PrintStar's Blog
Ramblings of a Fortran Nut
January 16, 2010 by Jeff

Day 16 – LoveDOS and CrazyDOS

Back in the days when computers still didn’t boot directly to Windows, there were quite a few prank programs to confuse the user at the DOS prompt. Using the programs was the equivalent of messing with someone’s desktop background image or installing a random keystroke dongle. Today I’m reviewing two such packages, LoveDOS and CrazyDOS. Since both are only amusing for the first few minutes, I figured I could cover both in a single post.

My distributions of both these programs are marked as originating from PC-SIG, a 1980s shareware distributor. The programs are both somewhat pointless, so I would be quite surprised if a lot of money was made on registrations.

LoveDOS

LoveDOS is a utility to turn your computer into a desparate, obsessed lover, which might appeal to some folks out there. After running the exectuable, the user is presented with what appears to be a standard DOS prompt. The only thing I noticed different at the LoveDOS prompt is that a space is present between the prompt and the cursor. Typing the DIR command, however, shows that something interesting is going on.

As you can see, things are a bit “different.” Some MS-DOS commands produce humorous responses:

  • CD – “Don’t ever change.”
  • HELP – “You don’t need any help, honey, you have me.”
  • WP (WordPerfect) – “You don’t need word processing, you have LOVE processing!”
  • 123 (Lotus 123) – “1. I love you 2. I love you 3. I love you”

Commands it doesn’t know are met with some tender, loving words:

You may have noticed the screen is no longer black and white. LoveDOS enjoys changing screen colors randomly. Trying to view files in the directory lead to some unexpected results as well. For example, “TYPE README” first generated the response, “You’re just my type.” The second time typing this generated a heartfelt screen full of hearts:

Trying to view the TOUCHME file generates quite the excitement inside your computer. The program is an amusing distraction and would infuriate most users. To exit the program, you need to reciprocate your computer’s feelings by telling it you love it.

If you’d like to drive an MS-DOS user nuts, give LoveDOS a try! It works just dandy on a real DOS machine, including the Tandy 1000 HX, and under DOSBox.

CrazyDOS

If you find LoveDOS charming and amusing, CrazyDOS is quite the opposite. This prank program is mostly just annoying. When CrazyDOS starts up, everything seems normal again. The first command I always try is, of course, DIR to obtain a directory listing. The first thing someone notices is that the letters are not appearing on the same line as the cursor. How crazy! The result of DIR is shown below:

The program does this every time you try to list a directory, so its not so much fun. Trying to copy results in a warning about this computer being a “Secure installation” and demanding a password. Any password results in a “Password correct. Access denied anyway,” response. My favorite response is to the format command:

Format not supported by this machine. Use only preformatted diskettes.

Every user of Digital Equipment Corporation systems will just frown at this statement. The CLS (clear screen) command humorously filled my screen with smiley faces. Some of the responses to other commands are shown in the screenshot.

Surprisingly, the VER (version) command accurately reports on what program is running:

The nicest part of CrazyDOS is that an appropriate response for almost every DOS command is provided. LoveDOS was much more lax in their implementation. To escape from this annoyance, you again have to let your computer know how you really feel:

The heart key is one last joke, which the program politely apologizes for on exit.

CrazyDOS is fun, but the lack of a theme makes it get old pretty quick. The program would be entirely appropriate for a friend and his DOS machine, but you’d probably only get away with it once. I personally prefered LoveDOS’s themed prank, but CrazyDOS does fill a niche.

CrazyDOS also works perfectly on the Tandy 1000 HX and under DOSBox.

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