How To Make A 3 Year Old Listen To Commands How People Used To Pirate Retro Software

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How People Used To Pirate Retro Software

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m teaching you how to make illegal pirated copies of your software after reading the title above. Rest assured that I will not go overboard as this article is for informational purposes only. As a programmer, I understand how software piracy can hurt businesses, so I don’t recommend it. There is a lot of good software that can be downloaded for free, especially if you don’t need all the fancy features of expensive software. This article explains how people hack software from retro computers like Spectrum and Atari ST.

SPECTRUM AND COMMODORE 64

Spectrum and C64 software came on cassette tapes that were inserted into data recorders (or recorders) and could be loaded into memory by typing a command like load “”. These computers rely on a series of sound signals that were never pleasant to hear as they were horrible screeching. Quite often you have to wait up to ten minutes (for a Spectrum 128k game especially) to load when it might crash, meaning you need to adjust the volume and start again. In case of low recording, the game cassette will usually have a separate copy on the other side.

Most people could copy these games with a hi-fi system with double cassettes. By inserting the original game cassette in the first deck and pressing “play”, and inserting a white cassette in the second deck and pressing “play and record” you can get a perfect copy. You can buy cassette tapes to save data like a C15 that allows you to record up to fifteen minutes. Some people would use a C90 that would allow them to store several games at once.

If you don’t have access to the double tapes, you can use the software. On the Spectrum, you can use something like “007Spy” that will allow you to load the entire game into memory and then return to a white box. Some games had different ways of loading such as pulsating (or clicking) loaders, a method used by many games from Ocean Software. This led to the release of other software capable of dealing with these loaders. The average Spectrum game would consist of a short piece of code (the header), a loading screen and the main code. This is the standard loader, easy to copy.

When the Spectrum 128k +3 was released, it came with a built-in floppy drive. Since there were only so many games released on discs + 3, methods were used to transfer from tape to disc. The standard loader was easy. All you had to do was type merge “” to enter the editor code and save it to a +3 disk (save “a:program-name”). Next, you would load the highest load screen into memory (load the “screen name” code 30000) and save that to disk +3. Finally you should do the same with the main code and add the load commands to the main header code.

For more complicated loaders, a suite of programs called “007 Trans-Master” was used to convert the files into the standard format so they could be saved on +3 disks.

ATARI ST IS A FRIEND

The great thing about the Atari ST and Amiga computers was that you could get your hands on hundreds of pieces of free software, without needing to pirate commercial software. There were many PDLs (Public Domain Libraries) that would distribute free software for the price of a disk and postage, and for their distribution work. Current software is free and covers anything from demos to games and images to music files. There was also the shareware method where you pay a small subscription fee to receive extras for full versions of the software and licenses where the PDL offers a small commission to the original contributor.

Atari ST software was normally copied using dedicated disk copiers such as “Fast Copy” while the Amiga used the popular “X-Copy”. However, some discs were protected and therefore another, more powerful copy software had to be used.

METHODS OF PROTECTION

Software publishers used many forms of production to deter copying, such as the more complicated loaders on the Spectrum. Other methods would require the user to enter a word or letter from the manual before being able to enter the game, or choose a series of colors or symbols from their book to match those on the screen. Some games let you think you’ve copied them until you’ve played for a long time and you notice a nasty surprise. The game “Shadow of the Beast” turns the screen upside down in some levels for example.

This led to the rise of Cracking Groups like the famous “Pompeii Pirates” on the Atari ST who would hack into the game and remove the copy protection. They could release a number of games (pirated and packaged) on a single disk that were passed to different users.

CONCLUSION

The battle between software publishers and pirates is ongoing and people will always want free software if they can get it. Old retro software is freely available for download on various websites for people who want to relive the old days, so there is little need to copy from the originals. I will not tell you how to copy the latest software for PC. I just wrote this article to explain how people backed up their software for older systems. I stated that there is a lot of free and expensive software available for PC and I urge you to use that rather than resorting to piracy.

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