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First post, by v0g0ns

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OK, here's a question out of pure historical curiosity. Which was the first of the dos games to include copy protection? Im not talking about the "turn to page X in your manual and type the word in there", but annoying malware-like drivers, think securom or starforce, which installed themselves in your system. Anyone know?

For the record, I tend to buy games that dont treat their customers as theives, like galCivII. The rest I just avoid.

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Reply 1 of 56, by Dominus

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I don't think there were ANY Dos games that used malware like drivers. They used protections like setting bits on the install floppy disk or just exact names of the disk, artificial bad sectors on the original disk (be it floppy or CD-Rom)...

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Reply 2 of 56, by DosFreak

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heh. It would have been pretty fun though if they had tried.

Example:

CONFIG.SYS

Device=C:\SECUROM\SECUROM.SYS

AUTOEXEC.BAT

REM Checks to see if SECUROM.SYS is loaded in CONFIG.SYS and if not installs it.
Call C:\SECUROM\SEChk.bat

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Reply 3 of 56, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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v0g0ns wrote:

Which was the first of the dos games to include copy protection? Im not talking about the "turn to page X in your manual and type the word in there", but annoying malware-like drivers, think securom or starforce, which installed themselves in your system.

Maybe what he really means is simply "the first of games" to include malware-like copy protection?

Well if that's the case, what is it? I'm curious as well.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 5 of 56, by v0g0ns

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Dominus wrote:

I don't think there were ANY Dos games that used malware like drivers. They used protections like setting bits on the install floppy disk or just exact names of the disk, artificial bad sectors on the original disk (be it floppy or CD-Rom)...

Hmm, interesting. And what were the noticaeble differences in the disks, or the games? Like, did they require you to have the floppy disk inserted to play? I remember a while back, that some program had some sort of "bulletproof" dos copy protection, where as they said it was impossible to make a copy of the protected floppy. Hehehe, guess those people didnt hear about the internet.

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Reply 6 of 56, by Dominus

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There were various kind of protections. One of my games, Inner Space for Windows 3.x, has an install floppy. When you install it, the game sets a bit on the floppy depending on the c:\ drive serial or so and on the installed exe as well. When you want to install it on another computer you need to uninstall it first so the floppy bit is in the default state. Screws you royally when you formatted the c:\ drive... With todays image programs the floppy itself is easily copied. I did try to learn more about what the installer does but never got to far and sadly the game only works with a boot image on Dosbox (the floppy that is, there is also a CD-Rom version that wants to have the CD in drive to play the game - that version only works in plain Dosbox and not in the boot image Dosbox 😀).

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Reply 8 of 56, by Dominus

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yup and these weren't many hoops. You install it from the floppy, you uninstall it with the floppy. That's it.

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Reply 11 of 56, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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v0g0ns wrote:

Like, did they require you to have the floppy disk inserted to play? I remember a while back, that some program had some sort of "bulletproof" dos copy protection, where as they said it was impossible to make a copy of the protected floppy.

Heh. There was no internet back in 1991, but I had yet to find any copy protected floppies that could not get copied by COPYWRIT.

As for password, there was a nice little program called UNGUARD, although it didn't always work. For instance, UNGUARDing Star Control 2 (to bypass the annoying star map copy protection) screws your in-game navigation map as well.

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Reply 12 of 56, by MiniMax

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

Heh. There was no internet back in 1991

You n00bs really should learn your history. In 1989 I was happily using SMTP to send & receive e-mail, FTP to access file archives all over the world, and NNTP to exchange Usenet news groups.. It wasn't long after that (in 1991 according to Wikipedia) that I ran my first Gopher server at the university.

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Reply 13 of 56, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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MiniMax wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:

Heh. There was no internet back in 1991

You n00bs really should learn your history. In 1989 I was happily using SMTP to send & receive e-mail, FTP to access file archives all over the world, and NNTP to exchange Usenet news groups.. It wasn't long after that (in 1991 according to Wikipedia) that I ran my first Gopher server at the university.

I should re-prhase my post more specifically: there was no public-accessible internet back in Indonesia in 1991. 1993 was the first time I used Gopher in campus, but we were the few.

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Reply 14 of 56, by Zup

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Dominus wrote:

There were various kind of protections. One of my games, Inner Space for Windows 3.x, has an install floppy. When you install it, the game sets a bit on the floppy depending on the c:\ drive serial or so and on the installed exe as well. When you want to install it on another computer you need to uninstall it first so the floppy bit is in the default state. Screws you royally when you formatted the c:\ drive... With todays image programs the floppy itself is easily copied. I did try to learn more about what the installer does but never got to far and sadly the game only works with a boot image on Dosbox (the floppy that is, there is also a CD-Rom version that wants to have the CD in drive to play the game - that version only works in plain Dosbox and not in the boot image Dosbox 😀).

Yes, I remember trying to "crack" the game. I bypassed the code protection, but some time later the game stopped to work (it seems that it needed a proper installation, not a "demo" one).

Last year, I bought the game. It was funny to receive a DVD casing with a floppy inside (and before that, they sent me an e-mail with the game). At least, the e-mail game is not protected (I've installed it in my Windows XP and under DOSBox), and I copied the floppy BEFORE installing it... well, in fact, I haven't installed the game from the floppy they sent 😉

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Reply 15 of 56, by Xian97

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I don't recall any malware type copy protection on DOS games. The worst I can remember is bad sectors or unformatted sectors that would make your drive grind. The old DOS game Frogger was one. The last I remember trying that route was Lemmings. Even more than DOS, I saw that on the Atari 800/C64. Some of those titles sounded like it was killing the drive it would grind so loudly when it was hitting an unformatted sector.

Reply 16 of 56, by Great Hierophant

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Xian97 wrote:

I don't recall any malware type copy protection on DOS games. The worst I can remember is bad sectors or unformatted sectors that would make your drive grind. The old DOS game Frogger was one. The last I remember trying that route was Lemmings. Even more than DOS, I saw that on the Atari 800/C64. Some of those titles sounded like it was killing the drive it would grind so loudly when it was hitting an unformatted sector.

Those sounds boded ill for the longevity of your drive. Many worn out motors and drive belts can be traced to these causes.

Reply 17 of 56, by vasyl

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IIRC, there was some type of copy protection on C64 that actually killed quite a few drives. Truth to be told, 1541 was a particularly lousy design. Atari 800 drives moved reading head to track 0 before every attempt. I think at least some 5.25" PC drives did the same thing causing bad grinding. 3.5" drives didn't seem to do that.

Reply 18 of 56, by v0g0ns

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Wow, intentionally putting bad sectors in a floppy as a means of copy protection. Isnt that against the law? I mean, imagine if now hard drives came with bad sectors to ensure people are not gonna copy warez into them, or if DVD recorders intentionally write bad sectors for that purpose.

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