Lee K. Seitz wrote:

I thought the Empire Deluxe solution was good.  You only had to answer
this type of question when you ran the setup program, which set the
resolution, sound options, etc.  So, in general, you only had to do it
once or twice.  (You were required to run it once before playing.)  Of
course, if you'd been playing for months and decided to change a
setting, then you had to go find the manual, which was frustrating.

This is similar to Software Toolwork's stuff from the late 80's to early 90's: The diskette protection was checked only when you installed the game. They were also smart enough to take an "inventory" of the computer -- hardware, OS version, etc. -- so that if you tried to copy the installed game over to another machine, it would not work and ask to be reinstalled.

I'm seeing some parallels in copy-protection here:

- King's Quest II (encryption of executable and data files), 1985 -- Starforce 3 (same thing), 2004
- Pirates! (run progressively worse), 1987 -- Macrovision (same thing), 2003
- Software Toolworks games (check during install, can't be moved) 1988-ish -- Windows XP activation (same thing), 2001.

Scary to see we're entering a "new era" of copy protection all over again... makes me long for the innovative days of lenslok, colored pictures on manuals, etc. If things get really bad we're going to see the resurgence of copy-protection methods that *really sucked*, because they were unreliable. One method was "weak bits" that read differently every time you read the disk -- only problem is, the original disk itself would fail the check half the time!
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Various oldskool PC rants and ramblings: http://www.oldskool.org/

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