Game rip

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A game rip (or gamerip) refers to a pirated version of a game that was stripped down in order to fit under scene rules. This is largely a historical artifact of The Scene since no size limits exist today and releases are generally made in their entirety as disc images.


Game ripping reached its zenith in the 1990s, during the transition from floppy disks to CD-ROM as the predominant removable storage medium. While CD-ROMs offered vastly increased storage capacity, the growth in network speed was relatively slow in coming. Games of that era, such as Doom, were typically 10–20 MB in size before the adoption of the CD-ROM gave rise to a sudden explosion to 650 MB through the arbitrary inclusion of CD-DA audio and full-motion video to take advantage of the storage capacity. The most basic rips simply removed CD-DA audio and blanked video files, stripping games back down to sizes that were feasible for distribution over 28.8k dialup connections.

With time, and the advent of 3D graphics, actual game content began to take over more of the disc space, as better hardware prompted higher resolution graphics and sound. As network speeds began to increase with 56k dialup and early broadband, the scene responded by revising its rules to allow for larger releases. However, ripping was still more difficult due to ever-increasing sizes of game assets. Towards the end of the game ripping era, releases were often distributed with MP3 audio in order to meet release rules, but after downloading, the files would then have to be backsampled to the raw formats the game actually used (e.g. WAV).

With the rise of broadband internet across large parts of the world, releases of multiple CD and DVD sized games become a feasible process and the images provided by groups were in fact direct copies of the original CD image, usually with copy protection bypassing tools supplied either as part of the image or in a separate archive. The proliferation of BitTorrent has aided in distribution of scene releases, though past methods such as Usenet and transfer over DCC protocols remain common as well.

Despite this, ripped and/or repacked versions of video games are still in demand especially with users who have slower connections - as certain games such as Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Max Payne 3 and a few others take up more than 10 GB of space, and, as a consequence, take longer to download.


The Dreamcast prompted a small revival of game ripping. The proprietary GD-ROM format used in the system cannot be read using standard PC hardware (CD/DVD drives). Believing this to be an effective lockout, Sega neglected to disable the drive's ability to read CD-Rs, a feature which is frequently used by developers in the process of testing and debugging new games. With the aid of serial port cable or "coder's cable" and later the "Broadband adapter" accessory, hackers were able to read the contents of GD-ROMs onto a hard disk, and then remaster the files into a CD-R image which could be burned and played with no modification to the Dreamcast itself. However, since the GD-ROM had higher capacity than a CD-R, it was not always possible to achieve a perfect copy in this manner. Thus, several scene groups applied ripping techniques to remove or downsample the game's content so that it would fit on a CD-R.