Or Corporate Rap Guy will KILL US ALL

by Nathan - April 17, 2003

The 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.

Yes, 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.

So 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?

The video begins with two teenagers in an empty classroom hammering away at a computer keyboard insetad of 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.

Hal 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!

There 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!

Hal 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!

Rap 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: " the end of the computer age! MUHAHAHAHA!"

Hal 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!

Rap 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.

Rap 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.

Hal, 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 they see.

Well, are you ready? ARE YOU?!

Hal 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 his team.

Having 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!

And 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.

So 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.



Interestingly, most of the games that the video admonishes you not to copy are available here.

Thanks to Archos for providing me with this video.

(Oh, and three thousand points will go to the person who correctly identifies the game I stole the names Hal and Emma from.)

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