Owners of Tron: Evolution game can't play it because of DRM fuckery

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/05/thanks-securerom.html

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Yes i hear you, but actually stopping players from wasting their time on a shitty game if anything seems like a mercy.




A 10 year old game. While this isn’t good, chances are the DRM has been broken or end rounded some how.

That kind of user applied fix isn’t exactly uncommon on older games to begin with.


This sounds like it could be the premise for a new Tron movie.


Apparently it’s less the players who play it for the enjoyment of the game design itself and more the speedrunners.


I watched Jim Sterling’s video about this just this morning. What phenomenal fuckery.

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This game also appears to be out of print. It’s not available for direct sales on any of the usual venues. NOS and used copies for console seem plenty available from 3rd party sellers, Ebay and the like.

I didn’t try with that comic, but other XKCD comics that I have tried to use Firefox’s screenshot feature on have been mangled intentionally or unintentionally by whatever code base he uses to run his site.

steal this comic is a funny but inaccurate title in my opinion. XD


You can just save the images directly by left clicking on them.

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bOING bOING’s “one box” feature works just fine for xkcd.

Literally the only thing I had to do to get the image was put


the above in my post

turns out after writing my post I right clicked to check and ya easy peasy I could get it. so I thought about it and realized the times I tried to use a screen cap tool was when it was more than one picture OR when he wrote clever text under it that I’d like to keep with the picture.

I knew I must of had a reason to use a convoluted method. XD thanx for the help though everyone.

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The reasons are known.

tl;dr: The publisher didn’t re-up their DRM subscription (IOW they didn’t perpetually license it, probably to save money) so the activation servers won’t approve the DRM requests.

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While we’re on the subject:

Let’s say I had an app from around 15 years ago that requires online/telephone activation, but the publisher has taken down the activation servers and no longer supports it in any form. And let’s say it’s sufficiently obscure that there’s no easily-available crack floating around in the wild. Where could I go for assistance in cracking something like that?

I get the feeling that it’s something like a twenty-minute job for someone who knows what they’re doing, but that I could easily spend weeks banging my head against it without making any progress. And I also get the feeling that there are people who would eagerly charge hundreds of dollars for the job only to provide a ransomware virus in exchange.

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The private industry has a process in place for this sort of thing: Code Escrow.

The idea is that in case an ISV goes out of business, the customer could get a copy of the code to write and maintain the software themselves (or contract it out).

I wonder if the EFF could feasibly set up a Code Escrow repository and somehow work out a deal to make it attractive (and free) to game companies.

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Usually these things involve disassemblers, debuggers, and hex editors. Not really difficult if you know what you’re doing.

Another option is to try to intercept the network request that it’s making to fool it into activating. If it’s really old it may do everything in the clear without encryption (but it may do some kind of signing which can complicate things). You’ll still probably need a debugger to see how the code is handling activation responses.

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Thinking about the problem in reverse, if I bought a game from a company, and ten years later the money I used to pay for it stopped being valid, I doubt anyone would be satisfied with me saying that I’m working on it, but can’t commit to when the problem would be solved.
I suspect that there would probably criminal charges and complaints of monetary defacement or tortious interference or something along those lines.

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