Ixion / The Pact,
Added on January 5th, 2005 (11461 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Ugh, I've always been paranoid about these things.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Ixion. Well, it originally was Excalibur but I realised that more people would snag a name like that. I looked for something that no one else would think of and from Greek mythology I read about a king chained to a big wheel in Hades. Such an anti-climax, no one would ever rip that name from me! Today I discovered that someone had registered firstname.lastname@example.org... Nowadays I go by another handle – but no – I won’t tell which. It's even more original to make sure no-one confuses me.
What group(s) were you in?
The Pact, 3001 and Triad.
What roles have you fulfilled?
Swapper and organiser. I also founded all the groups above – with lots of help from others of course.
How long were you active for?
Not sure when it started, but it was something like 1984 to 1988.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Well, like most people I was originally really lame and bought my first pirated games on tape from a guy in the local computer store. It was expensive then but what a rush it was to play Scramble, Shamus etc. I got to know more people and we started to swap games instead. I put an ad in a newspaper and got more contacts in other cities. I later got to know people in the computer stores that was interested in cracking. It just grew.
The Pact was just a software distribution group where I provided games to everybody in the group while the other ones didn’t do anything. 3001 was a much better step. There were three members: Me, Skydive (original supplier) and Lucifer (cracker) – all in the same city! We soon joined up with people from two other cities and that formed a triangle on the map. That became Triad, which has a big pyramid with an eye attached to it as a symbol. Well, it’s also a Chinese mobster – and quite a good name for a group too. We now had coders, crackers, swappers and designers in the group. Really powerful.
The original goal for me was to beat Swedish Cracking Crew (SCC) to their grave since they were such obstinate creatures (especially Inferno and his brother). We were enemies until we finally met in person and discovered their fun humour. In some big confusion we met West Coast Crackers (WCC), brought our new friends there and fooled WCC somehow. I have forgotten the details but we ended up with a new enemy: WCC (and later on, Fairlight). The old WCC split into Triad and Fairlight. They were our worst threat then and they’re still kicking ass today. Keep it up lads!
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
Oh my God! There were so many letters I had to send and the mailbox was always full. I wish we had broadband then. No time to actually play the games, I enjoyed the game music, that's about it. The BBS I put up was a great relief because the Americans could fetch the new software directly from there. They used phone phreaking to call for free (hacked VISA cards). I was always in a telephone conference and I had no free-time at all. After a while, I got fed up with it. I still have a hard time talking on the phone for a long time.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
All the time. Copy-slaves to provide the software to the contacts, a BBS to alleviate mailing… Simply anything that was possible in those days of limited technology. We were the first group to release trainers (cheats) with the games. Mr Z used it for debugging, and I thought it could be a nice feature. (But he could never fix old Shamus for me so I could play it to the end. Terribly hard game.) We even had a naming convention: A crack was named: "Game title/Triad" and a demo: Triad/Demo title”, but no-one understood it. The colour of the logo in the Triad intro also meant something. I think it was a scoring system: gold for a good game, etc.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Founding Triad and making friends with all the nice people out there.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Maybe Eagle Soft Incorporated (the Americans with their insane big cracks). I never succeeded in talking to them. I think I met most other legends or at least talked to them on the phone. Inferno/SCC fueled the fire of my dreams.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
1001 Crew did a hack to make the pixels go in the side-border which wasn't possible from the manufacturers point of view. Time Cruncher by Matcham was the first zip-tool created. We got a special license from him to use so our cracks always had the shortest file size. Mr. Z did a nice intro-maker so that even I could create an intro with it. He also made the quickloader for tape that I used in the old lamer-days. It sped things up by a factor of ten when loading from tape.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes, I went to the first copy-parties ever held. We had our own one in Stockholm really early. Triad also went in disguise to a trade show and got a private show about games by a Swedish distributor.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Exploring one’s alter-ego. Defining a cyber-world above law and order. Being somebody else despite your boring job. Maybe even reaching fame? Setting up a pre-Internet. Using criminal minds.
What were the particular highlights for you?
We got hold of and released The Last Ninja first. That was a major achievement! And Danish Gold's copy-parties. They were the best hosts and had great beer!
Any cool stories to share with us?
Well I forgot where we were (maybe Holland), but it was at a copy-party. Unfortunately, people were drinking a lot and you know what happens then. A big fat guy from Holland (it could have been a member of Hotline) started going berserk and we just fled the place. That was about all we could take so we went home. Afterwards he blamed us for wrecking the place and I think we even received some bills for it. I must have been drinking something myself since my memory of it is so vague, but it was a terrible situation that we got into.
Another terrible story was when Lucifer stole the Time Cruncher from me. You can tell from the name that he couldn't be trusted. Yes, he was in the group and all but he had some dirty friends we didn’t trust so we wouldn't let him have the software. I kept it on a secret disk. One day Lucifer came by my home and told me that he wanted to compress a program. He was nuts about releasing old games even shorter than before so I wasn’t suspecting anything. He inserted a cartridge with some tools on to have a better computer environment but the crunching was very slow this day and I almost yanked the cartridge out. He told me afterwards that he almost died when I did this because he had a program running from the cartridge that cloned the secret software from the floppy and stored it on the cartridge. I didn't suspect a thing but since Lucifer started bragging about it to his friends later on, it reached our ears as well. Me and Skydive went to his home like vigilantes, confiscating all the media he owned. His mom looked really surprised. That's how I lost one of my friends.
I was exchanging floppies with a guy from Holland and we became more friends than swappers. We started attaching strange things with the floppies and as time went, it escalated due to my sick humour. I sprayed a letter with perfume and he thought it was really fun. I then took some hand cream and put it in a condom, rolled it up and sent it to him. He told me he got really angry and thought I was sick, but later realised the crazy joke. Maybe I shouldn't have told you this one!
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Not much, almost none of my old friends are in it I guess. It's like the story of Peter Pan. You grow up from the dream and forget all about it. Some day someone comes flying outside the window and you get a flash-back of it.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
Umm, 1983 I think. It should work but I haven't tried it for ages. I guess I should show it to the kids.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Well, since you contacted me 15 years later it must really have been something!
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Well, not from me personally, but I hear Triad is still out there. It's not illegal as it used to be, they only code their own things now. I got one guy to take over the leading role after me so Triad wouldn't die completely. Thanks Jerry of Triad!
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
See you on the Internet. I like AVP and sci-fi related games and films. Don't forget to keep in shape for the real life outside. Go skiing, diving or skating!
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