Copy protection fun and shenangians

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by Flamin Joe, Feb 15, 2021.

  1. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    I was reminded by a post by flain in the Retro Let's Play: Pirates! Gold of some of the different ways games back in the 80's-90's use to handle copy protection. A lot of games used to just simply dump you out of the game if you didn't have the correct answers, but others would still allow you to play the game but make it incredibly hard if not impossible to play. I always thought that was such a clever and fun way to handle it.

    So that got me thinking, what other examples are there of games playing silly buggers with you if you got the copy protection answers wrong?

    One example I fondly remember is Ultima 7. If you failed to answer the questions correctly at the beginning all sorts of weird happenings would go on making it impossible to progress in the game from NPC's running around yelling "Oink!" and having conversations where the NPC would just be rattling off all sorts of mumble jumble and odd sayings which made no sense. They also trapped you in the starting area so all you could do was run around witnessing this madness. :lol:

    upload_2021-2-15_13-56-8.png

    So what are some other examples you can recall? Post screenshots if you can find them.
     
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  2. power

    power Member

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    I can't recall any i used much more legitimate softwarez.

    also you'd be amazed just how long you can play demos for.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    In more recent times, there was an intentional bug added to Batman: Arkham Asylum where people couldn't make a jump early on in the game if the software thought it was a pirate version.

    It was very clever, as pirates who "cracked" it would only play a little to test, and the bug wouldn't crop up until a short while in. People were posting to forums and gaming communities for ages until the devs spoke up, and admitted it was a copy protection mechanism.
     
  4. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    Anyone remember the old code wheels?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We used to photocopy every possible outcome... then they made some of them unable to be copied.



    JSmith
     
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  5. power

    power Member

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    we used to pull them apart and just photocopy the wheels and make our own - I legitimately own the MI2 and FA/18 Interceptor ones.
     
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  6. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    Oh, thank you for reminding me of this. I was so impressed that they went to that effort to mock pirate gamers

    Whilst not exactly shenanigans, I bought a copy of System 3's Turbo Charge for C64 and tried making a copy of it. The copy let me play to the end of level 1 and after that it gave me a black screen with text at the bottom saying, 'Buy thiz, c*nt' but without the censorship. I think that was using the same strategy as the Batman jump 'bug' mentioned above.
     
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  7. Rass

    Rass Member

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    MVG has a number of reasonable videos on copy protection. But that's not the same as the shenanigans with failed copy protection.
    Big one that comes to mind, which I am not sure quite qualifies for retro is FADE/DEGRADE in the Bohemia Interactive titles.
    So essentially, if the copy protection fails, it starts to add issues into the game making it seem like it's buggy - eg changing the players aim, messing with vehicle movement, screen wavers, AI gets a little odd.
    I think it was ARMA2 where you end up being turned into a bird?
     
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  8. power

    power Member

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    there's a few compilations on YT out there, gonna be honest though if you used scene releases most of them you've never seen - that includes the infamous Arkham one.

    FADE is notorious for being incredibly robust just because of how deeply the protection is in the code.
     
  9. miicah

    miicah Member

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    I thought this one was pretty nifty

     
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  10. power

    power Member

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    it's funny eh, treating your customers this badly means you deserve to have your shit pirated - i've never had the displeasure of using Lenslock but after watching this a little while back i thought, wtf? The only thought here was protecting themselves not how awful it would be for people who you know, gave you money.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
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  11. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    I bought way back when, "The Quill" on tape (C64) at the same time as I got Elite and a bunch of others from the UK. That wasn't really a game, but a txt adventure construction kit. Freaking awesome actually.. anyways, it came with this 50 page A4 instruction manual... Which was printed on dark red paper with black ink.. it was impossible to photocopy.. impossible...
     
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  12. Rass

    Rass Member

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    Yeah, I've seen similar.. And imagine having bad eyes. Not the most friendly.

    One of my favourite non-shenanigans (or is that semi-shenanigans) copy protection things was space quest 4. After a bit of a level, you jumped into a space pod or something. If you got the passcode incorrect, you jumped out, immediately got shot by a space cop who then yelled "Stop or I will shoot!".
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
  13. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    My floppy Elite didn't have the lens lock on it, nor did my tape version on the c64??
     
  14. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Leaderboard_Titelbild.png

    Remember Leaderboard golf on the C64? you needed that key that fit into the dataset slot..
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
  15. OP
    OP
    Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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  16. darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    Something slightly different. I remember a mate 20 years ago getting gran turismo 2 from the video shop and going through about $40 in blank cds with cdrwin before we found out what the problem was.

    CDRWIN would accept your keygen key and then deliberately burn coasters. Tough lesson learnt.

    These days I have money and wouldn’t bother pirating software, but back then we were poor.
     
  17. SimParadox

    SimParadox Member

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    If I remember correctly, at least one of the early Wizardry series used this system. I think it was purple text on red, or maybe it was the other way around.
     
  18. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    I remember the game well... but don't remember the dataset key at all. I think I must have had a cracked copy on disk, which a large portion of my C64 games at the time were.

    Bit OT, but did anyone here build some DIY levels using the bolderdash construction kit?



    JSmith
     
  19. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Yep, Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain was my first experience with these. It helped embed British names like Biggin Hill in my memory. The German ones like Jagdgeschwader 26, not so much.
     
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  20. OP
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    Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    I liked how some developers went to the trouble of making the copy protection in a way part of the game or subject matter, like Their Finest Hour for example being "radio codes" so it didn't seem so out of place. It was much better than the unimaginative go to page x, paragraph x, line x to type in a random word from the manual.
     
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