Instead of fighting crime, the good guys, those who actually purchase their stuff, have to site through unskippable anti-piracy adds and legal warnings. It’s a bitch slap in the face of the honest consumer.
The same is true for games. People are still pirating them without breaking a sweat, but you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to play your legally purchased copy. It’s quite ridiculous, and immensely disconcerting.
Here’s how you can fight back, smite down those loops, and enjoy your game without having to wrestle copy protection.
Different Kinds Of Copy Protection
In their fight against piracy, game publishers have come up with ever more irritating ways to enforce copy protection. The most common, as you all know, is the disk requirement. Without the ‘original’ CD or DVD inserted, your game will refuse to launch. Even though you don’t really need that disk.
A wave of outrage followed Ubisoft’s latest ‘security’ advancements. Some of their latest releases insist on an internet connection to start the game. Of course, if Ubisoft’s servers are down, or if you simply aren’t connected to the internet at the moment, you won’t be able to play.
Why Honest Consumers Will Want to Know Play Games Without CD
Whatever your opinion on piracy, the facts are simple. Copy protection isn’t hurting them. It takes less than a minute to work around it. It’s the honest consumer that’s affected.
Then, instead of simply recognizing it as a necessary evil, it’s your every right to do something about it. With your legal install, you can install the same no-CD cracks that pirates use, and enjoy your games with less of a hassle. You’re not pirating a game, but getting rid of a very unnecessary evil. This is also 100% legal if you own the game.
Note: as always, the online cracking environment is still riddled with spyware. Use semi-trusted sources, like those mentioned below, to minimalise the risk, and get yourself an anti-spyware program or firewall to get ever safer.
Using Cracks Is Ridiculously Easy
This article mostly focuses on no-CD cracks, i.e. tools that allow you to start your games without inserting the disk, because this kind of copy protection is the most common – and has long been smitten down. Other cracks exist as well, to circumvent different kinds of copy protection. Those can often be obtained and used in the exact same way. Be aware, though, that there are still a number of games that simply haven’t been cracked. In those situations, you’ll have to play by their rules, and jump all the hoops.
Please note that you cannot use a crack without first having the game installed. So don’t try starting games you haven’t bought and installed first. It just won’t work.
Installing cracks is often very simple, and always explained in the readme, but there are some common patterns. 95% of all cracks can be installed in one of three ways.
Gamename.exe & (optionally) *.dll Files
These are original game files, but cracked so they no longer require (e.g.) a disk to launch. They will bear the same names as some of your own game files. Copy them to the game’s folder in Program Files and replace the original. That’s it.
This application (also called a ‘patch’) will crack your game files on the spot. Launch it, guide it to the game’s folder in Program Files and hit crack.
These will add strings to your registry when you try to open them. In a nutshell, the registry is a big database where all your computer’s important data is kept. These aren’t as common as back in the day, but still show up once in a while.
Finding a Crack For Your Game
Finding the right crack isn’t very hard. With pirated games, they’re often included in the download. For your legal copy, you’ll have to take a peek in one of the so-called gray zones of the internet. As said before, there is always the possibility of a fake crack, so firewalls can be nifty. Sometimes, though, valid cracks are recognized as spyware, because they try to ‘patch’, or alter your game installation.
Below are some of the best sources for finding game cracks.
Possibly the single most trustworthy cracking site on the internet. This site tries to focus on legal copying, and offers a wide array of cracks and game trainers. This is the best place to start out.
Very similar to GameCopyWorld, and not merely in name. Sadly, it’s focusing ever more on trainers, and less on CD cracks. Keep your fingers crossed, though, because this is about the last ‘pretty safe’ crack site you can consult. The other sites offer a lot more cracks, but they’re also a lot more dangerous.
- Cracks(dot)me(dot)uk (NSFW)
Access this site on your own risk! Expect to be met with a considerate number of pop-ups, and sometimes very obscene ads (18+). This is the time to buy yourself a strong and resilient firewall and install an ad-blocker. I would tell you to stay away from this site, apart from the fact that its got absolutely everything. The fake virus cracks, sure, but also pretty much every real crack that’s out there.
Do you have any other tips on how to play games without CD? Let us know in the comments section below!