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Proto:Gearheads (Windows)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Gearheads (Windows).

The demo version of Gearheads was distributed in magazines in the late 1990s, and was available for download on Philips Media's and R/GA's websites.[1][2]

(Source: DOSGames forum thread)

There is no date in the executable file, but it was last modified on 16 February 1996, some months before the retail version (which is dated 23 May 1996).

Differences from the Full Game

  • The sound and music are enabled and disabled via an in-game menu rather than the one on the window.
Demo Full Retail
GearheadsDemoSoundMusic.png GearheadsSoundMusic.png
  • The difficulty is also controlled by that screen, rather than being on the match setup screen.
  • There is no losing or winning sound effect; the start game sound plays when a match is finished regardless of who won.
  • Big Al is slightly faster and has a lower Vim value.
  • The wound-down Handy has a different graphic.
Demo Full Retail
GearheadsDemoHandy.png GearheadsHandy.png
  • The computer waits for the player to press a key before doing anything.
  • There is no joystick support.
  • There is no way to change the key configuration.
  • The music doesn't start playing until the match actually begins (after the 'go!' disappears), and carries on playing after someone has won. The gameplay elements (toys, arrows, gauges, and scores) also don't appear until the game has begun.

Hidden Menus

App Menu

GearheadsDemoAppMenuFile.png GearheadsDemoAppMenuLevel.png

This can be accessed by hex-editing the string at offset 21ADF to "AppMenu" (without the quotes) suffixed with a null. This menu is very similar to the hidden Full Menu in the full retail version, and the code to load the debug dialogue boxes is present, but the dialogue boxes themselves are not, so those items do nothing. If one copies the dialogue boxes from the full version with a resource editor, they load from this menu and are fully functional. As on the full game, the App Setup dialogue box disables the sound effects. This can be fixed on this demo by replacing three octets consisting of A3 EA 63 at 47F3 on an unmodified executable file (it'll be followed by FF) with 90 90 90.

Also, Winding on Arrow, when the selected toy is nearly fully charged, changes the arrow to one like the one seen on the first screenshot on designer Frank Lantz's Gearheads page, but it seems bit glitchy: GearheadsDemoWindingonArrow.png


A greyed screen and recolored playfield.

The Robot and Force Win are the same as in the full retail version. The Grey function works here, and the ReColor Playfield function recolors to a random color, unlike in the full retail version, in which it recolors between two colors depending on the level's Coloring setting.


Selecting Screens here brings up this peculiar message:


Focus Menu


This menu's name is too long for a simple case of hex-editing. It needs to be renamed in a resource editor (which may change the offset that needs to be changed), with which this menu (or App Menu for that matter) can just be put in Demo Menu's place.

1 Player Start and 2 Player Start restart the current match in their respective mode.


These don't appear to do anything or have any connection to the Gear huh? and Gearhead difficulty settings found in the in-game menu (Gearmaster is visible but not selectable).


  1. Gearheads Download Feedback - Philips Media, 1997
  2. The Work -- Gearheads - R/GA, 1996