Monday, July 30, 2012

How bandwidth availability is making obscure data easily available

I'm not much of a downloader/ content pirate. Not because of my unwavering respect for intellectual property, but because I'm mostly impartial to movies, TV series and exploring music. Consequently, my collection of illicit music is abysmally outdated.


In 1997 - 15 years ago! - Pro Pinball: Timeshock! was released to great reviews. It had great depth in playability, very believable simulation physics, good visuals, engaging music and even a storyline. Till today, it firmly remains one of the best pinball games ever coded.

I bought a copy, and spent many many hours flipping balls around a simulated table. On and off, this game lasted me till 2005 or so when my ailing Compaq's CD drive failed to read the Timeshock CD. Torrent files for the CD image were rare, and to find a functioning torrent was a challenge. Finally managing to get hold of one with some activity, the downloading process took several weeks.

Timeshock was back, faster1 and more robust. This lasted me for several years more, surviving several computer formatting and migrations. Until I lost the damn CD image. It's somewhere, I just don't know which hard disc it's backed up in.

Trying my luck with the torrents again, I was very surprised to be able to find one so easily; the download took an hour to complete. I did not expect this. Perhaps data storage and bandwidth has become so cheap that previously low-demand files are being made available again. I tried the other lesser known Pro Pinball titles, and they were just as easily available. This is amazing!

1. Reading a CD image stored on a hard disc is much faster than scanning soundtracks on the actual CD.

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