#3. Japanese Game Outs You as a Pervert
Cross Days is an "erotic visual novel" (porn game) released last year in Japan, but you already knew that. Imagine a cross-dressing anime version of Heavy Rain, with more boning, if you will. This clearly isn't the sort of PC game you would recommend to someone at the office, or set your Facebook profile to post "achievements" of -- which is really unfortunate for those who tried to pirate it.
Really, this is one of the tamest covers to a porno we've ever seen.
What They Did:
As usual, it only took a few days since Cross Days was released for it to be cracked and posted to torrent sites and such. However, some of those pirated copies included a little surprise: a hidden trojan virus passing itself as the game installer that would ask players to fill out a survey full of personal information (like real name and phone number) ... and then post it online for everyone to read.
"Please check the box if you suffer from premature ejaculation."
But most pirates would be likely to lie on that survey, right? Sure, and that's why the virus also took a screenshot of the player's desktop and uploaded it to the same website. If they were hoping to catch the pirates doing something embarrassing, they succeeded: One guy was caught reading plant-related erotica.
At least one guy.
The exposed pirates could always ask for their information to be taken down ... as long as they publicly admitted to illegally downloading a Japanese porn game. The makers probably intended the "illegally downloaded" part to be the most shameful, but we're guessing that's not what the mothers of the pirates took issue with.
"No, you see, mom -- they only look like they're 12!"
The site that hosted the surveys has since been taken down, although some of the compromising desktop screenshots still remain (we'd look for more examples but honestly, we're afraid to).
If one more intern commits ritual suicide, we'll lose our liability coverage.
Most sources seem to imply that the developers themselves uploaded the trojan. Is that even legal? In this case, it actually is: The nature of the virus was mentioned and explained in the installer's Terms of Service agreement -- thus proving that even the companies know nobody reads those things.
#2. Ubisoft Assaults the Ears of Michael Jackson Fans
Illegal downloading of DS games has become such a big problem that Nintendo specifically designed the 3DS to be impossible to hack -- and it still happened within 24 hours. Ubisoft, the company responsible for the DS version of Michael Jackson: The Experience, came up with a much more efficient solution to the piracy problem: create the most unbearably annoying video game of all time.
And then put an anti-piracy feature on it.
What They Did:
The feature is simple, yet utterly effective. The game renders pirated copies unplayable by obliterating the entire soundtrack with the most obnoxious noise known to man: a shitload of vuvuzelas blasting at full volume.
If you ever wondered what Hitler's soul would sound like, there you go. It reminds us of the black plague, or worse yet, a soccer match.
Hell is other people. With vuvuzelas.
As if that wasn't cruel enough, it also makes the game controls disappear as soon as the vuvuzelas come up, presumably in order to drive the player to suicide as he struggles to find a way to exit the current screen. As soon as your instinct of self-preservation kicks in, there will be little you can do to stop yourself from smashing the DS with a rock until it no longer exists.
We'd recommend a pickax. Fewer glass shards end up in your face that way.
So apparently by "The Experience" they meant "the worst moment in your life, possibly." The only way this could get more awful is if they took that soundtrack and slapped it on top of the despicable E.T. game for Atari, creating a vortex of evilness in the fabric of reality.
"This was our plan all along."
#1. Earthbound Crushes Your Soul
Some of the anti-piracy measures in this article are pretty brutal, but none can compare to the classic Super Nintendo RPG Earthbound. For one of the oldest and cutest-looking games on this list, it used surprisingly vicious tactics to not just punish pirates, but also make sure they completely hate themselves afterward.
You don't mess with Ness.
What They Did:
Right off the bat, when you start the game and it detects that you're using a pirated cartridge, you get this warning screen:
"All right, I'll see what the booklet sa- SHIT, I don't have one! BASTARDS!"
Seems like a pretty standard warning, and in fact most pirates would probably assume it's included in every version of the game and ignore it. We believe the creators were counting on that, because what comes afterward is so much worse.
If you've played the game before, you might notice that this time around there seems to be a lot more enemies than you remember. That is fully intentional: The programmers specifically made the game harder in order to mess with your mind. Bear in mind that this is an RPG, so every time run into an enemy you have to go into that stupid "fight" screen.
OK, so it might take you significantly longer to reach the last level, but getting there is by no means impossible. You might even enjoy the challenge if you're an experienced player. Again, that's exactly as the programmers planned it, because after you make your way to the last boss, and just as you're preparing yourself for the final battle ... the screen freezes.
That's right, the game crashes itself entirely out of spite, forcing you to reset the console and reload your saved game in order to- wait a minute, what happened to all your saved games?!
Pictured: 30 to 40 hours down the drain.
Damn. That's cold, Nintendo.
To see how developers lure you in, check out 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted. Or learn about The 7 Commandments All Video Games Should Obey.