Cracker's Map: Hungary
Welcome back to another issue of Cracker's Map. This is where I take you, our dedicated reader, on a focused journey through the major scene country cracking groups and their members. How they started, what they did and why they are remembered.
In this segment, the journey continues throughout Hungary. In terms of the Cracker's Map series so far (also published in the Recollection magazine and here in Vandalism News), Hungary has to be one of the most closed countries in terms of recorded scene history (in English). It was a particular challenge to preserve the information below.
The Hungarian scene started to take shape in the latest 80's. From that point, I hope to give some detail on each group, in some cases directly from the people involved, as well as some interesting trivia dug up from the depths of time. Of course there had been groups before, names like FBI-Crew and Faces should make a tear drop from every old phreak who's been around.
Some background before we start. Hungary was isolated. Iron curtain and draconian times in full effect, however slightly less badly than some of their Eastern Bloc neighbours. Buying a C64 was extremely difficult in terms of cost and allowing a foreign item (you had to make excuses e.g. "it was a present from my cousin in Holland), mailing disks outside of Hungary was also controlled, so some guys had to hide their disks in letters etc.
Disclaimer: notice missing detail? something wrong or want to leave some feedback? Send me a mail.
Believe in angels, for they are the messengers of miracles
Angels started off with the intention of being a team for releasing the non-scene related diskmag 'Overshadow; Created by Black on the 8th of August 1997, who was not only the founding member but also the lead cracker together with Index and Arcane.
Index and Black made small cracks, little tools, optimised versions of other tools and so on, but the team's main goal was always to make the magazine itself.
Black writes: "I don't remember, how I found Arcane, but I find out he can fit into team (he was about fixing cracked games to work under IDE64). With him we made some better cracks, where he did most of the work, and I (and once Index with Creatures 2) did the "supporting role" with ideas, tools, "get me this, code me that". So Arcane had his time to work only with the games itself, while I was doing trainer menus, find documents, and make intros and so on. :)
At the time the Hungarian diskmag scene went down, and Index was about to setup his family, so he hadn't have time to spend with us, and Overshadow also stopped.
I don't know whether we (me?) quit the scene or it is just an inactivity is taking very long... I still have ideas, and Angels will be 20 years old next year. Would be nice to do something again.
The team's name just an idea, just a word. I didn't know until I find on CSDb that another Angels team existed. :) My first idea was "Faceless Assassins" after a Hungarian game-book (like so many by Steve Jackson). But that name was way too long, and I thought it just doesn't fit to me. The slogan have never really used, just find in an image, and sounded good. :)"
The group released some pretty decent versions of both old and new games. Including Menace +12PDH, Armalyte-CE +9HPI, Robocop +12DHPI and Midnight Resistance +11PDH. The group's main activity was in the 90's and they began to slow down in in the 00's with cracks mainly coming from Arcane. Their last release was in 2013, Arcane left the inactive group to join Hokuto Force.
Alien, Antoman, Arcane, Black, Comos, Daoc Selvreth, Faayd, FatFrost, Index, Jago, Negativ, Silver Snake, Thornchild.
Founded in early 1991 by Yale, Calumet, Hookah, but after one finished demo (Pharaon) and some unfinished projects, the group became inactive by the end of 1991 and left by most of the members. Before quitting the scene, Calumet invited his classmate and 'scene rookie' coder Clarence to join (as his first group) Cadgers, and entrusted him to build a new group on the name, as he likes.
Cadgers was never meant to be a cracking group, rather it was a light side activity to release stuff more often, besides the big demo projects. Clarence as a debut activity, performed most of the earlier cracks, such as Snake Mania +4, Road Runner & Wile E Coyote +4 and Battle Bars +5. Cadgers were first in 1993 with the Hungarian game A Mocsar Harcosa (aka Fighter of the Marsh) releasing the adventure in the native Hungarian language only. When Clarence stopped cracking activities to concentrate fully on demo production the main crackers became Trustee and Trooper.
Cadgers released several demos and utilities (before Clarence went on to form the famous 'Chorus'); their best demo would probably be Flatline. The group expanded quite a bit and took in foreign members as well. This is when Cadgers also had a BBS in Germany, with Iron joining with his "Escapade" (Iron later renamed to Xenox and went on to have the BBS under Alpha Flight).
The group died in January 1994 after some internal disputes.
Caddie, Calumet, Chubrock, Clarence, Cresh, Cube, Dec, Ethereal, Iron (later Xenox), L.O.C., Mav, Ollie, Peet, Pethich, Rush, Slayer, Trooper, Trustee, Volunteer, Yale.
Founded by Alurion and Trevize in 1992.
They released a whole bunch of cracks in 1993 and 1994, with the good work coming from Stake, e.g. Suburban Commando +5, Lions of the Universe +3, Super Nibbly +7 and Cheeky Twins +5.
Dissolved in 1995 when their most active member Stake moved to Chromance.
A.Galland, Alurion, Backslash, Cyborg (later Jaydee), Gaby, Joodas, Lala, McCloskey, Ollie, Sentinel, Slash, Snake, Snooze (later Rage), Stake, Trainer Hunter, Trevize, Trooper, Vihee, Yanez.
Light in the Night
Founded by Jean and Mr.Wax in July 1990 and built on the ashes of FBI Crew (who had purged their lamer membership and went top 5 under the new Chromance label).
How did the group name come up? FBI Crew the predecessor group of Chromance planned to release a demo called Swiss Romance. Then when all the hassle and founding of Chromance started, someone remembered the demo name, took the abbreviation for Switzerland instead of the word Swiss: CH and Chromance was born.
Once Chromance was created from the ashes of FBI Crew, they tried to promote the new label at the Transcom & Victory Copy Party 1990 in August. Their real breakthrough came later when they started to crack games and organise their own event, the Chromance - Cerberos - Computer Mania Copy Party in September 1991.
They had many first releases, especially from the boom of the commercial scene in Hungary (e.g. 576 KByte), released several demos as well as the Gamer's Guide clone called 'Are We The Best?' released in early 1991 and GridPoint Observer (paper mag by Armitage) released in July 1990. They also had a fake label for the old crap games and basic language stuff called Gulas.
During 1994, Mr.Wax had to perform service in the army. During this time, leadership was temporarily handed over to Stake and Syco, after the army duty and playing soldier, Mr.Wax took over the leadership again.
Sadly, Jazzy D died February 16, 1997 while fixing his car. The car dropped down on him while he was underneath.
More recently in the history of Chromance, Mr.Wax faked his death by claiming he was in a car accident (2004). This was later disproven by discussing the matter with the local newspaper, fire department and police in Zala. At the time, Mr.Wax was trying to avoid the police, so used the fake death as a way of diversion.
The group were the biggest in terms of first releases in the Hungarian scene history, with over 185 recorded releases. The group slowed down in the late 1990s, but somehow continued through the work of one member, Rough, who released jewel versions of old games such as 1985, Blast'em and Quartet.
Alagami, Alex, Alias Medron, AMC, Ancient Mariner, Atomicro, B0lee, Blaze, Blockbuster, CenTraX, Chotaire, Chum, Cop, CPU, Cryptodancer, Cybernight, Deviant, Dishy, Dr. Disk, Druid, Eddie, Exat, Floris, Fungus, Fusion+, Gabriel, Gizmo, Griff, Hain, Heavy Head, Herman (later Vector, Suicide), Homeboy, Jack Alien, Janee, Jayce (later The Ministry), Jaydee, Jazzy D, Jean, Jinx, Joe Cool, Joyride, Lion, Lord Crucifier, Louie, Lupus Yonderboy, MAC2, Macx, Maja, Marcus (later The Ministry), Mc Byte, Mendrake, Mike D., Motion, Mr.Wax, Natas, Odysseus, Ollie, Painkiller, Peacemaker, Pete, QBhead, Redax, Rough, Sailor, Sangfroid (later SKC), Scatee, Scratcher, Shuze, Skid Row, Skud, Skull, Slator, Spermbird, Sphere, Splatterhead, Stake, Stash, Swave, Syco, Syllinor, Techno, The Byte Bandit, The Silver Surfer, The Unholy, Therion, Tom, Warhead, Wozio, X-Radical, Zag, Zakk, Zar, Zeyex (aka Moloch), Zirco.
Black Reign, Catastrophic Failure, Chaotic Factor, County Jail, Edge of Midnight, Final Genocide, Gate of Wares, Infectious, Overdose, Phiberc0m, The Bass Planet, The Black Genesis, The Evil Island, The Highway, The Pirate Island, Unauthorized Productions, Virtual Light, Westpoint.
The Exile crew was founded by Splash on the 3rd of March 1991 with the help of ex-Enigma members. The group were particularly active in the cracking scene in 1992 and 1993 with their main crackers being Jode and Assailant.
The group died in summer 1995, when it made a fusion with Chaos into Resource. In 2008 the foundation members thought to revive the Exile team to return to the C64 scene.
Abject, Assailant (later Jaydee), Atomant, Csoby, Cube, Dale, Drone, Edhellon, Flimbo, Foe, Greener, Inside, Jode, Josh, Lothlorien, Mallory, Mr.Alpha, Oscar, Presley, Sailor, Sinox, Splash, Snake, Stake, Szaby, Torin Gr., Trooper, Vistar.
Amazing others is our job
Founded by Oberon, Henry and Jamie with backgrounds from Xenon Inc. and Complex Interface Adapter (CIA) in 1990.
The first guys joining the group were Toti (who later became Dr Hector or just Hector for a while), other most active members were Oberon (gfx), Valentine (code), Syllinor (code), Fantasy Design, Clairvoyant (was Snoopy before) (gfx and music), Greg (music and gfx) Cop did music and artwork (now a known DJ). Then the group expanded with guys joining in from other groups joined like Cellux, Trisch and folks like Jayce from Holland.
Their earlier cracks were performed by the main cracker in Faces, Dr.Hector. In 1991, they started training games a bit better with releases like Thunder Jaws +6, Super Trucker +4, Super Seymour +2, Skull and Crossbones +4 performed by Syllinor and Warhead (who was later kicked out of the crew due to 'attitude problems'. This continued into 1992 and then the group have had a hiatus ever since.
At one time it was announced that Syllinor left and joined Chromance and Lanoline joined Faces at the same time. Both were releasing cracks, and then it was later told to the public via their 1.5 Years Birthday Demo, that both were the same person. Syllinor joined Faces (leaving Chromance) and Lanoline was no more.
They also formed an Amiga section in 1992 with guys like Fantasy Design, Louie, Trisch and Valentine.
In 1993 the group were winding down on C64, a final demo was meant to be released by them called Brain Death, but it was not completed.
Alan, Artwox, Bomb, Cellux, Clairvoyant (part of Real-Point Design), Cop, Dr. Watt, Fantasy Design (which was two guys: Janos and Laszlo), Freeze, Goldsmith, Greg (part of Real-Point Design), Henry, Jamie, Janos Zizics, Jayce, Lanoline (later Syllinor), Laszlo Zizics, Louie, Oberon, Real-Point Design, Shakin', Sir GBS, Snoopy, Streamline, Toti (later Dr. Hector), Trisch, Valentine, Warhead, Yale.
BBS: Warez Station
get the feelin'...
Before the FBI Crew was P.E.D., Mr.Wax and a friend founded this local crew which dissolved and then Mr.Wax went on to form the FBI Crew in 1988. FBI stood for (F)achi, (B)alazs (I)my, which were members of the original group. Balazs went on to become Mr.Wax and Fachi (later known as Aster) became one of the programmers behind Abandoned Places I-II and Piracy on the High Seas on the Amiga.
At one time they had cooperations with other groups from the earlier period of crack groups in Hungary, these groups were Sorell and one with Quality which did not last long.
Jean writes: "In 1988 I got in touch with Mr.Wax of FBI and decided to join his group. At that time we were the two best swappers out of four/five people, who made the same job in Hungary. We reformed the group and changed its name to FBI Crew. It was very hard to get some attention from other parts of Europe but somehow we managed to get in contact with most of the famous groups by the year of 1989. I remember getting the first greets from Ikari, that was a marvellous experience. At that time we already had some very talented members, like SKC, Griff, Brain, CPU, Gabriel, Painkiller. Thus we could release some quality productions. Most of our members, including me considered FBI Crew a very childish name, so we decided to change it to Chromance. Later our group got even better and thanks to Mr.Wax and some other active members."
The FBI Crew died in July 1990 when they purged their lame members and built up Chromance.
BCB, Bujtus, Cop, CPU, Dixx, Fachi (later Aster), Genius, Griff, Imy, Jean, Karika, Mr.Wax, OFF, Pat, SKC (originally both Griff and Gabor/SKC; later Griff had his own handle), The Brain, TLU, Tomi, Vertex, Warlord, Zoolook.
Founded by Ollie, Arthur, Cruel, Szab and Wix in 1989.
Ollie was one of the crackers together with Cruel and Szab.
In 1993 Ollie joined Chromance, later he went on to form Chorus with Clarence and Peet.
Arthur, Cruel, Ollie, Szab, Wix.
The group was founded from the members of High Intelligence Company, The Secret Service (ex-The Highest High), together with Dark Style in December 1988.
They later had a cooperation with the FBI Crew releasing games in 1989 such as Zoggon, Poseidon Kincse, A Demonok Birodalma. In this same year they also released some demos such as The Cat (in cooperation with Euratom).
The group died in February 1990. Jay went on to Graffity.
Burton and Hayes were also a member of Hitech Studio Designs which released the game Mechanicus in 1991 via the magazine Game On.
Quality also had a music label, which was Sidbusters; consisting of Markus Muller (Hayes) and Andras Molnar (Burton), nicknamed Andrew Miller (an English translation of his Hungarian name). Markus composed all the tunes for the group Sidbusters and Andras made the music editor Advanced Music Programmer (AMP) which Markus used.
Burton, Dark Style (later just known as Style), Genie, High Intelligence Company (H.I.C.), Hayes, Sam, The Secret Service (TSS).
Founded by Monique in July 1991 with the group name being based on the Italian word for star and a hairdressing company in Hungary. Monique's boyfriend at the time was Captain TAS/The Force. Both he and Clairvoyant/Faces helped Monique start up the group, with Captain TAS later joining as a member. The Hungarian section of The Force joined the group sometime in 1991.
The group was apparently not well-liked in Hungary due to some problems caused by Captain TAS. This resulted in members such as Warhead leaving the group.
In 1992 the cracks mostly flowed from Stack J. who left the group in April to join Triumwyrat, after this the group dissolved with members either leaving the scene or joining Chromance or Faces.
2 MC, Alive, Amorce, Captain TAS, Denim, Double MC, Filter, Gremlin, Head, Keeys, Modesto, Monique, Stack J., Tasty, Warhead, Wildfire, Yale.
Founded by Hodory in February 1994 on the ashes of Craftmen Company (C64), Freestyle Designs (Amiga) and Screw Crew (PC). This group not only exploited the digital landscape of C64, but had adventures on both Amiga and PC. Whilst their members were primarily from Hungary, they also had member distribution in Norway, Germany, Poland and Australia.
Apart from cracks and demos, they were well-known for their Hungarian and English versions of their disk magazine Chaotic Country.
Their main leader, Hodory, made his last productions in 1997 and has since left the scene. After this, the group went inactive, with many members becoming lost in the scene wilderness and some moving on to join other groups.
Angee, Angel, Bakter, Chronos, Compufix, Csezso, Dome, Eclipse, Farki, Gaxar, Human, Hodory, Ifko, Kazso, Ludvig, Mephisto, Micky, Nargoth, Parrot, Rainman, Rambo, Regent, Repa, Ro-bika, Snowball, Starlight, Summ'r, Szikers, Techno, Thornchild, Tomee, Trapaudax, Tyrant, Vergo, Wortex, Xakk, Zsarnok.
Founded by Sylvio in August 1988, they released over 100 cracks and were one of the big cracking groups in Hungary. The other big group is of course FBI Crew/Chromance, who they were at war with for some time.
After several years of cracking and making the life of a logo graphician difficult, the group slowed down to a halt in 1992. A few things come out after this, but 1992 should be considered when the crew went to sleep. Their last production was a demo called Sonic shown at the Exile Party in 1994 in an unfinished state. The finished prod was spread years later in 1997.
Amorce, Anakonda, Atis, BSS, Cane, Cryptodancer, Danyi, DCS, Dorigo, DOS, Eaglet, Egon, Feiny-Man, HRH, Ilg, Lenyn, Luke, Paranoid, Patkos, Poacher, Pubi, Rack, Satan, Stack J., Stephen, Sylvio, TOG, Zoley.
* There was a Hungarian division of The Force. Founded by Captain TAS in 1991, they releases several cracks, including some that were in cooperation with Faces (which ended when Syllinor/Faces joined Chromance).
* Joe Forster performed many cracks under his label Software Trading Association (STA). His cracks were in the early 90s, he later discontinued to focus on the development of Star Commander in 1994 as well as several other tools that was the main form of conversion between PC and C64 back then. "I started taking apart games and other software, to see how they work. Also, when I wasn't satisfied with some feature (or downright bug), I tried to fix it myself. That includes my own inability to play them through, for which I added trainers. ;-) I also took a disk turbo (1541, LOAD only) published in an early release of the "Commodore Vilag" (CoV) magazine and further developed it (adding SAVE, too); that became Star Turbo and was published in a later CoV yearbook. Also, friends game me some original games (disk and cartridge) and I cracked them for them. So, only a few of these releases were really mine; most were bug fixes, trainers and built-in disk turbo (adapted from the LOAD half of Star Turbo) in my favourite games, already cracked by someone else."
* Fellows did some decent cracks from 1991 to 1992. Mainly from Stack J. titles such as Elvira - The Arcade Game +, Plural +2 and Phileas Fogg's Balloon Battles +4.
* Also worth to mention is Fun Factory, perhaps one of the final Hungarian groups making cracks, starting late in the scene in 1992. The group released cracks up until 1994 as well as their mag Meteor.
* An early cracker/demo group to mention would be The Frontway. Involved was mainly Anry, together with some help by Vic.
* Painkiller/Chromance was one of the first crackers to make an IFFL loaded high score save work in the same file.
We will continue to research this country and add information to preserve.