Steve / The Amazing Pirates,
Added on January 10th, 2004 (6339 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Thomas and I currently live in Aalborg, Denmark. I'm 29 and I work with web, console and mobile games development. I grew up on a farm in Hallund, about 40 kilometers from where I live now. It was in Hallund I spent most of my time with my beloved C64. :)
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My first handle was Sonny Crockett due to an ever-ongoing Miami Vice fascination. Actually I still love that series, and went absolutely nuts when Grand Theft Auto Vice City came out. ;) Later on I choose Steve as my handle but I'm not sure why. I remember watching some guy called Steve winning the snooker world championship, and I thought it was a nice name. It's a pretty gay name, but I still use it on IRC. :p
What group(s) were you in?
The Amazing Pirates, Dixie, Faction, Imagination Developments, The Blacklords, X-Factor... I think I was in Bonzai for a short while too. And probably a few others I can't remember. My heart will always belong to X-Factor.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I've mainly been a coder. For a while I did a lot of mail-swapping and BBSing, and I even cracked a couple of games. But the cracks were just a technical challenge. I've never had that much respect for crackers and warez0rs.
How long were you active for?
On the C64, from 1986 to 1992, I think.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
My classmate got himself a Lambda Power Marathon 3000. That was the first computer I ever saw, and I was fascinated. After bugging my parents for months, they got me a VIC 20 which was pretty cool. I even wrote a crappy Bomb Jack port in BASIC on it. Later I bought a C64, met with my classmate's cousin (later Macronit/Dominators) and his friend (later Dexter/X-Factor) whom I started a group with called The Amazing Pirates.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
Hmm, yeah, good question. Usually I'd check out the new stuff from my mail-swapping friends, copy and send some stuff to them, and later do some coding on whatever I was working on. I'm not sure where all those hours went. ;)
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Before they got popular, I did a transfer cable between two C64's together with Joe/X-Factor. That allowed us to code stuff with lots of source code without having to worry about $4000+ being occupied by Turbo Assembler. Later on Walt/Bonzai developed his own transfer stuff that was integrated in TASM, so I started using that instead. I'm not sure I would classify it as an invention, but I thought it was smart.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Timewaster 1, definitely. That was my biggest contribution to the demo scene. It had some cool effects where one even beated one or two of Crest's (or Upfront's, who can remember today) lots-of-sprites-on-the-screen-at-the-same-time records.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
I looked up to a handful of coders; Crossbow/Crest, that l33t coder from Megastyle whose name I can't remember, another l33t coder from G*P whose name I can't remember either. And a guy from Origo. Maybe two or three others, but there weren't really that many I looked up to, considering the large amount of people who were in the scene.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
Professional Dos impressed me a lot. It accellerated 1541 load times with 72 times. Man, that was fast! There were a lot of really great demos too that impressed me. It was always great to see a new routine, and especially try to figure out how it was done.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yeah! There were lots of great parties in Denmark; the 2000 A.D. party, the Dominators+Upfront+Trilogy party, the Dexion Party and The Party 1+2 (went to a few other too, but they were crap). We had quite a few X-Factor meetings too.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
To me, the important thing was the friendship. Without the scene, I would never have learned to know my groupmates and the hundreds of other guys from all around the globe who I talked to. I don't really talk with many of them anymore, but back then it was a blast.
What were the particular highlights for you?
The parties were all great, and so were the X-Factor meetings. I'm sure my favourite demo was something by Crest.
Any cool stories to share with us?
Not at the moment.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Not really, except for a few e-mails to and from the X-Factor guys. I work with Neptune/X-Factor, but I knew him before the X-F period.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I think I have one or two C64's at my parents house.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
I think it was. The whole community was incredible, and there really hasn't been anything like it. I was easily influenced in those days because of my young age, but I have lots of good memories. In terms of hardware, the C64 was special too. It's definitely the most exploited machine I have ever seen. Comparing old stuff with new shows that the coders developed incredible routines and really learned how to tweak the machine.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Heh... When hell freezes over? ;) I'm not going back to C64. I'd rather remember the good old times. If you want to see some of my more recent Gameboy Advance and mobile stuff, check out www.progressivemedia.dk.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
I'd like to say hi to everyone I knew, talked to and swapped with. If anyone out there remembers me, don't hesitate to write a mail to email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you!
back to the list of available interviews