Interviews



Interview with Mitch

Published in Recollection #2
Performed by Jazzcat



J)
Hi Mitch and welcome!
Please introduce yourself to the scene, who you were and who you are today...

M)
I was/AM Mitch from Eagle Soft Inc. (ESI). I was the #1 cracker in USA at one point in time, if you thought I released a lot of warez; there were tons of programs that I didn't put my name on, mostly applications, and educational warez. I had a few internal contacts inside the magazines that reviewed software, and got that software before the stores. Plus I did have contacts at the stores... really handy. :)

I'm not directly in any scene now; I only crack a ware or two for myself... I did say when I was young I didn't want to work in the computer industry at all and for a LONG time I didn't. I was in the car audio business; I owned my own store for a few years. But sales were just not the same year after year, so I met someone, and jumped ship and now program control systems for audio and video gear.


J)
A rumour went around that ESI was actually formed in 1981 on the VIC20. I don't believe this to be the case. You owned a VIC20, did you do any releases and were there other groups on the VIC20 at this time?

M)
ESI was not started on VIC20, I did own a VIC20 as my 1st computer, but I had C64 and the VIC20 was long gone (I sold it) by the time ESI started in 1982(ish). I don't think I released anything for VIC20, it was my learning machine...



J)
How was Eagle Soft Inc., formed on the C64?

M)
I was cracking on my own... then bumped into 3 people from Canada, how I can't remember. Jason, Dan, and geeze I can't remember, the student from Singapore... and I joined them, shortly taking it over completely, then eventually losing complete contact with them. I ran with it, a cool name, sounded like a real company... and I thought it was. :)


J)
You have a member from Singapore also, the founder of the group. He was the first real cracker for ESI? What was his name and how did you guys have contact with him?

M)
Yes, he cracked before I got in the group. Did Stellar 7 in 1983, but then just dropped out of sight...


J)
So this guy from Singapore was already cracking under ESI. By-tor was already in the group?

M)
Nope, By-tor came in afterwards... after I was in.... and he didn't crack, just be a kick ass distribution, and good friend also, I'm not sure what was cracked by ESI before me, ONLY 1 ware that I can think of, Steller 7.


J)
In an old interview you mentioned your first ever crack was Repton by Sirius in 1983. How did you start to learn cracking and was you self-taught or did someone help you to start with?

M)
I don't know if this is my 1st crack, I'd say its NOT, all self-taught. Unfortunately I tossed all my C64 stuff... that would maybe be able to date things, the only thing left is scrolls in loaders. A lot of my early cracks had NO loaders, just editing the (C)opyright message, so there are no dates.


J)
Who were some of the other groups or people you knew around 1982 and 1983. Did these people inspire you?

M)
In 1982, there was not much out there, I met some killer people. Mr. Nike was just a fantastic cracker, and he and I became friends. Also Sauron... a lot developed towards the AMIGA scene years later. Oh, there was one killer cracker also in Germany I talked to a lot, forgotten his name. Outside of those I mentioned, I didn't know any others, I certainly didn't think anyone else in USA was even close to my level...


J)
Your handle was often just signed with Eagle Soft but Mitch is just your first name?

M)
I think it was just Mitch... that is my first name...


J)
You did the manual and copy protection sheet for the game 'Pirates!', written entirely in BASIC? Did you do code many tools and other programs that you can remember?

M)
I remember that, what a game that was. :)

Yes I had many tools, custom versions of Machine Language Monitors, custom Kernels...





J)
The Head Librarian was a good friend. He was the guy leading the war against JJ the Breaker's group UCF? How did all of that start? It seems to be one of the most famous wars. But there were also other wars also like with the Bencor Brothers.

M)
Yes... he was a bit rough on the edges, but he defended me I don't really remember how it started... a bit of jealousy, and the fact that if u called me on the phone and I didn't really want to know you, I was rude. It was an attempt to make sure you didn't call again...


J)
You were inspired by the band RUSH, from that inspiration you guys created your trademark?

M)
YES, just my general fascination with Canada, I guess.

Rush and hockey...


J)
What were the reasons for cracking games back in the early 1980s? A thrill? To compete with others?

M)
Why, because they were there... I got competitive at times, but I like beating the programmers who thought they could get fancy.


J)
Epyx really got a belting from you guys!!!

M)
Indeed they did. :)


J)
Which games were the hardest you ever worked on and what was the longest time you ever worked on a game?

M)
Summer Games or something like that, maybe Summer Games II, or there was a Epyx game that was hard to write a loader because the games was so big, some truck thing, I forget now.


J)
What boards were around in the very early days and do you remember their names?

M)
The Fountain of Lamneth (By-tor's)
The Home for the Addicted Pirate (mine)

I didn't do too much BBS'ing... others did that dirty work...


J)
What is your favourite game and why?

M)
Pirates... just plain cool
Lode Runner (addictive)
Jumpman (simple, but fun, and it was early in the c64 scene)

My favorite game and a tricky crack was Maniac Mansion. That kept me and my brother up late nights under covers with the portable c64 trying to win!


J)
What was the most amazing thing about the C64 in your opinion?

M)
What the Europeans got out of the SID and VIC-II chips... some amazing demos, some amazing graphics. American games always had better game play... but Euro games looked cool.


J)
What did the average day of Mitch look like at the height of your C64 days?

M)
Hmm... school... work... C64 until very late at night and weekends was all night'ers to crack. Some companies used the same copy protection over and over, so I could bang them out in a few seconds then I'd call John, The Head Librarian, and he would get it and then distribute everywhere.


J)
Did you work for many software companies, if so, who and what?

M)
NONE, people thought I did... but NOPE.


J)
What were your main source of originals??

M)
Retail store, that rented software, I got it before it was rented. He wanted me to crack it to make a "back up". Then inside sources at magazines and a store in the mall.


J)
What tools did you use on C64?

M)
Hesmon, RapiDos... few others I can't remember.


J)
Who were the ESI exclusive partners for spreading in Europe? In the early days it would have been no one, but later on ESI would have had Euro groups importing?

M)
I had no contacts in Europe, anyone who claimed ESI in Europe is lying...


J)
ESI had the legendary intro with the eagle. Who did the code?

M)
I did all the code for all the intros.


J)
Do you think the legendary intro had a lot to do with Eagle Soft's fame or what do you think it might be after all these years?

M)
Yes... and it allowed people to remember, you see intro, you know it.



J)
There were always rumours that your intros were made with an intromaker. Any truth there? (There is actually an intromaker out there which has similar or same code - but could easily be crap created to help that rumouJ)

M)
Not to any of the OFFICIAL intros... you never know what other people make and slap on it when they import it to Europe.

I have seen that...

Also a lot of my cracks had NO intro... especially applications.


J)
Did you have any relations with the guys who wrote the books "Inside Commodore DOS" and "1541 User's Guide"?

M)
I knew a lot of people, Jim Butterfield... if you know where I'm from, I was only minutes away from the Commodore HQ in West Chester PA, I knew a bunch of people there mostly when I went to the Amiga!

Hung with Bryce Nesbitt... now there is a name. Also knew Mike Henry... another interesting name...


J)
Mike J. Henry and Fast Hack'em. Those were the days. C64s were so expensive then. How much would it cost?

M)
C64 was $595 when it came out, but it dropped with in a year, then dropped again... I think $199'ish


J)
Did you start off with tape drive or disk drive? Did you crack from both tape and disk?

M)
Yes, TAPE. No cracking on TAPE! Tape wasn't big here in the states...


J)
Mean Gene has passed on. R.I.P. What words can you say about him, what he meant for you and what he did for the scene?

M)
Great guy, did a lot for me personally when I was a teenager.


J)
Out of all other crackers in America/Canada, who was the ones that you could say matched your level of skill?

M)
At that time... Mr. Nike would be the only one that comes to mind...


J)
There were always rumours your cracks were really just unprotected or beta copies of games straight from the developer/publisher. Any truth there?

M)
NOPE.


J)
Do you remember JJ the Breaker stealing your disk routine for cracking EA games?

M)
Nope... he might of, I don't remember. it was a clever loader, I probably still got the floppy with the source on it somewhere.


J)
You went to Amiga. Can you tell us about ESI and your work on Amiga?

M)
I did a lot on the Amiga, most of the games came from Europe, but I did a few what a great machine, this machine I do miss... It was short lived a few years, then I went 386... and the PC became the computer of choice... When win95 came out I went full PC... I never used anything but DOS before that...


J)
Any last words for the C64 world?

M)
I miss some of the good people... there were a lot, many more good than bad, that's for sure.

Mitch

RUSH #1

[back]