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Scott S.
11-12-2020 at 03:41 PM
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Beware of Dablio Games - they are pirates

To continue with the issue I brought up in Ulisses José's VCS Keystone Kapers thread (https://www.twingalaxies.com/showthread.php/222816-Atari-2600-VCS-Keystone-Kapers-NTSC-(Points)-1-000-000-Ulisses-Lima?p=1099246#post1099246)

The cart he used is an illegal knockoff of Robin Edward's UnoCart-2600:

https://github.com/robinhedwards/UnoCart-2600

They're currently being sold by The Brewing Academy for $40:

https://thebrewingacademy.com/products/uno-2600-cartridge

Unfortunately, an outfit called Dablio Games has been selling illegal copies since 2018. Here's their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/dabliogamesretro/

They are currently pirating the PlusCart, which came out late last year. The PlusCart is based on the UnoCart's design, and has the ability to connect to a local WiFi Network and the Internet.

I strongly suggest anyone interested in purchasing one of these to buy an original copy. Those are the people who need your support and deserve to be paid for their efforts. Outfits like Dablio Games are not only a scourge of the community but ultimately will hurt future developments of new products.

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  1. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    Thank you for confirming what I have suspected all along. This Dablio guy and his associates have been stealing, modifying, and selling others' active IP for years if not for more than a decade.

  2. AndreSantosMG's Avatar


    It seems to me that there is a consensus in the community, that the products developed by Dáblio Games are considered irregular, due to a series of factors already exposed. Does this, in any way, affect those who have these products as the only alternative and want to participate in the community, sending scores? I believe that I speak on behalf of the Brazilian players who have these products and would not, in any way, wish to participate negatively.

    Considering the negative impact of these products, I particularly plan to create conditions to purchase a cartridge like Harmony, an option that is well accepted by the community, in order to participate in a comfortable way. This, however, should not happen in a short time, unfortunately, and until I do, this cartridge considered irregular will still be my first and only option to continue.

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  3. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    I feel ya, Andre. Here's a different perspective that may not have been considered thus far. I love pinball machines. There are several current pinball WRs that I could easily beat on my first attempt without the need to practice or refamiliarize myself with the game after 30 years of not playing that particular machine. Piece of cake. However, in order for me to play and my submission is to be accepted, I must either find an arcade that has that machine available for public use *and* let me record the dip switches, or buy one myself, or find an alternate version already accepted by the community. It is extraordinarily unlikely that some of these machines can be found within a few hundred miles of my location, so playing in an actual arcade is not a viable option. Moreoever, I can't just drop a few thousand dollars to get my own machine. Alas, I am left without a way to play and submit, even though someone who lives within a few miles of where these machines are can play whenever they want, or someone with money to burn can buy their own. This dynamic is not necessarily considered "unfair". Some people in some regions will have greater access to some things than other people in other regions. I'd love to play old PAL-50 console games and submit, however, gathering the hardware and equipment to make it possible would be quite a challenge for me ... so I just don't ... for now, even though for others, it may be just a drop in the bucket. It stinks, even though it is not inherently unfair.


    With that being said, retro console games do have an alternative option that many modern console gamers do not have, and it is an option that is robustly supported by TG and the community: emulators, just as pinball machines also have emulation options. Sure, I can't submit my e-Pinball cabinet/Virtual Pinball scores to the arcade pinball category, which sucks, but that's how it goes even though I have the skills to be atop many of the arcade pinball leaderboards. At least with retro consoles, unlike pinball, there is a tremendous amount of activity in their respective emulation categories.


    As far as this hardware by Dablio, there are *two* standards: 1. The rules, which explicitly prohibit or allow one thing or another; and 2. what is generally acceptable or objectionable to the parts of or the entire community, even though what is being objected to is not explicitly prohibited by the rules. There is a big difference between the two, and it is understandable when someone not very familiar with the TG system conflates the two. It is important to understand which of the two any particular objection applies to. In the case of XXX-in-1 multicarts, the objection was that it violates the rules, so even if the community in part or largely find absolutely nothing wrong with what is being objected to, it is still prohibited. Dablio's XXX-in-1 multicart is one such example, although our system even provides a way for that particular piece of hardware to be allowed .... which is simply to make a track allowing for it. Doing just that was offered, and the offer was declined. In the case of the SD card reader made by Dablio, although it is not against any explicit rule as far as I know (I could be wrong ... it may very well violate a rule), many in the community object to it due to some known and some unknown factors (unknown factors being more of a problem, as alluded to by Barthax above). Even with that being the case, the submission was still accepted. So, as of now, there is absolutely nothing stopping you or anyone else from submitting score where the thief's wares were used to achieve the scores. I would simply caution anyone wishing to do so to not be surprised or outraged if weeks, months, or years later, their scores get disputed and removed due to a newly discovered issue with the medium on which the games were played. The lower the reputation of the manufacturer, the more likely future disputes will arise with submissions that involved their hardware.

    As for me, and I think Ive been pretty clear on it, I have a really challenging time voting yes on any submission where Dablio's products are used ... but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't use them ... it just means that if you do, simply submit scores that were achieved using them to the correct track, or if you insist on submitting them to the original hardware track, that's fine, too ... I wish you the best of luck getting those performances accepted by the community, and wish you even more luck ensuring they stay accepted in perpetuity. I'm not a betting man, but I know low odds when I see them. Again, I could be wrong.

    I hope this perspective helps.

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    Updated 11-12-2020 at 08:18 PM by Garrett Holland
  4. Scott S.'s Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by AndreSantosMG


    It seems to me that there is a consensus in the community, that the products developed by Dáblio Games are considered irregular, due to a series of factors already exposed. Does this, in any way, affect those who have these products as the only alternative and want to participate in the community, sending scores? I believe that I speak on behalf of the Brazilian players who have these products and would not, in any way, wish to participate negatively.

    Considering the negative impact of these products, I particularly plan to create conditions to purchase a cartridge like Harmony, an option that is well accepted by the community, in order to participate in a comfortable way. This, however, should not happen in a short time, unfortunately, and until I do, this cartridge considered irregular will still be my first and only option to continue.

    As you mentioned in a message to me, Dablio Games is an "one man company", and Wilson Gutierrez is the guy behind it.

    I realize buying pirate carts is less expensive for some folks, but an authentic UnoCart costs $50, and most new homebrew games are close to that price. But as I mentioned, supporting pirates like Wilson Gutierre only will hurt the community in the long run, because it undercuts the legitimate efforts of folks like Robin Edwards and Wolfgang Stubig (creator of the PlusCart).

    Btw, you claim Gutierrez told you

    he is an official partner of the creators, and an official beta tester, and that a partnership is official, that he is an authorized representative of the Pluscard product here in Brazil.

    Considering Wolfgang's name is nowhere on Gutierrez's Pluscart knockoff, I'll wait to hear confirmation of that from Wolfgang Stubig before taking the word of a known pirate.

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  5. Barthax's Avatar

    Added both UnoCart-2600 (link to manufacturer's GitHub page) and Dablio Games' PlusCart (link to here only!) to the Wiki: https://www.twingalaxies.com/wiki_index.php?title=Game:Third-Party-Loaders-Multi-carts-etc

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  6. Scott S.'s Avatar

    Barthax, it's a good bet Dablio Games doesn't have the rights to sell those PlusCart knockoffs. Why not add a link to the original one instead?

    https://pluscart.firmaplus.de/pico/

    https://gitlab.com/firmaplus/atari-2600-pluscart

    Also, since most people don't the ability to make their own carts, here's a link where you can purchase an UnoCart-2600:

    https://www.thebrewingacademy.com/

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  7. Barthax's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott S.

    Barthax, it's a good bet Dablio Games doesn't have the rights to sell those PlusCart knockoffs. Why not add a link to the original one instead?

    https://pluscart.firmaplus.de/pico/

    https://gitlab.com/firmaplus/atari-2600-pluscart

    Also, since most people don't the ability to make their own carts, here's a link where you can purchase an UnoCart-2600:

    https://www.thebrewingacademy.com/


    Thanks for the clairifcation - I was under the misunderstanding that the Dablio version was a port directly from Uno-2600. Updated & corrected. :D


    Just while we're on the subject: the projects are both Open Source. (I haven't looked into it so I'm being lazy but... ) How is the Dablio version "illegal" or "pirate" given that the original is Open Source?

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    Updated 11-14-2020 at 01:29 AM by Barthax
  8. Scott S.'s Avatar

    It's open source meaning anyone is free to make their own cart. Mass producing them like Dablio Games is doing isn't legal. Both the UnoCart-2600 and PlusCart are trademarked by their respective creators. Dablio Games was not involved in the creation of either.

  9. Barthax's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott S.

    It's open source meaning anyone is free to make their own cart. Mass producing them like Dablio Games is doing isn't legal. Both the UnoCart-2600 and PlusCart are trademarked by their respective creators. Dablio Games was not involved in the creation of either.

    Interesting take which I don't agree on. If Dablio haven't open sourced their derivative work (haven't checked, still being lazy), then they fall foul of the GNU v3. However, if they have then GNU v3 gives them no limits on what they do with their own derivative. Freedom aims of GNU v3.

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  10. Scott S.'s Avatar

    Dr. Marlin "MacRorie” Bates, IV of The Brewing Company LLC says Dablio Games' UnoCart is a pirate cartridge. Good enough for me.

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    Updated 11-14-2020 at 07:39 PM by Scott S.
  11. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    .. and his nefarious, illegal theft of IP didn't begin there, either.

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  12. Snowflake's Avatar

    ok whenever i tg drunk i feel the need to give the disclaimer.

    guys, i'm not even arguing, you may well have the totally correct final answer, but i disagree with the logic you used to arrive on that point

    you're putting forth a moral argument the diablo stole what other hackers rightfully stole first. flash carts are all about piracy, so the whole 'they're stealing my ip that allows people to steal others ip" feels like a weak arugment. further tg has repeatedly ruled pirating (roms, and other hacks) is accpetable as long as it doesnt affect gameplay

    and there is the real issue. does it affect gameplay or doesnt it. if the concern is that the hackjob affects gameplay then dont mince words. tg doesnt enforce arbitrary morals, or even law itself. tg just cares about if the performance is legit or not. if theres reason to question the validity of diablos stuff then THAT is what matters

    and again, not arguing with end result. perhaps dialbo products are very shady and make an unlevel playing ground, in which case focus on that. as for thepiracy, moral aspec, totally fantastic conversation that gives us a chance to come to understand each other better, but as awesome as relationship bulding is, it doesnt affect validty of performances

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  13. Snowflake's Avatar

    i also, can in good conscience say scott has done a boatload for the atari community. honeslty, if i only played atari his site is better than tg and atari age combined. i love reading the old magazine uplaods for example, and i've seen how passionatley he fought in the old forums for the integrity of the scoreboard at a time when refs were above the law. i also very much respect garrets skills, passion, and professionalism. so i'm honestly not looking for a fight. i'm not happy about arguing with you two, but i had to say it.

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  14. Scott S.'s Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake
    you're putting forth a moral argument the diablo stole what other hackers rightfully stole first. flash carts are all about piracy, so the whole 'they're stealing my ip that allows people to steal others ip" feels like a weak arugment. further tg has repeatedly ruled pirating (roms, and other hacks) is accpetable as long as it doesnt affect gameplay

    Creators of flash carts like Harmony, Krokodile, UnoCart-2600, AtariMax, etc didn't steal anything AFAIK. They designed cartridges that allow you to load most every ROM image into an original console. Game images are NOT includes with any of these cartridges - that's up to the end user to do. Same with non-flash cartridges like the CuttleCart. It's also possible to modify a Supercharger to play 2K and 4K ROMs. The devices themselves aren't illegal. By your logic, the creators of emulators like Z26 and Stella 'stole' something for simply creating an emulator, even though neither emulator includes any games. So I'm not sure what you're alleging they stole. As far as IPs are concerned, both the UnoCart-2600 and PlusCart are copyrighted; the pcbs themselves are marked as such.

    Piracy exists even in the homebrew 'market'. I'll give you an example. In the VCS community, back in the 1990s, Chris Wilkson was the first person to use a PAL chip and design a board for 8K and 16K games. Unfortunately, others in the homebrew community have since taken credit for Wilkson's work, and even went so far as to encrypt their PAL or GAL chips to try and prevent others from copying them. Wilkson was also the first person to design a 32K board.

    As far as the legality of the ROMS is concerned, current U.S. laws allow you to have 1 archival copy for yourself. That applies to cartridges, cassettes, floppy disks, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc. With regards to vintage games, pretty much everything is 'out there' to get a copy of. Atarimania is one of several sites that offer them. I use them b/c they make an effort to track down every version of a games (both original and pirate), and they mark which versions are originals (for example, do an 'advanced search' and click "original version (in white)" to filter out everything but the original versions. Is their database 100% correct? No. In some cases, the original version hasn't been archived yet, so a pirate version is the only version available. The site is a constant work in progress, much like TG's database.

    Lastly, with my site, I keep is simple - I don't accept any scores set with pirate versions of games. Even though chances are there might not be any difference between the original and pirate version beyond the removal or modification of an onscreen copyright date or name, my stance is, if the original cartridge or ROM version is available, then use it. Pirate versions outnumber original versions by a factor of 8 to 1 for the VCS console, and I'm not able to start researching and comparing every single version to see what all the differences are.

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    Updated 11-15-2020 at 06:00 AM by Scott S.
  15. Snowflake's Avatar

    you're correct (well also at least as far as my understanding of law goes). my wording reallly was bad and wrong. my focus was more on the moral outrage part, in that, legal or not, we all know most people dont use these devices just for backup, and tg adjudicators dont make demands that the person playing on emu, or flaschart actuallys legally owns the game.

    i may have been reading between the lines incorrectly. If this is just an informative post sharing with people your feelings, ok. I felt there was an implication TG needed to reject such scores though, and that was the context i was making argument in. if i inferred incorrectly, then not only was my actual wording wrong, but my entire point was as well.

    however if you are suggesting tg itself formallly needs to reject such things thats where i think more discussion is needed

  16. Scott S.'s Avatar

    I initially wanted to let everyone know about Dablio Games business practices and to suggest that people don't support them. Whether or not their devices affect the games played on them I don't know, as I have no experience with them.

    However, since we're discussing these types of devices in general, in my experience, I know the Cuttle Cart affected some (possibly all) prototype versions of VCS Xevious, and it affects how Blue-Print generates the patterns for the placement of the machine parts. I don't know to what extend The Cuttle Cart might affect other games, but considering it doesn't handle setting up the system's RAM the same way that game cartridges do, I don't accept scores set with them. IIRC the Krokodile cart has a similar compatibility issue with it. Neither of these carts are widely used these days AFAIK.

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    Updated 11-15-2020 at 04:06 PM by Scott S.
  17. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    My position is that a score achieved with pirated equipment shouldn't necessarily be rejected just because the equipment is pirated, however, it being pirated is an indicator that such devices and games can't be trusted to be identical to their OEM counterparts, especially if the pirate's reputation is one where they include within their pirated products nerfed items on the software side, which this manufacturer has a long history of doing. I bring up this dude's illicit business model not to make an argument that 100% of his products provide a difference in gameplay and/or giving its users an advantage (although some of them do) ... I bring it up to demonstrate that their products cannot be trusted.

    For me, it is a matter of probability and numbers rather than a matter of morality. In the case of Dablio, there is a probability greater than negligible that his products can't be trusted to be identical to their OEM counterparts. In the case of a Harmony Cart or OEM 2600 hardware and cartridges, there is a negligible probability that those products alter gameplay or otherwise provide an advantage or even disadvantage (which is still a difference, and therefore, disqualifying in my book). Anything presented with greater than a negligible probability, I have and will continue to have a problem with it. Admittedly, I'm just one guy.

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  18. Scott S.'s Avatar

    With the Krokodile cart, I think this was the issue I had with it:

    https://atariage.com/forums/topic/62783-krokodile-cartridge-games-it-will-not-play/?ct=1605482852

    The Krokodile wasn't compatible with certain types of bank-switching. The cart was revised to address some of these. With others, conversions of some 30 games were done to make them compatible. An issue was found with one of those conversions, Mr. Do's Castle:

    "Mr. Do's! Castle is not 100% good. A ladder is misplaced on one level, but you can still climb where it is supposed to be. "

    The person who did that particular conversion, "batari" is Fred X. Quimby, who is one of the people who created the Harmony cartridge. So even experienced programmers such as Quimby are susceptible to making mistakes. I don't see this ladder issue with either Stella or Z26, so I'm guessing it's specific to the Krokodile. Conversions are great for those who want to play games they normally wouldn't be able to (ex: playing PAL-only games on an NTSC console). But there's been a few dozen NTSC/PAL conversions done over the years as well (https://atariage.com/forums/topic/62843-2600-bankswitch-conversions/?ct=1605484607), so the potential for accidentally introducing gameplay issues such as this certainly exists, and why I don't accept scores using conversions or hacks.

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  19. Ulisses Patriota's Avatar

    A minha opinião eu sei que é irrelevante.

    Mas é a seguinte.

    Parte-se da premissa que um produto é supostamente pirata.

    Como já falaram aqui... ser pirata por si só não diz nada. Porque muitas membros devem ter a ROM do jogo e não ter autorização para isto. O que seria pirataria, correto?

    Se o TG não deve aceitar produtos piratas... isto deve servir para qualquer produto.

    Indo mais adiante.

    Supomos que eu (José) sou proprietário da marca X.

    Supomos que uma pessoa chamada Joe falsifique a marca X.

    Teria legitimidade um sujeito chamado Tito para questionar Joe pela falsificação ou este direito seria apenas de José?



    Acho que o ponto central aqui é se o produto pirata (é mesmo pirata?) é capaz de influenciar no resultado.


    Contudo, todo este debate é inútil se a premissa inicial (produto pirata) não se confirmar.

    Aí não é uma questão de opinião pessoal.

    É uma questão de fato.

    Creio que o @Barthax
    já explicou bem.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    My opinion I know is irrelevant. 
    But here's the thing.


    It starts from the premise that a product is supposedly pirated.

    As they said before ... being a pirate alone does not say anything. Because many members must have the game ROM and not be authorized to do so. What would be piracy, correct?

    If TG is not to accept pirated products ... this should be for any product.

    Going further.

    We assume that I (José) own the brand X.

    We assume that a person named Joe forges the X mark.

    Would a guy named Tito have legitimacy to question Joe for the forgery, or would this just be José's right?


    *I think the central point here is whether the pirated product (is it really a pirate?) Is capable of influencing the result.

    However, this whole debate is useless if the initial premise (pirated product) is not confirmed.

    There it is not a matter of personal opinion.

    It is a matter of fact.

    I think @Barthax already explained well.
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  20. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    Ulisses, please check your messages as soon as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulisses Patriota
    My opinion I know is irrelevant.
    I disagree. Your opinion is just as relevant as anyone else's opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulisses
    It starts from the premise that a product is supposedly pirated.
    Based on the information provided thus far, we are beyond it being merely a premise, and even further beyond the products being pirated being just "supposedly".

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulisses
    If TG is not to accept pirated products ... this should be for any product.
    I don't believe anyone has advocated for submissions where pirated products were used should be summarily rejected by the TG community just because pirated products were used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulisses
    We assume that I (José) own the brand X.
    We assume that a person named Joe forges the X mark.
    Would a guy named Tito have legitimacy to question Joe for the forgery, or would this just be José's right?
    Absolutely, yes. Every member has a legitimate right to question Joe for the forgery, and to cast doubt upon any submission where Joe's products were used to achieve the result, regardless of their experience with said products.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulisses
    *I think the central point here is whether the pirated product (is it really a pirate?) Is capable of influencing the result.
    I can't imagine anyone believing for a New York Second(tm) that a pirated product is incapable of influencing a result. Of course they're capable. I can pirate a game right now, modify it, distribute it, and have others submit using it, and the result most certainly would be influenced by those modifications.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulisses
    However, this whole debate is useless if the initial premise (pirated product) is not confirmed.
    Scott S. has confirmed that the licensed distributor of the product has indeed personally confirmed that Dablio's products are pirated versions of their product. There are no less than a half-dozen websites that not only acknowledge, but indeed laud Dablio's reputation for "hacks".

    A plethora of evidence indicating that Dablio deals in hacked/pirated/stolen wares and IP has been provided thus far. No evidence whatsoever debunking such claims has been provided thus far.
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