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First post, by frostbyte

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A couple of years ago I bought about 3,000 floppy disks from a guy in Los Angeles who once ran a PC shareware company. Many of the disks contained shareware downloads from various BBSes in that area, mostly from the late 80s to about 1994. Knowing their historical value, I copied the files off several hundred of these floppies for the sake of history before succumbing to fatigue.

The result is in this archive I am sharing: https://archive.org/details/frostbyte_1980s_DOS_collection

Note: As far as I know this is all shareware or freeware, roughly organized into whatever BBS they downloaded it from. There might be a few adult .GIF files from that era as well as some .FLI animations, so if that stuff offends you, steer clear. Otherwise I'm having a blast loading up .BASIC games from 1982. 😉

Update: As for those .ARC archives, I found a tool called Filzip from about 2006 that managed to open those under Windows 7.

Update 2: Soon I am buying 1,000 5.25" PC floppies from a guy locally which if they contain anything interesting, I will share here.

Update 3: For more files like this, search for "RBBS in a box" over at https://archive.org/details/cdbbsarchive

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Last edited by frostbyte on 2015-04-22, 14:23. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 4 of 41, by frostbyte

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Happy to share...I spooked myself recently thinking I had erased all these files after upgrading my PC, but found them safely stored on an old hard drive I had brought to my work.

If anyone finds anything cool or unusual, it would make me smile if you posted screenshots here since I'll never have time to go through it all.

Reply 5 of 41, by Beegle

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Thanks a lot for this!
Great to see preservation efforts going on everywhere.

Soon I am buying 1,000 5.25" PC floppies from a guy locally which if they contain anything interesting, I will share here.

Was given a dusty box of around 250 3.5" floppies recently. I sorted them by type (software, games, OSes, personal, unlabeled, etc.) and if something interesting comes up I will let you guys know.

The more sound cards, the better.
AdLib documentary : Official Thread
Youtube Channel : The Sound Card Database

Reply 7 of 41, by VileR

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Congrats, you win the prize for best introductory post. MAJOR thanks for these!

Isn't there a Total Commander plugin for packing/unpacking .ARCs? (can't be sure these days if you just google it... thanks to FreeArc for that - come up with your own damn file extension next time!)

[ WEB ] - [ BLOG ] - [ TUBE ] - [ CODE ]

Reply 10 of 41, by VileR

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VileRancour wrote:

thanks to FreeArc for that - come up with your own damn file extension next time!

Case in point...

Scylla wrote:

Have you tried this software for opening ARC files?

If my previous post was too cryptic... FreeArc has absolutely nothing to do with the original ARC format from the BBS days, they just happened to hijack the same file extension because it's old so who cares.

[ WEB ] - [ BLOG ] - [ TUBE ] - [ CODE ]

Reply 13 of 41, by Joey_sw

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VileRancour wrote:

...to do with the original ARC format from the BBS days

i remember that my old box used to have stuff called PKARC.EXE which probably one of Phil Katz program.
Is that program can be used for the BBS's ARC files?

-fffuuu

Reply 14 of 41, by frostbyte

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While Googling one of the obscure titles in this collection, I hit upon "RBBS in a Box" which contains many old school BBS files from this era, just like this archive. Check it out at https://archive.org/details/cdbbsarchive and search for RBBS in a box

Reply 16 of 41, by frostbyte

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2fort5r wrote:

So is there some legal reason why modern archivers don't support .ARC? WinRAR and 7-ZIP don't recognize it.

I think it has more to do with AGE. 😉

This one worked for me before and worked on Windows 7: http://www.filzip.com/

Update: Also wanted to mention that back in the old days there were competing archive formats, and ARC lost out to ZIP.

Last edited by frostbyte on 2015-04-22, 14:27. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 17 of 41, by 2fort5r

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That does the job thanks

I see the Maxell 688 Attack Sub demo is in there. I used to own the original disk. It came free with a box of 5.25" Maxell floppies.

Vintage-11-MAXWELL-5-1-4-MINI-FLOPPY-DISK-MD2-D.jpg

Edit: This is cool: the guy who made the game has a blog and wrote about it here:

http://codesuppository.blogspot.com/2014/07/e … igin-story.html

Now that the game was finally ready to ship the new problem we faced is that Electronic Arts didn't have any interest in putting a lot of money behind the marketing effort. What happened next is a little bit of gaming history. At that time there were a number of companies making a lot of money selling floppy disks. Floppy disks were the primary way that people who owned computers back then would store their data and games. One of the largest manufacturers of floppy disks at the time was Maxell and they had approached Electronic Arts with this crazy idea of putting a fully playable computer game on an extra free 11th floppy disk in each box. Electronic Arts marketing talked to a number of teams about this idea but no one was really very interested. It seemed completely insane to give away a fully playable version of a game. Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone buy the game if they could play it for free? Now that my game was ready to release, and it didn't have a lot of money invested in it, they decided to let me be the guinea pig. We made a full version of the game that you could play completely but, of course, only a single ‘game level’ or ‘mission’ was provided.

At that years COMDEX there were actually billboards in Las Vega with our game splashed across it! Over the coming months Maxell sold over a million boxes of floppy disks, each one containing a fully playable version of our game! This soon led to my first game, ‘688 Attack Sub’, to become #1 on the bestseller list for several months and to sell over 150,000 copies which, at the time, was considered a huge hit. Later I ported the game to the Commodore Amiga and someone else ported it to the Sega Genesis system. After this the entire game industry was convinced that a free playable demo was an important marketing tool and I’m proud to have been the first one to be subjected to this marketing experiment.

Last edited by 2fort5r on 2015-04-22, 12:41. Edited 1 time in total.

Account retired. Now posting as Errius.

Reply 19 of 41, by Matth79

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2fort5r wrote:

So is there some legal reason why modern archivers don't support .ARC? WinRAR and 7-ZIP don't recognize it.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARC_(file_format)
The ARC format was the subject of a dispute between SEA and PKWARE.

It appears that PKPAK & PKUNPAK were the final ARC capable programs from PKWARE.

The BBS community sided with Phil Katz, and the opening up of the replacement ZIP format - and ARC faded into history leaving just a bad taste.

Another problem with old BBS files, the original (pre-2.0) version of ZIP used multiple compression methods (implode, reduce, shrink), which many modern programs do not support (use a genuine shareware PKUNZIP under DOS)