• 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 – Sid Meier’s Pirates!

I love an imaginative copy protection scheme that sets the tone for the game that I am about to play.  These days, copy protection consists of entering a 24-digit hexadecimal code with CIA-class encryption, a bland and repetitive experience (not unlike many games, actually), or worse yet, being forced to go online to do the same to unlock the game.   Back in the day, however, many options were available, from lining up windows on code wheels to examining fingerprints.  Sid Meier’s Pirates! chose an educational method of ensuring copy protection, by asking when the Spanish Treasure Fleet or Silver Train arrived at a particular city, the answer to which was contained within the game manual.  A simple question, but effective.

However, the original Sid Meier’s Pirates! was released in 1987 – over two decades ago – and game manuals have a funny way of disappearing like the lovely ladies in a stage magician’s show, without ever showing up again.  Well, fear not: scroll down and click on the game cover pic to view the original copy protection data, ready for your retrogaming needs!  And for those of you who need a game map for Pirates!…look here!

Click on this image to view the copy protection information!


One Response

  1. There was originally a version of this game that came on a “boot disk”. It was a 5.25″ floppy that you had to put into the drive on your PC, and reboot to load the game. It had no directory structure, and the game referenced specific sectors to load the game. Intertwined in there was also some copy protection. I *ALWAYS* wanted to take a crack at cracking it, but never got the chance. (I wanted to read the sectors into a file, and hook INT13 to grab the sector read requests, and supply the data myself from the image file, or files).

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