• Judland's Commodore Blog

  • by judland

These are the ramblings of a happy Commodore computer user since 1983. I cover topics on both the C64 and C128, reviewing my favorite games and applications, as well as share some of my favorite memories from the 8-bit era. If you'd like to read more, you can visit my blog at: https://www.my64.in.nf -or- https://www.my128.in.nf


LoadStar: "Please hack our programs"

I don't think you would ever see a publication like LoadStar this day and age. At least, not one that encouraged you to hack their software.

Over the weekend, I've spent some time going through the first twelve issues of my LoadStar collection. I've read some articles and tried out many of the programs and I've noticed something very interesting; something I don't think you'd ever see if LoadStar was published today.

For most of the software included on their disks, LoadStar would write a brief summary of the program you were about to load. Along with that, they would mention who submitted the program, where they were from and (and this was the great part) they would encourage you, the user, to examine the code and write your own version or make improvements. They then encouraged you to submit what you've created for publication in the "magazine" for everyone to enjoy.

This attitude of open coding, learning, sharing and collaboration wasn't uncommon, back in the '80s. We were all just beginning to learn what we could do with our C64s. For the most part, we were always eager to share with other fellow users what we learned and what we created.

But today, unless you're part of the open source community, there are not many software publishers out there encouraging users to examine their code and write their own version of it.

Looking at it from another angle, this approach was a cheap (okay, free) way for Loadstar to get content for each month's publication - and get money for it. But, these were "bedroom" or home-brew software/games writers who really didn't have much of an outlet to share their creations with other C64 users. Getting published in a magazine or selling their software to a game company probably wasn't all that simple to do.

Today we have the Internet to share our home-brew software with the world. All we need to do is post a link on a few community forums and we're off. But back in the '80s, sending your game or application off to a publication, like Loadstar, was a relatively simple way to get your name out there in the C64 community. This probably provided a lot more exposure to their work than uploading to whatever BBSes they could find.

Anyway, looking at these old issues of Loadstar again certainly brings fond memories of how the world of home-computing used to be. Back then, every computer user was a bit of a hacker, more or less and it was fun.

Leave a Comment

You must be signed-in to post comments.


Baracuda of Smash DS 11/10/2011

would like to add that the german disk mag tiger disk (now dead) released such programs also and they wrote instructions and test the programs which they received. Here you could find an unreleased demo called unknown land from my groupmate aeg and some unreleased tunes by sonic, also by other guys.
it's worth a look even if you are not german or understand this german language. There was also some english issues but after not getting enough help to do the english issues they died.

catch the l04d574r issues here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NFAKLNMW

judland 11/10/2011

Thanks, Baracuda! I will be sure to check it out.