Honey / 1001 Crew
Added on May 31st, 2004 (12151 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
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(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
What group(s) were you in?
What roles have you fulfilled?
Looking back I see myself as the glue that brought and kept 1001 together.
How long were you active for?
From 1983 to 1987. Glory years for 1001 were 1986 and 1987.
Tell us about those years and how you got into 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.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
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 personally 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).
When you 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 heroes on the scene 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, for you, was the coolest thing ever 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 any 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.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
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 particular highlights for you?
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 still in contact with any old C64 people today?
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 around somewhere?
I bought it in 1983 and sold it in 1988 – but it know where it is!
Was the C64 really as special as 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 some new C64 output from you? :)
That's a joke indeed. ;-)
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone 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.
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