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Old 24 January 2015, 13:59   #1
bitman
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What was the first cracked game for Amiga

What game is considered to be the first game cracked for Amiga?

"Mindwalker" by Commodore is system friendly, so I don't think it requires a cracked version. Most games from 1985 is either PD or system friendly as well.

"Defender of the Crown" from 1986 has a cracktro by accession - but are there any cracked Amiga games before that?
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Old 24 January 2015, 14:04   #2
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There is only one demo for 1985 http://janeway.exotica.org.uk/search...at=0&date=1985 and many crack intros for 1986 http://janeway.exotica.org.uk/search...at=0&date=1986
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Old 24 January 2015, 20:50   #3
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According to the book "The Future Was Here", Tetris was the first Amiga crack. From the book:

"The first crack to appear was apparently of the game Tetris and was released by the Austrian collective Megaforce in February 1986" (page 183, chapter 7 "The Scene")
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Old 25 January 2015, 19:44   #4
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Yes, that's stated in the future was here - but that book is the only place that mentions that release.

If I lookup HOL (http://hol.abime.net/hol_search.php?find=tetris) the first Tetris games mentioned is from 1987 - but already in 1986 Leader Board, The Pawn and Defender of the Crown was cracked.
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Old 25 January 2015, 20:44   #5
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I like this question! Hope it gets answered.

Makes me think of some others...
What and where was the first Amiga game review?
What was the first game on more than one disk?
Did anyone serve prison time for Amiga piracy?
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Old 25 January 2015, 23:12   #6
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Leaderboard had the first cracktro didn't it?
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Old 25 January 2015, 23:49   #7
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Yes Leaderboard has the first cracktro.
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Old 26 January 2015, 00:24   #8
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The problem is, its virtually impossible to state which was the first game to get cracked, for the simple reason that back in 1985-86, most of any trading would have been via mail
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Old 26 January 2015, 12:21   #9
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Seven Cities Of Gold from 1985 states it's been cracked according to TOSEC. No cracktro though.
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Old 26 January 2015, 21:25   #10
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What does TOSEC say about it? I've the ADFs from TOSEC, but no info there.
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Old 26 January 2015, 23:46   #11
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What does TOSEC say about it? I've the ADFs from TOSEC, but no info there.
The filename is Seven Cities of Gold (1985)(Electronic Arts)[cr Powerslaves - BST].ADF

I take that to mean its cracked by Powerslaves.
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Old 27 January 2015, 00:25   #12
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Either my TOSEC is not up to date or incomplete - only entry I have is
"Seven Cities of Gold (1985)(Electronic Arts)(Disk 1 of 2)"

According to Exotica (http://janeway.exotica.org.uk/author.php?id=3959)
Powerslaves was active from 1988.

Bitstoppers was active from 1987.

So the game is from 1985 - but the crack is from a later date?

Last edited by bitman; 27 January 2015 at 00:26. Reason: Addded Bitstoppers info
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Old 27 January 2015, 00:32   #13
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There is two versions in the TOSEC set now. The one I have is the one disk version that says cracked by powerslaves in the filename. The only evidence of their "crack" though appears to be the screenshot I posted of the title screen. It is entirely possible that that could have been edited in deluxe paint a few years later. The lack of a crackto with a date makes it hard to pinpoint exactly I guess.
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Old 27 January 2015, 03:31   #14
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Originally Posted by Codetapper View Post
According to the book "The Future Was Here", Tetris was the first Amiga crack. From the book:

"The first crack to appear was apparently of the game Tetris and was released by the Austrian collective Megaforce in February 1986" (page 183, chapter 7 "The Scene")
Ha, even *I* am mentioned in The Future Was Here (look me up on page 313). Their reference to my article (written in 1997) is regrettable: it was compiled pre-internet, based on lots of assumptions, but published in good faith. It was quickly superceded by many better accounts, but I continue to see quotes from it, worst of all in this book. It's great that this book exists, but I spluttered and choked several times each chapter due to its inaccuracies..

Anyway.

I humbly propose that Marble Madness was the first Amiga game to *require* cracking in order to be copied, rather than the first to be scrawled with graffiti by "importers". However, I would also nominate it as the first crack to then do the rounds among all and sundry, who passed it on with a doctored title screen, greeting their lame friends in cyan Diamond/Sapphire font, taking all credit for the "naughty deed" of making it available.

EA were always hot on copy protection, but I wonder whether they had anything in place for their Amiga products before this prestige release? Were there even enough Amiga owners to warrant it? I'd wager that the first wave of EA Amiga products such as One on One and Archon weren't even commercially mass-reproduced - or at least not in the way their C64/Atari 5 1/4 floppy titles were, all of which contained copy protection exploting mass-production techniques.

The Amiga software landscape before Marble Madness was a barren, desolate place. I can't see the likes of Psygnosis coming up with any sort of telling protection plan for Brattacas, or Microdeal/Michtron being hell-bent on wrapping "Lands of Havoc" up in self-modifying loaders in order to deter hackers. Possibly there were a couple of ST ports in 85/86 that had anti-hacker code, but did they circumvent copying from within Workbench?

Leaderboard? Well, it was heavily protected on 8-bit UK release (thanks to Geoff Brown from US Gold implementing the short-lived dongle alternative to the short-lived Lenslok atrocity) but it wouldn't surprise me if Access hand-copied the tiny stack of Amiga disks needed to announce an Amiga release. Tetris? Didn't everyone have the 1988 release of Tetris (as a commercial product) by Tristar, featuring their amazing intro with amazing logo and amazing scroller and amazing Thomas Lopatic music?

Anyway. (Again.)

To find the OP's answer, the question should be changed to "what was the first copy-protected Amiga game?" because there was a lot of "XXX PRESENTS... XXX GAME... "CRACKED" BY XXX..." drivel added to *every* early Amiga spead by lamers who had mastered their Workbench disk. If MFC claim to have "cracked" Tetris (not Mirrorsoft version then?) in 1986, then fair enough.. but it wasn't long before every Tom Dick and Harry had claimed great feats just because they'd learned to alter the startup-sequence and edit an IFF image in Dpaint.

So, yeah. Marble Madness.
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Old 27 January 2015, 12:01   #15
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Your assumptions are a bit off.
These publishers worked on the basis they had for the C64 and were very well aware of piracy and used commercial duplicators that were geared up to make hundreds of thousands of disks if it was needed.
Actually, early EA releases have better copy-protection than later ones.
Even the very first C64 games were professionally duplicated, cca 1982.
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Old 04 February 2015, 04:52   #16
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Your assumptions are a bit off.
These publishers worked on the basis they had for the C64 and were very well aware of piracy and used commercial duplicators that were geared up to make hundreds of thousands of disks if it was needed.
Actually, early EA releases have better copy-protection than later ones.
Even the very first C64 games were professionally duplicated, cca 1982.
You're far better placed than I to comment on such things, and I continue to applaud the amazing work that you (and your colleagues) have done in the realm of archiving/precision preservation of magnetic media. In fact, you're well-placed to answer the question, "what was the first mass-produced commercial Amiga game to employ deliberate measures against casual copying, therefore requiring a crack." If you'll pardon my re-definition of the original query... ;-) What's your best guess?

Typically, in my original post, I failed to explain myself clearly. I never meant to suggest that the early, pioneering publishers of Amiga software had nowhere to turn for professional replication of 3.5" disks. I was merely speculating that those with contractual obligations (typically established concerns in the USA) to supply the Amiga market, then in its absolute 85/86 infancy, likely scrimped on the production process. Maybe not. But kudos to anyone who was able to implement an effective Amiga copy-protection system back then, while even the authors of the actual software were all at sea with this new-fangled Amiga.

Of course, the likes of Epyx/EA/Activision were already old-hands at high-volume, mass production/distribution of hundreds of thousands of well-protected C64/Apple/Atari 5 1/4 floppies by then - in fact, years before the Amiga came along. (By the way, I'm purposely using US companies to illustrate my point as they were first to market with Amiga releases.) But there's a big difference between Epyx hoping to shift (say) 0.5m units of Winter Games upon a mature/buoyant global market of (say) 5m potential buyers (while taking steps to combat expected piracy) and EA releasing its Amiga version of Archon, presumably hoping it'll be 100% snapped-up by the Worldwide handful of Amiga 1000 owners.

It would fascinate me to know - though I'm sure no-one will be able to supply any answers - what would have constituted a "production run" in those days (85/86). Presumably some kind of business equation would dictate whether a release could be justified, with projected loss/break-even and profit points. From a UK perspective, if in 1986, Ocean Software hoped to sell (say) 100,000 cassettes of its Knight Rider game, to a domestic 8-bit multi-platform market of (say) 1m - with protection against piracy - you can see the logic. But I wonder how many copies of Amiga "Brataccas" Psygnosis was hoping to sell in the same year? And to whom? Would the 10,000th copy have rolled off the production line just like the first, or would a "cottage industry" ethic have been in place, with each copy "manufactured" to order...

The SPS article on the Amiga version of LCP is a fantastic read. I'd love to hear more about the embryonic age of copy-protection on the Amiga, before it was worth mass-duplicating disks and thus taking advantage of all that Trace offered, etc. Is there even an example of a commercially released title being evidently "hand-made" rather than professionally duplicated? ;-)
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Old 04 February 2015, 10:54   #17
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What comes to justification of release in those days. I would imagine there could have been two unique factors at that point.

1. The thought that the games lifespan would be longer than usual, as that game was one of the first releases and not too many releases were coming for that machine. This can somewhat been even seen as having happened, since if i correctly remember, they were including Marble Madness with sold A500s still in beginning of 90s (this is just a feeling based memory, not a real checked fact). And hence this would mean that as long as number of machines would increase, so would sales of the game increase.

2. I also wonder if their calculations were partially based upon the thought that Amigas would sell fast enough, that at point the game would become budget game (supposing they already had realised games had three lifes of full price, middle price and budget price - and actually Marble had fourth life as bundled with Amigas), there would already be enough Amigas sold that they could perhaps even make same amount of profit as they made when they launched it for full price still.

and in addition in Electronic Arts case:
3. Electronic Arts decided to want to support Amiga. At that point EA was still not only about money, but about ideals, and they or someone had decided Amiga was the way they wanted computers to go, and hence they were supporting in ways they could, even if it wouldnt make much sense always.

I could also imagine that they also could have figured, that even if it would make them negative balance at beginning, they could anyway take their space as major player in Amiga market, and when that market grows bigger, they would still be able to keep that lion share, instead of starting from zero market share, like some others did.

I can also imagine that part of the reason why Marble Madness was in Commodore Bundles for so long was because of EAs dedication to Amiga at beginning. That might have partially been a thank you from Commodore to them. That maybe they had two different games to think about, and both were equally good, but other one was EA and otherone was something else, hence, due to past support, EA won the bundle place.
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Old 04 February 2015, 12:47   #18
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You're far better placed than I to comment on such things, and I continue to applaud the amazing work that you (and your colleagues) have done in the realm of archiving/precision preservation of magnetic media. In fact, you're well-placed to answer the question, "what was the first mass-produced commercial Amiga game to employ deliberate measures against casual copying, therefore requiring a crack." If you'll pardon my re-definition of the original query... ;-) What's your best guess?

Typically, in my original post, I failed to explain myself clearly. I never meant to suggest that the early, pioneering publishers of Amiga software had nowhere to turn for professional replication of 3.5" disks. I was merely speculating that those with contractual obligations (typically established concerns in the USA) to supply the Amiga market, then in its absolute 85/86 infancy, likely scrimped on the production process. Maybe not. But kudos to anyone who was able to implement an effective Amiga copy-protection system back then, while even the authors of the actual software were all at sea with this new-fangled Amiga.

Of course, the likes of Epyx/EA/Activision were already old-hands at high-volume, mass production/distribution of hundreds of thousands of well-protected C64/Apple/Atari 5 1/4 floppies by then - in fact, years before the Amiga came along. (By the way, I'm purposely using US companies to illustrate my point as they were first to market with Amiga releases.) But there's a big difference between Epyx hoping to shift (say) 0.5m units of Winter Games upon a mature/buoyant global market of (say) 5m potential buyers (while taking steps to combat expected piracy) and EA releasing its Amiga version of Archon, presumably hoping it'll be 100% snapped-up by the Worldwide handful of Amiga 1000 owners.

It would fascinate me to know - though I'm sure no-one will be able to supply any answers - what would have constituted a "production run" in those days (85/86). Presumably some kind of business equation would dictate whether a release could be justified, with projected loss/break-even and profit points. From a UK perspective, if in 1986, Ocean Software hoped to sell (say) 100,000 cassettes of its Knight Rider game, to a domestic 8-bit multi-platform market of (say) 1m - with protection against piracy - you can see the logic. But I wonder how many copies of Amiga "Brataccas" Psygnosis was hoping to sell in the same year? And to whom? Would the 10,000th copy have rolled off the production line just like the first, or would a "cottage industry" ethic have been in place, with each copy "manufactured" to order...

The SPS article on the Amiga version of LCP is a fantastic read. I'd love to hear more about the embryonic age of copy-protection on the Amiga, before it was worth mass-duplicating disks and thus taking advantage of all that Trace offered, etc. Is there even an example of a commercially released title being evidently "hand-made" rather than professionally duplicated? ;-)
I have no idea how many copies they were hoping to sell of Bandersnatch (later renamed to Brataccas), but you have to consider the benefits of very high tie ratio on a new hardware vs. the benefits of having a higher customer rate later.
So companies willing to risk can win big by being first on a specific market, by practically selling their software to say at least 50% of the customers - software that likely wouldn't make an 1% attach rate later.
You don't have to go very far to see this: think of the first generation games released for any new hardware platform.
The risk is losing your investment (knowledge, learning, tooling etc) if the platform remains commercially unsuccessful, e.g. Ubisoft exclusive launch games for Wii U, compared to later abandoning the platform as a recent example of taking a risk that did not pay off.

One of the first blockbusters in Europe was Eureka!:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka!_(video_game)
Domark was quoted to have sold over 50K copies in the first few months, later sales figures were not disclosed though.

Only a handful of games were not professionally duplicated ever for the commercial lifetime of Amiga - I mean the period from launch until the slow decline towards the bankruptcy of Commodore.
In other words, whatever game appeared first on the platform, that was the first commercially duplicated Amiga title.
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