Casual Dude / Formby Cracking Group, Fusion, Eagle Soft Incorporated, Phoenix
Added on July 5th, 2007 (7062 views)

Tell us something about yourself.
Chilli_UK, formely known as Casual Dude. Age: 37. Location: Portsmouth, UK, when not in Poland. Job: SPY – but schh! – don't tell anyone. Interests: SLAY Radio (had to say it didn't I), beer, beer, beer, Chtulu *lol*, and beer. I have two wonderful kids; 15 and 12 years old. And I so miss the good old days, the races and the bitching (although I have a girlfriend to do that for me now). Hey Sharon! *lol*

What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Casual Dude, mainly because at the time people said that I wore all the newest fashions, and it stuck.

What group(s) were you in?
I started out in the FCG, which stood for Formby Cracking Group, although about 200 miles away from Liverpool, I met up with Mike and we went head to head against Scouse Cracking Group (SCG). Mike went on to join Alpha Flight on the Amiga some years later.

What roles have you fulfilled?
*Cough* I used to supply some tapes to Razor (if I can remember correctly), then I thought, why not crack them myself, so I started with Mike to try to get FCG known. Swapping was a major part of it then. I then hooked up with The Shark (HSVC SID website) and The Butcher of INC, and we traded via modem – and then when we made our name. Ian of Fusion got hold of me and asked me to join them. I had a great spell with them, but as Ian had to dedicate more time to his son, it seemed to wain a little, so I started a new group called Pheonix. But we were nowhere near the domination of Fusion.

How long were you active for?
Jesus! I am too old, but around 1987 to 1989-ish.

Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
I just managed to swap software with kids via mail. Adverts were allowed then. I found loads of address, and just picked it up from there. Totally boring, I know.

Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I was usually speaking with The Shark until 3 am in the morning, and releasing anything we had at the time via a speedy 9600 modem.

Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I wish. I also wish I delegated hacking, but mostly companies used the same loading systems so it was easy to use one tool for some time. The Ocean one was the biggest pain in the arse.

When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Being part of Fusion, UK's biggest cracking group. Maybe not for quality, but for speed.

Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
I spent a lot of time on the phone with The Shark who also knew Tony from Fairlight. The two best crackers I knew of and respected more than any other were Mitch/Eagle Soft (I think he was a machine and not a human), and Gollum/Fairlight (there wasn't anything he couldn't crack).

What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
Rob Hubbard's mother for giving birth to him and bringing us all an amazing musician.

Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
I never did, but I recently went to the Back in Time Live event.

In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
There were two scenes in my opionion: one where you raced to get the release out, and the other was about trying to swap as much as possible.

What were the particular highlights for you?
Everyday was a highlight in a way, waiting to find out what was released, even if it was a Mastertronic game. As I worked for a software shop, I had a 99 per cent idea of what was due, but some times things slipped through. Then you rushed home and tried to get it compressed as soon as possible.

Any cool stories to share with us?
Here's a bunch of random memories...

If anyone remembers any Pheonix work, I had an intro where it stated I had a love/hate relationship with Steve of Zenith. The words were: "he loves me and I hate him."

I travelled to Crawley to spend the weekend with Steve and we jointly released a game we both cracked. Later, we went to a party with Ironfist of Zenith. Steve and I got Ironfist so drunk. We removed his shoes, dumped him on a roundabout, and let him walk for about 20 minutes (mostly into walls). We put him into the car and when we got home, we shaved one of his eye brows off.

Weirdest persons in the scene were Steve of Zenith and Taz of the Hackers Elite who had the shittiest flat I've ever seen in Birmingham.

Longest conversation was just over 24 hours with The Shark.

The Shark and I were on a conference call with one of the members of INC (I can't remember his handle, think his name was Derek), when he got busted by the FBI – for phreaking!

I was training in a computer company learning z80 and had a contact at the local HMV music shop who gave me access to originals. I used to supply Razor as I said for a while then realised it wasn't that hard to crack.

Worst thing I've ever done in the scene was when I phoned up the shop were the Scouse Cracking Group (SCG) got their games from, and pretended to be from FAST. They stopped supplying them with originals – opps! Sorry guys!

Best thing I've ever done in the scene was meeting The Shark. A stunning guy who worked so so hard for the US scene, and it was justified with what INC went on to be. Dave, you're a star. Shame about The Butcher – but hey!

Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I still speak to Mike (FCG), and occassionally The Shark.

When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I can't remember exactly, but I only got one, long story... When my nan died, she left me some money, so I bought a bike. It got stolen, the insurance paid out, and I bought another one. It got stolen too, the insurance paid out, so I bought a Spectrum – which I liked – but it kept breaking down. Bloody keyboard kept coming off thanks to Hyper Sports! So I bought a C64, and I wish I still had it. When I left home, it was stored under the stairs at my parents house. When I went back to get it and the 1541 with phantom installed, it had been thrown out. Damn!

Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
I think the C64 was the start of the revolution. I love SIDs, but more importantly, the fact that the family that was the scene are still the family of today. Although a much better machine, the Amiga was never the progression I think scene wise that the C64 was.

When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
You would be lucky! Two registers is too much hassle nowa days, and I think demensia is setting in. Perhaps memories are all we need. After all, I'm not bloody Reyn am I.

Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Oh yes... Ikari – nice to race you, and your two releases in two years said it all. Steve of Zenith, I hope you're still the major funder of McDonalds. To all the other guys in the scene: it was wicked and still is!

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