SCA Archive & Call for Help

First of all, some exciting news: We received the complete paper archive of the legendary Swiss Cracking Association, Switzerland’s most prominent C64 & Amiga cracking group from the 1980s. Founded in 1984 by two brothers from Zurich, the group’s most (in-)famous stunt was creating and (accidentally) spreading the first Amiga virus, the “SCA Virus“, in late 1987. At that point, however, they already were a well-established cracking and demo group that put Switzerland on the international crackers‘ map and maintained contacts all over the world, until one brother went on to become one of the first Swiss game developers, while the other one moved on to the world of live music. We are very excited and grateful that they handed over their archive to us, which is being scanned right now and will appear here very soon. As a small teaser, today we present one letter from a rather unusual sender – the Zurich customs office, which confiscated two floppy disks and demanded a declaration of the value of the software, not realising that it was a pirate sending, despite the “Plutonium Crackers” tag.

However, I am using this exciting occasion to ask for your help. Currently, the “Got Papers?” work directory on my hard drive contains over 14 GB (!) of unprocessed image files. The reponse to my call for materials four years ago has been overwhelming, but I gravely underestimated the task I set myself back then. Doing justice to archival digitisation standards and meticulously compiling metadata for each and every scan requires lots of time and research effort: For example, swapping letters are, in most cases, undated, so one has to research the first-release dates of the mentioned games and the periods of existence of the sceners/groups in order to establish an approximate date of the document. Unfortunately, my spare time I can dedicate to this project becomes less and less, as I urgently need to complete my academic book on the 1980s cracking scene. So, in order to ensure that the collected materials see the light of the day and serve current sceners and future historians, I need volunteers to help me with processing the scans and establish metadata for them.

So, if you:

• have a deep interest in the preservation of scene history across platforms;
• have at least basic knowledge of scene history on some of the main platforms, particularly C64 and Amiga;
• are familiar with the most important scene databases (Demozoo, Pouet, CSDb, Kestra Bitworld);
• and have some free time on your hands and are able to stick to commitments agreed upon (you take over responsibility over only as many images as you think you can manage)

please do get in touch with me at gleb dot albert at uzh dot ch. Or, alternatively, meet me at Revision Demoparty in Saarbrücken on the Easter weekend.


The Movers Collection Pt. 5

Again, a batch from the vast collection of Skylab & General Zoff of The Movers. Letters from between 1986 and 1987, some of them quite remarkable – like a scroller draft written on paper by Irata. Enjoy!

Included are letters from:

• Irata (envelope), 30 March 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Irata, 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Mr Sulu, 1986 [scan&metadata]
• Paul, 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Skylab to Paul (draft), 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Strider, 1980s [scan&metadata]
• The Crusader, 19 January 1986 [scan&metadata]
• Zeke Wolf, 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Zeke Wolf, 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Zzap, 21 June 1987 [scan&metadata]


A Pirate’s Lament from the Barras

First of all, some exciting news: Zippy of The Medway Boys, a legendary Atari ST cracker from the early 1990s, scanned a substantial part of his letter archive for us. These letters will appear here in the very near future. For today, we have chosen a very peculiar document from his collection: A leaflet, approximately from 1992-1993, distributed by commercial software pirates at the notorious Barras street market in Glasgow, Scotland. After one of the usual Christmas time police raids, the announce the end of piracy at the Barras and deliver a lengthy rant against the industry, politics and the media. As Zippy notes, however, “of course they were back the following week as usual”. Something like this is really hard to find, as there is an abundance of voices from scene members of that time, but hardly any from commercial pirates. So, enjoy this historical document! Included is also a contemporary newpaper clipping about the FAST and police investigations against piracy at the Barras. You can download the hi-res scans here.


Swapper’s Tools

Every scene trade – coders, graphics artists, musicians – has its tools. Usually, we think about digital tools in this context. Today, however, we present you some physical tools – the tools of a 1980s C64 swapper. Skylab & General Zoff of The Movers provided us with a bunch of original objects that were crucial to maintain software circulation via floppy disk and “snailmail” – envelopes, express mail stickers, a disk hole puncher, customs forms, and many more. Click on the photo below for detailed descriptions, or go to our archive to download a high resolution image. Thanks go to Esther Laurenciková for the photo, and to Spot/Up Rough for fixing the captions.


Honey/1001 Collection Pt. 5 – Letters from Thor & Zeus

We start the new year with another instalment of the Honey/1001 Crew letter collection – namely the letters he received from the British cracking duo Thor & Zeus of Teesside Cracking Service (TCS). TCS was an established C64 group, known and respected well beyond the UK. Coders and crackers Thor & Zeus were known and cherished by their swapping partners for their long and friendly letters. Thus, it’s a real pleasure for us to being able to put some of them online. Stemming from between 1987 and 1988, the correspondence is a treasure trove: not only regarding information on the European C64 elite of that time, but also when it comes to the development both Honey and Thor&Zeus went through during that time – from crackers to professional game developers, while still remaining in touch with the scene.

More letters from the TCS duo, namely those sent to the German C64 group The Movers, will go online soon. For now, enjoy these letters to Honey in the gallery below. If you want high-resolution scans and metadata, go to the archive page and scroll down to “thor…”.


Arny’s Letters, Pt. 2

After bringing you the first batch of Arny‘s letters a while ago, here is part two. Arny, also known as Icon, is a C64 scener from Austria, active in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a graphics artist and swapper in the groups TSK, Cosmos, and the latter’s game development spin-off Cosmos Designs. This update features letters he received while being active in Cosmos, and span from 1988 to 1990. Arny maintained a broad network of contacts, ranging from Hungary to Finland. This rather large update, the images of which you can view in the gallery at the bottom of this post, includes letters from:

• Cancer/Mode 2 (Denmark), 12.7.1989 [scans&metadata]
• Crazy Banana/Lazer (Austria), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Critter/Knickers (Sweden), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Dio/Helloween (Austria), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Entrail/Coolex^Shockwave (Norway), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3, 4]
• Exiz/2000 A.D. (Denmark), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Flash/Array^The Crush Crew (Netherlands), 1988-1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Glerc/Science 451 (Sweden), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Grayhawk/Fairlight (Sweden), 28.9.1989 [scans&metadata]
• Hazor/Beyond Force (Finland), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Hitcher/Helloween (Austria), 1988 [scans&metadata]
• I-Man/Vision^The Zero Boys (Sweden), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Marfiosi/Baboons a.k.a. Spike/2000 A.D. (Denmark),
1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]
• Mason/Unicess (Denmark), 1989 [scans&metadata]
• Mastermind/Soldiers (Hungary), 21.2.1990 [scans&metadata]
• Max/Browbeat (Finland), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Mik/Pulsar (United Kingdom), 1988-1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3, 4]
• Mr. Smart/Contex (Denmark), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3, 4]
• Mr.Alpha/Dynamic Projects (Austria), late 1980s [scans&metadata]
• Mr.Wax/FBI Crew (Hungary), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Orc/Black Mail (Netherlands), 1989-1990 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Peter/Crazy (Germany), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3]
• Razor/Oneway^Raw Deal Inc. (Sweden), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
• RT/Jukebox^Fairlight (Sweden), 1988-1990 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
• Sentinel/Zargon (Denmark), 1988 [scans&metadata]
• Servant/Byterapers^Contex (Finland), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Simex/Noise (Sweden), 19.7.1989 [scans&metadata]
• Spacie/Oneway (Sweden), 14.8.1989 [scans&metadata]
• Stanz/Dominators (Sweden), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2]
• Walter/711 (Germany), circular letter, 1988 [scans&metadata]
• Warbird/Cheyens (Denmark), 1989 [scans&metadata: 1, 2, 3]
• Wido/6th Sense (Netherlands), 1989 [scans&metadata]


TMA’s Papers

“Sorry about these delayed wares” – and the month-long silence. Here are scans of some documents provided by TMA/Abyss Connection, a German C64 scener who is still active in the demoscene and started his C64 career in the late 1980s, being member of Lazer, Tristar and some other groups of the time. Today’s batch includes:

Letters from the following people:
• Akira/TRC (Netherlands), 21 May 1990 [scan/metadata]
• Beast (Denmark), date unknown [scan/metadata]
• Craig/Lazer (Germany), ~1989 [scan/metadata]
• Craig/Lazer (Germany), ~1989 [scan/metadata]
• Flash Games/Vision (Germany), 24 January 1990 [scan/metadata]
• Flimbo/Paramount (Netherlands), ~1990 [scan/metadata]
• Madman/Tristar (Germany), ~1990 [scan/metadata]
• Madman/Tristar (Germany), ~1990 [scan/metadata]
• The Edge/Lazer (Austria), ~1989 [scan/metadata]
• The Edge/Lazer (Austria), ~1990 [scan/metadata]

Votesheets for the following magazines:
• Bitmania [scan/metadata]
• Magnetic Media [scan/metadata]
• Milestone [scan/metadata]
• Nitro [scan/metadata]
• Outbreak [scan/metadata]

…and a paper invitation for the (apparently cancelled) Vagabonds & Abyss Connection Party 1992 [scan/metadata]


Amiga Letters Worldwide

Another addition to our growing archive of swapletters: Jugger of Panic, a well-known early 1990s Amiga pack editor and swapper from Germany, gave us his letters! Here is a first batch with 15 letters from all over the world, from Iceland to South Africa and Paraguay (!). More to come! For now, here are letters from:

• Agnus/JTU (Germany), early 1990s [scan/metadata]
• Chester/Brainstorm (Switzerland), October 1990 [scan/metadata]
• Ciclant/Freelance (South Africa), early 1990s [scan/metadata]
• Cyclone/Questor (Belgium), 15 January 1991 [scan/metadata]
• Cyclone/Questor (Belgium), 31 January 1991 [scan/metadata]
• ICE/Sanity (Germany), 1991 [scan/metadata]
• José M. (Paraguay), early 1990s [scan/metadata]
• Khadaffi/TML (Netherlands), 1990 [scan/metadata]
• Mr Nice Guy/Artemis (Iceland), early 1990s [scan/metadata]
• SOS/Armageddon (Germany), 15 April 1991 [scan/metadata]
• SWAT/Bronx (Turkey), early 1990s [scan/metadata]
• Wild Rage/Grace (Austria), February 1991 [scan/metadata]
• Wild Rage/Grace (Austria), February 1991 [scan/metadata]
• Zibe/Darkside (Finland), 1990 [scan/metadata]
• Zorlac/Fairlight (UK), 1991 [scan/metadata]


Scandinavian Copyparties

H.O from the legendary Swedish C64 cracking group Science 451 gave us a bunch of invitations from Scandinavian copyparties (plus a German one) from 1987 to 1989. These are among the oldest party materials we have here. Expect more from H.O’s collection! Included in today’s update are invitations from:

• Agile & Rebels Copyparty 1988 [scan&metadata]
• Byterapers Grendelparty 1988 [scan&metadata]
• FCS Copyparty 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Horizon & Jetspeed Party 1988 [scan&metadata]
• Ikari & Zargon Party 1989 [scan&metadata]
• Jewels, Danish Gold, Dominators & Upfront Party 1988 [scan&metadata]
• The Silents & Stage 3 Party 1988 [scan&metadata]
• The Silents Hacker Party 1987 [scan&metadata]
• Vortex 42 Computer Meeting 1988 [scan&metadata]


The New Mutant

Once again, some unusual Atari stuff. Lotek Style gave us the complete run of The New Mutant, a photocopied paper zine by his (nowadays quite well-known) Atari ST demogroup The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (tSCc). This very peculiar magazine, published between 1992 and 1994 in German language, features content somewhere between music news, cyberpunk themes, and general teenage sillyness. Not much scene content, though – but hey, it’s an early product of a demoscene group. Here you can download PDF scans of issues #1 (1992) to #8 (1994).