Futher commentary

It seems the author has been attempting to foist his biased, erroneous propaganda on other people through comments and emails; presumably at the start of August he spammed Blessed Are The Geeks and the owner of that website actually quoted the message in a posting. Here’s what the author was quoted as saying:

I read about your problems loading Commodore 64 disk software, which you said required a complex command and took about 20 minutes even though it was on disk, not cassette.

The C64 wasn’t the sprightliest when it came to loading times but twenty minutes is overestimating things several times over and loading around 20K should only take a minute or so without fastloaders. Your correspondent isn’t sure where these “memories” of achingly long disk loading times come from, but his best guess is that it’s because they’re from a fevered youth when anything that took more than a few seconds seemed to last for an eternity – it’s presumably like kids in the back of the car whining “are we there yet” ten minutes after leaving the house. Whilst we’re here, a quick quote from the original 2010 post that the author was responding to:

I remember that you’d put in the floppy disk (remember those?) and then have to type in some ridiculous command like “a:/12qws*232/wew@glk.” I mean, seriously, there was no way for the designers to make that a little easier to remember?

The “complex” command in question is LOAD”*”,8,1 and, for the author of a website that claims to be about “all things geeky”, your correspondent is surprised that this relatively simple command would prove to be an issue to remember. Anyway, back to the author’s quoted message:

This was all due to Commodore’s crappy recycled BASIC, not written for the C64, but for the Commodore PET series. AFAIK to load from disk took a command like LOAD “filename”,8 . This meant load from device 8, which was the disk drive.

The Commodore PET is significantly faster than the C64 at loading because the problem isn’t down to the BASIC at all and is instead caused by a well-meaning but probably misguided attempt to retain backward compatibility with VIC 20 peripherals.

To load from disk on Atari 8 bit systems I think you typed LOAD “D:filename” and it was a lot quicker, but most games were on cartridge anyway.

Most games weren’t on cartridge for the Atari 8-bit, they came on disk or cassette.

Saying “a lot quicker” is something the author isn’t placed to comment on having never used a disk-based C64 or indeed Atari 8-bit for comparison of course, and it needs to be noted that the C64’s LOAD”FILENAME”,8,1 is no more or less memorable with practice than what the Atari 8-bit uses.

To load from cassette on Atari you just pressed down 2 keys when turning the computer on, then pressed PLAY and hit Return.

Whilst the author makes that sound blissfully simple, he omits a few reasonably important details; for a start, the key combination isn’t a constant so some games need just Start, others need Start and Option but only if using an XL or XE and some require the user to type CLOAD since they don’t autoboot at all. And whilst the author harped on about loading times for the C64 previously, he seems to forget about it whilst discussing the Atari 8-bit; this is, presumably, because a reasonably sized Atari 8-bit game would take upwards of twenty minutes to load from cassette.

For the C64, however, starting a load from tape is always a case of simply holding down Shift and pressing Run/Stop and the majority of games come with a software-based fastloader to speed the process up considerably.

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