Nothing. If you like that kind of thing. For many systems, they used to be the only way to play games on an emulator.
The reasons we do not like them very much are:
- They frequently do not work. This may not be immediately obvious, but many cracks cannot be played through to the end of the game because they were cracked incorrectly or they introduced bugs into the game.
- They sometimes have problems working like read/write errors, graphics corruption and sound corruption.
- Features of the game are sometimes missing, i.e. they have been stripped out by the cracker. This was usually to allow enough space to hold the cracked version (since the AmigaDOS disk format is not able to hold as much data as many custom disk formats), but also to create space for the crack “intro”.
- Sometimes the developer credits or titles have been replaced, and apart from the obvious, it is unlikely that the copyright holders will be happy with these versions being distributed.
- The high-score table was usually populated with cracker names or greetings.
- Cracking a game involves modifying the game code, which means anything can go wrong. It can cause a multitude of unwanted effects, but the saddest part about it is that many people seem to believe these were problems with the real game. This is annoying, since on the one hand you have companies who spent a whole lot of money on quality assurance, and on the other you had a cracker who was in a race to remove the Copy Protection for distribution as quickly as possible, quite often in one night.
- Rather arguably, if cracks never existed, there might be more originals around since a greater number of people would have treasured them that little bit more.
- Crack “intros”. Also known as “digital graffiti”. Though some people probably find these nostalgic, they do not belong with the game.
The real problem with cracks or copies is that you cannot determine if they fully work without testing every possible situation in the game. This is practically impossible for nearly all games.