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jkheiser's picture
Joined: 2009 Aug 17
Brataccas Bust

A copy of Brataccas popped up on eBay last weekend. It was a buy-it-now auction priced at $150. It was tempting but I had concerns the media might be bad because the seller had no means of testing the disk. Turns out they lived only two hours from me, so I contacted them and arranged to meet at a public library so I could test the game. I was also prepared to buy it for $150—if the media was still good. So I grabbed my old Mac Plus, along with its 270 MB SCSI hard drive, and hit the road.

90 minutes into the trip, the seller sent a message: “Sorry! It just sold! Call with questions.” So I called them and had to persuade them to keep our appointment so I could image the disk for the sake of preservation. The seller balked and said they were uncomfortable with being party to copyright law violation. They said they needed to think about it and call me back. When they called back, a five-minute argument ensued between us. Somehow I managed to talk them into it. I think they acquiesced out of guilt because I was nearly at the library.

We met, the disk booted — which I recorded with my iPhone — then I went to work imaging it. I forgot that DiskDup Pro 1.3.2a doesn't work on the Mac Plus. It crashes because of a memory problem. This was not good because DiskDup Pro’s bad-sector toleration was my best hope. The other version, DiskDup+, failed about halfway through reading the disk. So did DiskCopy 4.2. Using DiskTop I was able to copy the application itself, but two data-fork files — “game_0W” (2,408 bytes) and “game_0M” (34,544 bytes) — were unreadable because they “could not be found.” The Finder and CP MacTools also complained similarly when trying to copy them. A third data-fork-only file, called “RN1...” (512 bytes) had the bozo bit set. DiskTop could not read it. Nor could Fedit. I’m fairly certain it’s just an intentionally bad file written during disk duplication to thwart copy checksums. A lot of 1985–1986 games did this. Fedit, however, was able to read the other two un-copyable data files. I tried to capture their sectors and write them out to my hard drive, but the seller was growing impatient and insisted they had to go. It had been 45 minutes. They took the disk and left.

I’ll make a post for the application file itself, but I doubt it will do much without those two data files.

Here’s a YouTube clip of the game booting:


MikeTomTom's picture
Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Heck. What a drama. Sorry that it was not a successful outcome as you would have liked.

Too late for this one, but you might also add Disk Copy 5.5 to your tool set. DC 5.5 is a cloned version of Disk Copy 5 (from a leaked beta of the unreleased DC5) and will duplicate copy protected disks (I hope). See screenshots in page. Perhaps Copy II Mac also.

Minimum91's picture
Joined: 2009 Aug 14

Sounds to me like the sellers were some uptight assholes. If they agreed to an apointment then why the hell couldn't they leave the sale for later, ffs. And if they agreed to you making a copy then why they couldn't wait? Sound like they wanted to waste everyones time (and nerves) and someones money. Idiots.
For the sake of argument I was trying to find the law for digital copyright expiration but couldn't find it. Could someone share a link?