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Spin machines: the curious history of video games on vinyl

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During the early 80s home computing boom, flexi discs full of data were briefly all the rage, and Frank Sidebottom, the Thompson Twins and the Stranglers made their way to the ZX Spectrum

It’s almost unthinkable now, but from the 1970s until the early 1980s, vinyl records were explored as a means of storing computer data – including video games. Some magazines of the time tucked code-packed flexi disc inserts into their pages: paper-thin plastic records that could be fed into home computers from an ordinary turntable, magically manifesting a game on screen. Long before Travis Scott was attracting 12 million players to a gig hosted in Fortnite, there was a coming together of a British game developer, a magazine and a pop act that marked the beginning of the intersection between the music and games industries.

The Thompson Twins Adventure Game came cover-mounted on a 1984 issue of the beloved magazine Computer & Video Games, the first UK magazine devoted to games. Almost everyone involved in the project – a promotional item linked to the release of the single Doctor Doctor – admits the game was imperfect. It was a weird text adventure garnished with incidental visuals, in which the members of the Thompson Twins had to locate the ingredients of a potion to be made by the song’s eponymous medic. The idea was that readers could load the disc from a turntable linked directly to a Spectrum, or copy the audio on to a cassette, which could then be used to load the game on a Spectrum or Commodore. Getting the recording level right could take multiple attempts, as users experimented with audio settings, and some of the disks got damaged as they dangled exposed on the cover.

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from The Guardian https://ift.tt/3hjiESr
via Google News

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