LGR – Using a Floppy Disk Drive on a Smartphone


Greetings and welcome to an LGR thing!
And today I was just thinking about modern smartphones and tablets and other such devices. They’re pretty neat and smart and things. But you know what they
could really use? Floppy drives. Yes. That’s right.
Floppy friggin disks and drives to go along with them. And you know what? I
think we can accomplish that! So to do this all we really need is: a phone, I’m gonna be using my Note 8. It’s not sponsored, it’s just what I have. And a
floppy disk drive and in particular a three-and-a-half inch floppy disk drive
that runs using USB. One that I have applied a woodgrain coating to, because
of course I did! And yeah, I don’t know what brand this is, what it is. Pretty
much any of them should work, it’s just a generic one I got from Goodwill. And we’ll
of course need a floppy disk to write to and read from. I have a high-density
three and a half inch disk here that we can fill with all sorts of unscrupulous
nonsense. And last but definitely not least is one of these USB connectors, or
on-the-go cables or adapters, whatever you want to
call them. In fact this one I haven’t even opened yet. It actually just came
packaged with my phone, which was quite nice. It’s just an on-the-go, OTG adapter
and this will allow you to convert the USB portion of your phone, in this case
it’s USB C, to USB Type A. You know, full sized USB port. So I’ll just plug in the
OTG adapter right there on the end of the USB cable of the floppy disk
drive, plug that into the phone, and you’ll be able to see the light come on.
And if we plug in a disk… [floppy disk noises] Yeah. We get floppy disk noises as the
phone is attempting to read from the disk. And at the moment there’s nothing
on it so let’s go ahead and take care of that on a Windows 98 PC. So I’m going to be using the recently-rebuilt Lazy Green
Giant to write some stuff onto the disk. [click keyboard typing] And we have an installation here for
Commander Keen Episode One: Invasion of the Vorticons. The shareware episode,
which will easily fit onto the disk itself. [more typing] [disk drive writing sounds] “Thanks for installing the shareware
episode of Commander Keen!” You’re quite welcome, early 90s installation program.
So we have the game installed on the disk right there, so we should be able to run it like this. And it of course will be just fine, because why wouldn’t it be.
So yeah let’s go ahead and do the same thing on the phone and see what happens
with a floppy drive attached to it! [click, shunk] Okay, now that the disk is full of things
let’s plug it back in and see what happens. [floppy drive read head noises] It could take a little while here
for it to read what I believe is the entire contents of the disk. It may
actually be loading everything directly from here into memory, just so it knows
how to read it from the filesystem. And there you go it shows up as a Y-E Data USB drive. And so you can tap there to transfer the files and these are all
the ones that we just copied over. And of course being that these are meant for
MS-DOS, like, if we’re trying to open an executable it’s like, “oh you don’t have
any apps that can do that.” Well I actually do, so let’s go and open one of
those apps. For this I’m going to be using an app called Magic DOSBox, which
is just a DOSBox variant made for Android. And I find it to be quite nice.
It is a paid-for app, or at least this version is, but in my experience it’s about the best DOSBox version for Android at the moment. You can see I have jewel of the jungle already installed but we’re going to add
the version of Commander Keen that we copied over to the floppy disk.
[disk loading sounds] And it’s already seeing something there. Now the way this version of DOSBox works is you
configure each individual little icon, or program, to show up on your main menu by going through here. And you select all of the different features that you would
normally in DOSBox. In particular we’re just going to make it boot directly into
this game. And I’m gonna just leave it on the disk, I don’t even want to copy it
over to the internal memory of the phone or anything. Global settings… So if we go
into here we can show the detected storage devices and we have this one
right here which is the floppy disk drive. It says it’s read-only access, so
if we hit “request permissions” this brings up the Android request
permissions thing. We have “nonsense.” I just hit select there and we’ll see if
we can do anything with it now. Yes, we can, we have full access to “Disk 0” as it is now, zero point zero gigabytes! So we’ll go back here and do the “plus new game” and now we should be able to choose the floppy disk. Yes, we can directly
right here, Disk 0. So we’ll just choose the main folder here and that is that.
We’ll type in the name, Commander Keen 1. And it’s already enabled it for us on
the main menu here, so if we wanted to in Magic DOS Box we can adjust all sorts of other settings. We do want the PC speaker because, that is what that is. No sound
card, we don’t even need to bother with that. We could even change the icon if we
wanted to, so if we want to give Commander Keen a nice little display on
our menu we could do that. But this is probably the more important thing for
this individual program, which is choosing the main program. Which is going to be keen1.exe, so there we go. So now when we tap this we should just go directly into Commander Keen Episode 1. Booting directly from the floppy disk.
Yep it sees it there in the DOSBox command prompt. And there we go. Wow. That’s awesome! This is the first time I’ve actually loaded
something directly from a floppy disk and not just like, copying it first over
into the internal memory. This is really cool, let me get the camera a little more
adjusted. Check that out. So we can’t actually tap on the screen or do
anything unless we were to configure it to be able to do that. So we can add
virtual buttons or we can just bring up a virtual keyboard here. Press Enter.
Could start a new game. [chuckles to himself] Yeah.
[PC speaker noises play] And obviously this is not ideal [laughs] Even the virtual buttons that this program has, while impressive in their own right,
they’re still not particularly great. So I can add like a virtual joystick, or
really keys, over here. And then I can apply some other keys. And yeah you see
how this is, you just sort of add different keys to your screen that you
can tap on at will. [squeaky Keen gameplay sounds] Uh so yeah. It’s… I don’t like touchscreen controls on like any game really, unless is a game meant for just tapping only. But you know like, this
is why I’m not a fan of emulated games on Android, iOS. So you either have to plug in an external controller to really get some sort of good experience, in my
opinion. Or we could try plugging in an actual keyboard. And this is an IBM Model
M. It has a PS/2 connection. And if you remember some time ago I did a video
about plugging in one of these into an Android phone just through one of these
little USB PS/2 adapters. That’s totally doable but of course we only have the
one port, so that means we’re gonna need a USB hub. This is something I admit I have not yet attempted. But I don’t know, in theory it should work. So I just grabbed
a cheap hub online and I should be able to just plug stuff in here and
and make things happen. Okay, plug in the keyboard right here, the disk drive right
there, adapter right there. And then we’ll see what happens when we plug it into
the phone. Suffice to say, do not try this at home. I cannot be responsible if you
over voltage your phone or something. [phone notifications play as devices are recognized] So that’s a good sign, we’ve got the USB
floppy drive attached, and then physical keyboard settings popping up here. Which
that looks good. [clicking arrow keys] And yeah you could see me hitting left and right on the arrow keys, the keyboard does appear to be working. So let’s try it
with DOSBox. I really need like, a stand or something for this. Hmm. Can I just put
it there? You know I’m just gonna put it there. All right, once again I have not
tested this yet so I don’t know how well this program is meant to work with a
physical keyboard. But let’s just open up Commander Keen and see what happens. Once again loading directly from that floppy disk, which amuses me endlessly… and it
seems to be doing it at the, you know, a pretty good comparable speed to like an
actual PC of the time. If it were connected to it physically, internally in
anything, so. Okay let’s see–oh it works perfectly! [laughs] Oh yeah. Yeah this is how I would hope to play DOSBox on a phone. With the friggin Model M keyboard and
an actual floppy drive loading from actual floppy disks.
[PC speaker sounds] Oh it’s wonderful!
[just laughs, amused at the silliness] Oh man. Excuse my giddiness but–nah man! Embrace my giddiness because I am
genuinely having fun with this! This is so cool! Dude. “Quit to DOS.” Let’s try Jill of the Jungle. I know it’s not on–oh hey we’re right back to DOS. Hi there,
DOS. Yeah anyway, let’s exit out of this. Now I just want to try Jill of the jungle
for, well. Yeah, see I had the virtual things installed and I just
don’t want to do that man. Get rid of those. Goodbye screen widgets, I don’t
need you anymore. [Jill music plays]
Yeah. Jill of the Jungle. On Android! Not loading from floppy
disk, but if I wanted to I really could. Okay, well at this point now I guess I’m
just sort of getting off track. I’m just amused–oh wrong button. I am
just amused by anything that involves plugging in like, legacy hardware to
modern hardware. And I know it’s like, it’s built to do that. On the surface
it’s not impressive, but there’s still something amusing about–dang it–about
seeing it in action. All right well, that’s pretty much it for this video. I just
want to show that it is indeed possible. And not only that but it works pretty well.
In fact, it looks like it does cache stuff to internal memory in some way.
I mean, I guess I would expect it to. It would do that normally on a regular
PC if you’re just running something directly off of a floppy, it copying into
RAM. But I was kind of surprised, curious, whatever, seeing if it would do it even
within the emulator here when I “turn off” the emulation. And it seems to, like now
the floppy drive is not plugged in, nothing is plugged in, so it’s not
copying everything directly. Probably just had it saved to its own internal
RAM so that it doesn’t have to load it all completely off the floppy disk at
first. I don’t know, I’m just guessing. Anyway, thank you very much for watching this little experimentation. Perhaps you’ve already seen this done before.
Maybe you’ve done it yourself, you’ve been doing it for years and this is
nothing new. But for me, it was at least something a little different. And if
you’d like to see my older video where I covered plugging in a Model M into an
Android device you can click that or stick around to see any of my other
videos, there’s new ones every week. And as always thank you very much for
watching!

39 thoughts on “LGR – Using a Floppy Disk Drive on a Smartphone

  1. at 7:00 I was like „if you attach a floppy, why not use the USB for an keyboard-adapter too, und just game on a real keyboard“…AND SO HE DID! 😀 😀 😀

  2. Friggan floppy disk!!! I haven't seen those since 07!!! And u connect it to a darn smart phone!!! Where were you when i needed you in highschool?!!!!!!!!! New subscriber

  3. If you like playing these old DOS games on Android, then you should totally look into SCUMM-VM for Android. Then you can play LOTS of old point and click games on there like "The Secret of Monkey Island" or "Maniac Mansion" or MANY more! Check it out!

  4. Android does everything. Iphone users pay for nothing 😂🤣😃🤣😂😆We can play consoles for almost 10 years now. But ios has cameras…😂🤣😃🤣😂😆

  5. I use my keyboard that has two USB inputs on top to plug in my wireless mouse without a hub.

    A wireless Micro Keyboard or Tablet keyboard and Wireless Mouse work well for use in less convenient situations.

  6. I played a lot of this, I'm so happy that I don't have to deal with it anymore. I don't get it why teens are so hyped about all the retro shit. Evolve people!

  7. all you miss now is the usb-c connector with usb port and hdmi port to connect on a screen/tv and using dex to feel a full desktop environement XP

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