Question Where are high scores saved on the HDD ?

PuzzledToo

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May 14, 2020
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I have this Atari Arcade Hits CD ROM

I wanted to clear the high scores on a game but that option did not work. I searched for where high scores are saved on the HDD and looked in all suggested places such as the Documents folder & User files but they were all dead ends, at least from what I could find.

You can play everything from the CD ROM, therefore you don’t have to install the program. For convenience I just copied all the files to the HDD & everything works. IOW there is no Atari program folder/file on the PC, yet high scores are being saved somewhere. Any suggestions where to look?
Thanks
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Do you know the player names?

I would use Powershell's Select-String cmdlet to search for the player's names.

If you can find the player's names then it is likely that that scores are there as well.

FYI:

https://java2blog.com/powershell-find-string-in-file/

First test the cmdlet by looking for strings known to exist in other saved files Just to learn how the cmdlet works and how the results are presented.

Then look for other strings (e.g., player names) as required.

The player names and scores cdould be encrypted and thus not directly discoverable.

However; if found, deleting or otherwise editing that information may end badly. There could be protections set up to prevent such file manipulations.

Idea being to prevent people from altering scores for themselves or others.

Be ready to again reinstall the CD-ROM to the HDD and lose anything that you may wish to retain.

Be sure that the system is fully backed up at least 2 x to locations away from the current host computer. Verify that the backups are recoverable and readable.

Just in case.....
 

PuzzledToo

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Thanks for the information & I'll give it a try.

I'd rather not tamper with modifying a hidden or encrypted file but the Clear high score function does not work, at least not on the game I wanted it to. If it's not obvious what to do then I'll just forget it.

I never installed the software. As mentioned you can play the games directly from the CD-ROM. In fact when I had a Windows 7 PC it would not let me install the software & I just copied all the CD-ROM files to the HDD.

With the Windows 10 PC I also just copied the files to the SSD. I have a shortcut pointing to the main .exe file & everything works. The games load & run & come with high scores already on them. IOW these are already on the CD-ROM. If I become one of the high scores it will be saved but obviously not to the same file on the disk. The new & updated list of scores is hiding somewhere.
 

PuzzledToo

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I tried doing things with PowerShell but so far am not having any luck. I don’t think I’m doing it correctly & will have to study this some more.

Tempest is the game I want to clear high scores because all of them were 10100 points. I have since beaten that a couple times. If I run as administrator it does not show my high scores. It shows the original 10100 for all of them. If I go back & run normally it then shows my high scores.

I ran Missile Command as administrator and it did not show my high scores. It displayed what appeared to be the original scores that came with the disk. I then set a new high score which only shows up when run as administrator. When run normally the new score does not show up.

IOW there appears to be two sets of high scores, normal & admin.
Does that mean anything?
 
IOW there appears to be two sets of high scores, normal & admin.
Does that mean anything?
Probably does, can you tell us the exact folder you put the game at?!
If it's at a protected place then it will use the common user folder to save scores when running normal and might save scores in the same folder the game is in if run as admin because then it has write access to it.
 

PuzzledToo

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I created a folder on the D: drive & named it Atari Arcade and copied all the CD-ROM files to it.
The D: drive is my data drive & the program runs from it.
The software does not have to be on the main C: drive because the disk will run from the optical drive.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
What scores did you achieve? Decimal values?

"10100" being a strange score. Why not just 10000?

My thought is that the representation is perhaps binary and thus provides other information when converted to Hex (14), Decimal (20), or Octal (24).

Maybe an initial starting point to which your earned or lost game points are added.

Agree with @TerryLaze that the scores are likely being saved in some file folder because the score cannot be written to the CD ROM. However, the game probably has the 10100 starting "value" somewhere in its' code and that value carries over when the CD-ROM is copied to the working drive.

Remember that arcade games feature listing players and high scores as inducements for others to play (and pay) to beat those scores.

Very likely that the scores are encrypted and hidden to prevent manipulation by user/players.

Even if the intent is to simply clear out scores: highs, lows, and all.

Powershell can find strings and tell where those strings are located. The real problem being what string(s) to look for.

I think that string searches for user/player name would be a good starting point.
 

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