22 votes

Japanese police arrest man for selling modded save files for single-player Nintendo game

13 comments

  1. [7]
    nothis
    Link
    That's like a headline out of some corny cyberpunk story. Total evil megacorp stuff. It used to be you could just activate cheats with a few button presses. Anyone remember GameShark? How on earth...

    That's like a headline out of some corny cyberpunk story. Total evil megacorp stuff.

    It used to be you could just activate cheats with a few button presses. Anyone remember GameShark? How on earth have we sunk to this point?

    7 votes
    1. [6]
      hungariantoast
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah honestly cheat codes are accessibility options and should be included in every game. The only reason we even think of them as "cheats" is because the idea sprang up back when video games were...

      Yeah honestly cheat codes are accessibility options and should be included in every game. The only reason we even think of them as "cheats" is because the idea sprang up back when video games were almost exclusively designed by and for young men.

      Needless to say, video games have outgrown that demographic. Unfortunately, the fundamental ways we design them haven't, and it's really fucking frustrating.

      For instance, adding an accessibility option to N++ that gives each player a shield, enabling them to take one extra hit from a mine, missile, etc before dying isn't going to break the game. It's not going to "ruin the experience". It'll make the game slightly easier, significantly so on some levels, sure.

      But do you know what else it would do? It would allow my cousins and I to have fun playing it together for more than one hour before they get frustrated and want to play something else. It would make the game more enjoyable.

      Developers often like to talk about their games "skill ceiling". They need to spend more time thinking about the floor.

      8 votes
      1. [5]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        And by perfect coincidence, I bought and started playing Control last night. In the game's settings menu there is a section called "assist mode" that has several accessibility options for making...

        And by perfect coincidence, I bought and started playing Control last night. In the game's settings menu there is a section called "assist mode" that has several accessibility options for making the game easier:

        • Enhanced aim assist
        • Aim snapping
        • Multipliers that increase the speed of ammo and energy recovery
        • A damage reduction multiplier
        • Immortality
        • One hit kills

        Best of all? Enabling this stuff does not punish you by disabling achievements or some dumb shit.

        I'd love to see even more options included in the game, but this is the kind of stuff I was talking about. We need more of this in games.

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          DrStone
          Link Parent
          I'm generally all for exposing all manner of modifiers for the average player to tweak for their needs, so long as it the results don't completely break the game (e.g. let you get to and get stuck...

          I'm generally all for exposing all manner of modifiers for the average player to tweak for their needs, so long as it the results don't completely break the game (e.g. let you get to and get stuck in a place you normally need a special item to traverse) since that requires either possibly significant developer foresight and time/effort/alterations to accommodate every "assist" setting combination, or a bunch of people reasonably complaining that easy to change settings break the game.

          does not punish you by disabling achievements

          This, though, I don't agree with. While achievements are completely local and meaningless in some games, most modern games have some online comparisons (% of players who got a particular one, rankings for % achievements completed, etc.), and some even tie in to rewards (either in-game, or in the broader store). Aside from players caring, developers often use achievement completion stats to evaluate and balance a game instead of more invasive telemetries. "Assist" settings should either disable achievements, or switch to a duplicate set of "assisted" achievements.

          1. [3]
            hungariantoast
            Link Parent
            Why should players using assists not be eligible for earning rewards from completing achievements? Why would we ever want to gatekeep players with disabilities for instance, from being able to...

            Why should players using assists not be eligible for earning rewards from completing achievements? Why would we ever want to gatekeep players with disabilities for instance, from being able to earn rewards for playing the game?

            The attitude of your comment is exactly what I was talking about when I said games are still primarily designed for young men.

            Even if you're not a young man yourself, the opinions you're espousing here are really just a variety of ways of either providing ego boosts for the lowest common denominator of player, or gatekeeping players with disabilities or less experience.

            Gamers will get over it if not everyone who earns a Dark Souls achievement does so the exact same way. Letting players with disabilities use assists and still earn achievements doesn't detract from a typical player's experience when they earn an achievement "the hard way" for themselves.

            As for using achievements as pseudo-telemetry, that is so much less important than accommodating players who aren't typical. On top of that, I really don't think introducing assists is going to meaningfully affect whatever data you're trying to get from achievement stats anyways.


            Sorry if this comment comes off as abrasive. I'm about to go to sleep and typed it up on my phone so it might be a bit curt.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              DrStone
              Link Parent
              Precisely because they have not earned the achievement! Achievements are a recognition of particular feats of skill, determination, and (occasionally) a little luck under certain conditions....

              Why should players using assists not be eligible for earning rewards from completing achievements?

              Precisely because they have not earned the achievement! Achievements are a recognition of particular feats of skill, determination, and (occasionally) a little luck under certain conditions. Someone who didn't meet the criteria, or did so under different conditions, has simply not earned the same achievement. I'm not going to say you're not a "real gamer" or whatever nonsense for using assists. There's plenty of times I change difficulty or adjust settings to get through a game myself. You got to play the game in your own way, enjoy the experience, get from a start to a finish. Beyond that, to ask for the same meta recognition and reward without distinction, is ridiculous.

              Letting players with disabilities use assists and still earn achievements doesn't detract from a typical player's experience when they earn an achievement "the hard way" for themselves.

              A significant part of the appeal of achievements is the competitive nature and bragging rights, otherwise we'd all be fine with just the knowledge in our hearts and without explicit achievements. Once "everyone" has them, they become less meaningful, less noteworthy. Further, an unintended consequence could be new games thinking they really suck when they can't immediately get a super hard achievement is presented as easy due to the 90% completion rate thanks to assisted completions.

              I really don't think introducing assists is going to meaningfully affect whatever data you're trying to get from achievement stats anyways.

              You really think a bunch of people turning on god mode to get all of those achievements (and they definitely will if it's easy and they might get some rewards) won't impact the data?

              I'm not even going to touch the "young men" stuff.

              1 vote
              1. hungariantoast
                Link Parent
                I guess this is where we fundamentally disagree. I don't think it's okay to tell players with disabilities they haven't "earned" an achievement just because they needed to use assists, when for...

                they have not earned the achievement!

                I guess this is where we fundamentally disagree. I don't think it's okay to tell players with disabilities they haven't "earned" an achievement just because they needed to use assists, when for them the challenge, even with assists, might have been even greater than for typical players not using assists.

                I mean, ugh, if a developer really wants to include a separate set of "assisted achievements" then fine, but I honestly think that's super pointless.

                A significant part of the appeal of achievements is the competitive nature and bragging rights

                I'm aware of this, and I am specifically advocating that we destroy this mentality because it automatically excludes non-typical players.

                You really think ... won't impact the data?

                No, I really don't, because "achievement telemetry" is overwhelmingly used for one single point of data: how many players bothered to play until point X, Y, Z, or finished the game?

                Letting players using assists earn achievements is, if anything, going to only give you more accurate data on the rate at which players reach various parts of the game.

                2 votes
  2. [5]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    What? The Japanese police are lackies for Nintendo? Why is this not just going to court? Can someone in Japan or familiar with their culture shed some light? This seems insane to me.

    What? The Japanese police are lackies for Nintendo? Why is this not just going to court? Can someone in Japan or familiar with their culture shed some light? This seems insane to me.

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      Sheep
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      They are taking advantage of this law that was passed in Japan called the Unfair Competition Prevention Law which aims to protect a company's trade secrets, which it defines as Because modifying a...

      They are taking advantage of this law that was passed in Japan called the Unfair Competition Prevention Law which aims to protect a company's trade secrets, which it defines as

      Technical or business information that is:
      i) useful for commercial activities such as manufacturing or marketing methods,
      ii) kept secret, and
      iii) not publicly known.

      Because modifying a save file means you have accessed trade secrets and hampered them, they can use this law to go after you. The law is written in such a way that pretty much anything related to modifying a company's product and sharing that in any capacity can get you in trouble. It's absolutely insane to many of us, but this falls in line with Japan's extremely rigid copyright laws.

      Somewhat anecdotal example but I have talked to several streamers in Japan who have a rough time simply streaming just because they typically have to directly contact most companies to get explicit permissions to stream games, because unlike in the US, there is not only no fair use but you cannot monetize video game content at all without explicit permission (without risking a copyright strike of course). This is just to exemplify how big of a copyright choke hold companies hold in Japan.

      10 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        I'm incensed that governments - any of them - protect trade secrets. Trade secrets do not help society. They are a technological monopoly that lasts forever, and that only helps increase...

        I'm incensed that governments - any of them - protect trade secrets. Trade secrets do not help society. They are a technological monopoly that lasts forever, and that only helps increase inequality. Any government that protects them is openly corrupt.

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        Bullmaestro
        Link Parent
        If protecting trade secrets was the true intent of that law, then I'm really hoping that Japanese judges laugh this case out of the courtroom.

        If protecting trade secrets was the true intent of that law, then I'm really hoping that Japanese judges laugh this case out of the courtroom.

        3 votes
        1. stu2b50
          Link Parent
          This is Japan, after all. Fairly unlikely. There's a reason Phoenix Wright comes out of Japan - seriously, you can look it up, in Japan there is an over 99% conviction rate. If this guy got to the...

          This is Japan, after all. Fairly unlikely. There's a reason Phoenix Wright comes out of Japan - seriously, you can look it up, in Japan there is an over 99% conviction rate.

          If this guy got to the point where they arrest him, it's just a matter of how severe the sentencing wil be.

          5 votes
  3. babypuncher
    Link
    This seems wrong on so many levels

    This seems wrong on so many levels

    5 votes