Redstar / Moonlight Crackers,
Added on November 29th, 2004 (6696 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Simon Camilo Leijnse, born in March 1970 in Växjö, Sweden. I live in Stockholm and I’ve done that for four years now. My work is the reason for me moving here. I draw comics, do cartoon series on TV, design tattoo-flashes and other things that comes up. In other words, I still work with pictures just like I did on the C64.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
I used Redstar through out my whole career and I picked it because of political reasons. I was raised during the seventies with radical parents and I still share the opinions of the political left side.
What group(s) were you in?
I first was in a small group called Moonlight Crackers but left to go solo, which I did for a long time. I also did freelance work for other groups. After a few years I joined Asia just because the two guys in The Electric Co. were in the group. From day one, we planned to leave Asia to form our own group, which we also did. Logic was born and I stayed in that group until I quit the business.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was a graphics artist and a coder. I did some swapping as well but never called myself a swapper as it never was my main task.
How long were you active for?
Hm... I started in 1985-86 and stopped in 1994. The last year or two I just did things that gave me money.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Some of my friends had the C64 and some had the Spectrum. I bought the C64 as I thought it was the machine that had the best games. I played for about half a year but got bored and thought that there must be something else I can do with it. Some guys I knew had started to code demos and I did some graphics because no-one else did, and I've always been interested in creating pictures. I started to do logos, pictures and character sets and I also learned how to code a bit. I always did my graphics and routines on my own as I couldn’t see (and still can't) the meaning of using other peoples’ stuff if when I was capable of doing it myself. My graphics was of higher quality compared to my code though, so I focused on doing demos that looked good. I was working on my own for quite some time mainly because I wanted to be “the lone wolf” who was able to freelance to whoever I wanted without anyone telling me what I could and couldn’t do. It wasn't until I met The Electric Co. at Horizon’s party in Enköping/Sweden in 1988 that I felt that I wanted to work together with someone a bit closer. They respected my way of doing things, I could release stuff on my own and they had ideas and an eye for quality that I liked. They were very nice people too! After a few things happened, i.e. Tec joined Asia, we decided to form a group of our own using our own ideas to create things the way we wanted them. I joined Asia for a short while but soon left to form Logic after a weekend filled with coding, drawing and trying to find a suiting name (Tic-Toc-One was one of the many suggestions). My step-brother DNA/Paragon joined us as well to support with strange ideas and swapping. We had some success with our releases and planned to do games but it never happened. The scene was falling apart and so TEC was’t really interested. I did games with other people from Zone 45, Rizing, Flash Incorporated and Horizon though.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
Hm... I hardly remember. I checked the stuff that I got in my mailbox, I copied it and sent it to my contacts, I did a character-set or two and worked on the projects that were running at the time.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
No, not really. I was actually quite conservative when it came to using new tools. I kept using Front Editor 3 and Koala Painter for ages and rejected anything new. I was much more interested in doing the actual graphics than learning how to do them in a new program.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
That I did my own thing the whole time and never joined any group just to become famous. Also that I did some coding on my own even though I wasn't very good at it. Some graphics I did was good as well. The biggest and hardest things were never released though (Damn!). What about a 12*12 character set, drawn in FLI and built up single character blocks. I also did a rotating 4*4 3D char set that was really nice. The demo was never finished which is a pity if you ask me. I'm proud of it anyway.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
I liked X-Ample a lot. Their way of using light in their pictures was revolutionary at the time. I also liked Horizon as they were such nice guys and arranged so many good parties. They also - even though they were so famous - treated others with respect. People had a lot to learn from them.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
Hmm... There were so many things that made me go "Wow!" when I saw them for the first time. CLF of Origo’s parts in Eldorado, and the way FLI was used there was amazing. The using of rasters (raster bars etc.) must also be one of the most important things invented.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes, I arranged a few meetings but I also went to some of the parties Horizon arranged (and a few more). Only one abroad from Sweden though, and that was in Hillröd/Denmark. People say I won the price for best graphics there. I had already left the party when the results were presented so they gave it to someone else (at least, that’s what I heard).
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
For me it was about having fun, meeting people, creating things - and get response from it.
What were the particular highlights for you?
Every time I released a demo and people liked it was a highlight. The first time I saw Double Density’s intro with the big logo by X-Ample) was another, and when I first got into the charts. Now, that was fun!
Any cool stories to share with us?
Hm... Not really. Not that I can think of right now.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes I am. Gauss, a friend of mine that I knew before the C64 days. He was around when I was in Logic, but never joined because he didn't think he was good enough. I also hear from Johan/TEC once in a while. I've met some Horizon folks at a bar as they still arrange meetings for folks, just to have a good time.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I have it in a box somewhere. I took it out just two years ago to play Giana Sisters. I played through the whole game like a true professional, hehe.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
I guess so. I still think that there’s no computer that have the charm that the C64 do.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
No, I don't think so. Maybe, maybe... but... no.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
We all shared something that was really cool in many, many ways. To those whom I knew back then: You were all a part of making it special for me. Thank you! Any record covers or design jobs needed? I'm still the man. At least I'm trying to, haha! firstname.lastname@example.org is the address. Have a great life.
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