For years, subtlety has been Square-Enix's most effective weapon. Take Dragon Quest V for the DS; it starts off with you exploring a ship and chat to the crew. Soon enough, the boat docks and you head off onto your great adventure. But if the game detects any suspicious hornswaggling, the boat never gets to land. You can scour the poop deck for hours, but it doesn't matter -- you'll never hit dirt, and your thirst for slime blood will never be sated.
If that sounds a little harsh, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates takes a more direct approach.
That's what you see 20 minutes after you switch on a pirated copy of Rings of Fate. That's it. No error message, no long lecture about the evils of stealing. Just two moogles, telling you "Thanks for playing!" as if it was a timed demo all along. Look at those fluffy, shit-eating smiles. They know what they did.
But neither Dragon Quest nor Final Fantasy are as cruel as this next one.
Anyone who's played the SNES RPG classic Chrono Trigger will know the trippy Mode 7 warp that triggers whenever you travel in time. Pirates in particular got very well acquainted with that scene. On unauthorized versions of Chrono Trigger, the very first timewarp you go through just keeps going and going and going; it looks a lot like that looping GIF. It just never stops. Crono is forever lost in time, and will never meet that frog, or that robot, or that cavelady. Man, now I just wanna play Chrono Trigger.
The developers of the Witcher series have always been pro-consumer, but that doesn't mean they're pro-pirate. While their games are DRM-free, they did make sure that sketchy copies of The Witcher 2 had a few... changes. Some of these were pretty overt, like killing the hero Geralt in several cutscenes during the opening hours of the game. Some were a little more subtle, like the one that twists a NSFW love scene from the picture above into the shitshow in the GIF below:
Unlike the cutscene deaths, this doesn't really affect your game. Still, you have to admire the sheer manhours it took to code and animate these punishments, all to freak out some dumpster person who didn't want to pay for a game.