EDOS – Electronical Distribution Of Software – Where Did It Go?

it wasn’t all that long ago now since I brought up a discussion on Facebook about a game Duplication machine that I had seen back in the early 80s in my local game shop, I knew I had seen it and all (only once though) but I had no idea about the name or if it was an official thing or whatever as it did sound very tacky and illegal at the time and yes I never bought games that were made with it either…

It didn’t take long before the name EDOS came up, that was the system indeed and while discussing with one guy another guy came with more information about how it worked and so on and I managed to get a lot of information about the EDOS system by the time the thread(s) had died off.

…but yes even though i had got quite a bit of information I still longed for more and there were so many unanswered questions and yes maybe most of all – where are they now?

The information I had by now was,

  • it was called EDOS – Electronical Distribution Of Software
  • Rob Northen was involved in it (Copy Protection Guru).
  • The EDOS system came with a catalogue that the customer selected games from, these were annually updated for a few years (3?) before the system vanished from the shops. 
  • The EDOS system copied games from CD to Floppy drives and Tape drives while customers waited.
  • The EDOS system printed Labels for the medium used while customers waited.
  • The EDOS system printed manual and inlay card for the jewel case while customers waited.
  • The shop clerks struggled to work with the EDOS UI system and often wrote wrong images to the floppy or tapes.
  • The shop clerks sometimes wrote the labels by hand…
  • HALL OF LIGHT INFO: EDOS was a form of legal electronic software distribution introduced in the UK in 1991. The basic premise was to enable games retailers to reap greater profits by stocking a wider range of games without taking up precious shelf space. –
  • HALL OF LIGHT INFO: EDOS closed down its operation in mid-1994 after major UK computer chain retailer John Menzies withdrew its support and the number of independent stores involved had significantly dropped.

I have looked around on the web and in all those other places that we shouldn’t look unless we must but without much luck and as many might have noticed by now… Wikipedia and so on got next to no information about it either.

I found this picture on the web and as far as I can tell this is the only one out there… 

It sounds like a thing from the future but at the same time, it sounds like something really

dodgy, who in their right mind would buy a game copied to you by a clerk in a game shop?

I found these two cover scans on Hall Of Light, there are most likely many more out there and I will look into that eventually.

Loads of games were also part of their thing as they had games from many publishers like Loriciel, Silmarils, Microids, Codemasters, Mirrorsoft, Novagen, Prism, Rainbow Arts, Software business, Titus, Virgin Mastertronic, Zeppelin and so on.

So, I sort of gave up looking again… well until I accidentally bumped into a local newspaper article about the rise of Computers in the local area and how it changed us and so on…

I was looking for Amiga’s in the pictures (of course) and there was several of those but there was one that stood out from the crowd…

LO AND BEHOLD! LOOK WHAT I JUST FOUND!

The reason I saved this image was because of those Amiga boxes and that Amiga 2000 etc in the shop…

How on earth did I miss that thing the guy in the right is holding there?

Yup, it is the EDOS catalogue and the game on the front cover is none other than Codemasters Sky High Stuntman and to top it even more off is that the guy on left shows a Zeppelin game, F1 Tornado to be exact.

The photo alone is a pretty good trip to the early 90s for most but for an Amiga nutter, there are loads to be super hyped about, yes there are brand new Amiga 500 and 600’s in their original boxes and there are manuals, books, games and so on there and best of all is that they are cheap and not eBay inflated.

You can spot a few EDOS games on the shelf that confirms that memory of mine which mentioned Jewel cases and I do remember the shop too but I somewhat remember loads more games on display etc but this is a good start for now and I won’t stop here.

The games on the shelf look like EDOS versions of Double Dragon, Dark Century, Rally Simulator, Advanced Ski Simulator, Pro Tennis and one more that I am not sure which game it is.

I have found a few traces of EDOS and games at:

Giantbomb’s dedicated EDOS section.

Hall Of Light’s dedicated EDOS section.

And yes, I did find one scanned catalogue online too, you can download it from here.

So, now what?  I found a picture and I found enough information to start digging further and I hope to get in touch with any of those two guys in the picture to try and find out where that old 386 EDOS PC went, maybe they still got it today?

I’ll do a follow-up article as soon as I know more.

Thanks to RoarTJ for the featured image.

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4 thoughts on “EDOS – Electronical Distribution Of Software – Where Did It Go?

  1. First of all, great article (Tony) and great featured image (Roar)!
    Nintendo had a similar sistem in use during the 80s for their Famicom (the original NES). It was called Disk Writer Kiosk. Here are some links….

    Link1
    Link2

  2. Yes I must agree with you Goblin! A great article and thanks for the nice word about the pitcure. I did actually struggle abit with that picture …but I is “okey” I guess! 😉 Hope you are doing well and had a nice Christmas Goblin? 😀

    • Yes, mate. My Christmas was nice and creative, as Tony can testify… 🙂
      Working on my next game…

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