☆ The Beauty Of The Video Game Code Wheel - "Dial A Pirate" ☆ #Retrogaming

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Do you remember the times of video game copyright protection that came packaged with the video game?

The media of the time was floppy disks and cassette tapes which were mega easy to copy. 

This obviously led to a playground culture of disk and tape swapping as one kid would have the latest video game and would be willing to sell copies for a quid.

Lists of games were passed around and the willing entrepreneurs of the playground would cash in on the need to play Sensible World Of Soccer or Lemmings 2.

We look back on it with nostalgia but it was copyright theft and it was a contributing factor to the eventual demise of the Commodore Amiga. 

FAST made it clear that this was an illegal activity with adverts in magazines showing kids that this would not be tolerated but of course copied games were prevalent in the video games world of the 90's and it was a common sight to see a bootlegger at a car boot sale selling the latest cracked games from a box of unmarked disks.

X-COPY was the program of choice for Commodore Amiga games and it was something that a lot of kids owned as part of their Amiga software collection. This led to a lot of wannabe software pirates being 11 years old! I used to find it quite ironic when people were passing round copied versions of X-Copy.

In a bid to save the video games market from self-destruction a lot of developers and publishers introduced more intricate ways of protecting the software. These included copyright wheels which meant that if someone copied the game it would be useless without the copyright wheel as the game would require you to answer a question based on the copyright wheel. There was also a trend in utilising the video game manual as copyright protection by putting specific words, symbols or numbers on each page of the manual and then asking the player to check page x for symbol x and then enter the answer into the game to begin playing.

I remember owning a copied version of Championship Manager on the Amiga and I wrote down each page number of the manual and entered in each result combination on each of the pages so I could play the game. Although a fun game to play was guess the answer as the answers were football scores. 2-0 was my default guess before I resorted to the two A4 pages of results.

There came a time when copyright protection became an art form and that was mainly due to LucasArts and their awesome copyright wheels for the Monkey Island games. These wheels were beautiful creations and I'd love to track them down again. 

Here I'd like to share with you the best versions of Copyright Wheels that I could find.

Monkey Island
Monkey Island 2

Premier Manager 2

Hero Quest II



Nigel Mansell World Championship


Secret Weapons Of The Luftwaffe

Jack Nicklaus Unlimited Golf


Zany Golf

The Bard's Tale III

A Mind Forever Voyaging

Pool Of Radiance - Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Out Of This World


Elvira 2

Night Shift

Battle Of Britain

Pipe Dream

Blue Angels


Lotus - The Ultimate Challenge

I'm sure you'll agree that's a wonderful assortment of copyright wheels and that they are works of art in their own right.

It's an awesome part of video games history and one that always makes me smile as I think of loading up disk one of 12 (Monkey Island 2) and then consulting my Mix N Mojo wheel.

Did You Share The Same Experiences Of The Copyright Wheel As me?

Let Me Know In The Comments Box Below



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