Lenslok (lenslock)

Lenslok is a copy protection mechanism found in some computer games and other software on the 8-bit Atari computers, Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Sinclair QL, MSX and Amstrad CPC. The most famous game to use it was Elite for the ZX Spectrum.

The Lenslok device was essentially a row of prisms arranged vertically in a plastic holder. Before the game started, a two-letter code was displayed on the screen, but it was corrupted by being split into vertical bands which were then rearranged on screen. By viewing these bands through the Lenslok they were restored to their correct order and the code could be read and entered allowing access to the game. The device was small enough when folded flat to fit next to an audio cassette in a standard case. – Wikipedia

Lenslok was used on Elite and OCP Art Studio for the Commodore 64
There is a Lenslok emulator online here:

This is what the device looked like and how it’s used





Lenslock lenslock2a

V-Max Copy Protection

V-Max Copy Protection for Commodore 64 disk.

There was four main versions of this copy protection, then some versions with variations.
V-max protection was used my many different publishers including Activision, Cinemaware, Mindscape, Origin, Sega, Taito, Thunder Mountain and a few others.

There are already some great write ups on V-Max including this one from Pete Rittwage HERE: http://c64preservation.com/vmax

There was copiers that could make copies of V-Max software in the 1980’s like Burst Nibbler and Supercard. Plus many others that could copy a V-Max protected disk then you applied a parameter (crack) on the copy for it to work, like Disk Invaders, Fast Hackem, Maverick, etc.

There is also a NEW release in the V-Max copy programs called: Revolution V by Lord Crass. This program can be found here: http://csdb.dk/release/?id=134573

Even MORE information can be found here from a Post by Lord Crass made on the Lemon64 forums: http://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=53555&sid=9a9eb0a45e6d2d3935ec13d502aaeef5


Dongle Protection

The oddly named protection device called a DONGLE was plugged into the Commodore’s tape port or the joystick ports. When the program would load it would check for this Dongle, if it was there the program would load, if not the program would not.

Here a list of Commodore software that I know used a Dongle as it’s form of copy protection.

10th Frame: used the dongle on the tape port
Coco 2
Insta-Calc (some version)
Leaderboard World Class
Neutral Zone
Paper Clip’s dongle fits into the Joyport,


Code Wheel Copy Protection

This type of protection is not disk based, but something that came with a game that you had to make up items on the wheel and enter data into the game for it to start.
So you could usually copy the disk easily, but need this device to play.

The most famous example is the code wheel from the Secret of Monkey Island.

Some others include

Bard’s Tale III
Monkey Island 2
Out of this World
Pool of Radiance
Secret of Monkey Island
Zany Golf