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replacementdocs is a website founded in 2002 by Sleepy in an attempt to provide a universal repository for video game documentation to be stored in a graphical format. It's notable for being the first website devoted entirely to archiving video game documentation, and is the largest archive of its kind in existence.

After running for several years, the site was attacked by hackers in 2004 resulting in downtime of about a year. In 2005, the site relaunched with a completely revamped interface and features targeted towards community building such as forums, contributor stats, and private messaging. replacementdocs also partnered with MobyGames in 2005 to provide their game documentation to MobyGames users.[1]

In 2006, replacementdocs was awarded Best Resource Site in Da Fast Lane's Abandonware Awards.[2]

Site content[edit | edit source]

The site provided game maps, manuals, and other documentation for games spanning across over 40 different platforms. Platforms ranged from very old personal computers like the Amstrad CPC up to the most recent generation of game consoles such as the Wii and PlayStation 3. Many of the documents were hand-scanned by members of the site while others were original documents from the publisher (such as the many PC games that come with a PDF manual on the disc).

As of 2009, replacementdocs hosts over 7700 different manuals totalling over 18 GB of data.[3]

Controversy[edit | edit source]

replacementdocs did not own the copyright to any of the documents that they hosted. They clearly stated in their FAQs section that what they were doing was, in fact, illegal.[4] However, they felt that the benefits to the gaming community were worth the risk.[5]

The site had offered to cooperate with any copyright holder that requested their content removed. However, as of 2007, there were only a small handful of documents on the site's list of banned manuals[6]. It had appeared that most copyright holders were happy to ignore replacementdocs' actions rather than treating them like typical warez sites. This was possibly due to the fact that replacementdocs only hosted game documentation and not the games themselves.

In May 2007, Bethesda Softworks requested that replacementdocs remove all documentation for Bethesda games. Interestingly, this mandate included the removal of documentation for The Elder Scrolls: Arena, an older game that Bethesda released as freeware.[7]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]