Bacchus / Lunds Cracking Team,
Crackers & Programmers Unlimited,
Added on January 10th, 2004 (20145 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Pontus Berg. Working in the telco industry since many years. Interests: work and family takes most of the available time, but working on the house typically takes a lot of time, even if I wouldn't call in an interest of mine. I do play golf on a fair level (HCP 17) and I am a frequent mailer.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Quite a lot of the details around my story is available on www.fairlight.to/past but here we go anyway: I was first called Playboy. I sent a letter to Playboy (the magazine) and asked for an official permission to use the name as my handle. Naturally this was turned down, whereby I accepted their denial. I shake my head thinking back, but that was the story so far. After that I was Gaston for a very brief time before someone made me aware that this name was already taken by one guy in Thundercats. Mind that this is not the same Gaston who was the leading cracker in Amiga Fairlight for quite some time. When looking for a new name, I went for something divine and did a deep dive in the encyclopedia and came up with Bacchus, the god of wine and fertility.
What group(s) were you in?
Lunds Cracking Team (LCT) was my first group. Lund is the city where the members lived. I recruited a few members to strengthen us, but The Scarlet Pimpernel didn't really approve. We had a long discussion about a name change, to leave the local touch out. I came up with CPU - Crackers & Programmers Unlimited, which I still find to be a fairly kewl name. TSP did still release a few things under the LCT label so it was quite uncertain if we were in one or two groups at the time. To end the confusion, I formed Oneway together with Mr. Lead and some of his contacts (Questor and Razor). I brought a few members from LCT/CPU and the others brought a few; the most known was possibly Galleon, the coder of Cruel Cruncher. This is the same Oneway that exists today with Skyflash, Moppe and a few others as members.
After only a very short time, Mr. Lead got an offer to bring a few friends to join Fairlight. That was to me then, as it would be today, an offer I simply couldn't refuse. This was on the 13th of December 1988. Some of the members from CPU changed handles in the process; Mr. Lead turned into Grayhawk for example. So I'm on my 15th year as a fairlighter and I'm seriously considering having the Amiga logo drawn by Angeldawn tattooed on my arm. Fairlight is now controlled by Strider, JBM and myself. Currently active sections are the C64 demo section and the PC demo section. The PC ISO section was put to sleep recently, but who know what the future might hold.
What roles have you fulfilled?
Cracker - first and foremost, in combination with the role as an Organizer. I did naturally code quite a bit, but I only did one demo part (in the demo Digesta). Tools have been my focus and I'm sure some of you out there have something I did code even if you might not be aware of it.
How long were you active for?
I bought my C64 in 1986 and to some extent I am active today. I run www.fairlight.to and I do keep an eye on the activity on the C64, even if VDK runs the daily operations. I do ping pong status and so on with him on a regular basis.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Phew - some question. I ran Fairlight C64 from early 1989 and was the leading cracker most of that period. The last few years, when the term games was referring to a "non protected copy of a puzzle game produced in Poland", I didn't really care anymore.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
Today? I spend almost a dozen hours in front of Window 2000, Outlook and Word at work and then an additional few hours at home mailing with friends, writing articles for magazines and coding in Delphi.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I had loads of custom made tools aiding me in my quest for releases. Custom version of packers, crunchers, level crunchers, level optimizers, machine code monitors, JiffyDOS versions, IFFL routines and so on. Special tools gives you an edge! Our IFFL was kewl, the level optimizer gave me an advantage over some competitors and I had REU based crunchers very early. Special contact with ZAP!/The Sharks and me being a serious nagger helped quite a lot. :-)
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
My best cracks were Bolo and Dr. Who, with IFFL and the games' own music playing in the background while loading. Also a game where you flew an eagle which had some seven levels and I managed to squeeze the entire crap into one single file so it loaded the levels from RAM. People thought that I had left parts of the game out. Also the football manager game that I cleaned out totally and re-drew parts of the graphics as the original I got was a reset crack and the picture was trashed (memory location $fd30 to $fd50 was destroyed). I also re-painted the tape symbol to a disk symbol showing that it saved data on disk rather than tape. :-)
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Mr. Z is the ultimate hero of mine. He quit long before I could challenge him and was hence unreachable. Most others I competed with were people I could challenge during their active period and hence were more flesh and blood whereas Zoltan is forever beyond the humans and in the domain of gods. I must also mention 1001 Crew and The Judges here being in the same sphere as Mr. Z. I do know him now but it's been quite some time since we talked.
I did meet quite a few very competent dudes during my years: Antitrack, Hain, Scratch, Qed, Dynamic Duo among the crackers, Tron and all the guys from Horizon among the coders, Kristian Rostoen, JCH and Danko among the musicians and so many talented graphic artists. All people I have the deepest respect for.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The border sprite was the first thing that totally blew my mind. Nothing ever shocked me more after the first demo by Sodan that I saw which had it as an effect. Also Think Twice 1 with Escos and Think Twice 5 with picture, border sprites and FLD were something really special.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
I did, but perhaps not as soon as I got the chance and not as many as I would have wanted looking back. I missed the Fairlight and Triad party in Alvesta, which pisses me off seriously even today.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Running groups into competitive teams of members. It's pretty much like running an athletic franchise, such as a hockey team I guess. The only key difference is that our business was without the money involved in trading. You gather the best you can get, find a perfect balance between the positions, only have as many as you can manage and then find those who live the values of the group. I was both striker and manager in the Fairlight C64 team so I guess I've seen quite a few dimensions of it, which I find useful in my work even today. I guess the two words competitiveness and friendship sums up what I mean.
What were the particular highlights for you?
Joining Fairlight in December 1988, releasing my first multi-level game, making it to the top of charts (I am a chart sucker! Gamer's Guide was my main driving force for it's entire life span ;-)), the party in Slagelse where I met so many of my friends would be on my list with this heading.
Any cool stories to share with us?
Nothing really, sorry. Maybe in version 2.0 of this text. :-)
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes I am. I subscribe to a few mailing lists and also keep myself updated via VDK. I know we still rock the scene! :-)
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I bought it the first day of my summer holidays in 1986. I still have two C64s, a few 1541s, one 1581 and a 128D. The basement of our new house was flooded this last Sunday and the box with the C64 and 1541s was wet so I can't swear they are all working. Most work can be done in emulators anyway (Oops - did I say that? ;-)), so I worry more about loosing a 1541 than the actual C64s. Anyway - my main machine - the 128D was never in danger.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It was special to us involved and we did build a very special global tribe. For long it was a role model for how the scenes were to look and they are still pretty much the same on PC and were also the same on the Amiga. Internet changed things a lot to the better, as credit cards and fraud was suddenly not an issue anymore - this is a major change to the better. And hey, it's a substantial part of my youth invested in the community so who am I to slag it? Slagging the C64 scene would be saying I spent the years on crap and that thought is not even possible to me.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Nothing major. It would be C64 related tools on the PC rather that something on the actual C64. Scrollers for demos would of course be highly possible. :-) VDK asked me for a very special version of Cauldron 2 which I have cracked and found the trainers for (all in the emulator) but there is a special request of his that takes a bit more work before I can release.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Port all the disk you have lying around to the PC and ensure the culture we created is preserved long after the last floppy is de-magnetized.
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