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Amstrad CPC / Oddities

Amstrad/Schneider CPC 6128 - Oddities
Pirate copy trap letter (12/1992)

In December 1992 I got a letter from a 14 year old girl (Tanja Nolte-Berndel) whom I did not know. She complained about her life circumstances, expensive computergames and asked me to send her a list of CPC computer games that we could trade. With the letter came a photo of the girl.

Lots of other honest homecomputer-users received similar letters with the same photo from other girls (Monika Witte, Jasmin Flechtner, Sonja Stein, Silke Kempen, Michaela Kriegel, Veronika B., Simone Reuenberg, etc). The scene asked a magazine to check what's behind these trap and they found it out: A now well known lawyer (now specialized in computer-rights) initiated these actions. Teenagers that started sharing discs received a dissuasion along with a request for payment.
Of course I replied to the letter but for some reason ;-) I forgot to put a stamp on it.

details (german only):

Lack of 3 inch discs

In 1987 the stock of 3 inch discs went low. Usually we paid 69 german marks to 119 german marks for 10 discs (i.e. Maxell CF2, doublesided, 178 KB each side); that's up to 60 EUR for 3.5 Megabyte ;-)

BTW: Amstrad used 3 inch floppys for the CPC, because they got hold of a large quantity of cheap floppies from Asia. Unfortunately the CPC and the Joyce were the only widely popular home computers that used this floppy format. Other homecomputers using 3 inch floppys i.e. were the Amstrad Spectrum +3 and the Tatung Einstein.

details (german only):

3'' disc
CPC 5512

Amstrad did not invent it, but the french magazine "Hebdogiciel" did it in 1985. The magazine introduced the Amstrad CPC 5512 in the June/1985-edition. The new CPC had a 5.25 inch floppy, a Z80 CPU, 4 MHz, MIDI port, RS232 connector, 512 KB RAM, 48 KB ROM, an internal clock, a graphical user interface and new basic commands (CIRCLE, PAINT, SCROLL, CLOCK, MUSIC).

The satire was successful ... AMSTRAD brought them to court asking for 100 million francs arguing that this joke stopped the sells of the 6128 for one week, which was maybe true ... ;-)


CPC 5512
Brutality in computergames ...

... was in discussion during the middle 1980ies, too. Of course the technical abilities of the homecomputers were far away from realism. If you had to kill enemies or to shoot flight vehicles it were extra-terrestrians 'cause this trick prevented the game from being indexed or censored. Sometimes it was enough to change red blood to green fluid and to describe the enemies in the manual as "human-looking aliens".

Nowadays - with all the brutality in news and media - it seems a bit humorous, but in the 80ies games like Barbarian I catalyzed the discussion.


Barbarian I
3D - 1990

"More than 380 screens in futuristic high-tech-design, fast rendering and spectacular multi-angle perspective allowing you to examinve obstacle from different points of view."

These were the advertisment headlines for the game Spindizzy, which was released for the CPC in 1986. Multi-angle-perspective, fast rendering, 3D graphics and high-tech-design is nothing spectacular anymore, but "Spindizzy" still is a charming and entertaining game.



A friend of mine programmed this litte fake-program in order to pull the leg of a friend's younger brother. The program pretended to be a professianal virus removal tool - in a silly way ;-) - and promised to disinfect discs that give "read fail"-errors during the loading phase of programs which was due to a virus. Of course a "read failed" was a simple read-error and a quite normal thing ;-)
The program was only 2 KB small but pretended to load lots of internal code, which was brilliantly faked by a for-next-loop and a multiple execution of an invisible directory listing. Inserting an "infected" disc did not disinfect it ... the programm erased all files of the disc and printed a useless error message.

For reasons noone can understand this friend of mine does not work as software developer ... and so I think it is OK, to introduce you to this masterpiece of software.