Zzap / Swedish Cracking Crew
Added on August 9th, 2004 (14791 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Niklas Ekengren, 35, born in Varberg (where I still live) in 1968, I'm working as a Private Banker, I work-out, watch movies and I'm still interested in computers.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Zzap and I got it from one of the computer magazines back then called Zzap!64.
What group(s) were you in?
Swedish Cracking Crew, we (Covenant, Inferno and me) founded the group back in 1984/85. SCC was only on the C64 and when we later went over to the Amiga in 1987/88, we called ourselves Northern Lights.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was the main swapper but I also did some graphics and came up with new ideas for intros, and of course, kept the originals coming in.
How long were you active for?
From 1984 until sometime in 1989.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Oooh, those were great times that will never ever come back (that's something I realise now). Me and Covenant were in the same class at school and it all started when Covenant and Inferno (they're brothers) got a VIC 20. I can still remember playing Omega Race on cartridge! We all got the Commodore 64 in 1984/85 and Covenant learned everything about coding. We formed SCC (Swedish Cracking Crew) and through computer magazines and cracks by other groups, I got in touch with other people sharing the same interest. We formed a kind of alliance together with Irata, 1001, The BAM, ACE, Dynamic Duo (R.I.P. H-J), FAC, DCS, TCS, The Detonator 4001,TMC, OK Koral, USA-Team, Scottish Cracking Crew (enemies from the start, but great friends now and forever), my ever first contact on Ireland, Michael, all the American guys and the rest that I've traded with and haven't mentioned. We were the fastest, most known groups in our respective countries for a couple of years.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I came home from school at around three in the afternoon and sometimes even at lunch. I checked the mailbox which always was filled with stuff from all over the world. I found out what was new, collected our latest cracks (there were new games every week back then) and got together master-disks, neatly organised with a disk-program. I put a little letter together with the disks and then tried to get everything ready before the post office closed at around 18.30-19.00.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Nothing that was released to the public, only some especially-written programs that we in SCC used.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Generally being a good friend, but also all the demos and cracks that SCC released.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Our friends in 1001, The BAM, Sodan, TCS, DCS - all for doing great demos, cracks, crunchers, trainers etc. and the musicians like Tony Crowther, Ben Dalglish, Rob Hubbard, Michael Winterberg, Yip of Purebyte and Jackal.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
A lot of things were cool... it's hard to pinpoint something special. Just imagine what we created back then with the small power the C64 had compared to the machines nowadays!
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes, SCC went to the Odense (Denmark) party in 1987 which was very nice. We also went to some Swedish parties (Arvika and Furulund) which I think was in 1987 and 1988. I also visited Venlo (Holland) and a party in Arnhem (Holland) in 1987.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
At that time we didn't really consider it a scene, we were just trying to have as much fun as possible.
What were the particular highlights for you?
My Interrail-trip in 1987 and the party in Odense (Denmark), also in 1987, plus all the conferences organised by people from the USA.
Any cool stories to share with us?
My Interrail-trip in 1987 to meet all my friends in Europe was cool. Together with my great friend Bert of The BAM, we went to France, Belgium, Germany, England, Denmark and Scotland in 30 days. We saw Irata, The Light Circle, Dynamic Duo, The Movers, OK Koral, 1001 Crew, SCC (Scottish - we were now good friends), The Master, Sodan, ACE plus many others.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Actually I am. Last year I decided to search the net for my old friends and I found some of them: Sodan, Irata, 1001, SCC (Scottish), USA-Team (Sune), Max - The Detonator 4001 and even my first contact Michael (who is a barman on Ireland these days). Yesterday I even got hold of Bert! I'm really happy to have found my old friends again. I hope to find more and keep up the contact with the ones I've found. I hope to see all of them someday again. If you read this and we were friends back then, drop me an e-mail!
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
Got it back in 1984/85, and no, it's not lying around, but I still have all my disks (both C64 and Amiga), just for nostalgic reasons.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
If you look at what was produced with that little power - yes! It's amazing what you could do with that machine! I don't think any other machine have had so much software/demos/music available to so many people.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Not in the closest 1,000 years!
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
It was a truly amazing time that we endured during those years in the 80's. I can still remember some things as it was yesterday; the conferences, the letters, the nice people and the friendly atmosphere. We were lucky to have lived during that time because it will never ever come back! And finally, if you knew me back then, please get in touch. Greetings from Niklas aka. Zzap of The Swedish Cracking Crew in 2004!
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