Jump to content

How big of a pirate were you back in the day?


Recommended Posts

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but back in the day, I was quite the little buccaneer when it came to my software library on my C64. I estimate that only 1:10 of my floppies were official game floppies, and the rest were Bonus brand single-sided disks having the write-protect notch cut on the reverse side using a hole punch. Fast Hack'M (also on a Bonus disk) stayed near the front of my organizer. Almost all of my games had loaders with better music than the ensuing game, plus some combination of raster bars, smooth-scrolling text (greets), or self-congratulatory paragraphs talking about how few minutes it took to crack this particular title / how many cracks the author had done, etc.

Some of my fondest C64 memories include finding other games on floppies I'd copied while at a friend's house, or having a 'sleep-over' where sleep = hooking 2 drives to the computer and doing a "git clone" of each other's library.

I never had a modem, though, or else who knows how many more boxes of floppies I might have needed...

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahem

let's just say I sailed many high seas, and that this screen was burned on my retina on the C64:

Fairlight [FLT] intro - Speedball C64 - YouTube

Only when I earned some disposable income a few years later I could purchase more software but by then I already had an Amiga.  At first though,  most of the software library for that one  was also duplicated from questionable sources....  so yeah, in retrospect, not proud of it, but everyone did it you didn't know any better as a kid. Also it was the only way to play things on the computer because we had almost zero $$ as a kid and my parents didn't support the hobby at first.

All is good now 🙂

 

edit:  Double Hack'em is what we used mostly with dual 1541's to duplicate stuff while playing a game on the computer itself.  Remarkable piece of software.

Edited by desertfish
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an early to mid-teenager, I did the best I could at purchasing software. I had a paper route and bought most of my computing hardware/software myself (except the odd birthday or Christmas).  But I also shamelessly copied software too, but I can't say I'm "ashamed" of it.  In the day where you could blow $30, $40, $50 on software that sucked, and not be able to return opened software to the store, and there weren't really "demo" versions or even Shareware at that point.  I'm sorry, I don't really feel bad at all about it; that could be all the money I made in a month or more.  I picked and chose what I spent my money on and I copied the rest.  I don't consider it taking any money out of the pockets of the creators because 1) I wouldn't have purchased it in the first place. and 2) I never resold any copied software.

Edited by x16tial
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never pirated any piece of software, but oddly enough I did provide offsite backups (first on cassettes, then floppies)  to many of my friends who did the same for me; obviously I had to test these backups often to make sure they worked properly.

 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Jeff Pare said:

Never pirated any piece of software, but oddly enough I did provide offsite backups (first on cassettes, then floppies)  to many of my friends who did the same for me; obviously I had to test these backups often to make sure they worked properly.

 

🤣

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a lot of copies back then, mainly from friends. If one of us got a game, we all got it, if we could figure out how to copy it. It's just what we did back then, we even shared some at school.

That being said, it was rarely ever more than a few of us, and we did buy a LOT of games. lol

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my country there were so few licensed software, that in my early computing years I did not know about it. Pirates ruled the marked. I bought lots and lots of copies of software, music, movies without knowing or understanding it was all pirate. But even when I learned about it later, not much changed, because there was no choice. I still used pirate copies, bacuase I did not have other options. And yeah, we also made many copies at home... 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only one piece of software. Spyhunter for the C64. It seeked laser hole protection on the disk and proceeded on error. I bit nybbled the disk to be seek track 39 instead of the bad track, thus error. Took a bit, many "WE PROSECUTE PIRATES" counter messages, but I was able to make a copy for a friend. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did absolutely zero piracy with my Tandy CoCo2 as I knew precisely zero other people that had one. So, I paid whatever price RadioShack dictated for all my software.

Going into the PC era, there was so much available as shareware that I just went with that for the most part. If it was worth having a complete version, I could pick it up in my neighborhood Electronics Boutique. Having a Tandy 1000HX in the 90s meant that most software that could run on it was already pretty cheap, even for a teenager. Sierra still put out a version of King's Quest V that was compatible, using Tandy 16-color graphics and on 720k floppy disks. With Sierra games, I played them a lot and had to do a lot of disk swapping, so I made backup disks to play from, which worked great. I mentioned in a review on Prodigy (!!!) how nice it was to be able to run KQV from copied floppies and that was my first exposure to online scolds. The tut-tutting was VERY loud and DEEPLY felt by even suggesting that you could play the game without the original disks.

Now, I don't pay for any software other than console games and Steam games made by my friends. Everything else is all open-source, unless it's paid for by an employer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Avast ye swabby, we did a lot of high seas adventures back in my day.  We had to step it up a notch from just typing in code from the back of magazines.  I remember that was the main reason I got a job at Godfathers Pizza when I lived in Washington; so I could afford the 300 baud modem.  That and hacking into the order computer at work so we could print out stuff.  Couldn't afford both the modem and the printer you know.  The balance to my mischief was I had to prep-cook at 6 a.m. on the weekends to get the stuff off the printer before the manager got in.  We must have spent many a bleary-eyed weekend on various BBS's sending messages, and downloading whatever we could get our hands on.  I think the first game I ever plundered was Nemesis The Warlock and second for sure was Elvira The Arcade Game.  After that it was a blur..

I even remember one of the smarter guys in our group setup a BBS over a Terminal Node Connector and was transferring data over the radio waves.  I think we had people from Denmark who logged in through the setup.  Pretty amazing stuff for the time..  That is what I miss the most, the innovation, and not being separated by hundreds or thousands of miles from people who hold a similar interest (except the guys in Denmark 🤣 ), or waiting for the next Con. to get together.  Most of the developers I worked with throughout my career could not care at all about hacking hardware or software just to see what made it tick or how to get it to work in ways it was not developed for..

Sorry went off the deep end... Great topic... Brings back the memories of late nights and creative friends..

Have a wonderful day!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's a pirate's favourite letter?  You'd think it was Rrrrrrr.... but ye'd be wrong... it's the C.

Yeah... software piracy on my old 64...  Is there a statute of limitations on this stuff?

Did anybody else have a copy of MULE where the 'store' was scrambled and you had to 'feel' your way though it?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL.. Lets add another verse shall we. 

As soon as it rolled out the door, the artists, the programmers, and designers got 1/10 the amount made by the share holders, the CEO and upper management, when they made you sign away your creative rights for working at their company, and then they paid some idiot like me to make a video to try and shame others who realized the scam, and tried to get some of our intellectual property rights back by having a little fun.

It doesn't roll off the tongue like the dude in the video, but I was improvising and I have had a beer or two...

Edited by evlthecat
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only big act of piracy back in the day was extending the WordPefect 5.0 for DOS lab site license into an off site license for my Amstrad PPC640 at home. I had a work study job in the Library at college, and could afford some computer magazines, and most of my C64 programs were type in programs from magazines. I paid retail for TheWriteStuff from BusyBee and for an Assembler from some software house ... the first well worth the money, the second far from it ... and got a C64 version of fig Forth, but and a handful of cartridges, but commercial software was the minority of software I had on disk. And when I got my DOS computer I relied heavily on shareware and public domain from disk collections and the young pre-WWW internet ... where our department paid their teaching assistants better than some departments, but it still wasn't enough to buy a lot of commercial DOS software.

After the WriteStuff word processor for the C64 in the late 80's, the Mix Power C Compiler was my main commercial software purchase in the early 90's until after I got my first full time teaching position in Australia in 1996.

Edited by BruceMcF
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only big act(s) was the time I 'cracked' a few dozen titles, removing copy protection and slapping 'our' boot screen loader on the front-end.  Oh, and the time I wrote a phone calling-card hacking utility that harvested valid codes that I could use to call my girlfriend to avoid long distance phone charges while I was in college.  Also, I had a blue box that I built and would use it on pay phones.

Just kidding.

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I laughed out loud reading this tread. I have to admit I also had an extensive collection of "offsite backups" on the C64. I had a nice archive of games saved with turbo tape and several notebooks containing indexes with tape number and counter position for each "backup".

My only defense is that I stopped any nefarious practices as soon as I started to earn enough money to actually purchase games. I have certainly given a significant amount of money to the industry over they years and have bought a lot lot more games than I will have ever have time to play (according to my backlog on Steam, GOG and PSN, not to mention all the un-played physical disks etc.)

Seems a bit unfair to be honest. Back in my C64 days I had plenty of time but no money for games. Now it's the opposite, not enough time to play all the games I buy 🙂 

Edited by borgar
typo
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had basically all my games from "other people" . The center of a distribution group lived almost straight across the street (until the cops busted him and I shamefully stayed away out of fear). I got myself "Green Beret" and "Testdrive II" for the C64 as originals though. I think that was all I got back in the day. The disks  (original and copies) are still at my parents, probably deteriorated into unreadability. In the end, entropy wins.

Edited by Falken
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, borgar said:

Seems a bit unfair to be honest. Back in my C64 days I had plenty of time but no money for games. Now it's the opposite, not enough time to play all the games I buy 🙂 

I have the same. One of the reasons I rarely buy games anymore and playing all my "backlog" of games. I had the joy of expectation, so I want to actually experience them. Currently finished one and it felt really good. Now playing the bonus campaign.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never was a big game player, though I remember removing the anti copying from the BBC Micro version of "Alien 8". It worked by exclusive ORing with a free run timer, so when you put code in the numbers were out, so if you changed it you had to let the counter go all the way round to correct the value, which meant it ran about 60,000 times slower than usual - rather than decrypting in about 2 seconds it took over 24 hours. Worked though 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the software I had for my 64 at first was pirated. It was a collection of various disks that were given to me by a friend of one of my parents who had moved on to a PC. I never made copies of anything myself, though. Mostly because I was the only person I knew with a 64. Everybody else had Apples, Ataris, TRS-80s, etc. There were a lot of games, but the only one I found interesting enough to keep playing was Impossible Mission. I had a copy of Ghostbusters, but only the musical intro would run... as soon as you tried to get into gameplay it would freeze up.

Later on I bought my own software. Bank Street Writer, GEOS / Writer's Workshop / geoCalc, Tetris, Jeopardy... actually I think that was the whole list.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, guys...

I gotta say, my first job out of college was 'managing' a computer store (that means I was the only guy working there, and the main store was across town) that sold mostly Commodore stuff.  When new games came in, the manager of the main store would open it up, make copies for everybody, and re-shrink wrap it.  And when I say everybody, that meant all us 'managers' (mine wasn't the only satellite store, after all).  I'd make a trip to the main store once a week and get all the new stock for the store and stuff for myself.

The idea was that we needed to know about the new stuff so when people asked, we could give honest opinions.

If some of my friends took advantage of me and made copies when I accidentally left them alone, then, well... that's on them.

That store, unfortunately, closed down, like, 20 or 30 years ago now...  sad, really.

Then I found Linux and my life changed...

Greg

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember when software was scarce, buying the first title that I could acquire then feeling ripped off because it was terrible.  It was called Piranha and was a Pacman ripoff (speaking of getting ripped off).  It destroyed me, to spend my hard earned paper route $$ on that.  The place I bought it from made up for it in spades when they let me copy the Commodore 64 Christmas demo disk (possibly one of the best 'shareware' titles of all time!!!).

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admit that most of my modest library came from my friends. 

Notable exceptions include Elite, and several Electronic Arts titles.

 

Edited by rje
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please review our Terms of Use