Pirated games refer to licensed games that were illegally distributed. Sometimes this term can often be confused with bootleg games despite the two being different. On this wiki, these generally refer to licensed games released on a physical format and being sold by actual distributors.
In countries where console manufacturers and publishers have no control over their products, pirated games were rather rampant. Publishers/distributors would generally take an existing game put it on a new cart/CD and sold it as their own.
With cartridges, more often than not, the cart art is usually different from the official art, sometimes not even related to the game. Some of these carts may have the name either spelled incorrectly or the cart itself can be mislabeled. Sometimes these games are left untouched but they might also be altered in such a way to either change the title to something else and/or remove the copyrights. However, these modifications may trigger an anti-piracy routine that can render a game unplayable. (Notable examples include pirated carts of Ninja Gaiden, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project and Shatterhand) Some pirated carts have been re-translated into other languages but these are often rare. One notable publisher who has released re-translated pirated games is Waixing.
Most multicarts can be considered as "pirated carts" if there's at least one licensed game on the cart. Carts like these will also appear on some Famiclones. Despite the fact that Nintendo's hardware patents for the NES has expired, software patents have not which generally makes it illegal if a Famiclone is sold with one.
Pirated games and BootlegGames Wiki
Almost all pirated games on BootlegGames Wiki aren't and should not have their own articles as they're basically just licensed games on a different board and cart shell. Articles for these games most likely exist on Wikipedia and other wikis and documenting them here would be redundant. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:
- Bootleg hacks of licensed games - Usually these change up the graphics enough and often pass off as something else which technically makes them bootlegs despite the original game being licensed. In the case of title hacks, these should be left for a general page listing all known title hacks for consoles.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta - Notable for being a prototype of a game that was released as well as the amount of unused content it had on the cart.
- Time Diver: Avenger - Notable for being a title hack of an unreleased game being distributed by pirates.
- Pirated Games Museum - A wiki that documents all known pirated cart variations.