Retro gaming has undergone a spectacular resurgence in the last few years. Low-cost computers like the Raspberry Pi and software like RetroPie have made it easy for anyone to build their own dream console, crammed with their childhood favourites, often for less than £50.
However, that low cost has been facilitated by the easily availability of ROM files (digital version of games) from sites like EmuParadise. The site has offered access to a vast library of titles across a wide spectrum of systems – all free of charge.
That created a quandary for gamers, and a grey area from a legal perspective. While there’s often no way to obtain digital versions of these games legally; downloading ROM files is still piracy. Generally speaking, gamers have been able to ease their consciences if they ever owned the original physical copy, but it’s clear that hasn’t always been the case.
Now, it seems, the chickens are finally coming home to roost. The rapid growth of DIY systems means repositories like EmuParadise have faced growing legal threats from rights holders. Today, the site announced it was removing all ROM files from the site.
In a blog post, the site said, after 18 years, it was unable to offer access to games in a way “that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble.”
The site’s owner – who said he started the site after growing up in India, where he was unable to access the games first time around – said continuing to offer ROM files wasn’t worth the “potentially disastrous consequences” for the team.
They wrote: “Through the years I’ve worked tirelessly with the rest of the EmuParadise team to ensure that everyone could get their fix of retro gaming. We’ve received thousands of emails from people telling us how happy they’ve been to rediscover and even share their childhood with the next generations in their families.
“We’ve had emails from soldiers at war saying that the only way they got through their days was to be lost in the retrogames that they played from when they were children. We’ve got emails from brothers who have lost their siblings to cancer and were able to find solace in playing the games they once did as children.”
It appears the rapid explosion of the retro gaming industry has ramped up the pressure on sites like EmuParadise. While console emulators once catered for a relatively niche group of the gaming community, more and more folks are jumping on board with the craze.
Given the likes Nintendo, Sega and Atari have responded by launching their own officially licensed hardware with classic titles built in, it’s hardly surprising that platforms like EmuParadise have come under more pressure
The founder said the site will continue to offer the system emulators database and provide a community, but no more games.
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