10 Genius Ways Video Games Fought Pirates

Seriously, what is the square root of a fish?

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CD Projekt RED / Ubisoft

Video game piracy has been around since the industry’s first big boom in the early 1980s (if not earlier). As such, developers have continuously had to think of newer, better, and cooler ways of punishing people who are bold enough to take what isn’t theirs.

Case in point: the 10 examples featured below, all of which highlight some of the most brilliantly disruptive and imaginative ways video games turned the tables on those who refused to obtain them legally.

Did said perpetrators learn a lesson from their experience? We certainly hope so, but at the very least, we all had a very good laugh at their expense...

10. Drunken Camera - Grand Theft Auto IV

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Rockstar Games

Like its predecessors, 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV is full of fun things to do outside of completing main missions. For instance, protagonist Niko Bellic can go on romantic dates, work as an assassin or thief, and call up any number of friends – including his cousin, Roman – to play darts, go bowling, visit a strip club, or get overwhelmingly drunk.

The effects of that last activity (a wobbly camera alongside unsteady driving and walking) are supposed to subside before too long (and even more quickly if you engage in another hobby or drop off your companion immediately after leaving the bar).

That is, unless the PC version of GTA IV is played without a license. Anyone shameless (or unlucky) enough to do so will – after about two or three minutes – be met with an unbearably shaky camera that cannot be turned off. It even impacts cutscenes!

GTA IV implements other disciplinary measures, such as vehicles accelerating automatically and fixed missions being unbeatable for various reasons. Still, trying to navigate Liberty City through the eyes of a completely inebriated Niko is an especially ingenious and harmful penalty.

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Hey there! Outside of WhatCulture, I'm a former editor at PopMatters and a contributor to Kerrang!, Consequence, PROG, Metal Injection, Loudwire, and more. I've written books about Jethro Tull, Opeth, and Dream Theater and I run a creative arts journal called The Bookends Review. Oh, and I live in Philadelphia and teach academic/creative writing courses at a few colleges/universities.