| Give us some information
about yourself (full name, age, birthplace and date, where
you reside, job and interests).
Joost Honig, 1966, the Netherlands. Job since 1989: entrepreneur/managing
director of several new media companies. The current company
Iconum (www.iconum.com) focuses on optimizing the relation
between organizations and their online audience. We therefore
build profitable Internet solutions and help our clients
to exploit them. Personal interests are still in software
and new media development besides history, catamaran sailing
and enduro racing.
What handle did you have?
What group(s) were you in?
What tasks did you have?
Looking back I see myself as the glue that brought and
kept 1001 together.
Between what years were you active?
From 1983 to 1987. Glory years for 1001 were 1986 and
Tell us about those years and how
you got in to the scene in the first place.
For 1001, it all started in early 1983 with a couple of
guys that owned a C64 (we all came from the VIC 20 and
Sinclair ZX81 computers), all living in the same area.
We met in a local computer store – where one
of us worked – and started to swap games. The
C64 demo-model in the store was used to copy the gametapes!
My personal interest in cracking and therefore learning
machine-code started by adapting disk-based games to tape
only because I didn't have a 1541 the first year. The
thing was nearly as expensive as the C64 itself!
Somewhere in 1985 we called ourselves 1001 Crew (originally
1001 & the Cracking Crew). The words Cracking Crew
was inspired by the break dance group Rock Steady Crew
and was later imitated by many groups.
Bytebreaker (the B in ABC Crackings) lived only 10 km
away from our hometown and he gave us fresh material to
start swapping with people all around the globe. Within
probably a year we were self-supporting and in a European
network with Swedish Cracking Crew (Sweden), Danish Gold
(Denmark), Radwar (Germany), The BAM (Belgium) and Teesside
Cracking Service (UK). Since all these groups (including
ourselves) had so-called original suppliers, all this
started to be an effective machine.
How could a typical day infront of the computer look like?
After school I opened the mail (envelopes, no Internet!)
that had arrived in the morning and I tested and copied
everything. I made sure that the outgoing post was in
the mailbox again before 18:00. I used the evenings
to crack if needed and also worked on intros and demos.
At night I participated in free conference calls hacked
by American guys with a so-called Blue Box. If you were
tired or if it was a boring call, you simply hung up,
but you were called back immediately and were asked
what happened. ;-)
Did you invent any special techniques
or tools to make things easier for you?
The Screen Cruncher (the first packer that had it's
code in screen area $0400) and later the much admired
Card Cruncher, that at the time compacted files smaller
than any other compressor. We licensed it to a few other
crackers like Robin of Dynamic Duo. We further built
ourselves a 256 RAM expansion and adapted a copy program
to copy disks even faster (1X read, write multiple times).
If you take a look at what you did
back then, what are you most proud of?
Our side-border sprites, the first in the world. That
stuff made it to all international C64 magazines and
put our name on the radar. Also see below.
Who were your scene heroes and why?
Heroes for me are the ones that were there before we
arrived, like 1103. I've long thought that this guy
was a marketing person at Commodore. I mean, let's face
it: what made the C64 a star for Commodore was the network
of people swapping games. I remember Commodore's Soccer
with 1103 on the billboards, the girl in Donkey Kong
screaming 1103 and Fort Apocalypse starting with a screen
full of 1103 (is there any other version?). I regret
that I never met him. "1001" was also inspired
by 1103. Further more, Megabyte, Section 8, Jedi and
AntiRom come to mind. Real (technical) cracker heroes
of my own generation were Mr. Zeropage (known for his
NTSC/PAL cracks) and Mr. Z from Triad, two guys I had
the pleasure of meeting back then.
What was the coolest thing someone
invented on the C64?
Naturally, our side-border sprites that were done in early
1986 (Border Letter 1). To make sure the whole world would
see it, we decided to put it out as a demo instead of
using it in a game intro. (It was new to bring out a small
program purely to show technique, but the word “demo”
at this time did not exist.) The first demo had a small
scroll at the bottom of the screen, a later demo (Amazing)
had a scroll in the middle of the screen and eventually
we got rid of all the borders with ESCOS. That must have
surprised even the people at Commodore. Shortly after,
I left the scene, so I have no idea what people invented
later on that might have had the same impact.
For the history books: 1001 Crew did not open the middle
top and bottom border for sprites. I think that was
done by Flash (or at least someone from Germany).
Did you go to copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Only a few (but good ones) like the Danish Gold party
in Odense 1987 and an early Radwar party (held in a disco).
We visited the PCW show in London in 1987 which was really
cool. We met a lot of guys and signed a lot of autographs
(which was new to me). The reason why we got to sign autographs
must have been the article in Zzap64 – the ruling
magazine those days – about our side-border stuff.
What was the scene all about in
In fact, it was a friendship network, and of course
it was about being the first to release a game and to
make it as short as possible, or to come up with something
creative. There were verbal fighting at times, I remember
an incident with Sodan, but when we eventually spoke
over the phone and met at his home in Denmark, everything
was fine and we became friends.
What were the highlights?
The Danish Gold party in Odense 1987.
Any cool stories to share with us?
I hope there's enough in the other answers.
Are you in contact with old C64
Not really, but 1001 had a reunion in 2002. While preparing
this interview I did some online research and found
out that the scene is still very much alive. Maybe I'll
pop up one day.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying
I bought it in 1983 and sold it in 1988 – but it know where
Was the C64 really that special
that we like to think it was?
At the time, absolutely. Let's face it: as a kid you
bought a machine for a few hundred bucks, put some time
and effort in it (a lot!) and a few years later you
find yourself having a worldwide audience and friends
all around the globe.
When can we expect to see a new
C64 production from you? :)
That's a joke indeed. ;-)
Do you have a message to your old
contacts and everyone else reading this?
People these days have no idea what you could do with
64k (nowadays the average size of a JPG image?). After
17 years of silence, I'd like to say hi to my friends
from the 80's: my former mates in 1001, Zapp and Inferno
(SCC), the early guys in Radwar/TLC like MWS, Irata, Mr.
Zeropage and Flash, Mr. Z and Ixion of Triad, Peter and
Jamie of Teesside Cracking Services, Sören/Sodan,
Danish Gold, Eagle Soft Inc., Bencor Bros, TMC, FAC, Matcham,
Yip/Purebyte, Boys Without Brains and the Dynamic Duo.