buric.co: apple crunch

The Bible

Geneva Bible
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The Nice Splice

Apple ][

Apple Crunch
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Back in the day, it was not uncommon for people to have disks full of video games for their favorite 8-bit computer. Often someone took a game apart, figured out how it worked, then converted it into a form that could be placed with other such games, so that a whole disk was not needed for a game which took only a little bit of space.

Typically, a disk would have three, four or maybe five games on it; that tended to be as much as you could fit in 140K. And then, three or four more went on the back.

Over in the Commodore 64 world, it was common for a game not only to be cracked, but to be compressed, to take less space on a disk and allow for even more games to be shoved on a single disk. We didn't have that luxury in Apple ][-land...until a C64 cracker showed me a little tool called Exomizer. Realizing that the C64 and Apple ][ had the same CPU and other hardware and firmware similarities, I used a wrapper to make Exomizer output code for an Apple instead of a Commodore.

I think it was in 2005 when I first started crunching games. A set of seven disks, done with a lot of manual work. Soon after this, I learned some of the "ancient art" of cracking for the Apple. My interest was not defeating copy protection, as with the crackers of yore; it was about packing games and making more of them fit on disks, and later, to make them work on devices with higher capacity storage than single-sided 5¼" floppies. But in the meantime I put together enough crunched games - including newer, better and cleaner cracks, some of which were my own work - to fill a whole box of flippies, and put them in plain sight for people to see what could be done. There are 190 games in this collection.

Having 10 disks - 20 sides - full of this stuff, I set to work on bigger and better tricks, like file versions of larger games. So far, I did just one, Taito's Qix, which was once a floppy-only game, but is now capable of being placed on a hard drive.

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