I've spent the last few days decoding the complete text for the game Make Your Own Murder Party from Electronic Arts, something I've wanted to do for decades. But in the process I've discovered that there seems to be only one unique copy of the Apple II version available to download, and it's broken. (The same copy is shared on hundreds of sites.)
Side B is missing a good portion of the text data. Having just decoded the text, I found that the data is the same across the Apple, Commodore and PC versions, so I was able to restore the missing text. However the game has another problem: Just after selecting a murderer, it asks for Side A.... over and over, and never goes any further. I've tried with both the corrupt disk image and my repaired image to no avail.
I know this forum isn't the usual place to look for games, but this is a research project... Does anyone know of a working disk image for the Apple II?
I'll post the complete text at some point after I've cleaned it up a bit. It's more of a curiosity because it isn't very useful outside of the program. Just a lot of jumbled sentences and paragraphs which the program selects from and assembles in a specific order with a certain amount of randomness. (I'll also post my repaired disk image of Side B, but it won't be useful without a working Side A... and if you have a working Side A you probably also have a working Side B already!)
Could be a bad crack on disk a. Like maybe they verified it booted, but didn't go far enough in game to see if it was totally fixed? Ideally if someone has an original of this, they would get it in the hands of someone with an applesauce and can create a WOZ copy. Then ask someone like 4am or qkumba to look at cracking it. Who knows, maybe Passport can already crack it automatically.
There is a copy on eBay right now. A little pricey at $60+shipping. But they are accepting offers.
You're probably right. I don't love it enough to pay ebay prices though, everything on ebay is so exhorbitant it's turning into a museum. Maybe I'll look at what the code is doing later, but for now I need a break. Copy protection schemes are ASM nightmares!
Have this one in my Apple II SoftWare Repository.
Hope this help you.
Make Your Own Murder Party (1986).zip
Hi! I just downloaded the program. Before I try it, what is it like?
(shows the version of the program for "the other 6502 machine", but that doesn't matter to understand the concept).
Thank you. I like the concept, but the only person I have with whom to play it is my mother. :(
Hi iatkos, I tried your DSK and WOZ images in Applewin, MicroM8, and on a real Apple II with FloppyEmu.
For Side B it appears that your *WOZ* image has all of the text data, but the *DSK* image is still missing data. (Your Side B DSK is bit-for-bit the same as the corrupted copies I already have.)
For Side A, both your WOZ and DSK copies are different from the ones I already have, BUT they still fail at the same part of the program (printing the game documents). I still can't figure out if this is caused by copy protection, or bad data.
So my questions are:
Do the retail disks actually work? Or were a bunch corrupted? (I just broke down and ordered a retail copy on ebay)
Does a WOZ image defeat copy protection?
If anyone is able to make these disks print, please let me know your setup/emulator.
In the Applewin monitor I traced the part which prints the documents, side by side with the Commodore 64 version. Again, the two programs are nearly identical except for machine-specific memory locations and routines. Every routine is made up of hundreds of smaller routines accessed by indirect JMPs, the order of which appear to all be kept in memory in a giant array. The Apple's array matches the same subroutines as the Commodore's, in the same order, just different memory locations. But the Apple disk images seem to have errors in the array. When the Apple says "MURDER PARTY Will Now Select A Murderer..." and you press a key, it immediately goes to the wrong routine. I patched a few of the errors in the array, but it didn't help. It's a very tedious process and there are potentially hundreds of errors.
When my ebay disk arrives, I'll update the thread with my findings... I know, it's become an obsession...
It depends on how the copy protection was implemented. A .WOZ image can reproduce "illegal" nibbles and sector headers which were used by some copy protection schemes, but there were other schemes it wouldn't help with (like holes burned in the disk with a laser). At least, that's my understanding.
Hahaha, I saw it coming reading your first post. You were already waist-deep in the project. But no worries, we've all been there (well most of us). :)
The ZIP file above also contains a2r files - the raw format of the applesauce project. Maybe you can also try these (or convert them to WOZ format - and see if they are the same as the WOZ files in the ZIP).
Normally the WOZ files should be accurate though. They contain an exact representation of the magnetic flux data of each track - including correct timing (relation between the tracks).
What they cannot do though is reflect non-deterministic behaviour. Like if the original disks were somehow intentionally damaged in a way that would result in a drive not reading the magnetic data in the same way in every revolution. Not sure if such tricks were used for copy protection - but it's possible.
Yeah but I only paid $12!
I've never heard of A2R files. I'll play with those later; taking a break until the disk arrives. Then I'll post the complete text—and the method for decoding it yourself—for anyone who's curious.
I love this level of passion. You never know who's day you'll make. Recently I wanted a copy of Muppet Slate to recreate a photo from my youth, and I was shocked to see how recently it had been cracked. I wish you great luck.
Maybe the Apple disk hardware worked differently enough from the C64/Amiga/Atari ST where that was not used? On those platforms "missing" data on the disk (no flux transitions past the framing timeout) would insert "random" data into what was read. Many protections would check for this phenomenon.
I only know a little about Apple II protections, but it seems like the disk controller can "skip" data and it just shows up as a shorter track read instead?
The Disk ][ drive and controller have a lot of unique quirks that are unlike anything else. Commodore also used GCR, but their hardware was quite different.
Quick and disappointing update: The disk I bought from ebay has a retail label, but the data on the disk is the cracked version shared online. I tested it for good measure, but it fails in the same place. I've contacted the seller requesting a return or refund, and I explained that this disk is basically broken and they shouldn't resell it. The only other copy available is $60 OBO, so I guess I'll just wait for another reasonably-priced copy to show up. Sorry I don't have better news to share.
If YOU have an actual unaltered retail copy of Murder Party, and if you are willing to make a copy of it with ADTPro or something, or maybe lend or sell it to me, it would really help a lot!
Sadly there are a lot of fakes of vintage software around. It isn't uncommon for them to be made from downloads of cracked versions like that. People have been caught faking the disk labels, boxes, manuals, etc.
The fact that there are several hundred, maybe even a thousand titles that have been clean-cracked by 4AM means that anyone can make a duplicate of a commercial diskette and unless you were to try to physically copy it to see if it were copy protected, then you would never be the wiser.
People can, and will take old damaged games and copy clean-cracked versions onto those diskettes, or open the jackets and replace the "cookie" inside, or peel the label off and put it on a new copied diskette, or even reproduce the label.
Sadly that's what we are all up against nowadays.
Mind you, I do love having clean-cracked versions of all my favourite games.
The problem is when people are selling fakes without revealing what that is and charging original prices for reproductions. And I know most of this stuff is "abandoned", but technicall most of it is still covered by Copyrights, and profiting from selling copies is even more in a grey area than just having archives freely available for download.
I know it happens and it is going to happen... but people should think about what is happening...
I've been dealing with this in the arcade scene forever. Tons of Neo Geo MVS cartridges and CPS2 cartridges for example were converted to more popular titles by changing EPROMS and labels, often by arcade operators but also tons of bootleggers. Capcom would sometimes convert their own titles as well, adding to the mess. To this day, you shouldn't buy any Neo Geo games without seeing the bare PCB's. But at least there, we can spot fakes with photos relatively easily, as long as the seller is willing to open the cartridge. We don't get that convenience with floppies. And, it's extremely frowned upon to knowingly sell a converted PCB without disclosing it.
To me, deliberately selling a "reproduction" disk as original is just wrong, but I don't think many of us here would disagree with that. However, I also don't mind people who make disks for people who know what they are buying, for a nominal fee. But another problem then comes up once that disk has changed hands a few times. The few times I made conversion or reproduction Neo Geo games out of broken game PCBs, when I created the game label, I put in small font under the serial number "MVS REPRODUCTION" or something of the sort. Just something on the label that may let a future buyer know it's not original.
I don't mind reproductions so much if they are clearly marked as such so that as you mention, down the line someone doesn't get ripped off by someone trying to pass off a repro as an original or even someone unknowingly selling one that way. There are some in the community who are very resistant to marking replicas because they want things to be as absolutely perfect as possible but I think that can be a little irresponsible unless they can guarantee down the line that people aren't likely to get fooled if the product somehow gets into the wild. I mean some things aren't hard to spot, but others are close enough it can really take an expert to dis-authenticate. The matter is made worse with Apple II software because the production means for a lot of the smaller companies in particular were pretty primitive. Some of them printed labels with a dot matrix printer and used photocopiers or inexpensive offset presses for printing their manuals, booklets or even packaging. While it can sometimes be easy to spot an ink jet or laser printer reproduction from a scan, if there's sufficient profit involved or enough determination it is possible to replicate a lot of typical 1980s production methods closely enough to be virtually undetectable.