Dongle protections

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Dongle protections for Atari ST

A dongle is a hardware device that plugs into the Atari either through the cartridge port, serial port, ASCI port or any other port that can be read from. Once you start up the software, it checks the port that the dongle is supposed to be in and if it's not there, the program will not fully function/run. It's literally another means of software protection because you may be able to copy the disk but to duplicate a dongle would be much harder. (thanks to PaulB on the forum for this lovely description!)

The following is a list of known games & applications which featured a hardware device to prevent copies being distributed of the title.


  • 10th Frame (US Gold) [1]
  • B.A.T. (Ubi Soft) [2]
  • B.A.T. 2 (Ubi Soft) [3]
  • Cricket Captain (D & H Games) [4]
  • Dames Grand-Maitre (Cobra Soft) [5]
  • DynaBlaster (Ubi Soft) [6]
  • Jeanne d'arc (US Gold) [7]
  • Leaderboard (the original US Gold release - future budget re-releases were 'hacked') [8]
  • Multi-Player Soccer Manager (D & H Games) [9]
  • Robocop 3 (Ocean) [10]
  • Rugby Coach (D & H Games) [11]
  • Striker Manager (D & H Games) [12]


  • NeoN Grafix 3D (Team Computer) / F030
    The dongle used by NeoN is connected to the LAN Port of the Falcon. It appeared in the casing of a starting switch used for fluorescent tubes (In German: 'Leuchtstoffröhre' or simple 'Neonlampe'). Guess why they choose it :) Basically the dongle was just a wire connecting the read to the write pin.
(someone help me out here - guess the majority would be MIDI apps such as Cubase?)
  • Steinberg MIDI software
    The dongles used by Steinberg are connected to cartridge port and uses chip with the key. There are several coloured versions of dongle for different versions of application.
    • Cubase (need version numbers etc.)
    • Avalon
  • Music Master (Computer's Dream)
  • C-LAB software
    Notator/Creator uses dongle in cartridge port. It is possible to replace simple dongle with the Unitor module. There is the dongle itself plus extra MIDI IN/OUT and synchronization ports inside the Unitor.
    It is possible to use module Combiner in the cartridge slot which provides 3 extra slots for dongles.
  • Zero-X

  • Zodiac - astrology application - needs dongle with flashing LED in Joystick 1 port.


  • Dossier OBLIGEMENT : les protections sur Amiga et Atari ST [13]

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