Mr. Mad / The Car,
Weird Science 2662,
Wiseguy Industries 2015 Inc.
Added on September 13th, 2007 (8086 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Here goes... Name: Mark Visser. Born: 25-1-1969 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Residence: Hoogvliet, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Job: ATM Senior Architect Technical Infrastructure at the Dutch Department of Defence. Interests: Motor sports (car/bike), music, movies, the Internet, gadget toys, and a Ziphoid-influenced shopping spree, wich basically means, if I like, I must buy. :) Marital status: Single.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
The short story: I started out as The Mad Cracker (TMC) in 1984, switched to Mr. Mad in 1985, and ended up switching to Misser in 1992. The long story is this:
I started using TMC right after I got my C64 in 1984 (Thanks mum). Soon, another TMC appeared who actually cracked and coded some stuff. That was The Mercenary Cracker, and history shows it was none other than Charles Deenen (Maniacs of Noise), who was a part of the Helmond Cracking Service (HCS) back then iirc. Owh, no wait, that was actually another MoN guy, Jeroen Tel. I remember driving to Helmond with The Beast (who was called The Ant together with Erwin in those days) and The Druid just to find out he (Jeroen) wasn’t home after a two hours drive. Some frustration led to a phone booth being molested. :P
Talking about The Beast, he was the one who handled all the contacts, calling them, phreaking with them, and doing some blue boxing. I do remember me and Edwin going to the phone booth next to my house on a regular basis to phreak with iirc Santa Claus from Commando Frontiers (who I met at The Party 1992/93 in Herning, Aars). The fact that The Ant was handling all the contacts, might explain why I sometimes didn’t knew which groups our group joined (besides me joining Weird Sceience 2662 in the end). If more details are needed, do ask BST/Ant.
Like I said, Mr. Mad grew out of the knowledge that there already was a TMC out there. It must have been in the middle of 1985 when Erwin and me decided to form The Car (The Corporation Against Renamers). We met at some game store in Rotterdam a year before, the same spot we also met Wouter van Dam a few years later, but the first thing we did was to rename an ABC crack of, ehhh, Crazy Comets, I think. :) But soon after we grew in all possible ways. Coding skill got better after the first demo as were our cracking skills, and most important, our social skills. Do remember we were just nerds about 15-16 years old back then.
The Misser nick... It was at the end of my C64 period, and I got my first steady job which I had until March 1997, so about 4,5 years. Not to mention meeting my first and probably only true love Natascha in November 1992. Ahh, come to think about that, I know when I lost track of the WGI guys (Tron, BST, A0D, Druid). It was just after Valentine 1994. I broke up with Natascha and bought myself a Honda Prelude. The first thing I did when I was about to park the bike in The Subversive Elements' parking lot, was to hit the rain pipe. Luckily Ton (BST + A0D’s dad) didn’t mind the repair work as long as I paid for the parts. Anyway, I forgot about appointments and stuff, so I think it was Beast or Tron that started calling me misser which is a Dutch word for missing something. That kinda stuck since it’s also a combination of my name. After that we somehow grew apart, just to meet up again after about eight years to get ready for Back in Time Live Brighton in 2003.
What group(s) were you in?
The Car, The Artworx, Weird Sience 2662 and Wiseguy Industries 2015 Inc. (yeps, correct spelling again), and Legend (Amiga).
What roles have you fulfilled?
Organiser, coder, cracker, and hardware wiz. During technical (MTS) school, I actually modded all our c64’s with a four kernel mod. There were three kernels and the Little Computer People music playing, plus a copy in the fourth together with some odd graphics.
How long were you active for?
That would be 1984 until 1992/93 including the Amiga days with Legend. But after getting my A3000T-040, which got replaced with the A1200 by Commodore after like six months, I dropped out. Somehow the switch to AGA machines lost all the fun for me. Instead of one standard box, you now had all kind of different specs. So, I sold my nine month ‘old’ setup and bought a PC. Then I turned my attention to work and girls. One of those was and still is fun today. :)
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Looking back, those years where just great – besides not doing what 90 percent of the male population in my age did. *sniff* I also had a really good time without getting into to much trouble. After playing games and trying to code in Basic for a while, I met Edwin (Beast) and we both had an interest in learning how to code machine language. We bought the bible and started hacking away, learning by trail and error. Edwin introduced me to Erwin (Tron) who was at the same school as him. The rest is like they say, history. From one thing came another.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
The usual stuff. You know; waking up, programming, going (late) to school, getting home, programming, checking out stuff, eating some food (damn, I was like 79 kilos then), more C64 stuff, and a little bit of sleep. The most memorable day were the Friday’s before the Venlo meetings. Having a cup’a with the lads, finishing some code on a demo just to notice at about midnight (or the day before after ten hours of crunching) that it had a bug. The next morning, waking up at eight, seeing that the crunching was almost done, playing JMJ's Oxygene or Equinoxe on my parents stereo really loud, and pumping up (waking in Tron’s and BST’s case) the guys to get ready to go.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Yeah, a few I remember which were special to me were the hires-move-crunch thing used once for an Alien demo. It converted hires screens to charsets by removing duplicate 8x8 blocks of data. There was also the code that flipped scrolltext from right to left and left to right, and the interrupt handling routine we all used. And of course, my one and only working Basic program!
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Since I dropped out of school twice, I lost contact with all of my old friends. I also had about 13 people close to me dying. The thing I’m proud of is that a seed of good friendship was planted, even if it meant not seeing each other for a few years. Playing with computers also helped my work career a lot.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
ABC Crackings (Antisoft, Bytebreaker, CSS aka ADJ – Hi Arjan), Dynamic Duo (I so loved that Atari style intro), Triad's quality cracks and their classic intro made me want to see more. The Sarge’s graphics, Mr. Z’s border-press-scrolling-hires thingy, and Lucifer.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The first full screen bouncing sideborder scroll by me of course. ;) The coolest thing invented on the C64, well, that would have to be the things in the actual C64. I vote 6581 just ahead of the 6502. And also all the new graphic modes invented by various people. It was quite a shock to see some of those pictures at the parties in Denmark.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yeps, actually too many to remember. Of course, being Dutch, I tried to go to Venlo every month between 1987 and 1991. I also went to the Squadron copy-party in Haastrecht, some party in Eindhoven, most of the parties in Denmark between 1992 and 1997, and I also visited the PCW show in London.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
It was all about having fun and being adolescent without being a nuisance to other people. To answer in a long Simon way (hi Psymon 64): it was an era of exploration, one of possibilities, one of innocence. It was the perfect time for one to grow up with that new thing called home computers and games. Hell yeah! I sometimes wish I was born ten years earlier, but then again, casual sex isn't everything. Hmm... I should end this with something profound, eh? The C 64 was the best and made me a man! ;)
What were the particular highlights for you?
Highlights were definitely going to all sorts of parties on a tight budget, renting a car and driving to Denmark with seven people in it, meeting lots of nice people, drinking beer, and just having plain fun.
Any cool stories to share with us?
While typing text for scrollers, BST and Tron somehow always raped the keyboard and hit @ once in a while. Like a lot of other people, I used that sign to wrap my scrollers. I think about 30 percent of the demos had to be repacked just because one of those guys got mental on the keyboard writing things like: "*yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarggggggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh* ©A0D".
Witan (Jendrik and Alex) won the PC demo compo with Facts of Life at The Party 2 in Aars. The sad part is that it was announced two hours after we found Jendrik as he was about to go home. That house part still brings back memories, and to think I actually taught them how to code on the C64. The last time I saw both Jendrik and Alex was about five years ago just before Alex moved.
Fred (Wilfred) and Mars (Marcel) from Channel 4 (twice the style, half the time) coming over to my place and having so much fun with my jeep lighter I had to refill the damn thing after every visit. Where are you guys anyway?
The Party 3 in Herning... The big concrete sleeping place, the guards being a bit too serious about their duties, Pinhead (Legend) making comments about the guards the moment they passed us, and not to forget TDB (Legend) being so drunk he actually thought the toilets were filled with Bacardi. The moment we hit the Dutch border, Andrew woke up with his face against the window and screamed: "McDonald's!" We hit that poor place, went in and I told the cashier to take the order from all six guys. I went out to telephone my mum, and told her that we were safely back in NL. While doing so, I looked at one huge pile of food and six people going at it (cost: just under 200 DFL). I wish I had a picture of that! It was so funny!
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Some of my best friends are old C64 people that I see a lot these days. The Beast, A0D, Tron, The Druid (all WGI 2015), and Peter from Squadron. And of course there's Reyn, Jeroen Tel, Ziphoid, Slaygon, and Morpheus to name a few people I see a few times every year.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
Well, I got it from my mum in 1984, but sadly I don’t have it anymore. During my nine years of C64 activity, I lost about nine C64’s due to some, ehhh, external abuse. :) With some luck, I might be able to hunt down the owner of my last C64. On the other hand, I got a garage filled with stuff, and I have a new 16x kernel mod working, so why bother? :)
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Hell yes! It was a life-changing experience for me. The only thing that comes close to the C64 scene is today’s remix scene. It has the same vibe of friendship, easy going and fun.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Looking at the plans and the date for the X-2008 party, I might be doing a little thing, yeah. :) I still don’t use assembler, so my machine code programming skills are a bit rusty.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
back to the list of available interviews