Epyx Fast Load
The Epyx Fast Load is a floppy disk fast loader cartridge made by American software company Epyx in 1984 for the Commodore 64 home computer. It was programmed by Epyx employee Scott Nelson, who later designed the Epyx Vorpal fastloading system for the company's games.
Epyx Fast Load allowed programs to load from the Commodore 1541 disk drive approximately five times faster than the normal speed. Since it was stored on a cartridge, and thus provided instant access without requiring any hardware modification of the C64 or disk drive, the Fast Load quickly became a very popular peripheral among C64 users.
In addition to disk acceleration, the cartridge also provided a built-in version of the Commodore DOS Wedge. This dramatically reduced the number of keystrokes needed to load or save files or perform disk operations, and made the cartridge even more convenient.
Epyx Fast Load incorporated a machine language monitor. Although it did not include an assembler, as most "standard" C64 ML monitors did, it included a wide array of powerful debugging tools. These included disassembly, single-stepping, and an automatic machine code relocator.
A crude disk editor was also included with the cartridge, which displayed raw data from floppy disks in classical hex+ASCII split screen mode. Among other things, the disk editor was used to enter cheat codes and do the home computer variant of ROM hacking.
In the unusual case of software that wouldn't work with the Fast Load, the cartridge could be disabled via a menu command, thus avoiding the need to physically remove and reinsert it.
In a review of three Commodore 64 fast loaders, Ahoy! wrote that the product "is surprisingly transparent to all the forms of commercial copy protection we have looked at ... In terms of greatest convenience and speed, we place our bets on the Epyx Fast Load".
- Kevelson, Morton (May 1985). "Disk Spinners, Part II". Ahoy!. pp. 33–38. Retrieved 16 October 2013.