Games That Never Were, Entry #17

Tue, 07/27/2004 — Fasteriskhead

Don't Copy That Floppy: The Copyright Caper

Company: SIIA/America Online

Platform(s): Mac/PC

Description: In this freely-distributed educational game, you will take control of the hip and savvy MC DP (short for Disk Protector) to learn about the perils of copyright abuse. The evil Floppy Filcher and his henchmen want to hypnotize the world into thinking that stealing software is okay, and it's up to you to stop him! Guide DP through three levels of Piracy Purgatory, solving puzzles and answering trivia questions using all of your knowledge of copyright ethics and the fallacies of theft. Watch out, though, as danger lurks around every corner, and Floppy Filcher will stop at nothing to defeat DP once and for all!

Why It Failed: Intended to be distributed online via AOL in a parallel release to the Don't Copy That Floppy video, the game turned out to be simply far too complex and unwieldy for the modems of the early-'90s to handle (even downloading the small five-second sound clip of DP rapping "don't don't don't d-don't, don't don't don't copy!!/don't don't don't d-don't, don't don't don't copy that floppy!!" took nearly an hour for some). Furthermore, the too-ambitious gameplay style, which was planned to marry fast-moving platformer action with puzzle-solving sequences and pop-up trivia challenges about copyright legalisms, recieved little to no time to be properly developed, tested, and fine-tuned. Finally deciding that the game would be too expensive for the small amount of exposure it would offer the issue of software piracy, AOL dropped it and the Don't Copy That Floppy video was released without a gaming counterpart.

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