Reparations for my former life (piracy and ROM hacking) - What to do?


I used to be a somewhat “prominent” ROM hacker in the past. I would make creative modifications of Nintendo video game ROMs and upload patches to the internet so that others may play it too. I also illegally downloaded ROMs and music in my youth (mostly video games soundtracks and “nightcore” versions of then popular tunes), through YouTube downloads.

Now, one year ago, I reverted to Catholicism. I am now aware that ROM hacking is an illegal activity (ESPECIALLY for Nintendo ROMs), and that it is therefore a sin to hack ROMs and distribute these hacks. I’ve already confessed piracy away, but I’m not sure if I’ve specifically confessed ROM hacking (I wasn’t aware of its gravity perhaps?). Nevertheless, as I’ve been suffering from severe scrupulosity, once a priest told me that all my previous sins had been absolved even if they were forgotten. I hope it’s true, but that’s not the problem for which I’m looking for advice.

The problem is that I don’t know how to make reparations for all my former life…

Should I delete all my comments in ROM hacking forums? All my YouTube videos portraying my hacks? Any previous internet activity that displays my former sins? Should I pay some money to Nintendo? I’ve deleted the ROMs, patches and tools from my computer, but should I also delete all the assets, screenshots, concept-art and images? Every trace of the creative process I’ve produced?

With respect to piracy, should I buy copies of every game I’ve downloaded a ROM from? (I own a physical copy of the specific game I have been hacking.) Should I also buy all the music files that I downloaded? Some of them are impossible to buy (some video game OST, and obviously “nightcore remixes” of popular songs, of which I don’t remember much of my former collection anyway) and others are only available in collector’s editions through Ebay, or as a very expensive shipping from Japan.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?!? I don’t want to live in mortal sin anymore!!!


Well done on coming back and welcome home. Just confess and never do it again. Delete the comments and youtube videos. There are worse sins than depriving multi-million corporations of their multi-million profits, probably built upon the poverty of millions through multi-million tax avoidance. Repent and do penance.


Speak to your priest.

As for not knowing about the ROM hacking being wrong, yes, you did. All of it was illegal and you chose to do it anyway.

You can delete all of your posts, videos, etc and be forgiven these sins. But it won’t change the fact that you still performed what are considered by many to be criminal acts.

It’s not just your priest you need to confess to but Nintendo and perhaps law enforcement. Ask your priest.


I’m sure you know, but others would say that it is Digital Rights Management that is bad, and all software should be liberated for benefit of all (as is almost all the software that now runs the ‘cloud’)…

I’d encourage you not to think you can’t defend the principles of FOSS - it is what has kept retro games going before their current trendiness (so that Nintendo once more ‘cares’ about them, while being sure to abandon them again). It is what has given us GNU and Linux today, despite the best efforts of Steve Ballmer.

One can be a member of the Church of Christ and the church of emacs* at same time :slight_smile:

What should you do? Stand up for the principles of FOSS again!

*Though I am Vim man myself :wink:


Unless he was doing this on a massive scale, guarantee neither is going to care.


You’d be surprised.


He may get a very different reply than some on here expect!


What if there are files that I can’t delete anyway because of forum moderation guidelines? In the end I only uploaded a single mod patch over all this time, but I can’t delete it.


You answered your own question. You can’t delete them. Honestly, it’s not that bad, just confess and move on. I am convinced it is overwhelmingly likely you have not commited a mortal sin here. Be at peace. God Bless!


Welcome back. As you stated, the priest said, your sins are forgiven. Just my personal view: delete the videos and posts. You can talk to that, to another priest about making reparation (if and how).


Welcome home!!!

Go to confession, follow the advice given here.

You might think about volunteering to speak to schools or Catholic Youth groups about copyright law.


Discuss this with your priest. If you already confessed this, then if you were required to make reparations, you likely would have been asked to do so. You can always ask, but I am skeptical that you would be required to go such great lengths to make reparations like what you are suggesting. I also fear you will go down the scrupulous rabbit hole that none of what you will try to do out of reparation will be “good enough” to a conscience being attacked by scruples.


The problem is that you are thinking of reparations in terms of products, intellectual property, and money. Sure, you can delete the files and YouTube videos that you still have control over, but there is a lot that you can’t undo and unsay.

Don’t despair. Life is like that. Still, there are reparations you can make that are worth more than products, intellectual property, and money. You have caused spiritual harm to yourself, to others, and perhaps to the world. How can you repair that harm?

Repent, go to Confession, do penance, and pray. Do penance and pray for yourself, for those you have harmed, and for our society.

Now you might ask, “Prayer and penance? How does that help anyone but me?” It works because all things are connected in Christ. One Bread, One Body, and all that, right? Offer your penance, prayers, and love to Christ for the healing and salvation of all those whom you have led away from faith and virtue. That is the greatest good you can do for them.


As others have said, ask your priest for guidance on reparations. Perhaps one way to approach it is to pay back society by doing good. Teaching against hacking is good. Helping those in need is another approach. God Bless


Thanks alot to everyone for your answers. I’ll go to confession tomorrow.


go to confession and live the sacramental life


Besides repenting and confessing, I suggest trying to calculate the loss you provoked and do some material charity to Catholics who need help.


I would delete all content that you are able to and go to confession.

End of story move on never do it again.


I’m not sure any of what you did was a mortal sin. It wasn’t thievery but a violation of civil law. Traffic laws are also a violation of civil law. You hopefully aren’t getting worked up over speeding slightly or even several mphs over the limit.

I used to speed a lot and, most importantly, in a dangerous way when I was young. I don’t really think about making reparations for that. I think driving safely today is enough to make up for the thoughtlessness of youth. I’d say this sounds similar to your situation.


Maybe make a donation to a Catholic charity on behalf of Nintendo. That would be awesome.

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