Booster / Skylight Game Swapping, Swedish Frontline
Added on January 18th, 2009 (5634 views)

Tell us something about yourself.
Per Gref, 37, born in Nyköping 1971. I live in Stockholm and work as a consultant with system development on IBM and Microsoft platforms. Some interests are American ales from the plethora of US micro breweries, movies, music, video games and Top Fuel Dragracing.

What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
The first handle I used was Booster. I just picked it because I thought it sounded cool and my friend wanted the handle Equalizer so it sort of fitted together. Then I briefly changed my handle to One Man Gang in a spear of the moment rush after seeing Hulk Hogan beat One Man Gang in a title fight for the WWF belt in 1987. When I came to my senses, I picked Nitrobit since I wanted something unique, and dragracing had shown me the power of nitro, which I combined with "bit" from the computer world (of course).

What group(s) were you in?
Skylight Game Swapping, Swedish Frontline, The Outrunners, Defjam, IPEC Elite, and Miracle.

What roles have you fulfilled?
I was a swapper and a coder.

How long were you active for?
In the scene maybe from 1985 to 1990. My father got hold of one of the very first C64's sold in Sweden. That was in 1983 I believe. He picked it up at a Handic Software store somewhere on the release day. From 1987, mostly Amiga as of when the 500 came out.

Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
At first we were the true definition of lamers. We had no clue about how stuff worked, so by coincidence we got in contact with a classmates' cousin who somehow was able to get hold of new cracked games that he sold to us. After a while we thought, if he can do it, we can too! I don't recall anymore how we got hold of other people to do the actual swapping with though.

Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
Once the swapping really took off, every day looked the same: I rushed home after school, opened mail, verified what stuff worked, and called people on the swapping lists to find out what they wanted. I then copied and created outgoing mails until the mailbox was to be emptied by the postman. I then went home again to play with the stuff I had recieved.

Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Not that I can recall.

When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Founding IPEC Elite, but OK, that was in the Amiga days.

Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Eagle Soft Inc. The myth did it more than anything, and of course, the eagle picture crack-intro... And Mr. Z for saving us from thousands of hours of loading time from tape.

What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The coolest was probably the 1001 Crew border breaking stuff. Maybe they didn't do it first, but it was the first I saw and the shock and awe stayed with me for a long time.

Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes. Some of the copy-parties like Alvesta, Kalmar, Eskilstuna, Arboga, Huddinge and Nyköping.

In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Fame and bragging rights... Whether it was putting your name as a cracker on a game, copying a crack to get the latest out the quickest, or coding demos or creating music, it was all for the purpose of getting famous.

What were the particular highlights for you?
The Huddinge party I think. That's when we really "got it".

Any cool stories to share with us?
I remember when Animal from The Silents at one of the Alvesta parties they organised, came through one of the rooms and discovered that a locked door had been breached. He got furious and screamed from the top of his lungs: "Vem har öppnat denne dörren!?" ("Who opened this door!?"), and all the fiftyish something guys in the room just went very quiet and looked at their screens. No one had seen anything of course. Years later, that same dude became CEO of a very successful games developing company...

Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Not really. I send sporadic emails to Scanner of Skylight Game Swapping, but that's it.

When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
On release day in Sweden, probably in 1983. In 1984, I realised that the machine was bought broken as sprites couldn't have any other colour than black. I thought that's how it was supposed to be! The next one I had until 1988. I then gave it to my grandfather who used it until his death in 1995. My father inherited it back and so it's now in his home. I have no idea if it works.

Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It was. Initially, it was very expensive, but as the price dropped and the disk drive made its entrance, things really took off. And the fact that there's still a living cult around it, proves it had something very special.

When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
I believe the newest production from me will always remain dated 1987 or so...

Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Greetings to everyone!

» Head back to the list of available interviews

1. Morpheus
2. Bacchus
3. Antitrack
4. Yip
5. Lucifer (in..
6. Lord Nikon
7. Antichrist
8. Drax
9. Zzap
10. Honey
11. Ian & Mic
12. Ixion
13. Lucifer
14. O.B.
15. Danko
16. Gotcha
17. Incubus
18. The Sarge
19. Grendel
20. Icon