Mike / X-Rated
Added on November 9th, 2009 (5444 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Alexander Renz and I was born in Munich on March 27th, 1975. At the moment, I'm working as a System Administrator. My personal projects are a BotService for Quakenet and a Mumble Service. I work together with some skilled friends, just like in the old days. My hobby is the BotService for Quakenet, but I want to get other smaller projects going too.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My old handle was Mike, and I have no idea how I came up it. Some people still call me by this name, although I managed to persuade most of them to stop, because I prefer Alex. :)
What group(s) were you in?
In the beginning, I was a member of two/three groups, but I had always wanted to start one on my own. X-Rated was established in 1987 by me and some other guys, among them Wander (died about six years ago) and Marc, holding key positions.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was a logo designer, swapper, organiser, and the founder of X-Rated.
How long were you active for?
I began in 1985 with my first and only breadbox. Like most of us, I had no idea that there was a scene happening. Therefore, during the first years, I spent my time playing games and watching demos/intros. I got into the scene in 1986, and in early 1987, I founded X-Rated. In 1990, I stopped because I was caught by the police. They couldn't prosecute me because the crime was committed when I was 13. The rest of X-Rated continued for some years, and that made me very happy because X-Rated released some nice demos and became a sure-fire success.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
At first, I created logos for my own little productions. Afterwards, I found out that I had some art skills, which led me to creating logos for various crews like Ikari (Just Ice should remember my artwork), Beastie Boys, WoD, and of course for X-Rated. I focused on logos and kept regular contact with all members in the group.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I used to watch every demo and intro frequently to get inspiration to create logos with Koala Painter and Amica Paint. Most of the time, I was busy answering messages and establishing ties with new people. School was definitely not important.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I didn't invent tools. As a designer and organiser, I used the standard tools like Amica Paint and Koala Painter. Of course, our coders had their tools to make things easier.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Being a member of some very famous crews, and being founder of one. That everybody worked so good together, despite young age, and that I learned so much from my friends. Things that I wasn't really proud of... perhaps my phone bill. It was about 1,000 German Marks one month, which is about 500 €. Thank God my father didn't kill me!
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
My personal favourites were Yeti, Beastie Boys and Warriors of Darkness (which later changed their name to 711). I remember Sebastian (Basti of WoD and 711) being one of my first coder connections, and surely the first person who helped me get into the scene. I especially remember Harald Hotop – the one eyed man. :)
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
There's a certain demo that was released in a demo competition having about 139 split rasters. I like that one! I keep watching X-Rated's demo Ratio 80, and it's still fun to see the ideas we had back then.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
No, I was too young and my parents wouldn't let me. I really wanted to go to the Venlo parties! I sometimes invited the 711 guys to my house, which kind of was a mini copy-party.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
It was about fame, about being the best and the fastest. It was a unique way of exchanging skills and comparing those skills with others.
What were the particular highlights for you?
The international contacts and the nice community.
Any cool stories to share with us?
We busted the Beastie Boys. This was in no way a terrific idea, but fun nevertheless. One day in the beginning of my C64 career, we forced our way into the post-office where Beastie Boys' P.O. Box was located, and we forced the postman to give us all mail addressed to them. We got hold of two bags of the newest contacts and disks, and declared them our swag. Thank you Beastie Boys. :)
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yep, with some guys from X-Rated. Some have passed away, and that’s bad. Wander, rest in peace. He was one of our best coders.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
Oh, I think I was about ten years old when I got my first and only breadbox. It's unfortunately not working anymore. If I start the breadbox, no BASIC comes up, only the blue screen. This makes me a little bit sad, but there's still emulators that I can use when I want to get nostalgic.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Yes! It was revolutionary in those days. The C64 formed a whole generation of kids and teenyboppers, many of which are successful in todays' business. The younger generation might have better knowledge of C#, Java and PHP, but we started when computers were the new. We're one step ahead.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
The C64 used to be high-tech and it is cool, but I look forward. Having said that, I would like to go back in time...
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Feel free to contact me anytime. Perhaps we can exchange some ideas for the future. Thanks a lot C64.COM!
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