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40 years ago it was possible to download video games by radio

40 years ago it was possible to download video games by radio

In the late 1970s, computers such as the Apple II saw an explosion of software theft. These ancestors of today’s gaming consoles and computers were at the center of the great circulation of copies of proprietary software, but were created by enthusiasts. However, at the time, the best way to broadcast this theft was easy: radio.

Software on audio tape

In 1977, some First personal computers See daylight as Apple II and Commodore PET 2001. Another example is the TRS-80 Model I from Tandy Radioshock. At that time, the “power” of the personal computer and its microprocessor was discovered around the world. Like the 2001 PET, the Apple II was fitted 8 bit microprocessorAt a speed of 1 MHz. The TRS-80 model I had a processor with a speed of 1.77 MHz.

Light years away from current devices, these computers were in very basic use. In fact, users can only program in BASIC and install, learn and play some software. Still, the output of these machines is similar to the explosion of a pirate. Enthusiasts exchange a lot Copies of licensed software, But home software.

As explained Interesting engineering On March 8, 2021, amateurs exchanged these plans Storage media only available At the time: Audio Cassette (Q7). Very quickly, the engineers of the audiovisual broadcaster Netherlands Omrop Stitching (NOS) asked themselves a simple question and learned an important thing. Since the software is on audio cassettes, why not Sending data streams to the radio Should we allow everyone to be saved?

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

Many programs were downloaded via Airwaves Hertzian

And so on Download Sound Wave (Basic signal) is born. Very quickly, broadcaster NOS developed a radio program Entertainment Cooperative. Its purpose is to broadcast its own programs to listeners who have only one thing to do: connect the audio output of their radio station to the input of their computer. So this simple manipulation made it possible Copying radio data On the K7 tape. For people unfamiliar with the program, the sounds of the radio show are meaningless. Today, the same sounds are similar to the sounds of modems in the early days of the generalization of the Internet.

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Apparently, since nothing is complete in computer science, each data sequence had to be broadcast four times. Importantly, it was found that the download would not be complete if there was a slight signal interruption. In 1982, NOS engineers were downgraded due to incompatibility between different machines. Translation standard Basic for every device. It will be BASICOD, with its nickname Esperanto for computers. It will be at the center of two important developments in 1984 and then 1986. In ten years, NOS will air About sixty projects Including many video games.

In Europe, Hobbescope will produce many children, including the show Ventilator 202 in Yugoslavia, It will not broadcast less 150 software programs between 1983 and 1986. We can also mention the show Radio Bristol Radio West Data (UK). Unfortunately for all listeners, the late 1980s marked the end of independence. In fact, floppy disk and 16-bit processor programs are too large to broadcast over the air.