This page pretty much clarifies what articles should belong on this wiki.
The terms "bootleg games", "pirated games" and even "unlicensed games" can get kind of confusing and are even used interchangeably despite their definition (like our forum Bootleg Games Central Forum did!) . To clear things up a bit:
- Pirated games - Licensed games that are sold illegally.
- Bootleg games- Games that were developed using unauthorized content and/or attempt to act as an official license and are generally sold without the console maker's consent.
- Unlicensed games - Any game sold without the console maker's consent. While bootleg games do fall under this, this term is generally used for non-bootleg unlicensed games which are usually original.
Articles we do want
- Bootleg ports and originals
- Example of bootleg ports: Street Fighter II Pro (FC/NES port of Street Fighter II), Rockman 8 (Game Boy port of Mega Man 8), Hercules 2 (Genesis and SNES ports of Hercules)
- Example of bootleg originals: Titenic (based off of James Cameron's Titanic), Soul Falchion (fighting game whose roster consists of characters from Samurai Shodown and The Last Blade)
- Unlicensed games (Unreleased unlicensed games also deserve their own article)
- Bootleg/Unlicensed hacks of licensed games that were sold
- Example: Super Mario 4 (hack of Crayon Shin Chan 4), Sonic the Hedgehog (SNES) (hack of Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos)
- NOTE: In the case of hacks that only hack the title screen (either an actual modifcation or in the case of some multicart hacks, completely wiping out the title graphic and only having a specific title on the menu) and not much else (no other changes to graphics, may or may not modify gameplay elements like the amount of lives), these do not deserve their own article. An article that's just a general list of these title hacks should be made instead. In the article, the hack itself should be listed as well as what it's hacking and any additional changes.
- Publishers/Developers/Distributors responsible for pirated games/bootleg games/unlicensed games
- Multicarts (NOTE: If a multicart appears to be very similar to another one, don't make a separate article and put it in the other multicart's article)
- Console clones, fake clones and hardware manufacturers (NOTE: For Famiclones, even though Nintendo's hardware patents have expired, they still get documented here)
- Franchises generally targeted for bootlegs (NOTE: For these articles, don't go too much into detail about the original games. These are meant to focus on the bootlegs surrounding them.)
- Common development tools or engines/emulators used by bootleg/unlicensed developers
- Generalization articles (Articles focusing on a single aspect among unlicensed/bootleg games. You should ask before making these because the article may or may not be useful for this wiki.)
Articles we DON'T want
- Licensed games - It doesn't matter if they were pirated and went under a different name and/or suffered from copy protection problems, it still goes against what this wiki is meant to document. If you wish to document pirated licensed game carts, go to Pirated Game Museum for that. For standalone PocketNES GBA carts, they should be listed on the PocketNES article instead. Exceptions include:
- Bootleg/Unlicensed hacks of licensed games - As mentioned above. (Translation hacks are a gray area at the moment, ask about these before making an article dealing with them)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta - This is notable for being a prototype originally stolen from Sega themselves and reproduced as a bootleg cart. It became famous after it's discovery due to showing the development of Sonic 2 at the time and containing some levels that would be cut from the final.
- Time Diver: Avenger - Notable for being a title hack of an unreleased game being distributed by pirates.
- Publishers/Developers that only deal with licensed games and normal consoles. - They generally go against what this wiki is meant to document and it would be way too much to list every single bootleg thing related to them.
- Homebrew Games/ROM hacks of licensed games - Homebrew games are technically unlicensed games and some are even sold as carts. The general difference between these and the unlicensed games documented on this wiki is that the former is made as a hobby and usually don't have a full-time development team behind them. ROM hacks follow a similar suit except they're a modification of an existing game and aren't sold by the original hacker. Some of these appear on bootleg carts or PocketNES compilations without the hacker's permission (some of them will even take their credits out) but this doesn't mean they belong on the site. Exception:
- GBA Pokémon Hacks - This is a bit of a gray area but these make up a major part of GBA bootleg games and deserve at least some kind of mention. However, when editing the article, there's no need to go into great detail about them.
- Fake Games/"Creepypasta" games - This technically falls under fake info in General Rules. "Creepypasta" generally refers to paranormal stories intended to scare or creep out the reader. Some stories have been known to involve a fake bootleg hack of a licensed game. Generally, these games are fake and often involve hacking techniques way too advanced for any bootleg hacker to do and/or care for. Making articles about these games will most likely get you banned.
- Fan games - Even if they try to act like a bootleg game or incorporate things from other bootleg/unlicensed games, this wiki is not meant to document them.
- ROM hacks of unlicensed/bootleg games - Sometimes developers will take another bootleg/unlicensed game (or even their own!), hack it and sell it. These generally don't deserve their own pages but you can make a redirect page to the original game's article and document the hack in that game's article. For ROM hacks made without the intent of selling, similar rules apply to ROM hacks of licensed games and can be even considered as fake info.
- Sometimes it might be hard to differentiate between a hack and a game using the same engine. Games like Hummer Team's Kart Fighter and Mortal Kombat II appear to be similar but the latter isn't considered a hack because there's quite a few notable differences. With the case of Doraemon, it appears as an original game but it's mainly just a hack of Somari; all of the controls remain the same and the enemies and bosses have been left untouched minus some graphical changes to them.
- Mapper hacks of licensed/unlicensed/bootleg games and FDS conversions - Same rules go for unlicensed/bootleg ROM hacks, these are generally just revisions having a different mapper. Mapper hacks of licensed games and FDS conversions generally don't deserve their article but can be mentioned in a publisher's/distributor's article.
Articles that may be allowed in the future
NOTE: Do not make articles involving these yet, these are topics that need to be discussed among staff.
- Modern PC games/Mobile games - Due to their platforms, there's no need for an official license to distribute games. With that in mind, the issue is that a lot of the games that could qualify tend to blur the line between being a knock-off, a clone and just standard plagiarism.