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CentipedeFan

XONOX/K-tel Titles on the C64

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Any info or images on what the physical copies of these looked like?  I know Robin Hood, Artillery Duel and Chuck Norris Superkicks were all released on the system.  In fact I own a couple of manuals for these titles specific to the c64 but have never seen a physical complete copy come up for sale or even a loose disk for that matter.  Curious if anyone owns a copy of one of these or has any images to share.  My search comes up empty other than screenshots of the game.

Edited by CentipedeFan

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I have several of them.  The original Xonox releases featured either one or two titles on separate floppy disks, whereas the later K-tel releases were all single disks.  Some games exist in both variations.  The later K-tel versions are the most common ones but they're all very rare.  They go for a decent amount but they're not crazy expensive since most of the games suck and they're not in high demand.

 

20201020_123900.jpg

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On 10/6/2020 at 6:38 AM, carlsson said:

I was hoping it was going to be one disk with a window on each end so that you could turn the disk around and load the other game :)

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Since the 1541 etc doesn't require the index hole, it is perfectly possible to create "flippies" but perhaps Xonox thought that was too cheap and instead included two disks. Some claim that rotating a disk backwards (which is what happens when you flip it) may cause dust particles once collected by the felt on the inside of the envelope to come loose and risk scratching the surface. However many of us filled both sides of our floppy disks with programs without really encountering this so perhaps it is exaggerated.

 

Then again I didn't check how large each game is. A C64 disk holds 166K of data per side, compared to cartridges that normally are 16K each except for the C64GS era cartridges that were 64-256K each. If the Xonox games are in the 16K range, they would easily be able to store 4-5 of their games on a single disk side with some kind of menu system.

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I used to buy double density disks and use a hole punch to create another notch to use the other side. I think everyone did that. However, I was being silly and meant they should have had you turn the disk around (same side up) to load the other game. I don't think it would matter or the disk drive would even know. Would have been cool to mimic the carts :)

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Yeah, I see what you mean. Rotating the floppy disk 180 degrees in the 2D plane obviously wouldn't work unless you have two holes in the envelope (*) for the read/write head. Flipping the disk in the 3D plane is what most of us did, and notching another hole to enable writing to the disk.

 

But still it is a valid point that those games most certainly were short enough to fit two of them on a single disk, which would have saved material costs and increased their profits by a few more percent. Sure, if the disk goes corrupt you lose both games compared to only one at a time but if the disk is write protected and stored properly that rarely happens. Same goes of course for the double ender cartridges. I don't know if those PCBs share any electronics at all or simply are two separate boards just attached together in the same shell.

 

As a side note, I strongly believe almost all disks sold were certified for double density. At least I can't recall seeing a soft sectored 5.25" disk labeled with single density. However there certainly were disks certified for single or double sided, meaning there would be enough magnetic coating on both sides. Then came the rarely used quad density disks which essentially were the same as double density except better production quality, and eventually of course the high density disks almost exclusively used by IBM PC. By then, every disk drive was expected to have two heads so it no longer was a matter of single or double sided and nobody had to punch holes in the HD disks to flip them over.

 

(*) Coincidentally, this was exactly what Apple did with the so-called 5.25" Twiggy drives in the first Apple Lisa, before they moved onto 3.5" media in the Lisa 2 a.k.a. Mac XL.

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Hindsight is 20/20. I remember Kaybee toy store getting a boat load of these. I believe they were selling them at like 5.99 each.

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On 10/21/2020 at 2:16 AM, carlsson said:

Some claim that rotating a disk backwards (which is what happens when you flip it) may cause dust particles once collected by the felt on the inside of the envelope to come loose and risk scratching the surface. However many of us filled both sides of our floppy disks with programs without really encountering this so perhaps it is exaggerated.

From what I've seen most commercially sold flippy disks recommended using only one side or the other for this very reason, strictly as a precautionary measure I would imagine.
 

On 10/22/2020 at 3:49 AM, carlsson said:

Same goes of course for the double ender cartridges. I don't know if those PCBs share any electronics at all or simply are two separate boards just attached together in the same shell.

The Xonox Double-Ender cartridges contain two separate PCBs with blob-style ROMs.

 

 

Inside_Xonox_Cartridge.jpg

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Commercial = pre-recorded? I believe I've seen a few commercial flippies (though write protected) but yes, generally they would only use one side on a single sided drive. For the computers that have double sided drives, flippies never were relevant.

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1 hour ago, carlsson said:

For the computers that have double sided drives, flippies never were relevant.

I was specifically referring to commercially sold flippies with Atari format on one side and Commodore on the other, such as Montezuma's Revenge by Parker Brothers.  The instructions included with such releases typically instructed the user to only utilize one side or the other.

In any event, if anyone is interested, there's a copy of Motocross Racer in tape format currently on eBay.
 

motocross.jpg

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Sorry, I read "commercially sold floppy disks" but you actually wrote flippy.

 

Actually I think some disks were formatted in a custom way so they could host two different file systems on the same disk side. It would need quite a bit of work to accomplish it, but the Commodore drives have the directory on track 18 so if that one + all higher tracks (towards the middle, so fewer sectors per track) are formatted for Commodore, the outer tracks 1-XX could be formatted with e.g. Atari or Apple, assuming those systems start reading from the outside and in. Making a flippy of course is much easier, and as noted few incidents have been noted even for disks rotating backwards. Single sided systems that do take the index hole into consideration needs another hole in the jack in order to flip them, which would be a good reason to put Commodore format on the flip side and any other format on the primary side.

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