early nineties were an amazing time to live in. The
markets were thriving, the world was at peace, and
many, if not all diseases had been cured.
Mankind was joined together in a celebration of its
own achievements. You know, like in the Matrix. Only,
instead of creating an artificial intelligence that
would eventually become our downfall, we instead were
struck a lethal blow by an ugly problem of a different
sort - software piracy.
it seemed that as the computer game industry boomed,
so too did the problem of people making illegal copies
of their favorite games. Still, there were some of
us who hid beneath the cloak of ignorance - those
who pretended to know little of the incredible damage
that their illegitimate copy of Thexder II was doing
to the industry. Or worse, they did know
that they were stealing - but they didn't care.
it was that in 1992 a special video was created for
those evil, evil people. Eleven years later that video
has landed in my downloads folder and it is in all
seriousness that I present a synopsis of it to you.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Don't Copy That Floppy.
Isn't racial harmony beautiful?
video begins with two teenagers in an empty classroom
hammering away at a computer keyboard
each other. They are evidently playing some sort
of competitive game, and the guy, who we'll call Hal,
quickly loses. Right off the bat I have to give credit
to the creators of this video - they have the average
white guy, sure, but they hit two demographics with
one stone by not only making his friend black, but
a girl. Outstanding.
challenges the girl, who we'll call Emma, to another
round, but she declines with the excuse that she doesn't
want to be late for her fourth-period class. Hal suddenly
grabs a disk out of nowhere and tells Emma that they
can "copy" the game and play at at his house
on their brother's computer later. Emma agrees and
they stick in the disk.
Young man, that is school property!
is a nasty electrical sound and the screen goes crazy.
A phat rap beat kicks in, badly confusing Hal and
Emma, and without warning, the Corporate Rap Guy appears
on the screen. He immediately begins rapping and dancing,
but in a very educational way.
Did I hear you right?
Did I hear you sayin'
You were gonna make a copy
Of a game without payin'?
Come on guys...
I thought you knew better!
Don't Copy That Floppy!
and Emma ask who he is and he identifies himself as
the Disk Protector, but for the purposes of this article
I will continue to call him Corporate Rap Guy. He
goes on to explain that when you steal games, you
steal from the creators themselves and that they can't
go on to make more games if you do that. There is
much more dancing and rapping, and even some weird
shots of Rap Guy mixed in with some actual in-game
footage to get the kids all excited and whatnot.
No more Carmen Sandiego,
No more Oregon Trail.
Tetris and the others,
They're all gonna fail!
Guy continues by saying that the more you steal, the
less there will be - until eventually all programs
will fall into a black hole (his words, I
swear) and there won't be any left. To further emphasize
this point, the screen goes black, the beat stops,
and an extremely ominous voice takes over: "Welcome...to
the end of the computer age! MUHAHAHAHA!"
and Emma are baffled but continue to watch. The Beat
drops again and Rap Guy reappears, dancing a little
more and eventually saying he wants to introduce you
to his 'team'.
Craig Dykstra and his Collossal Mullet!
Dave Butler, Nerd of Tomorrow!
Janet Hunter, She-Beast of the North!
Ilene Rosenthal, the Black Widow!
Guy's "team" prattle on even more about
how much you suck and deserve to rot in jail for stealing
that copy of Police Quest. They complain about how
they won't have enough money to make more games, and
once again they restate the recurring theme that making
that one little copy will single-handedly bring about
the downfall of computer gaming for all eternity.
Guy comes back and raps/dances even more, continually
urging the viewers with the same catch-phrase - "Don't
Copy That Floppy!" Hal and Emma take a little
break from paying attention to the Rap Guy (who is
probably quietly rapping to himself in the mean time)
to discuss the problem amongst themselves. Emma admits
that she wants to become a programmer herself, and
would hate for a horrific crime like this to mar her
permanent record, as well as having to live with the
guilt and shame of having made an illegal copy of
whatever game they were playing.
who seems a little slow on the uptake, still
isn't entirely convinced, so the Corporate Rap Guy
gives it one more shot. He busts out one last time,
telling them that they're the bright new generation
and they have the power to do the right thing. He
then removes his evil influence from their computer
and leaves them with the massive, crushing moral dillemma
of copying the game - as embodied in the Copy prompt
Well, are you ready? ARE YOU?!
sees the light and wisely presses cancel, ejecting
the disk. A mighty blow has been struck in the hearts
and minds of these teenagers, and with any luck they
will be spreading the word and helping support the
message brought forth by the Corporate Rap Guy and
made such a life-changing decision, Hal challenges
Emma to another round of the game. She gleefully accepts,
promising to defeat him once more, and evidently forgetting
completely about that class she might be late for.
Alhough, having just watched a seven-minute rap video,
she probably doesn't have to worry about whether she
will make it on time anymore.
He's doing a line of coke while nobody's looking!
so this incredibly inspirational video came to a close,
its powerful message having been stated and restated
countless times. Unfortunately, I'm so cynical and
evil that it had exactly the opposite effect on me,
and I wanted to go Copy That Floppy even more badly
than I ever had before. I blacked out. By the time
I came to, it was three in the morning, and I was
sitting on the floor, surrounded by a pile of old
Sierra adventure games and full versions of popular
Apogee software titles.
in the end the message may not be as compelling as
it once was. But now that this video has found new
life on the Internet, perhaps someone, somewhere can
truly take its message to heart - and perhaps this
person will help put a stop to the downward
slide the industry has been in of late.