Morpheus / Thundersoft,
Peek & Poke,
The Increasing Popularity Crew
Added on November 30th, 2003 (17671 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Oskar Andreas Wallström, 31 years old. Born in Stockholm and I'm still here. I work as a graphic designer at IBM and I play music in two bands, one which is with o2 and Makke. Interests: play around with the various computers and consoles I have, photography, listen to music, write music, play the drums and rock-climb (in no special order).
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My first name was Hook 2001. Can't really remember how I came up with it. It was popular to have numbers like 3001, 1001 etc. together with your name in those days, so I guess that inspired me. I got in contact with a guy called Pentagram (Ulf Meskanen) who was a member of The Fire Force through an ad I put in the yellow pages wanting to buy games. Ulf always gave me games for free and also tried to teach me some assembler language. One day he told me that I should change my name, and what did I know what was cool or not. We made a list of names that we liked and my first pick was The Phantom because I used to read that comic quite a lot. Before I got to use it in any production, we found out that the name was already taken. We went back to the list and agreed on that Morpheus was pretty cool too. Ulf must have flipped through computer mags and he must have seen Braybrook's game with the same name, I can't remember. Morpheus equals the dream god, and later on it proved to be a good pick because I was always dreaming.
What group(s) were you in?
Thundersoft (just me playing around in Basic), Quick Quartet (another guy called The Rascal answered my ad in the yellow pages, sold me three games and said he was hacking away with The Final Cartridge 2 – Quick Quartet was born), Peek & Poke (Ulf got me in touch with these guys in Avesta/Krylbo and P&P was alive), Pentangel (more or less Peek & Poke with a more fashionable name), Gemini (things started to get interesting during this period), Eltronic/Shine (still proud of the logo I did for A Lot of Coke – Gruwl really digged it), Zone 45 (lots of good friends were in this group), Sector 90 (Amiga only), Flash Incorporated and my retro group The Increasing Popularity Crew.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was doing graphics, was the editor-in-chief for Hotshot and I did my fair share of swapping too. I should have gotten involved in writing music, but I'm happy with what I did and I hope that I was able to inspire people.
How long were you active for?
From like 1986 to 1992. Did a small comeback in 1995 with the demo Still Cruisin'. These days I'm active doing this site and I also update www.flashinc.C64.org from time to time. I hope to be involved in a new demo soon as there's some old graphics that I still want to use and I really want to write a scrolltext again.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Pentagram of The Fire Force hooked me up with Dick Wecksell (Jum-Jum) who was forming a group with two friends of his. I joined Peek & Poke, we made two really cool demos (yeah, right!!), changed our name to Pentangel and made some more demos. That's how I got in, basically (Quick Quartet was just fooling around with demo-makers). When I look back at those days, I mostly remember the good parts. We had a lot of fun and it was a struggle to get in touch with cool contacts who absolutely didn't want to swap with any lamers and the stuff had to be fresh too! Everyone called everyone a lamer back then! :) I remember I talked to a swapper in The Rebels (the Swedish and original group that is) who I got in touch with through Bobble of Pentangel and his friend Slaine of The Rebels. He told me that he was willing to swap with me, but the stuff couldn't be older than two weeks. Heheh...
While I was in Gemini, things started rolling. I drew quite a lot of logos and put a demo called All We Are (after the Warlock song with the same name) together where I didn't really code anything although the demo said I did. I more or less tried to puzzle routines together. Eltronic wasn't a lot of fun for me personally. Jum-Jum of Peek & Poke who now had changed his name to Space Ace, had lots of attitude and was really giving me a hard time. Just before the Horizon/Equinoxe party in Eskilstuna/Sweden, Croock/Slayer (an old friend) and me left Eltronic and was about to join Triad, but felt it wouldn't be a lot of fun with the screaming loud-mouths who had just taken over the rudder (the Censor dudes). We re-joined Eltronic at the party that just had changed their name to Shine.
The group split after the party and I joined Zone 45. Sadly enough, I can't remember much about this period other than I was in a group with a lot of friends from the Swedish scene who were really cool to be with. Croock/Slayer, who now had changed his name to Epsilon, was about to start this new group and he had talked to a guy called Zodiac from this group called Flash Inc. He was this little coding monster who had just finished his fourth demo in four months. Epsilon asked if he wanted to join, and he was thinking about it, but didn't want to leave his friends behind, so offered us to join Flash instead. I had just seen Quartz and was amazed! We joined without having to show anything we'd previously done. My first task though was to get rid of inactive members! :)
Flash Inc was great but a small problem as I see it now is that we were so focused on finishing the next demo that we forgot to socialize and get to know each other on a more personal level. It's just how it was, total dedication on the next demo to kick ass in the compo at the next Horizon party. We must of course take into consideration that we didn't live in the same city and long distance calls were quite expensive back then. You couldn't be on the phone forever without being ruined. I remember having fun calls with Zodiac and The Spy and Epsilon lived close by so we met often. When all of us got tired of spending our summers indoors working on the next demo, I guess we went separate ways without really caring about what happened to the group or the other members. We were tired, and the group kind of faded. But! We made some awesome demos (especially those where we got more in to design) and shared lots of laughs. The Flash meeting we had at The Spy's place in 1992 to work on Prometheus Unbound is something I'll never forget!
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
The extreme version: If I got up early, I turned the computer on and fooled around with it for about 45 minutes. Went to school. Brought some friends home at lunch to play Snoopy and check sendings. Finish school, back home at 15.30, check the sendings again, put a new spread disk together and fix the directory, start to copy and completely ignore homework as the sendings had to be finished before six o'clock. Maybe draw something in the evening or hang with friends.
I of course loved (and still love) playing games on the C64, so I need to name some of my favourites: Winter Games, Gyruss, H.E.R.O., Slicks, Bruce Lee, IK+, Boulder Dash, California Games, Krakout, Dynamoid, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Bomb Jack and Blue Max.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Not really. I just tried to work effectively with the tools I had which mainly were Koala Painter, Front Editor 3, Amica Paint and the Sprite Designer by Paragon.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
The logo I did in A Lot of Coke and the 8x8 font for Party Attraction. Seeing Hotshot high in the charts was also really cool because it was my little baby.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
There are lots of them. Like everybody else, I was spellbound by 1001 Crew, The Judges, Dynamic Duo (magical intro), Eagle Soft, The Papillons, Boys Without Brains etc. There's also lots of Swedish groups that inspired me: The Vikings, Vortex 42, West Coast Crackers, Computerbrains, Science 451, Super Swap Sweden, The Rebels, Triad, Thundercats etc. Individuals that I admired for their work were Mr. Z of course, Kjer of Consol/SSS/Horizon who always had this cool mathematical stuff going on, the same goes for Zodiac. I was a big fan of The Sarge until the day I heard he was cheating his pics (now I know he didn't and so I'm a fan again, heheh), No.1/Strider was all over the place and not to be forgotten: Dezed & Utopia of The Silents made a huge impact on me. Ninja Repulsion and The Enigma-Writer (one of the very best demo-makers ever made) kicked ass!
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
FLI influenced me strongly. FLD was hot! But the thing that impressed me the most was breaking of the side-border. How could these people find a bug in the C64 that made it possible to open the side-border? Amazing!
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Quite a lot actually. FBI Crew party in Östersund 1988, Sector 90 party in Kalmar 1989, Horizon and Equinoxe party in Eskilstuna 1989, Horizon party in Vårby 1990, Light, Triad and Oneway party in Bålsta 1990, Censor party in Gothenburg 1990, Horizon party in Huddinge 1991, Venlo July 1991, Light and Phenomena party in Alingsås in 1991, The Party 1991, Brutal and Hurricane party on Samso 1992, Remedy party 1995, The Party 5 1995, Remedy party in 1997, LCP 2002 and 2004 and various meetings in Stockholm arranged by groups like Zone 45 and Paragon. Too bad I never made it to one of those Alvesta parties.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Friendship and breaking boundaries. It has been a perfect nursery for lots of people.
What were the particular highlights for you?
Every time a new cool demo like So-Phisticated 3 from Black Mail came out. Everyone copied the cool graphics in that demo! It was also a blast to meet other sceners, getting fan mail from countries like Ukraine, playing games, finishing a new demo that you were really proud of... Oh, those were the days!
Any cool stories to share with us?
Yeah, there's lots of them! In the beginning of August 1991, me and The Spy had reached the final destination on our InterRail tour through Europe. We were in Avenza, Italy to visit our good friends Zagor and Zoris of The Force. The guys had told their friends that we were coming, so we got to meet some other scene related people that lived nearby. One of them was a guy called Ex-M of Arm. He had called up the guys a day or so before we came to Avenza, because he didn't know how to behave when he was going to meet us and he needed a few tips.
We had only stayed there for two days when Ex-M called again. He had been training in front of the mirror, going: "Hi, I'm Ex-M of Arm, nice to meet you" and "Hi guys, pleasure to meet you" – but still he was very unsure of himself. He saw us like the gods of something I DON'T KNOW WHAT! Probably something extraordinary, but we never had that type of attitude you know, so we just thought Zoris was kidding with us when he told us all these things. When we finally arrived at Ex-M's place he was trying to show off and was actually quite rude. He tried to impress us by showing his mixing skills. He wasn't very good, and he looked worse when Gabriel of The Force, who had joined us on our trip, got up and showed him how things should be done. It was all a strange situation for us, but fun at the same time, and you know, our Italian friends were just making fun of him and reminding him of the things he said on the phone, and asked him why he was trying to be so cool.
I visited Unifier when he was living in Örebro sometime in 1991, it must have been right before the Horizon party. I told him that I'd heard that the latest Shock issue was out and I wanted it because it was so darn good. He said that there's was this guy called Woise of Maniax that lived nearby. Why not call him and ask? I gave him a call and introduced myself and asked if he had the new Shock issue. He took a fast look and said, "Yes, I have it". When we arrived, we found out that this guy was a real Flash fan. And so there we sat, in this boy's room (he was around 14) waiting for him to find the disk with Shock on. I thought it was a bit strange that he couldn't find it, because he said he had it over the phone.
Then the phone rang. It was a guy from his group and he couldn't believe it when Woise told him that he had two members from Flash in his room. The guy on phone had to talk to us and so he started to ask us a lot of questions about just everything. A couple of minutes after that phone call, Woise's mother brought us soda and cookies. How cute wasn't that? :) The cookies looked weird but were really tasty so we ate them all. One hour had passed, but still no Shock. Suddenly there was a flash! Woise had picked up his camera and he took a picture of us when we weren't ready (and he didn't ask either). He said that he wanted to have proof of that we actually had been there. So there we are now, Unifier and me, in this book somewhere in Örebro. And the Shock issue... was never found.
As every other game maniac, I collected every game I could get my hand of in the old days. One of them was Yie Ar Kung-Fu cracked by Mr. Z. When the game intro came up, a phone number was written there. I threw myself on the phone and a lady in her 40's answered, and I said: "I want to talk to Mr. Z, please". What happened next was that she started to scream like a madman, "Who are you?", Why are you calling?", "Where did you get this number?". At that time I was 12 years old and didn't know much so I said: "I saw it in a game, and...". "What game?". She screamed constantly so I hung up.
A couple of years ago, The Spy and me were talking memories, and I mentioned this story to him. He told me that his old school mate Pseudo went to the same class as Mr. Z and he knew the story behind this phone number thing. It was like this: a guy in their school though that he was the coolest one around because he had an Amiga 1000. Zoltan (Mr. Z) didn't think so, got tired of him and put the guy's number in Yie Ar Kung-Fu. According to Pseudo, hundreds of calls were made to that number, so no wonder that lady was mad!
The Rebels/Agile party... Ahh... This was the first party I ever visited. I went with Jum-Jum (Hellcat, Space Ace, Squelch) from Peek & Poke and it was the biggest thing. There we were surrounded by the Swedish elite with members from Super Swap Sweden to Thundercats to Agile. We were so amazed. The first thing that happened after we had unpacked the computer was that the guys from The Rebels came up to us and introduced themselves and asked who we were. They were really kind to us and asked us if we were gonna participate in the demo compo, but we said no because we had nothing finished. At that time, we only knew how to rip things and swap, more or less. They told us that maybe we could change the scrolltext in one of our older demos and go with that. We had one of our demos with us, but Jum-Jum said that Andy Capp (Dark Lord, Squeek) had done something special with the scrolltext and that it was impossible to change it. Some years later when I was able to actually go in to a monitor and check things out, I found out that each letter in the scroll-text were written like this: "A, shift+A – (rvs on)A, shift+A(rvs off)". :)
One other funny thing that happened at this party was when we were staring at our idols Super Swap Sweden who were working hard on their new party demo. I can recall that Kjer and Bagder looked at us with this "watcha want lamebrains"-look. There we were, probably the smallest, most unknown group in the world sitting only a couple of metres away from this huge group, staring us blind. It was scary! We had no friends there (apart from Trinity of Agile), this Tronix guy wrote about lamers standing behind him staring at his TV-screen in his party demo – he wrote that as me and a swapper from Paragon were standing behind him looking at what he was doing, my local Tensta-'friend', Qix of Stage 3, didn't talk to us, we put a big scratch in the table we had the computer on, we couldn't change our demo and over all, it was a bit scary. We only stayed for one day because we didn't know what else to do there.
I also remember when we (Pentangel) got the permission to greet The Vikings in our demos! We didn't swap with them because we could not provide any cool stuff, but we could greet them in our demos if we wanted to. That was a proud moment I tell you! I was so happy because of this that I told all my friends at school about it (who didn't understand anything of what I said).
One last thing... A memory that will stay in my mind forever is the gig in Brighton at the Back in Time Live event. I was on stage playing tunes like Paperboy and Deflektor with long time hero Ben Daglish, Marcel Donné, Reyn Ouwehand and Mark Knight. After the gig Rob Hubbard said: "Andreas, I didn't know you were such a good drummer.". Man, that made my day!
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes! Doing C64.COM (and in particular these interviews) gets me in contact with lots of them. I'm e-mailing with people like Honey of 1001 Crew, Sodan and Strider of Fairlight about an interview for this site. I hope they'll agree...
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got it in 1984 (with an MPS 801 printer, 1541 disk drive, a couple of Mastertronic games etc.) but I don't have that particular machine left as I killed it by smashing the joystick on it when I lost a life in some game. I have like 13 machines now if you count the C128s in, some 1,300 originals, monitors, drives, joysticks, mags etc. There's always some sweet C64 stuff on eBay to get obsessed about.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It sure was – in every way I can think of. All the hard- and software made it special. And what made it even cooler were the people who programmed, drew graphics and made music on it.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
As soon as I find a coder that wants to do some work, a new demo will be made. I'm really dying to write some scrolltext again.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
First of all, thanks to myself for this interview! ;) Secondly, greetings to all the great people I was lucky enough to meet, talk and swap with, especially: Ulf Meskanen (for all the help), The Spy (for everything), Bobble of Pentangel (where did you go pal?), The Rascal (Marcus my old pal), Trinity (for being kind to us when we started out – you don't know how proud I was when *I* was able to help *you* with your Amiga drive), Jack Daniels (thanks for the zero percent alcohol beer maan!), Matrix (of Sidstation fame), Metal (for naming one of your songs Morpheus), JCH (for all the friendly letters and hot tunes), Anonym (for letting us stay at your place in '91 and a whole lot more), Zagor and Zoris (for being the crazy Italians that you are), the C64.COM crew, Dense (for Bullet Proof and your wonderful personality), Spiderman (for the most excellent days we spent at your place in Thyholm), Slaygon (my brother from another mother), and my new friends Ville Nurmi, Unlock, Boz, Chris Abbott and Druid. See you in domus and don't be late!
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