While DRM today may been seen as overly aggressive and frustrating, copy protection methods of yesteryear actually brought along some charm whilst keeping the pirates at bay. One of the more notable examples of this was the code wheel - a collection of layered card held together by a split pin with windows revealing secret codes underneath. Although seeming to be something of a bygone era, several of these code wheels have now been recreated and digitised for future generations to come.
For many gamers their first introduction to this form of copy protection was through Lucasarts’ classic The Secret of Monkey Island. The vibrantly coloured Dial-A-Pirate insert very much seemed like an added extra to the floppy disk adventure, however, beneath each of the faces you could make lay a secret access code to boot up the game. Monkey Island 2 continued this trend with the Mix ‘N’ Mojo code wheel (one which had you lining up voodoo spell ingredients), whilst the likes of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis opted for a much duller approach littered with numbers and letters.
Abandonware website OldGames.sk recently made available their collection of seven different code wheels online, all of which spinning independently with a click. This collection includes the aforementioned Lucasarts quests, along with the likes of Another World, Pool of Radiance, and Waxworks too. Whilst the selection might not be expansive as of yet, we’re pretty sure many more will soon follow given how great these work digitally.
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