I know that we disallow questions on pirated games, but the questions that typically get closed under that reason are questions that directly relate to actually committing piracy and/or resolving issues that would be solved by getting a legitimate copy of the game. This leaves a different set of questions that I've been wondering about.

Are questions about how to identify a pirated versus a legitimate game and/or whether a certain game source is "legit" allowed? That is, these would be questions that touch on the subject of piracy, but where the question-asker is explicitly or implicitly asking for help in not committing piracy - that is, they want to get a legitimate copy of the game but aren't sure how to tell if a specific copy is "legit".

I do know that pure "shopping" questions are already disallowed, so we shouldn't allow questions like:

Where can I download a legal copy of Zork II?

Here are some non-shopping questions that could be asked about identifying pirated games:

How do I identify a pirated Sega Saturn cartridge?

I bought this used XBox disc off of eBay and I noticed that the serial number starts with FFE and has only seven digits instead of the usual pattern. Does that mean that it is pirated?

The publisher "Nostalgia80sGameParadise" has uploaded what appears to be a port of the original "Bonk's Adventure" for TurboGrafx-16 to the Android Play Store. Is this a licensed copy?

Are these questions allowed? Are there any caveats to asking?

  • 9
    I can't find an example at the moment, but I've seen a few questions asking to help identify if their physical Gameboy cartridge was legitimate or fake; they seemed to be taken positively Jun 9, 2021 at 17:01
  • 3
    Incidentally, you can buy Zork II on Steam.
    – Kevin
    Jun 9, 2021 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


Questions asking for help to identify and avoid pirated game software and hardware should be permitted.

The core problem with most questions that ask about piracy is that answering them would promote or support the actual piracy. In these questions, users are often asking for help circumnavigating problems that have been caused by the actual piracy. In cases where the question asks for help in identifying and avoiding piracy, answering the questions would do the exact opposite.

Here are some examples of accepted questions within the rough scope of identifying piracy:

  • How can I determine if a used game is pirated?: This question is over ten years old, but it's the perfect example of the type of question you are asking about. Someone has asked for help identifying pirated Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS games, so as to avoid buying them when looking for used games.

  • Do I have a cracked launcher?: In this question, a user is asking for help identifying if their version of Minecraft is pirated. It has a great answer, which effectively reads 'if you purchased it from here it is legitimate, if you didn't it probably isn't. Here are some reasons you shouldn't pirate the game. Don't pirate the game.' A perfect example of an answer that aims to support anti-piracy.

  • What is Gameshare, and what should I do if I did it?: In this question, the user is asking if they illegally shared a game. The act of illegally sharing a game falls under video game piracy, so one might consider this to be a question asking for help identifying video game piracy. It would be up for interpretation, especially considering the misunderstanding that was involved in coming to the conclusion that the way they shared the game was illegal.

For further consideration, here are some questions that loosely fall under the same scope:

  • Does the original Game Boy game "Tetris" have a battery memory inside the cartridge?: In this question, the user plays the reverse card. They admit to having previously owned a pirated copy of the game, and are asking if the legitimate version also lacks a particular feature. While it doesn't really directly touch on identifying a pirated game, it does provide an example of a well-received question that directly talks about and admits to piracy.

  • Is Playing MW2 via AlterIW legal?: In this question, the user is asking if the use of a third-party server is legal. While this question did not directly touch on piracy, use of the server in question could allow users to circumnavigate the anti-piracy protection on the game. The question was locked by Wipqozn, citing that the server in question has been brought down, and the question only serves as a general 'can I play on a private server' question.


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