Over 40 years ago, it was possible to download video games over the radio

In the late 1970s, computers like the Apple II experienced an explosion of software piracy. The predecessors of these game consoles and computers were in a large trading center for copying proprietary software, but also made by enthusiasts. However, at the time, the best way to broadcast this hack was simple: radio.

Program on audio tape

In 1977, some of the The first personal computer Look at daylight like the Apple II and the 2001 Commodore PET. Another example is the TRS-80 Model I from Tandy RadioShack. At that time, the whole world discovered the “power” of the personal computer and its microprocessor. Like 2001 PET, Apple II is equipped with 8-bit microprocessors at 1MHz. My TRS-80 model I had a processor running at 1.77MHz.

Obviously, light years away from today’s hardware, these computers were of very basic use. In fact, users can only program in BASIC language and install some software in order to learn and play. However, the release of these machines is synonymous with the explosion of piracy. Enthusiasts exchange opinions a lot Copying licensed software, but also home software.

As shown Interesting geometry On March 8, 2021, amateurs exchanged these programs via Only storage medium is available At that time: audio cassette (K7). Very quickly, engineers from audiovisual broadcasting company Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) realized something important by asking themselves a simple question. Since the program is on audiotapes, why not transmits data streams to radio In order to let everyone save them?

Commodore PET 2001 and its audio cassette slot.
Credit: Rama/Wikimedia Commons

Many programs have been downloaded over the airwaves Hertzian

So Download the sound wave BORN (BASIC SIGNAL). Very quickly, the broadcaster NOS created a radio program called hobby cup. The goal is to broadcast its own programming to listeners who have only one thing to do: connect the audio output of their radio station to their computer’s input. This simple manipulation made it possible Radio data copy on the K7 tape. For people unaware of the scheme, the sounds on the radio show were meaningless. Today, those same sounds may resemble those of modems in the early days of popularizing the Internet.

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Obviously, since nothing is absolutely perfect in computer science, each data sequence was broadcast four times. Most importantly, the download turned out to be incomplete if the slightest signal interference occurred. In 1982, undermined by the incompatibility of different machines, NOS engineers developed translation standard Essential for every device. It would be Basicode, whose nickname was Esperanto for PC. This will be at the center of two important developments, in 1984 and then in 1986. Within ten years, NOS . will be broadcasting About sixty programs Including many video games.

In Europe, the Hobbyscoop show will feature many children, including Ventilator 202 in Yugoslavia, which will broadcast at least 150 programs between 1983 and 1986. We can also mention the offer Bristol Radio Data Radio West (United kingdom). Unfortunately for all listeners, the end of the 80s marked the end of freedom. In fact, the floppy disk and 16-bit processors mean that programs are getting too big to be aired.

Frank Mccarthy

<p class="sign">"Certified gamer. Problem solver. Internet enthusiast. Twitter scholar. Infuriatingly humble alcohol geek. Tv guru."</p>

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