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Unexpected EOF
Dec 8, 2008

I'm a Bro-ny!

Okay, I hate to drag the Killswitch thing up AGAIN, but it is actually possible for a game to delete itself. However, for this we need to start thinking about computers in the distant past of 1989.

Now, as I recall, the CD-ROM standard for storing binary data didn't come into play until the mid-eighties. CD-ROM games were actually pretty excessively rare for the first while, so Killswitch probably would have come on some floppies. Maybe only one, who knows? Regardless, let's continue.

Now we have to start thinking to things that are a bit more obscure. Something like a little virus called Elk Cloner.

quote:

Elk Cloner spread by infecting the Apple II operating system using a technique now known as a "boot sector" virus. If a computer booted from an infected floppy disk, a copy of the virus was placed in the computer's memory. When an uninfected disk was inserted into the computer, Elk Cloner would be copied to the disk, allowing it to spread from disk to disk.

An infected computer would display a short poem on every 50th boot:
Elk Cloner: The program with a personality
It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes, it's Cloner!
It will stick to you like glue
It will modify RAM too
Send in the Cloner!

Really, all the game would have to do would be make sure that the virus prevents the game from being successfully copied, has to run off the disk (no terribly uncommon) and wipe either the disk or the relevant file from the disk containing a random encryption key to actually decode the files on the disk.

Not saying the story is true, but that this is all theoretically possible and fairly likely that a game with such a limited run would ever have been successfully cracked. Especially with how finicky it was with uninstalling itself.

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TombsGrave
Feb 15, 2008



Of all the "haunted/spooky" game stories, that one's the best / only one that's actually cool. Its plausibility helps a bit, but it also just plain sounds like a cool game.

NO LISTEN TO ME
Jan 2, 2009

So long, gay bowser

Yeah, it's the only real plausible one just because it doesn't blame everything on OOOOOOooooOOOOOoooo GHOSTS ARE COMING OUT OF MY VIDEOGAME

TJO
Aug 14, 2006

I had a funny feeling in my gut.


haveblue posted:

There are quite a few games that can do this, if the programmers are a bit lazy. The stick circuitry tells the console the degree to which it is pushed, and the console biases this to figure out how far away from neutral it was. So if you let the console assume that "neutral" means the stick is at -45 degrees, and then push it up to 45 degrees, the console will tell the game that the stick is at 90 degrees. If the game determined your speed just by comparing where the stick was to 45 degrees, now you're going twice as fast as intended.

Smarter games will use different ranges of the stick to look up your speed in a preset table, so pushing the stick even farther cannot move you faster than the maximum speed the game designer chose. There's just a larger range of stick motion that means "maximum speed".

So that's why if someone was sitting on the controller or something when the console turned on the character would sometimes always be moving left or whatever? That's cool I always wondered what was going on there.

fronz
Apr 7, 2009





Lipstick Apathy

TJO posted:

So that's why if someone was sitting on the controller or something when the console turned on the character would sometimes always be moving left or whatever? That's cool I always wondered what was going on there.

the gamecube, at least, sets neutral to wherever the stick is positioned at the time you plug the controller in

ymgve
Jan 2, 2004




Offensive Clock

Unexpected EOF posted:

Okay, I hate to drag the Killswitch thing up AGAIN, but it is actually possible for a game to delete itself. However, for this we need to start thinking about computers in the distant past of 1989.

Now, as I recall, the CD-ROM standard for storing binary data didn't come into play until the mid-eighties. CD-ROM games were actually pretty excessively rare for the first while, so Killswitch probably would have come on some floppies. Maybe only one, who knows? Regardless, let's continue.

Now we have to start thinking to things that are a bit more obscure. Something like a little virus called Elk Cloner.


Really, all the game would have to do would be make sure that the virus prevents the game from being successfully copied, has to run off the disk (no terribly uncommon) and wipe either the disk or the relevant file from the disk containing a random encryption key to actually decode the files on the disk.

Not saying the story is true, but that this is all theoretically possible and fairly likely that a game with such a limited run would ever have been successfully cracked. Especially with how finicky it was with uninstalling itself.

The problem is that every floppy had a "Write protect" tab. While there was probably some systems where this protection was enforced in software, a lot of platforms were flat out physically unable to write to a write protected disk.

The Joe Man
Apr 7, 2007

Flirting With Apathetic Waitresses Since 1984

ymgve posted:

The problem is that every floppy had a "Write protect" tab. While there was probably some systems where this protection was enforced in software, a lot of platforms were flat out physically unable to write to a write protected disk.

These floppies were different.

Unexpected EOF
Dec 8, 2008

I'm a Bro-ny!

ymgve posted:

The problem is that every floppy had a "Write protect" tab. While there was probably some systems where this protection was enforced in software, a lot of platforms were flat out physically unable to write to a write protected disk.

You know all that tab did was block an IR sensor, right? All they'd have to do is make a floppy that didn't have a hole. Hell, I've taped over the hole on a few AOL trial disks when I needed extra space in the distant pass.

haveblue
Aug 15, 2005



Toilet Rascal

It could still be protected by punching a hole in the disk casing in the right spot, physically.

ymgve
Jan 2, 2004




Offensive Clock

Unexpected EOF posted:

You know all that tab did was block an IR sensor, right? All they'd have to do is make a floppy that didn't have a hole. Hell, I've taped over the hole on a few AOL trial disks when I needed extra space in the distant pass.

Um, yeah. And any pirate worth their salt would obviously make sure that write protect was intact on the disk before trying anything with the game.

RagnarokAngel
Oct 5, 2006

D:


Francois Kofko posted:

the gamecube, at least, sets neutral to wherever the stick is positioned at the time you plug the controller in

Yeah, N64 did too. I think it's an exclusively Nintendo thing. Does the Wii do it? I dont own one.

Cuntellectual
Aug 6, 2010

You see this post?

It's the Gosh Darn APOCALYPSE, baby!

WOO!

Unexpected EOF posted:

Story

It's true. Not sure how I can expand on it beyond trying to find a link, which I suppose I'll do.

Unexpected EOF
Dec 8, 2008

I'm a Bro-ny!

ymgve posted:

Um, yeah. And any pirate worth their salt would obviously make sure that write protect was intact on the disk before trying anything with the game.

haveblue posted:

It could still be protected by punching a hole in the disk casing in the right spot, physically.

So they end up with more copies of the game, but we've still got the memory loaded "virus" that prevents them from repeating the game and possibly preventing it from being installed again. Plus it's a limited run so it's possible that there simply weren't any pirated copies.

RagnarokAngel
Oct 5, 2006

D:


Unexpected EOF posted:

So they end up with more copies of the game, but we've still got the memory loaded "virus" that prevents them from repeating the game and possibly preventing it from being installed again. Plus it's a limited run so it's possible that there simply weren't any pirated copies.

If you're willing to go with "good enough" then theres flash games that are one play only. It's easily circumvented but so is your method.

Dewgy
Nov 10, 2005

bok bok bok


Unexpected EOF posted:

Okay, I hate to drag the Killswitch thing up AGAIN, but it is actually possible for a game to delete itself. However, for this we need to start thinking about computers in the distant past of 1989.

A high format tape disk in a physically secured drive with the encryption to it stored on a battery powered key (a la the CPS3 hardware people have brought up before) could work to make sure no one can copy your game. The entire program runs from this drive (possibly a bootable disk?) and not all of it is loaded into memory at once. Rooms, text, music, character models, even puzzle solutions are loaded as needed and in a seemingly random order, so a memory dump won't tell you anything you can't already see right in front of you. If someone tries to physically open the drive, it not only disconnects the power source of the encryption hardware, but also causes the tape to format itself via a magnetic wipe (either magnets in the case or an electrical discharge).

Wouldn't be cheap, but sell 'em for $200 a pop at a limited run and sell them to enthusiasts only. QA and development in those days could be handled by two dedicated and likeminded people (a la Myst). It's feasible, though admittedly it probably didn't happen.

MizuZero
Sep 6, 2005

~honda best man~

since this thread's segued into microfiction, here's one I wrote a while back:

--------------------------------------

Pale Luna

In the last decade and a half it's become infinitely easier to obtain exactly what you're looking for, by way of a couple of keystrokes. The Internet has made it all too simple to use a computer to change reality. An abundance of information is merely a search engine away, to the point where it's hard to imagine life as any different. Yet, a generation ago, when the words 'streaming' and 'torrent' were meaningless save for conversations about water, people met face-to-face to conduct software swap parties, trading games and applications on Sharpie-labeled five-and-a-quarter inch floppies.

Of course, most of the time the meets were a way for frugal, community-minded individuals to trade popular games like King's Quest and Maniac Mansion amongst themselves. However, a few early programming talents designed their own computer games to share amongst their circle of acquaintances, who in turn would pass it on, until, if fun and well-designed enough, an independently-developed game had its place in the collection of aficionados across the country. Think of it as the 80's equivalent of a viral video.

Pale Luna, on the other hand, was never circulated outside of the San Fransisco Bay Area. All known copies have been long disposed of, all computers that have ever run the game now detritus buried under layers of filth and polystyrene. This fact is attributed to a number of rather abstruse design choices made by its programmer.

Pale Luna was a text adventure in the vein of Zork and The Lurking Horror, at a time when said genre was swiftly going out of fashion. Upon booting the program, the player was presented with a screen almost completely blank, except for the text:

-You are in a dark room. Moonlight shines through the window.

-There is GOLD in the corner, along with a SHOVEL and a ROPE.

-There is a DOOR to the EAST.

-Command?


So began the game that one writer for a long-out-of-print fanzine decried as "enigmatic, nonsensical, and completely unplayable". As the only commands that the game would accept were PICK UP GOLD, PICK UP SHOVEL, PICK UP ROPE, OPEN DOOR, and GO EAST, the player was soon presented with the following:

-Reap your reward.

-PALE LUNA SMILES AT YOU.

-You are in a forest.There are paths to the NORTH, WEST, and EAST.

-Command?


What quickly infuriated the few who've played the game was the confusing and buggy nature of the second screen onward only one of the directional decisions would be the correct one. For example, on this occasion, a command to go in a direction other than NORTH would lead to the system freezing, requiring the operator to hard reboot the entire computer. Further, any subsequent screens seemed to merely repeat the above text, with the difference being only the directions available. Worse still, the standard text adventure commands appeared to be useless: The only accepted non-movement-related prompts were USE GOLD, which caused the game to display the message:

-Not here.

USE SHOVEL, which brought up:

-Not now.

And USE ROPE, which prompted the text:

-You've already used this.

Most who played the game progressed a couple of screens into it before becoming fed-up by having to constantly reboot and tossing the disk in disgust, writing off the experience as a shoddily programmed farce. However, there is one thing about the world of computers that remains true, no matter the era: some people who use them have way too much time on their hands.

A young man by the name of Michael Nevins decided to see if there was more to Pale Luna than what met the eye. Five hours and thirty-three screens worth of trial-and-error and unplugged computer cords later, he finally managed to make the game display different text. The text in this new area read:

-PALE LUNA SMILES WIDE

-There are no paths

-PALE LUNA SMILES WIDE

-The ground is soft

-PALE LUNA SMILES WIDE

-Here

-Command?


It was another hour still before Nevins stumbled upon the proper combination of phrases to make the game progress any further; DIG HOLE, DROP GOLD, then FILL HOLE. This caused the screen to display:

-congratulations

40.24248

-121.4434


upon which the game ceased to accept commands, requiring the user to reboot one last time.

After some deliberation, Nevins came to the conclusion that the numbers referred to lines of latitude and longitude the coordinates lead to a point in the sprawling forest that dominated the nearby Lassen Volcanic Park. As he possessed much more free time than sense, Nevins vowed to see Pale Luna through to its ending.

The next day, armed with a map, a compass, and a shovel, he navigated the park's trails, noting with amusement how each turn he made corresponded roughly to those that he took in-game. Though he initially regretted bringing the cumbersome digging tool on a mere hunch, the path's similarity all but confirmed his suspicions that the journey would end with him face-to-face with an eccentric's buried treasure. Out of breath after a tricky struggle to the coordinates, he was pleasantly surprised by a literal stumble upon a patch of uneven dirt. Shoveling as excitedly as he was, it would be an understatement to say that he was taken aback when his heavy strokes unearthed the badly-decomposing head of a blonde-haired little girl.

Nevins promptly reported the situation to the authorities. The girl was identified as Karen Paulsen, 11, reported as missing to the San Diego Police Department a year and a half prior.

Efforts were made to track down the programmer of Pale Luna, but the nearly-anonymous legal gray area in which the software swapping community operated inescapably led to many dead ends.

Collectors have been known to offer upwards of six figures for an authentic copy of the game.

The rest of Karen's body was never found.

--------------------------------------

hoep u liked it

Unexpected EOF
Dec 8, 2008

I'm a Bro-ny!

RagnarokAngel posted:

If you're willing to go with "good enough" then theres flash games that are one play only. It's easily circumvented but so is your method.

Okay, let's add to it a bit.

Anyone stupid enough to spend more than $5000 on a videogame is stupid enough to not drill a hole in the read-only slot.

RagnarokAngel
Oct 5, 2006

D:


There's always someone man.

Unexpected EOF
Dec 8, 2008

I'm a Bro-ny!

RagnarokAngel posted:

There's always someone man.

It's pretty plausible that in a game with a run of 50,000 units, pre-internet, will have almost everyone overlooking the fact that there isn't a read-only toggle on it.

Dewgy
Nov 10, 2005

bok bok bok


Unexpected EOF posted:

It's pretty plausible that in a game with a run of 50,000 units, pre-internet, will have almost everyone overlooking the fact that there isn't a read-only toggle on it.

The game starts itself by changing a playcount bit on the disk, making no other changes during play. If it is unable to do this, it crashes.

Pretty Little Rainbow
Dec 27, 2005

by T. Finn


Holy poo poo this thread got gay.

JammyLammy
Dec 23, 2009


MizuZero posted:



I liked it

Don't get how the rope was used, unless thats just to show how "buggy" the game is.

RagnarokAngel
Oct 5, 2006

D:


Pretty Little Rainbow posted:

Holy poo poo this thread got gay.

Please describe in a 100 word essay how it got too homosexual for you tia. I wasn't aware threads could have preferences so I am curious.

JammyLammy
Dec 23, 2009


RagnarokAngel posted:

Please describe in a 100 word essay how it got too homosexual for you tia. I wasn't aware threads could have preferences so I am curious.

I saw this thread buttfucking another thread. It was pretty gay

MizuZero
Sep 6, 2005

~honda best man~

JammyLammy posted:

I liked it

Don't get how the rope was used, unless thats just to show how "buggy" the game is.

the game is played through the programmer's perspective: he's already used the rope (for a bad thing)

...of SCIENCE!
Apr 26, 2008

43 species of parrot?! Nipples for men?! SLUGS?! Are we not in the hands of a lunatic?! If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, 8 o'clock, day one!


RagnarokAngel posted:

Please describe in a 100 word essay how it got too homosexual for you tia. I wasn't aware threads could have preferences so I am curious.

Only if you write an essay on how intentionally ignoring fundamental rules of English and legitimate definitions of words in an incorrect attempt at pedantry makes you look really intelligent.

raditts
Feb 21, 2001

The Kwanzaa Bot is here to protect me.

JammyLammy posted:

I liked it


Me too, an enigmatic programmer that writes games that detail his serial killings is actually a pretty interesting concept for a mystery novel or something. At least better than that stupid goddamned Killswitch story you lot have been jizzing your pants over.

IronyGuy6669
Apr 22, 2010


RagnarokAngel posted:

Please describe in a 100 word essay how it got too homosexual for you tia. I wasn't aware threads could have preferences so I am curious.

Maybe he's old fashioned, and using the old definition of gay. He might just be enjoying how happy everyone is to talk about video game legends.

RagnarokAngel
Oct 5, 2006

D:


...of SCIENCE! posted:

Only if you write an essay on how intentionally ignoring fundamental rules of English and legitimate definitions of words in an incorrect attempt at pedantry makes you look really intelligent.

You're a bigot. Your turn.

Dr Snofeld
Apr 30, 2009


RagnarokAngel posted:

Yeah, N64 did too. I think it's an exclusively Nintendo thing. Does the Wii do it? I dont own one.

It's not just Nintendo. My 360 controller does the same thing.

Vince MechMahon
Jan 1, 2008



RagnarokAngel posted:

You're a bigot. Your turn.

And you're a derailing rear end in a top hat, now both of you shut the gently caress up. Someone post something fake about vidya games.

Unexpected EOF
Dec 8, 2008

I'm a Bro-ny!

TheJoker138 posted:

And you're a derailing rear end in a top hat, now both of you shut the gently caress up. Someone post something fake about vidya games.

I think my copy of Daikatana64 is haunted. I've actually played through it once without encountering any gamebreaking bugs.

RagnarokAngel
Oct 5, 2006

D:


TheJoker138 posted:

And you're a derailing rear end in a top hat, now both of you shut the gently caress up. Someone post something fake about vidya games.

Why didn't you? You're really not helping bring it back on track you know!

To contribute though, this was posted in the AVGN thread, it's sort of related.

http://www.cinemassacre.com/2011/01...per-mario-bros/

You can jump the flagpole in 1-1 through a really odd glitch. It doesn't do anything we didnt know but kinda interesting extension of the (true) rumor that you could jump the flagpole.

fishmech
Jul 16, 2006

~death to capitalism~
Chrome OS is shit
Every DSA is a cop


Salad Prong

Unexpected EOF posted:

I think my copy of Daikatana64 is haunted. I've actually played through it once without encountering any gamebreaking bugs.

Jeez, try to make it believable won't you?

Blotto Battalion
Mar 30, 2010


Read the last few pages and didn't see this posted. I don't hear about it too often so it may not be very widespread.

Anyways I had been playing the Kino Der Toten zombie map on Call of Duty: Black Ops which includes a new nova-gas zombie that crawls and explodes when killed. I was wondering if there were any other types of enemies that would eventually show up and my friend told me that around level 25 he had gotten a level where a big gorilla monster showed up and killed his entire team very quickly, similar to the dog levels. It seemed plausible to me at first since when you turn the power on you hear a loud roar and something smashes up the roof, plus I knew about the Cosmic Silverback in Dead Ops Arcade so I figured it was the same gorilla. I didn't really look into it though and kept playing, and incidentally I had heard some pubs mention it on Live occasionally. After a while I got fed up and just searched online and found nothing anywhere, when I called my friend out he backtracked and said he had only been told by someone else despite his story involving being killed by it. I was pretty disappointed.

This was back in early December and I haven't heard anyone speak of it for quite some time. It would be a neat idea for later maps maybe.

Doc Hawkins
Jun 15, 2010

Dashing, you say? But I'm not even moving!



Call of Duty has zombies and gorillas now: the true horror story.

RCarr
Dec 24, 2007



They should have put something like a gorilla or other boss in the game. It builds up like something crazy is gonna happen, and then... just more rounds of the exact same thing!

doctor iono
May 19, 2005

I LARVA YOU


I also really enjoy the idea that since it was such a "pass-it-around" scene, the murderer could be a friend of a friend... or no one you know. Very well done.

Edit: Friend OF a friend gently caress i'm dumb

doctor iono fucked around with this message at Jan 13, 2011 around 11:46

Johnny Fab
Jan 7, 2010


MizuZero posted:

since this thread's segued into microfiction, here's one I wrote a while back:

--------------------------------------

Pale Luna


I really, really liked it! I'm super glad you didn't go the THIS VIDEOGAME IS HAUNTED route.

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TJO
Aug 14, 2006

I had a funny feeling in my gut.


Reading it I thought the player character was dead, that they were in a cell and used the rope to hang themselves and were in the afterlife or something now. It was good though I liked it.

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