Re: [stella] [OT] Games using unofficial opcodes

Subject: Re: [stella] [OT] Games using unofficial opcodes
From: "B. Watson" <atari@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 09:14:46 -0400
On Fri, 3 Jun 2005, Fred Quimby wrote:

> There were some believable rumors though.  Supposedly there was a class of
> programs that would destroy disk drives in a matter of hours by vibrating
> the drive head much faster than specifications or banging it against the
> stops too fast, repeatedly, until the drive failed.

That was the standard format disk command for Commodore 1541 drives:
it banged the head against a mechanical stop repeatedly, causing it to
go out of alignment and (eventually) break.

Another thing I remember (vaguely) is that there was a way to
destroy early model TRS/80 machines with a single POKE command in
BASIC. Apparently you could overclock the video chip and cause it
to melt...

Also there was a game for early PCs called Welltris (3d Tetris, more or
less). Its copy protection scheme asked the user questions, the answers
to which were in the manual. I had a friend who lost his manual, or
maybe just got sick of having to dig up the answers... so he loaded up
the game binary in Turbo Debugger and patched around the routine that
checks answers. It turns out the game would checksum its own binary, and
if the checksum didn't match a hard-coded value, it would format your
C: drive! Fortunately for him, he had backups... but I always wondered
whether anyone ever got bit by this by accident. Maybe they had a virus
that altered any executables it could find, or their drive developed a
bad sector (never did check to see what happened in that case).

Anyone remember the Atari 8-bit program Paperweight?

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