Antichrist / Genesis Project,
Added on October 21st, 2004 (13021 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Oliver, I'm 34. I was born in Aachen, Germany, but have been living in New York, USA, for the past 13 years, where I work as a cartoonist.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My very first handle before I entered the C64 scene was Tron. I really liked that movie. I later founded Genesis Project (G*P) and changed my name to The Nauseating Timelord (TNT). After getting busted by the cops a few times, I officially left the pirating scene because I didn't want to get busted again, and founded the legal group Amok. I used my initials OMG as my handle in Amok. But at the same time I was secretly still active in G*P as Antichrist until I left the scene in 1991. Antichrist is probably the handle most people remember me by.
What group(s) were you in?
I never liked following others, so instead of joining someone else's group, I decided to start my own: Genesis Project and later Amok. I was also Bonecrushing Bill of G*P's low budget label Bad Taste, and for a brief period of time, Scrap/G*P and I formed a secret group called Joy Division, just for fun. We wanted to see if we could make Joy Division famous without telling anyone that it was us, but I left the scene before we did anything special.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was the leader of G*P, I cracked a few games, I supplied originals, and I drew some graphics and logos. For example, I drew the little guy who pukes on the scrolltext in the Bad Taste intro. I was the first programmer in G*P. The first G*P releases that were widely spread in the scene were my crappy old intro makers and my demo Kraftwerk Face. I was the first mega-spreader which is largely how G*P got famous. I mailed out over 250 disks every time we had a release, even to people I didn't know and didn't really swap with. I just mailed G*P releases to every address I could find, and thereby making G*P well known. At that time, people usually only had about 20 contacts. I was also the editor of Sex'n'Crime, Propaganda, and Bad News.
How long were you active for?
I'm not sure, it's so long ago, and I have a hard time memorising dates. I think it was between 1985 and 1991.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
I got a C64 for Christmas (in 1984 or 1985), and about once a week, I bought discs full of games from a neighbour called Moc. (He later formed a well-known Amiga group, until he was busted and went to jail.) Eventually I found out that Moc got all those games for free by swapping with others. So I got myself my first handle (Tron) and started swapping disks with friends at my school.
I noticed that a lot of games had group intros, and that they (Dynamic Duo, Section 8) were quite famous among C64 freaks. At this point, I decided to start my own group and asked two school mates to join. The first three members of G*P were The Nasty Ounk, Catman, and me. G*P eventually got more and more members outside of our school, then outside of Aachen, then outside of Germany, until G*P had members all over Europe and the US.
I think my favourite days in the C64 scene were before I got a modem, when we were still mainly a 'spread my mail' group and when we cared about quality releases. That's when Snacky became known as the best cracker on the C64. When I got a modem and sent another one to Goblin, we became a first release group, and the dynamic changed for the worse in my opinion. I never liked the first release scene. The only thing people seemed to care about was to be the first to release a game, no matter whether it was bugged or crashed half way through. As the C64 was slowly dying because of newer, faster computers (Amiga and PC), software companies released fewer and fewer quality games. After a while it seemed like the only thing left for people to do on the BBSs was to trash talk each other. It got really boring in the end, so I left the scene.
I still think fondly of the friendships I developed with some of my 'spread by mail' contacts though.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I'd go to the post office after school to check my PO Box, and there'd usually be about 50-60 packages to pick up every day. Some of them were my own packages being returned to sender because I never put enough stamps on, and the recipient had to pay about 3 DM ($1.5) in penalties to accept my package. Since I sent packages to people in the scene I didn't even swap with, they sometimes refused to pay the fine for my package and returned it to the sender - me. But I knew the guy at the post office, so I never had to pay the penalty. He just gave me the packages, even when others sent me mail without stamps.
When I got home around 4 pm, I sat down in front of the computer and checked the disks I had picked up. I hardly ever played the games though. I just sat there and read scrolltexts to see who greeted us, and who joined or left a group (news for Sex'n'Crime). While going through the disks, I was on the phone almost every waking minute. I talked to G*P members to arrange this or that, I talked to people in other groups to get gossip for my mag, or I spent hours on phone conferences. Later I spent most of the time on the phone with The Sorceress, and I ended up visiting her six times in the US until we finally got married.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Well, I made a couple of intro makers which I used to quickly put intros in front of our releases (although we didn't really have any releases back then except my intro editors, haha). Later I came up with a lot of ideas and then asked other people who were much better programmers than I was, to turn the idea into reality. I came up with the idea for the Europe's #1 intro, the intro where G*P with a pixel effect jumps up and down between two border scrollers, the anti-Mamba intro, the anti-NEI intro, the Black Reign intro with the skulls that ate the scroller, the Bad Taste intro with the puking guy, the program layout for Propaganda, and some demo parts. I also invented the terms Graphician and IFFL.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Starting G*P. It was like a second family to me. I always enjoyed talking to or meeting other G*P members, and every time a G*P member did something good, like releasing a really good crack, or making the music for a new game, or breaking a record in a demo, I was really proud of them.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
The people in G*P because every time I found someone good in the scene, I asked them to join us. Every person I admired, like Frankieghost, SES, Snacky, Goblin, Rockstar, Deek, Jesper Olsen and Bizzmo joined G*P when I asked them. Well, there were two exceptions: Jihad and Derbyshire Ram. I really liked both of them and asked both of them to join, but they never did.
On a related note, there’s only one person I regret not having in G*P: NME of Dominators. When G*P started to get pretty famous, I got a lot of requests every day from people who wanted to join, but I didn't like to have too many members in the group because it would have been too difficult to remain personal friends. I wanted to keep it under ten members, but eventually we went over that limit. I tried to stay under a 20 member limit, and so I rejected some English guys called Twilight Zone. Looking back, that was the only time I regret saying no to someone who wanted to join because Twilight Zone ended up joining Dominators, and they became the most active crackers in Dominators. NME of Twilight Zone released a lot of first releases for Dominators that would have been G*P first releases if I had said yes when he asked if he could join. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.
I was always concerned that G*P would fracture into smaller groups if there were too many members that didn’t know each other personally. Unfortunately, my fears of a group that falls apart if it gets too big became a reality. The members in the U.K. for instance, wouldn’t talk that much to the members in Sweden and Deek or Bizzmo practically never talked to Snacky or Goblin. The different member clusters from each country basically just talked to me, and I feared that if I left the group, all those member clusters would have nothing in common and eventually leave G*P. That's what happened when I spent most of my time talking to The Sorceress and didn't really care about the scene no more. The G*P guys in the UK had nothing in common with the G*P guys in Germany, Sweden or Denmark, so little by little, the member clusters went their own way. The guys in the U.K. joined Crest, the guys in Germany went over to the PC, the guys in Sweden joined F4CG, etc. etc.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
Snacky's IFFL. I still remember his first IFFL release, Forgotten Worlds. The 711 version was on two disk sides, while Snacky's version had four files and only took up less than one disk side. 711 told everybody that the G*P version was incomplete and they talked a lot of trash about us. We proved that Forgotten Worlds indeed was complete and that it was shorter thanks to IFFL. At first, a lot of people talked trash about IFFL, but when groups finally figured out how to use it, IFFL became a standard on the C64.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes! I went to the Venlo meetings quite often to spread Sex'n'Crime. I also went to some of the Radwar parties, to some other smaller copy-parties in a few German cities, and to two G*P parties (one arranged by Snacky in Nuernberg and one arranged by L.A. Style near Cologne). I went to the show in London twice. My favourite moments were when Goblin was arrested by London police for smoking pot on the stairs of the Trafalgar Square monument, and when our members from Denmark, Alf and Spike, spent a week at my house before we drove down to the party in Nuernberg.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
To me it was all about friendship. The guys in G*P were my best friends. There was always an 'us against the rest of the world' mentality in the group. We always joked about other groups who talked crap about us, but then asked our members to join their groups. We all got a lot of offers to join other groups, but at the time when we were all close friends, that was something highly unthinkable.
What were the particular highlights for you?
The first time I was surrounded by a crowd of people at the Venlo meeting who all knew my name and wanted to swap or talk to me. I guess that's the closest a teenage computer geek will ever get to feeling like a famous movie star. Another amazing moment was when I released the latest issue of Sex'n'Crime at Venlo and everyone grabbed a copy. You could see Sex'n'Crime on-screen on practically every computer in the hall! Other than that, I remember our trip to London and the trip to Nuernberg most fondly.
Any cool stories to share with us?
Not really. I don't really remember a lot of details about my C64 days, except for those I've already mentioned above.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes, I'm still in touch with some of the G*P members, mostly with M-Bob. We talk almost every day. And with Weasel, Widdy, Intruder, Snacky, Goblin, Frankieghost, Deek, Scrap, HJE and The Punisher.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I think I got it for Christmas in 1984 or 1985, but I don't remember the exact date. I've spent practically my entire adult life here in the US, and I left my C64 in Germany. It's in a box at my parents' house.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Yes, I think it definitely was. I believe every person has a defining moment, a moment that steers the course of the rest of his life, or at the very least a moment that a person will always look back on. For our grandparents that moment in their lives was World War 2. That generation will always remember World War 2, what they did back then, and how it affected their lives. Here in America, the following generation defined themselves by what they did in the 60's. Some old hippies still wear the clothes they wore in the 60's, and they still brag about the protests they participated in or the bras they burned. Vietnam vets still retell their experiences of that war. Others have their defining moment in high school. Think of the fictional character Al Bundy on Married With Children. Even as an old shoe salesman, he still talks of his glory days as high school football player.
I think for our generation, at least for us computer geeks, the C64 was the defining moment of our lives. It gave us 15 minutes of fame. I believe that's the reason why there still are people using the C64 today. They are trying to hold on to that one singular moment of glory, just like old men who polish their old car, and go to old-timer shows, because it reminds them of their youth.
To me personally, the C64 was probably even more of a defining moment than to some other old sceners. Getting a C64 made me start G*P. Starting G*P made me famous for a little while. Being famous led me to meet The Sorceress. Meeting The Sorceress led to me moving to the US and becoming an American Citizen. Moving to America allowed me to full-fill my dream of becoming a cartoonist. Becoming a cartoonist made me rich. Being rich allowed me to not have to work anymore. Today I live a life that is better and happier that I could have ever hoped for. And I owe it all to the C64.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Never. The physical shell of the C64 doesn't really interest me. I never really cared about the technical specs. To me the scene was what was important. The friendship and the 15 minutes of fame. If the same scene had been on the Amstrad, on the Spectrum or in a scene dedicated to motor-cycles, that would have been fine by me. All these C64 retro-websites inspired me to revive Sex'n'Crime. Check it out here: www.sexncrime.net.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
I'd just like to say hello to all my old friends and contacts and thank all the new people in the new C64 scene for keeping the history alive. It always amazes me to see that someone remembers something I did or wrote 15 years ago. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
back to the list of available interviews