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Copy protection on cassette

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Some parts of the world, mostly in Europe, where games on cassette are more common than on diskette.

 

How did the publishers manage to protect their games against piracy on cassettes?

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Almost all games were autostarting with custom turbo loaders. Some used code charts or manual code protection, others used custom devices like the Lenslok. A direct audio copy between two tape recorders had high probability of fail in fidelity, possibly using a better brand dual tape recorder would have improved the success rate for such hard copies.

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I think that is true for most countries. I know at one point, some software publishers were considering not supplying their games to the Swedish market, because it was so crowded with crackers that they argued the games would barely sell. I don't remember how many boycotted the market, but certainly more advanced copy protection was developed over time.

 

Once I read a claim that Infocom games were rarely seen on the piracy market, because those games included so many physical clues and feelies that a lot would get lost from a cracked version. However when I raised the issue earlier here on AA, the general consensus was that Infocom games float around in cracked versions just as much as every other text adventure, only that I personally never came across one of those (but plenty of others). I think a game that tries as much as possible to combine digital and physical elements is better protected from piracy than any number of technical copy protections. Plain shooters and platform games probably can't implement very much physical attributes, but adventures, RPG, strategy and management games may have those options.

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INFOCOM had the advantage of a user base who really valued the games.  They were pirated a lot, but they sold a lot too.  The experience, feelies and box was something more people would pay for.

 

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None of the Infocom games have any disk copy protection at all (at least the text-only ones). I guess they were not worried about their target audience copying them too much. Some games did depend on the included items to complete, so maybe you could consider that copy protection.

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"Get Lamp" documentary talks a little about that.

 

The whole package is what they were selling.  And that makes a fair amount of sense.

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