IMHO – it’s right to ban R4 cards

R4 cards – the cartridge-shaped memory sticks used to pirate thousands of games for Nintendo’s DS – have been banned in the UK.Ordinarily, we’d say th

R4 cards – the cartridge-shaped memory sticks used to pirate thousands of games for Nintendo’s DS – have been banned in the UK.Ordinarily, we’d say that was ridiculous. It’s a harmless bit of plastic and metal, and if people choose to use it for ill-gotten games, they should be penalised, not the companies who make, distribute and sell it.But that’s exactly the argument the National Rifle Association (NRA) uses to defend Americans’ right to bear arms: “Guns don’t kill people,” goes the mantra, “People kill people.”Erm, rubbish. People don’t kill people often, but if they’ve got a gun they’re much more likely to. And if you think kids with R4 cards aren’t more likely to pirate Nintendogs and slow the progress of future pet sim development, think again.If you’re hellbent on using homebrew software, it’s a shame your hobby has been criminalised, especially since there will always be ways for pirates to get their hands on the cards, even if it’s not as easy as it once was.But it may help to stem the problem of a generation of take-all-give-nothing gamers who fail to understand that their casual “victimless” piracy habits are the reason why so many of the games for Ninty’s portable are about tending animals, and relatively few are about pretending you’re an Uzi-carrying member of the NRA with a twitchy trigger finger.There’s a line, though. Trying to ban a non-proprietary format (say, USB) because it might be used to store naughty pictures would be ridiculous. The High Court has made a sensible, decent decision about R4. Let’s hope it hasn’t set a dangerous precedent.