You can never be too careful. Lawyers are lurking everywhere. It’s important to protect yourself. For example, my parents had to sign a contract over twenty years ago to let me play a pirated version of Doom at the age of fourteen. Sound absurd? Let me explain!
Doom is a tough game. I remember how crassomatly detailed I found the sprites of the enemies back then. From today’s perspective, of course, it’s ridiculous, but it’s not my fault that they used words like “crassomatly” in my class. I don’t know what was worse for the adults back then: the vocabulary of “today’s youth” or the displayed brutality of Doom. In the end, however, Doom ended up on the index. “Crassomatly” didn’t.
Doom’s presence on the index ensured that it could not be played easily at the age of fourteen. The Internet thing hadn’t caught on yet, so you had to rely on floppy disks passed around during recess.
One day a crassomatly rumor made the rounds: it was about Doom. Someone owned it. Someone was playing it. Needless to say, I was skeptical at first. I basically didn’t believe any schoolyard rumor anymore, after all, I had really had a friend in elementary school whose uncle both worked at “Nintendo” and was a Bundesliga referee AND Michael Zorc. I was cautious. But at the same time I was lucky: The Doom guy was a friend of min
I confronted him and indeed: He owned Doom. As a pirated copy. On floppy disk. I visited him and we played. For hours. It was fantastic. Unfortunately, I had to go home at some point. I asked my friend if he could pull the game onto floppy disk for me to continue playing at home. He said no. The game was a pirated copy, was on the index and was from eighteen. There were so many levels where we weren’t actually allowed to play the game that he didn’t want to risk giving it to me. It was just too risky for him.
Of course, I wasn’t satisfied with that. I stubbornly insisted on making a copy. Then one day my friend came up with the only logical solution to our problem: He drafted a contract.
In this contract he put together the hard facts. Doom was eighteen and up. Doom was indexed. It was also a pirated game. If one day the police showed up at my door to arrest me for any of these circumstances, my parents contractually agreed not to prosecute him for it and to bear the blame solely themselves.
This written out contract was actually presented to my parents one day. We provided a few more explanations to show them that Doom wasn’t actually that bad. The crassomatly of the situation: my parents signed. My father took one look at Doom’s gameplay, shrugged his shoulders, let out a “Well.” and the matter was simply settled.
Unfortunately, I no longer own the Doom contract. In fact, I don’t think we ever received a copy. Careless, I know. Especially in this day and age. You can never be too careful.
In Doom, you shoot demons because they think Mars belongs to them. But it doesn’t. Everything else should be known to everyone. Because it’s Doom.
This post is also available in: German