Aze / The Vikings, Agile
Added on May 3rd, 2010 (5367 views)

Tell us something about yourself.
Lars Bergqvist. Born in Östersund, Sweden, 1972. Today I live in the outskirts of Stockholm and work as a developer in the document automation industry. Before my son was born, I used to spend most of my spare time on outdoor activities, sports and music creation, but now my family is my highest priority. I've just had a Lego revival after about 30 years of abstinence. :)

What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Aze. Well, everybody wants to be an ace, and if you can't be, you can at least have a name that gives the illusion that you are one. The cool local C64 guys, Jzz and Zonzo, indicated that 'z' was an essential letter in your handle. I decided that one was enough though.

What group(s) were you in?
The Vikings and Agile.

What roles have you fulfilled?
Coder and swapper.

How long were you active for?
I made my first demos in the summer of 1987. About one year later, I switched to the Amiga.

Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
My father wanted to learn about computers so he bought a C128 in 1986, but I hogged it immediately! I had the usual dose of cassette gaming in C64 mode in parallel with learning C128 BASIC. I became very fascinated with programming and made lots of basic programs for my own amusement. After a while, I tried the built-in machine language monitor and poked around. Some friends explored cool stuff that you could do in ML-code, and that helped me get started. But what got me really hooked was when I first saw Jzz's Discovery demo. I wanted to do that stuff too! So, I got me a copy of Rodnay Zaks Programming 6502, dived into the processor and started coding (still in that darn built-in ML-monitor). After a while, my first lame demos appeared. I joined the newly founded The Vikings shortly after, and we set about getting C64 contacts around the world with the help of intros and demos.

Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I was programming on paper during class, and sometimes went home during lunch break to check for new floppies in the mailbox. I did another check of the latest sendings when I got home, and maybe prepared some copies to send out the day after. I was designing and coding during the rest of the evening/night. Luckily, this lifestyle only lasted about one year...

Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
We were really fond of bumping colourbars, so I made a colourbar editor to be able to design bars quickly. It was really simple, but we used it frequently and the bars became a part of our style. I also made the Backdrop Designer, which allowed you to design large characters made up of 8x8 normal characters that you then could use for large scrollers and flexible logos, etc. At the end of our C64 era, I made "customer specific" intro designers where the user could edit the scrolltext, change some colours and stuff, and then deploy the result as a new intro.

When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
The Backdrop Designer. I created it for myself so that I could do bigger (and thus cooler) scrollers, but it turned out that other people could use it too. There's a hacked and improved version with added features out there, and that makes me proud in a way.

Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Jzz/Trinity – because he knew C64 tech stuff before me, and I learned a lot from him. 4042 – he was also a programming pioneer living in my neighbourhood, and his C64 demos inspired me to start making my own ones.

What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The SID chip and the music of the C64. Most of it still rocks today!

Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
I attended the Alvesta party in 1987 and the Tyresö party in 1988. We had several small and very enjoyable local parties during my active year.

In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Meeting other people with the same interest and a way to express yourself. As in most teenage cultures, I guess it was also a way to find your own identity and to make yourself seen (things that the kids use the Internet for these days).

What were the particular highlights for you?
We had a great time at the Alvesta party in 1987. It was my first excursion to a major computer gathering, so it made a big impression on me.

Any cool stories to share with us?
Sometimes, I would hassle the local computer shops by making a small on-the-spot demo on any C128 that was on display. On one such occasion, I had made a small scroller with the usual bragging content. The day after, I sneaked by to see if it was still running – and it was! But someone had hacked it and sent me a greeting. This was in my early C64 days, and I was quite astonished to find someone with the same frame of mind in this unlikely way.

Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I've stayed in contact with Jzz/Trinity through the years as we ended up in the same school class, and it turned out that we shared more interests than just the 6502/6510 instruction set. We had a revival with Fred/Banshee earlier this year, and it was really nice to meet him again. I think his graphic contributions to our demos were vital and some of the charactersets and logos are still awesome today!

When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
My original C128 (bought in 1986) is no longer around as I sold it to get money for an Amiga. But a few years later, I got myself an old C64 for nostalgic reasons and for making electronic experiments with. That one is somewhere in my attic (with some soldered wires still attached, I guess).

Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
The technical part of it was simple enough so that it was possible to understand it completely and explore every little detail. Yet, with all these limitations, the music and graphic artists could use its fab chips for artistic expressions that even normal people (i.e. non-geeks) could enjoy.

When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Never, as I'm happy just living with the old C64 memories.

Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
So long and thanks for all your contributions to the C64 scene! And CUL8R.

» 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