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A short talk with...

Featured in Domination #15 by Jazzcat

Welcome to a chapter containing interview style conversations I have had with a few people recently on IRC. Unlike some of the dead boring, "PC sheep" that are on there, I managed to find some interesting people to talk to who were more than willing to discuss the C64. These people are:

MagicMan/Crazy/Hitmen
Goblin/Genesis*Project
Radar/Arcade
Psychobilly/Red Sector Inc


Let's see what they had to say...



* MAGICMAN/CRAZY/HITMEN *


J)
Hi Stephan!
Welcome to this special issue of Domination. Please introduce yourself.

M)
I don't really know how I should answer to that question :)
I am a normal person and I am 25 years old. I am interested in computers since I was nine years old and started when I was 10. I work 14 hours a day. 8 hours for a normal job as a PC-technician and the other time for my own company. I am not rich, but have enough to live ;)

Today my entire life is dictated by computers, and so are my rooms. Five PCs, three Amigas, 2 Commodore 64s, one PlayStation and more technical stuff. I like to play multiplayer games but don't really have much time for that.

I hope to be a rich man in some years after my company beats Microsoft and kills them forever, but today it looks more like I should stop all activities for my company, But we will see when I'm 30 years old. So I don't know what I should write so ask me some special questions and I will give you more explained answers ;)

J)
What are/were your jobs on the C64 scene and what do you do on other computer systems?

M)
In the beginning I did most by myself, (Coding, Grafix, some music, swapping) but after I met Gotcha the first time I stopped all my activities in drawing Grafix. The same I did with music and swapping. Since I joined ARRAY I was only a coder of some groups until today (I think the last thing I coded on C64 was an intro for Avantgarde some years ago.

Sometimes I had to crack something for CRAZY or ENIGMA (Turrican II, X-Out, PP-Hammer and some others) but only if there was no cracker available (I think all of my releases were firsties.

In 1990 I started coding a little bit on the Amiga, but not very much. After a while I sold my Amiga as I won a PC on a C64 demo competition. So I started coding on PC too. But I never joined any groups on Amiga or PC so I used my PC only for business coding. Actually I am on the way to make some games and some applications to sell to special companies and try to come back to scene activity.

I also coded on Atari in my school.

Today I work on C64, Amiga (again) and PC but all the time I am more like a lamer. I have not finished any scene related stuff since years and I dunno if I will get something finished in years ;)

J)
What are your hobbies outside the scene? And how would you describe an average day in your life?

M)
My hobbies... hmmm... there are very many things I love; one is to read a book sometimes about philosophy or about some physics stuff. I also like to play guitar, piano or trumpet. Sometimes I work with electronics and so on. But I think I have not much free time to spend on hobbies. Most of my day goes to computer and business. But if you are in Cologne I like to drink the whole night with you.

J)
Sounds good! I will endeavour to make it to Cologne sometime and I will make certain to take you up on that offer.
You have been in the scene for around 10 years or more. Over this time you must have had some interesting experiences. Care to say what has happened?

M)
I can't really remember when I joined the C64 scene for the first time.
It must have been around 1984 or so. The first group I joined was "4712 Crew" I think. It was a lame group with lame members, but we had fun.
I remember we had good contact with the guys in TWG as they lived near our place. After this group dies, I joined "JAZZ". It was a group formed by some guys in 4712 Crew and we were all the time lame too. At this time I had some contacts in ARRAY, so I joined "ARRAY" after Jazz died.

This was the first time I met GOTCHA and we started to be a team for coding and grafix. We made a demo called "ARRAY-FEVER" and after we finished that we both joined "CRAZY". I think it must be around 1986 or 1987. I remember we released that demo in VENLO with a CRAZY intro in front which I coded in 5 hours just for VENLO (Crazy Skull Intro, then the gold old CRAZY time started).

In the beginning Gotcha and me only made some kewl intros and after SHINE/ALABAMA and TYCOON/LIONS joined CRAZY we here in Cologne become more famous. We had much fun in CRAZY and I think we had a very good time. But everything comes to an end and so it was with CRAZY too.

After the Swiss founder of Crazy quitted, the group gains a new position with just the Cologne members as the front part, but after some months the differences between the members become more difficult and some started to leave CRAZY. I think I was the last who said okay then CRAZY is dead, until now, and I became a freelancer.

I did some coding for my old friends which was in Illusion or Ikari+Talent but never belonged to any group. Again some months later we reformed a new group with most of the old CRAZY and ILLUSION pals. "ENIGMA" was born. I joined ENIGMA and coded some intros for the group. Again GTA and I made some stuff together but not like the old days as we were a 100% good team. ENIGMA dies after a while because of internal problems and so I stopped C64 scene activity totally for a while.

DEFF told me that he will start a new group called "AVANTGARDE" I joined this group. But I had nothing to do with the scene in that time and only made one (and I really liked dis one much!) intro. I didn't notice that the group died.

I had first contact with the scene again since, I think 6 years, and joined "HITMEN" coz there are some old pals I remember. I also reformed CRAZY as an oldschool group which (until now!) less activity. But really I will try to release again some stuff for CRAZY and I will make a web page with all the things from the golden C64 days of CRAZY.

J)
Looking forward to these new wares and the Crazy webpage! You have mentioned several times to me that Mamba may come out again; there were also rumours at one time that the magazine would join with Corruption and be called Coramba. Is there any truth to this and do you think Mamba will ever be released again on the C64?

M)
Absolutely NOT!
Peter/CRAZY (formerly known as TYCOON/CRAZY) doesn't want to release MAMBA again. He thinks that nobody can make a mag today with the same style as in the Mamba time. So if he writes some new issues for Mamba they can't get back the old quality. So he doesnít want this! But without Peter (he was the last writer of MAMBA) I will not release any new Mamba's bcoz it's the mag of the authors! Sorry! But if I got the time to finish my work on the internet site of Crazy you can take a look on MAMBA ONLINE. There you can read all the original Mamba's and of course some new things going around on the C64. But it will need some more time.

J)
What is Gotcha up to these days? Are you in contact with him and the other Crazy people from Cologne?

M)
I don't know what GOTCHA did today.
I lost the contact to him several years ago.
I heard that he studies GRAPHICS and DESIGN. Most of the other Cologne members are my friends today, like Peter (he made nothing around computing today); Frank/Shine (PC and PlayStation just for fun and sometimes a good logo for the Crazy internet site) Sebio/Shine (he is a coder for a company that sells software for workflow management. Two years we worked together in our own company for hard- and software. I wrote a book about JAVA programming together with him.
Weasel (I stay in contact with him in email) but last I saw him was 8 years ago or so. He lives in Munich, Smasher/F4cg (I meet him from time on IRC or mail, never meet him in real life {he lives in Swiss), Jinx (actually I am in the same group as him, Hitmen, and stay in mail contact only).

J)
Cool to see there is still some contact with the older guys.
Gotcha was criticised by a lot of people when he was working for Mamba. What do you have to say about this?

M)
I can't say anything about that! I have never worked on MAMBA without some coding. I know that all MAMBA writers tried to give its best and in my opinion made a good job all the time. But no writers of a mag are perfect and if GOTCHA was criticised its okay. But he made a good work and that is enough for me!
I had a good time with GTA and I will never miss the years we worked together.

J)
Cool. I think most of the criticism was based on jealousy anyway (a normal thing in the scene) if you get a chance check out the interview I did with him in the Olympic edition of Vandalism News. Speak to you again soon Stephan!



* RADAR/ARCADE *


J)
Hi! Please introduce yourself to the readers...

R)
Hmm, actually I don't believe that I have to introduce myself. Whenever I log into something where the scene keeps part of it, the people still remember my name. Some of them even tell me that I'm one of their idols from the old days. Well, I personally don't believe that neither anybody from the old days nor that anybody from the present can be any idol at all for anybody out there. But still itís funny to see people reacting in this way. It sometimes gives old 'n' forgotten memories back...

But actually, my medicine studying is over. I'm working at a hospital, being big daddy doctor nowadays. While studying I opened my own company, shared with a partner, which is doing great. Just built my 2nd house in town which means - once again I'm moving... Life simply does great!

J)
Please give a brief history on your C64 career and what groups you have been in and the general highlights, good and bad...

R)
Well, I started way back in about 1983 when I got my old C64. After 1986, when I started to join serious business, I joined some groups. Can't even remember all their names any more... I guess the most known groups are Detail, Shape, Byterapers, Contex, TWG, Dynamix, Success (the old & 1st one), Victims, Arcade, with short visits in Illusion, Dominators, Genesis, Avantgarde... Also I joined Dominators PC, but after the group stopped activity and most of them joined Class, I totally stopped also.

In 64-times I was coding intros and some short parts for a demo when needed, cracking games, being into serious phreaking, doing the co-sysop on several boards in the states and some other stuff like importing, supplying, etc... I can't even remember.

Highlights?
Well, when I still was active I always was at the top of the hill, but I don't really call this a highlight... Computing is a hobby... that's just it!

J)
There have been quite a few arguments within the scene about the scene being too friendly these days. Do you think that wars and ragging in general help the scene? Does it stimulate productive action?

R)
Listen, every person having a hobby wants to get entertained due to it. He wants to relax from real life (well, sometimes I remember some geeks on C64 having none at all!). There are still reasons in each computer scene for arguments between different people and groups. So why shouldn't they simply rag the hell out of each other when it's fun and of course itís for the point of pride?

I remember the wars I had going on several 64-boards a long time ago, beating the shit out of people who rode my nerves when posting dumb crap... So I also remember that people mostly called to see how some poor creep from nowhere land got kicked by my words only. And at this point the case if fulfilled: People call to see how other people struggle for mercy and their life So it keeps the action and fun.

Another question would be - isn't it boring to live in a world of harmony, where everybody agrees to everybody? Damn yeah, so itís the same for the scenes... And actually, to see people 'argue' about harmony or being to friendly shows, that there still is the tendency of warring each other J

J)
Any personal scene wars or arguments that stand out most in your mind?

R)
Nah, not really. Simply because I had so much of 'em that I can't remember. Haha.

J)
What is your opinion about the position of the boards within the scene, how would you describe them and their unique atmosphere?

R)
Some years back, a BBS was needed for the groups to introduce their team and the work they spent into their hobby. Nowadays, the Internet takes over and there are no boards needed. I personally like the old BBS-stuff more than any Internet-Site (even though there are some real good ones like Spankerz Heaven - good work Burglar!). But time has changed and so did the scene... it's always a rush to phreak nowadays (well, for me it is now...), so why running for cards, dial-ups, hosts or whatever when the Internet is so close?

J)
Do you keep in contact with any old scene friends these days and what are they up to?

R)
Yeah sure, talking to Drake from time to time. Same for Solar. Also emailing people like Pol Pot and some more...


Youíre all time C64 favourites:

Cracking Group: Elite, 711
Cracker: Powerplant, Antitrack, Rockstar, Syndicate and a few more...
Fixing Group: INC, NEI
BBS: Holiday in Cambodia
Musician: Falco Paul & EVS from 20cc
Painter: Hein Design
Programmer: hmm... hmm... dunno...
Magazine: COOCOC :)


J)
If you have any greetings, let them grace these pages...

R)
Letís touch some names, where a few of them should go and fucking get in touch via email:

Drake, Solar, Rockstar, Dogfriend, Bod, Tyree, Gene, Jihad, Pol Pot, Deff, Darklord, Master Kracker, Derby Ram, Freestyle, HOK, Spitfire, Marc, Magic, Newscopy, Prodigy, ION, AND super-especially Parson & Westbam... J Take it easy!
Sorry if I forgot some names in here... but times ticking away now...

(X) Radar



* GOBLIN/GENESIS PROJECT *


J)
The C64 cracking scene was a legendary one, especially in its golden years.
What is your opinion on the cracking scene and do you think other platforms have copied the C64 scene?

G)
I think the C64 scene is the root scene together with Apple 2 scene, but I don't think Apple 2 survived and developed like the C64.
I think the Amiga scene came out directly from the C64 scene. For PC I don't know for what I saw, rip games would be the more similar to our cracks I won't speak about consoles, those iso releasers think they invented the word "first release"...

J)
There have been all styles of cracking groups in the scene, what ones stand out in your mind as the best and why?

G)
I would say:

IKARI (+Talent): cos of the incredible of releases and they were already Ikari when I was nothing. All is said.

LEGEND: as they were my competitors (you owe me some nights of sleep!)

TRANSCOM : for being THE other Frenchís!

But also Fairlight!, Crazy, Dominators, and the Beastie Boys come right to mind when I think of this time!

J)
What was the hardest game you ever cracked?

G)
In my opinion there are only 2 protections that deserve to be called like that on the 64:

The Timex protection from Mr Cursor! (Yo Ivo) is the best ever made I think I helped with cracking no mercy and it was a pain in the ass!

Also the VMAX protection that was on American games was nice! I traced and extracted files from Defender of the Crown to see if I could do it but would have been funny to try and level pack it, hehe...

J)
What is the story behind the game Rubicon? Guess Fairlight were quite pissed at the time J

G)
I don't remember exactly, you should ask Antichrist for that. Maybe it was something like uncrackable stuff like they said the game No Mercy was...

J)
What crackers do you respect and for what reasons?

G)
I respect all the 64 crackers, but the ones that would come first for me:

Mr Zeropage for being a legend. Antitrack and Snacky for being my true masters and also my nice competition with Powerplant, Rockstar, Sauron...

J)
What is your opinion on the USA import scene, who ruled and what boards were the best in that time?

G)
Exodus and Nec+Nei were ruling both importing/fixing and cracking. Stormbringer/Exodus, Random and Horizon/Nec+Nei were the best in this job while Grimreaper/Nei was a cool importer. WildWarez was THE board, also The Disk Shoppe and Desintegration were cool!

Signed,

Goblin/G*P



* PSYCHOBILLY/RED SECTOR INC *


J)
Hi PB,
It has been over 5 years since I last chatted with you. Putting that aside, letís get down to the business...
Who were your favourite Euro crackers who you liked the most?

P)
Many, from RSI (Benson, Mr. President, Count Zero were the best we had - Irata, Breaker & the other UK-guy were the best original suppliers we had. We kicked Legends, Talents, ILS and all the other guys asses, when they actually did something!!), ILS (Richie), Bod the perv & Talent-crew, especially Majesty was a real cool dude, same with Communist, who is a cop (!) nowadays! Action (Gadget, HOK, Jihad... cool guys) and many more I cannot remember... Quite a lot of cool guys were around. In the US: MO, MK, Empire, NW, Unholy & the rest of the gang.

J)
Yeah that Darren Haggen (Bod) was something eh?! J Who were the best during your time in the scene?

P)
That changed during the time...

In my early years, were a lot of elite groups... Action, Illusion, Legend, Talent, F4cg and so on..

Later only AFL, Avantgarde (for a short period).

Most of the time the important competitor was Legend on full price games.

J)
Much to say about any wars you were in?

P)
Far too many I could recall. Most hated was Narc/Westbam of Legend. Tyree was an idiot too, but he was far too dumb to be recognized and went to jail for drug smuggling... haha!

Ok, thatís it... for more I would have to check my old stuff...

+++
PB

 



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