Cracker's Map: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom, home of legendary groups such as Ikari, TCS, DCS, CCS, Talent, SCG and Fusion... the UK also was host to the biggest software houses and development teams in the C64 world, so it is only natural that a huge scene thrived here for quite sometime. Disclaimer: notice missing detail? something wrong or want to leave some feedback? Send me a mail.
We are #1 - so why try harder!
One of the oldest cracking groups in the United Kingdom. It was formed in early 1984 and some of the original members were Mr. Spock, Buck Fuzby (main cracker and author of "FLOAD", one of the first fastload programs) and The Breaker. The name of the group was thought up by a member called Dangermouse who had a CB Radio and his handle was Doughnut, hence DCS was born... Another interesting fact is that their hometown of Basingstoke contains around 34 roundabouts and the town is nicknamed Doughnut City.
They officially stopped on C64 in 1990 after 200+ releases (including demos and the paper mag Iguana).
The group of 1988!
For The Best - Trade With The Best
Bod was instrumental for the group and was the main member steering them through the years even up until they stopped sometime in 1995, even despite rumours of phone-sex with the sysop of the Talent/TSM BBS 'The Shaolin Temple' (Aycee) which was exaggerated further with nude photos in the 'Pirates' paper magazine. After Talent, Bod later when on to become one of the earliest members of the High Voltage SID Collection Crew.
They make em, we break em!
Other famous members are the legendary demo duo Ian and Mic who released their work on Compunet, long before the internet became commercialised. TCS were also part of the famous THE LIGHT CIRCLE, an umbrella group which also included Radwar and the original Red Sector Incorporated. They finished on the C64 in 1987, with members leaving for DCS.
RTI was founded by Flexy and Firefox early in 1988. The group is based in Luton. They've had some known guys like Anthrax, Deep Purple, Narc, Raistlin, Richie and Zoolook in their ranks. Over 100 cracks were released by RTI, their last being in 1991.
Whilst not so famous with only 30 odd cracks, Paninaro are worth a mention. Formed by Tri-Dos in 1989, the name was chosen after a Pet Shop Boys' song. Their very first ever release was Post Man Pat and in the scroller they announced their original line-up which was Bam Bam, Falco, Magnetic, Paco, The Yattering and Tri-Dos. The group was known for Tri-Dos using a fake member "The Yattering" who was in fact just himself. The group was only alive for around six months, other known members were Falco Paul and Bam Bam.
The best things come to those who wait
One of the earliest groups in the scene, born early 1983 when Micky and Stu started to learn the 6502. The founding members came from the county of Cleveland, on the east coast, hence the group name. They had a brief war with another big group called TCS (Teesside Cracking Service), as both groups were cracking the same games and one would accuse the other of a crappy version (amongst other things). Trading with Hotline (exporting their wares to the USA), they managed to release some good cracks before internal disputes surrounding the war with TCS caused the group to fold, leading to the creation of a new group called Fusion...
Regarding the war with TCS - Ian says "The war did not last long. TCS and C.C.S were both cracking the same games so it became a matter of who had the best support network for spreading the cracks and I am (not) sorry to say that we left TCS well behind in that matter. We cracked them first, made them smaller, and got them all over the world before TCS were even out of bed on a morning."
Man and Machine
Not to be confused with the Norwegian group, Laser was the brainchild of Steve, who founded the crew in 1984. In the beginning there was Steve and Tim. Their earliest work was converting Novaload games into quickload. One of their first "proper" cracks was Chimera by Firebird. The group died in 1988 but was reborn in 1993 as the first "oldie"-cracking crew on the C64. The rebirth produced quite a few quality releases and inspired other new groups to try making gold versions. When Steve departed the scene, Shuze took over leadership briefly until the 1st of May 1995 when the group was officially declared as dead.
Poetry in Motion
There can be only one!
originally formed in the UK but had sections in Austria, Denmark, Australia and Germany. Over 200 cracks and demos for all sections combined, the last active section was lead by Cruze in Australia in late 1992.
DL were one of the late comers to the British cracking scene; being founded in December 1991 by NME (later Jade). The group had a few cooperations, most famously with Project X who were based in France. Later they were approached by Arcade to go into cooperation which they accepted because they needed access to an NTSC fixer. The cooperation produced some releases but later disintergrated due to broken promises from Arcade and some internal factors. Despite the short life of the group (ending early in 1992 when members left to join the rebuilt Illusion), they managed to pump out over 100 cracks.
Some trivia: their BBS "Going For Gold" (sysop The Chief) has been continued today; as an FTP using the same name and now managed by the German demo group Padua.
There is other groups and individuals that should be mentioned too, they include:
* Billy Buckhead Cracking Crew
* Excess (the original crew est.1988)
* The All-Stars (founded by Flexy)
* The Yak Society
* West Midlands Cracking Service
Also I should mention that Derbyshire Ram did a lot of solo cracks before joining Dominators and inbetween membership of certain groups. One of the things that made the British cracking scene so special is that it started just as early as the American scene but it continued far longer (thanks to the budget market that continued into the early nineties). Thanks for the memories!