If you’ve explored the gaming scene for long enough, you may have come across game torrents labeled with two terms; “Reloaded” and “Repacked.” While these may sound like sequels for The Matrix, they have a whole different meaning when describing video games.
In this article we explain what repacked games and reloaded games are, and discover whether or not they’re legal.
What Is a Reloaded Game?
When you see a “reloaded” game, it can mean one of two things. Either the Reloaded group cracked and uploaded the game, or the uploader re-uploaded the game.
When “Reloaded” Means the Reloaded Team
Sometimes when a game is labeled “Reloaded” (or “RLD”), this means the Reloaded piracy group cracked the game. Crackers will often “sign” their work to show that they’re responsible for it.
The Reloaded team is notorious on the internet. They started up in 2004, and have many high-level cracks under their name. One of them was Spore, which Reloaded released four days before the release date with its draconian SecuROM DRM stripped from it. Since then, Reloaded has become a famous team amongst pirates who rely on them for free games.
When “Reloaded” Means a Re-Upload
Sometimes, “reloaded” means the uploader has tweaked the original files and re-uploaded it to internet. This may be because someone took down the original link, or the uploader tweaked the game to make it run better. As such, they use the term “reloaded” to tell people that the files are a recent upload.
What Is a Repacked Game?
When a game is labeled as “repacked,” it means the uploader has shuffled the files around to minimize download times. It tells downloaders that the uploader took the base files, “repacked” it to lower the file size, then re-uploaded it for everyone to use.
When a cracking team first breaks into a game, the total file size can be huge. This is because the software contains the full game, without any compression or removal of unnecessary features.
As such, if the cracker then uploads this to the internet, it may take a long time for downloaders to download the games onto their system. Even if they do manage it, the game will take up a large amount of space on the downloader’s hard drive.
How Crackers Reduce a Game’s File Size
When reducing a game’s huge file size, a cracker may compress files to reduce the file size. They’ll locate the files that take up the most space (such as sound and texture files) then pack them up to make the overall download size smaller.
They’ll also go through the game files and remove elements they deem unnecessary. For instance, a lot of games come with different language options. These games contain sound files for each of these languages, so the user can swap between them at will.
Someone repacking a game can lower the file size by removing the language files that aren’t in their native language. They will then upload the files stating what language the game is in, so people know what to expect when they download it. As such, if someone doesn’t care that they can play the game in French or Italian, they can save space and download time by grabbing an English-only repack.
A repacked game may also come with a crack. Cracks are special tools that can bust open the copy-protection of a program. Once the user downloads the files, they can apply the crack themselves and play the game without issue.
Are Repacked and Reloaded Games Illegal?
As you may have guessed by now, you’ll find these terms on pirating and game torrent sites. One is a tag for a cracking group, while the other is a sign that someone has heavily reduced a game’s file size.
Either way, if you see one of these tags on a game, there’s a very high chance that by downloading it you’re committing piracy. Even if the game is so old that it’s technically abandonware (what is abandonware?
), it’s still a substantial gray area both legally and morally.
As such, if you see a game with one of these tags, it’s best to leave it be and find a legal way to download the game. For modern games, Steam and the Epic Store are both excellent picks to find it; for older titles, Good Old Games (GOG) may have it. If it doesn’t, GOG does have a “recommend a game” feature that you can use to raise awareness for your game.
Yes, these options do involve spending money, which isn’t an ideal situation. However, there are plenty of issues when illegally downloading games, ranging from a broken game to viruses and malware. You’re better off waiting for a Steam sale or Humble Bundle than running the risk of downloading a bad file.
How to Legally Get Free Games
Even if you’re short on cash, you don’t need to resort to piracy for something new to play. These days, there are swathes of games you don’t need to pay to play. This is either because the game uses a free-to-play model, or a store gives away a paid game.
For example, there are plenty of free games on Steam
that won’t harm your wallet. Game services such as PS Now, Steam, and the Epic Store also give away games for free periodically, with Epic doing a unique “free game every week” campaign. It’s worth keeping tabs on them to see what’s new.
If you’re willing to pay a little bit of money, you can get lots of games for a single monthly fee. PS Now and the Xbox Game Pass (what is Xbox Game Pass?
) are like the Netflix of video games. You just pay a small amount of money to unlock a considerable library. It’s by no means free, but it is a fantastic way to play games on a low budget.
Getting Smarter About Piracy
“Reloaded” and “repacked” are two terms you’ll see if you frequently pirate games. Crackers use them to tell you more about the upload, whether it’s a cracking group’s signature or an indicator that the uploader reduced the file size.
If you tend to turn to torrenting services for your entertainment, you should learn all about the dangers of downloading pirated games
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