January 7th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Ultima, Runes of Virtue, Runes of Virtue II, Super NES, Game Boy, FCI, Origin, Lord British, advertisement, 1991
Ultima: Runes of Virtue for the Game Boy
I'm not a huge fan of Ultima: Runes of Virtue for the Game Boy. However, its sequel, Runes of Virtue II on the SNES (which was also released on the Game Boy) is quite an interesting action RPG to me — despite its general clunkiness. It feels sort of like a Zelda title set in the Ultima universe with Ultima VII-style graphics.
Just a small administrative note: I'm moving the Retro GIF of the Week column to Fridays. So expect the next entry in that column this Friday.
[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, August 1991, p.27 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: If EA made a new core Ultima game today (think Ultima X — and no, not the failed MMO), would you buy it?
August 8th, 2006 by TheGameCollector
Tags: copy protection, piracy, Eric Lambert, copyright, Zany Golf, Railroad Tycoon, Alone in the Dark 2, X-Com, Ultima
[This is Eric Lambert's second submission to VC&G, with contributions and editing by RedWolf.]
Nothing seems to make headlines more these days than war and copyright infractions. Whether it has to do with movies, music, or games, "piracy" is now a household word, and media providers are searching for ways to reduce it and make money off of it at the same time. Hollywood's Broadcast Flag. Sony's rootkit debacle. Starforce. So much time, effort, and public goodwill has been wasted on the quest to prevent people from copying things.
All right. Did I scare off the casual passers-by yet? Because this isn't a crusade to rail against the evils of modern copy-protection. No, I just needed a legitimate sounding opening to introduce what I really want to talk about: old-school copy protection. We're talking "Don't Copy That Floppy" here, folks — back in the days when men were men and boys had to learn how to handle boot floppies and extended memory.
The early copy protection schemes were much more analog than digital, and tended to fall into two categories: code wheels and manual lookups. That's right, they used documents and devices that were physically separate from the program. While the games themselves were easy to duplicate, copy protection (C.P.) implementations weren't. Moving parts, dark-colored pages, esoteric information scattered throughout a manual all meant that photocopying (when possible) could be prohibitively expensive. And without a world-wide publicly available Internet, digital scans and brute-force cracking programs were almost unheard of. For the most part, the C.P. methods were an effective low-tech solution to a high-tech problem.
So let's take a look at a couple of them and revel in their oh-so-simple glory.
[ Continue reading Old-School PC Copy Protection Schemes » ]