Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

> And this was before pirating.

I'd be careful arguing that this period was pre-piracy, copying floppy disks containing commercial software/games was rampant in this period among many enthusiasts. Software piracy arguably came of age with floppy disks, and there was all sorts of weird and wonderful attempts to combat it.

I still really miss the weird 'papercraft' contraptions that started to appear with many games in the mid to late 80s that had to be used to 'verify' you had a legitimate copy. As a kid I particularly enjoyed the "Grail Diary" that came with your 5 1/4 inch floppies for the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade adventure game, and required the use of red acetate cardboard glasses (also included!) to reveal hidden messages printed on the page.

> http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2013/03/exposing-code-wh...

> https://www.wired.com/2009/07/grail-diary/

Did the crash affect computer gaming, which was on floppies and tapes, or mainly console gaming, which was on cartridge? Because cartridges couldn't be pirated.

(On a skim, the article cites computer gaming as a factor in the crash, stating that computers were booming when consoles were crashing.)

Computer gaming and home computing in general had it's own crash at about the same time

Carts were copyable, it was just a bit harder to do so (and a bit harder to run the resulting binary on the platform without an additional device).

Ooooh wow, this made me remember Rails (Across America?) game with the questions you had to look through the manual about which train it was they showed on screen. If you guessed it wrong a couple times it would lock you out; we lost the manual pretty quickly, so every time we wanted to play we had to try to guess what the trains were.

Ha, I have fond memories of abusing school photocopiers to share these things, which I think is probably why some developers adopted the red acetate trick to obfuscate the answers to the copy protection questions. Color photocopying was obviously very significantly harder to come by back then, a B&W copy wouldn't work with the red lens.

The design of the code wheels for those games that had them was often surprisingly elaborate as well.

Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon did the same thing, except if you didn't correctly identify the ocomotive, it just dropped the game into a limp mode so you could still trial the experience without the manual.

And also it didn't hurt that railway enthusiasts knew two-thirds of the locomotives by heart anyway.

LHX Attack Chopper had a similar thing where you had to look up combat vehicle stats. Fortunately, if you kept restarting you would pretty quickly get something like "How many wheels does X armored car have?", which even a 12-year-old should be able to get in 3 guesses.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact