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A Glimpse Into My Dark Past

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 at

I was doing a vanity search on Google (where I turned up as no.1…but that is beside the point), far down I rediscovered something I had forgotten about:
Skull and Crossbones
Tronic’s CSDB Profile

The CSDB is the C-64 Scene Database and is a fairy detailed database of the “scene” (i.e. piracy/demo-making/cracking etc.) of the good old Commodore 64. In its archive it has information on people involved, games released, demos produced, and much more. The entry on me is not 100% accurate (it probably isn’t for anyone) but I think it is good enough considering the archive came into existance a few years ago but is referring to a period that happened 15-20 years ago.

There you have it. It’s out of the box now. I came out of the pirate closet. Although, back in the days when I was most active (1989-1991) no one used the term “pirate” and, as far as I know, no one among the people who are actually on the inside on the current scenes (be it PC or ISO, or whatever) actually uses the term to describe themselves.

What did we do back then? Well, during the time of my peak, the “scene” was virtually split into two parts (it wasn’t from the beginning) with some people keeping it 100% legal and producing music, graphics, and mesmerizing demos for the enjoyment of their fellow demo-making friends. The other part of the scene was in a more grey area from a legal perspective. These people looked down upon the demo-scene as not being the “real” scene, because after all, this kind of behavior was born out of hacking and cracking copy-protections from games. True – this part of the scene sourced original games, cracked (removed) the copy-protection, and then spread the game to all their closest contacts via mail, and later via modem. To get bragging rights, there was always a short intro attached which said who had cracked it when. For the most hardened crackers & scene-people it was (and still is) more about getting attention from your peers for a job well done as well as the satisfaction one gets after completing a difficult task, rather than spreading & copying the actual game that brought upon this behavior.

From the beginning, people were operating on their own, but quickly friends began to join up into groups to split responsibilities among themselves. There were always a few select groups that were deemed as better and cooler than others, and these groups and their members were called “elite”. The elite during the late 80’s, beginning of 90’s when I was active were groups like Legend, Ikari, Talent, Illusion, Genesis Project, Empire, Random, Paramount, etc. Earlier members of this highly admired elite were Triad, Fairlight (still alive!), Elite, ESI, Hotline, SCC, WCC, DCS, etc. What did you have to do to become “elite” ? Well, as in all socities, it is partly what you do and partly who you know. Without talent or contacts you were not getting anywhere. However, once in, when you were rubbing shoulders with the highrollers, then you could relax again. No more need to prove your worth. Just keep your cool, keep an elite attitude (whatever that meant) and your place in the top was guaranteed. I have to be honest, towards the end before I decided that the C-64 was not fun anymore and I quit, I really did not contribute much to our group’s (Illusion at that time) sucess but rather mainly hung around the top BBSs, talking about various stuff in the forums there and downloaded newly released stuff. It was an easy life once you were there!

Oh my, I got really nostalgic and carried away and wrote a way too long post! I’ll have to make a follow up post later and sign off now.


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