• magisterrex Retro Games


    I've been gaming since the days of Pong and still own a working Atari 2600. I tend to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games. Sometimes I digress. Decades after earning it, I'm finally putting the skills I learned while completing my history degree from the University of Victoria to good use. Or so I think. If you're into classic old school gaming, this blog is for you!

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Yesterday’s Copy Protection Schemes – Dragon’s Lair: Escape From Singe’s Castle

Box art for Dragon's Lair: Escape From Singe's CastleOnce upon a time there lived a hero named Dirk the Daring, who found his love of Princess Daphne tested by the frequent quests to rescue her from various villains.  (I assume that the Princesses Daphne and Peach formed a frequent-kidnapping victim support group sometime during the 1990s, but I digress. Again.)  The laserdisc version of Dragon’s Lair was extensive, and gamers marveled at the graphics, even though the gameplay truly consisted of making quick decisions when faced with choices and then watching the video of what resulted.

Dragon’s Lair was released in a variety of formats, including Apple and IBM-PC, but because of both memory and space considerations (640K and diskettes capable of an astounding 720K storage capacity), much of the laserdisc game was not incorporated into the PC translations.  Enter Dragon’s Lair: Escape From Singe’s Castle, which presented a new storyline, but used the leftover clips that didn’t make it into the first game.

But this blog entry isn’t about that interesting piece of history!  In the year of Escape From Singe’s Castle’s release, copy protection technology was fairly basic (no Pentagon-level encryption codes), and usually relied on either an external sheet with codes printed on it or referencing specific passages from a game manual.  This game relied on the former, and the publisher, ReadySoft International, included a frustratingly light-colored sheet of protection codes for gamers to reference when starting the game.

I’ve attempted to scan them, with less than stellar results.  But something is better than nothing, so I’ve posted them below.  I hope they prove useful for someone as they look to defeat the Evil Shapeshifter, rescue Daphne, and Escape From Singe’s Castle!

Dragon's Lair: Escape From Singe's Castle Protection Codes 1

Dragon's Lair: Escape From Singe's Castle Protection Codes 2

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4 Responses

  1. Everytime people talk about the Dragon’s Lair series in ‘awed’ tones, I keep thinking there’s something I missed. I played Dragon’s Lair 1 (on PC) back in the day and it’s “press the right button at the right time” style gameplay frustrated me more than I can express!!! Yet it’s thought of as legendary and, apart from the graphics, I just can’t see why!!!

    On topic of copy protection, I think the most memorable one for me would be the code-wheel from Monkey Island. Very clever and, without some clever thinking or hacking of the code, not copy-able. 🙂

    • Chris, i was born in the 70s and grew up with rise of the video game industry. I believe the reason so many of us were in awe, even till today, was the fact that at the time there was NOTHING like it. Yes it was animated clips being played back but again because it gave us some form of interactivity (hahaha, click and watch) we felt it was the basics of a real game with 512+ glorious colors, fluid animation, and an intriguing world.

      So i think the context of the time is the key here. I’m not sure when you started playing DL for the first time but i’m guessing you grew up with a base level that far exceeded our 10 colors, beep sounds, and so forth. If i’m not mistaken the powerful Commodore 64 was starting to make its rounds in the early 80s to give you an idea of the video game bar at the time.

  2. Ahh, the copy protection systems of old… I remember the variety of different methods used (Future Wars, Operation Stealth, B.A.T., etc) but my personal favourite would have to be the age verification used in Leisure Suit Larry series (esp. #3) 😀

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