do this all the time by themselves (totally okay) and they use a lot of questionable statements and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in their texts and videos (not okay in my opinion, I’ll get to an example later on...).
    2. The end user who paid for the content license wants unhindered access to content he/she paid for. Unless the agreement is about renting access to content (e.g. Netflix, Microsoft Office 365) there are no time constraints. If I pay for a book (paper not epub with Adobe DRM or similar) I may read this book now, again in two years, in twenty years and my descendants may read it in a hundred years – without paying again. If I pay for a DVD/BD I may (for personal use of course) watch the movie as often as I like. If I bought Super Mario Bros. in 1986 for the NES, I have the right to play Super Mario Bros. in 2018 without paying for it over and over again.

    The user in trouble:

    From the perspective of an end user interested in keeping her/his content (her/his content in the sense: content the person owns a licenses for) over decades, there is a problem: Call it decay, call it aging, call it wear and tear, maybe degeneration or call it euphemistically technological progress. Whether it is done deliberately (planned obsolescence) or involuntary, man-made goods age, fast or slow, and they all will become unusable at some point.
    Data storage media like paper/papyrus, film/microfilm/microfiche, optical media (e.g. CD/DVD/BD), magnetic storage (e.g. tape, floppy disks, hard disks), electronic storage (e.g. SRAM, EEPROM, Flash, Mask ROM), are no exception. To keep our information (text, audio, video, software) we must copy it over and over again.
    This is my reason for opposing DRM in any form. I do not want to lose anything! I like my old stuff and I do not want to buy new licenses for content I already paid for; that would be ridiculous. There are a lot of books, movies and games in my collection that aren’t for sale anymore. So even being willing to pay again is not gonna help every time. I also do not want to give up old content just because there is new content (I will not stop playing NES games just because there are a lot of successors).

    For the next paragraph and my example I run into a problem, as GBAtemp.net is an English website and the rules say: “legible English language only” I want to quote a text from the last page of many instruction manuals of SNES games. This small extract made me angry when I was a child and it makes me furious now. I could go up the wall whenever I see it. Because I live in Germany, I have German instruction booklets. The example comes from Donkey Kong Country. So… I will risk it, quote the text and try my best to translate it:

    „Warnung
    Das Kopieren von Nintendo-Spielen ist illegal und verstößt gegen deutsches und internationales Urheberrecht. Das gilt auch für sogenannte Sicherungskopien, deren Fertigung im übrigen auch in keiner Weise erforderlich ist. Jedes Kopieren von Spielen wird von Nintendo verfolgt.“
    ======
    "Warning
    Copying Nintendo-games is illegal and violates German and international copyright laws. This is also valid for so-called backup copies, whose production is incidentally not necessary in any way. Every copying of games will be prosecuted by Nintendo."
    (I hope I got this translation right or at least good enough and understandable.)


    Sina, keep calm! Do not use bad words… There’s no reason to get angry. You’ve seen this countless times. Nothing new… Okay:

    This is a gigantic pile of BULL…!

    This was admittedly only a quick review of Nintendo’s statements. Next time I will try to analyze their claims/propositions in a detailed – and hopefully – realistic way.