Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
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Thread: Does anyone miss...
Bloodwych 09:53 7th March 2011
....the feeling and sound of handling and using Floppy disks?

The smell of a new Floppy, the sliding metal cover, the read/write tab. Peeling fresh labels, writing them out and ordering your disk collection.

The sound it made as you slotted it home into the Amiga. The sensation of pushing the disk into the drive with a single finger. The disk loading sounds...

Ok, it sounds like retro porn I admit, but it's true.

It just occurred to me now I really miss Floppy media. I don't feel the same about Tapes or Carts and CD/DVD/Flash disks just feel cold - they have no character. Installing things from Floppy to a hard drive felt great too.

Sure Floppies were slow, but they felt better somehow. Yes, I'm having a nostalgia morning.....
Buleste 11:26 7th March 2011
I enjoy handling real floppies (5 1/4") when I'm playing with my C64.

I also miss some of the later carts produce for the C64.

I miss DOS commands and I'm not just talking about PC DOS but all text based disk operating systems. The need to type something in to load a programme rather than the soulless double clicking of a mouse button. They made you need to understand how a computer worked.
Bloodwych 12:39 7th March 2011
I'm with you on that Buleste.

Something about having to do more work to get something to run and waiting in anticipation that made the final experience that much better.

Having everything just instantly available and things download and run with little effort just isn't as satisfying.
Harrison 13:06 7th March 2011
It isn't just floppy disks, but the whole experience. As you say, today's media doesn't have any feeling or soul to it, and is very generic. It's the same with CDs compared to vinyl... CDs might sound great and the ability to move to any track, and fast search is all great, and it completely made tapes pointless, but Vinyl had something special about it because you could see the physical mechanics of the needle touching the record and the sound being produced. Same with floppy disks in a way.

I still remember the first time I used floppy disks and thought they were amazing as I'd come from an Amstrad CPC464 the tapes and 10 minute loading times. Even a minute of loading from a floppy was amazing.

Regarding commandline interfaces for OS control... I like both ways... sometimes it can be much faster with a commandline, but other times it can slow you down. Server management these days is much faster in a commandline with Linux, compared to a Windows Server for example. But when managing files on my own systems I much prefer icons for most things. I do however remember opening my new Atari ST in the 80's, powering it up and getting the GEM desktop and wondering where the commandline was to actually do anything with the system... it was very disappointing just being able to access a floppy disk contents and load things. Of course, had I bought an Amiga at the time I would of had the CLI and a proper commandline interface to interact with the OS... just shows how primitive the ST was in comparison. It also took be a while to get my head around no basic language being a part of the OS as standard and needing to load on up separately. Obviously it makes perfect sense now, but not then when I was used to every 8bit system having its own basic language built in and the ability to experiment and play around with the system out of the box.

Anyway... back to floppies. Do I miss them? Not really in terms of a storage format because of their lack of reliability. Even some new games could have track errors... and these days converting ADFs back to floppy, so many of the floppies I have fail with check errors it gets annoying. As a physically media to handle and put into the system to load a game or software it creating a great emotion the first time you purchased a new game and loaded it up, with the anticipation of what you would find.
Stephen Coates 13:14 7th March 2011
I can agree with this. Its just when they don't work that it gets annoying.

A lot of my PC disks tend to fail these days. Not sure why. My Amiga disks tend to be fine.

I did install Memtest86 onto a floppy disk earlier to use on my PC. That worked fine and seemed quicker than loading it from the Ultimate Boot CD.

Obviously with the Amiga one of the best parts of using floppy disks is the cool sounds that the drives make.
burns flipper 13:52 7th March 2011
I played Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on floppy.

So, no, I don't miss them AT ALL.
Harrison 15:13 7th March 2011
I feel for you. Playing Monkey Island 2 was bad enough. I did also play Beneath a steel Sky from Floppy Disk and that game was a nightmare as it would ask for a different disk ever few seconds in some parts. Definitely designed with HD install in mind. And even worse when I got to a disk with a read error on it NOOOOO! But saying that, some smaller games still needed a lot of disk swaps... I think it was Flashback which at some points had you swapping disks left, right and centre to get it loading the next section.
Sharingan 21:04 7th March 2011
Oh yes.

I especially love how my disk drive sounded like a chainsaw, particularly with games that had custom loaders. Disk drives going at it noisily ... what more could you want?
Bloodwych 21:04 7th March 2011
Very good comparision mentioned above with CD's and Vinyl. It is the same thing here.

I don't miss the technical limitations of the Floppy, although I never suffered hardly any read errors - the tech limits drove me insane! Especially adventure games. Also having two disk drives only to find you still had to swap disks if a game didn't support the second drive. Very annoying. Also the lack of Hard drive support on the Amiga. That's one thing that was always great to have on a PC.

I just miss the feeling of using floppies, installing them onto hard drives, writing out the labels, swapping with friends, the way they slotted into drives, the loading sounds, flipping through my disk boxes etc.....

I get none of that from a DVD or Blueray, flash drive or STEAM/internet download. It just doesn't feel as good. Far easier and faster, but dull and lifeless somehow.

Nostalgia, a funny illogical thing.
[Reply] 07:05 2nd August 2011
Originally Posted by Buleste:
I miss DOS commands and I'm not just talking about PC DOS but all text based disk operating systems. The need to type something in to load a programme rather than the soulless double clicking of a mouse button. They made you need to understand how a computer worked.
Do you remember CP/M?

I came from an Amstrad CPC 6128, which came with a 3" disk drive. I absolutely love handling those rare 3" disks (and the fact you can 'turn over' the disk .... LOL) but I also remember using CP/m quite a bit to manage files on disks. It seemed quite odd in it's syntax (copying a file was strange with the PIP utility, specifying the destination BEFORE the soure on the command line)

However, I still really enjoy the use of floppies on my Amigas. I have purposely kept one A500 with no hard drive for this purpose.
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