Downloading games from the radio and teletext in the 1980s

I wrote a feature for issue 11 of Wireframe magazine on weird game distribution methods in the 1980s. Reasearching it was absolutely fascinating.

Did you know that loads of people individually worked out that you could download games from the radio? Microcomputer games used to come on audio cassettes, so you could play the cassettes on the radio, then listeners could tape the broadcast and load the program onto their computer. Wireless downloads before Wi-Fi even existed!

And there was even a sort of proto-Internet called Prestel that was run by the Post Office, and people could download games from that, too. AND you could download BBC Micro games from teletext. AND there was even a way to download games from a TV programme using a light sensor. The 80s were a crazy, experimental time in the computer world.

You can read the full article in Wireframe issue 11, but if you can’t find it in the shops, you can download a free PDF using this link. Enjoy!


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