Interviews



Interview with GRG

Published in Vandalism News #43
Performed by Duke


Nostalgia has been kicking butt and taking names lately, pressing forth to a top rating in the release charts. The cracking scene is of a different nature than in the 90's; there are fewer releases, and the competition is not who can release a particular game faster than others, but instead who is able to locate ANY game for release.

Nostalgia is working hard to achieve this very goal, and with a capable team they have helped to define the cracking scene as it looks today.

Joining us to discuss the success of Nostalgia and the cracking scene of 2004 is this editions profile: Coder, Cracker, and famed musician, Glenn Rune Gallefoss of Nostalgia!


D)
Hello Glenn. Thank you for joining us today.

G)
Hello Alex. :)


D)
The description I gave above of the difference between the cracking scene of the 90's and that of the one today, do you agree with it?

G)
Your description is quite right when it comes to releasing new titles, there's not many new games to be released and the new games that pop up every now and then is mainly previews that never was finished. And in the most cases - when it comes to new games - they have no protection, you just have to link an intro to it and it's a release. There's no warez rush like in the old days, but the active groups involved still struggle their best to release a game first, upload it to the FTP sites to gain release points.




D)
Alright, before we continue with the discussion of the cracking scene of today and the role in which Nostalgia plays, please tell our readers about yourself and your involvement with the scene.

G)
I got my c64 for Christmas in 1985, and I used it for playing games. After a year or two I noticed there was something happening around the world that I was not a part of, it seemed like a fun place to be, called the scene. There was this guy advertising new games for sale in a local paper. I bought some 20-30 disks from him dirt cheap. Of course they all turned out to be cracked games. Included on the disks there were contact notes to different people, so I managed to establish contact with many different people in Norway and elsewhere in Europe. This way I started up as a swapper. I had around 30 contacts at the most. I especially remember you had to deliver the latest games as quickly as possible. If you sent out stuff that was over a week old you would be considered rather lame.. In 1989/1990 I formed Collision together with Tony (2ny) and Zipper of TAC'2048, and under this group I cracked my first games. And I think it was this year I first got in touch with you, Alex, although you were using a different handle back then. This period was the most active for me. I was part of groups like Foxbat, Pandora, the Freaks, Digital Designs and Shape. And I travelled around Scandinavia to visit computer parties.

When I got Internet access at school in 1994/95, I felt the scene was changing. I cut down on swapping and focused more on spending time with SID music together with Kristian and other Shape members.

My interest in cracking was awakened again after Qed/Triangle visited us back in 1997. He told me some useful tricks on hacking tape games. I was eager to learn more about old ancient protections. And so my skill increased quickly. Later I moved on to disk protections, first learning how the c64 kernal and drive worked, then to write my own loaders, then to understand and reassemble game loaders.

In 1998 I joined Nostalgia. And ever since I have been releasing what other old crackers holds as sacred: cracking old games.




D)
What would you say is the defining nature of today's cracking groups?

G)
The cracking scene of today is split in two schools. One being those who release previews and newer titles, and the second being those who release old games with full documentation and extras. I can only speak of our own group, we have some rules we follow before we decide to do a game, the 1st being the game should feature something you can't find on the internet, or if the game crashes somewhere into the game (due to a bad crack), also if we manage to one side a game we will release it and of course it should feature proper documentation.

We always crack our games from the original publisher, because the budget releases might have intro scenes and pictures gone missing. Sometimes there's even big differences in the documentation.


D)
People are amazed by your ability to come up with unreleased games, sometimes digging back to the very early 90's. Where and how do you get these games, and how big a pool of unreleased games do you think is out there?

G)
Almost all of our members collect c64 originals. We use eBay and other channels to get access to rare games, and then there's people that support us with games and tells us about games that has serious flaws. Fungus collected an amazing amount of NTSC games back in the mid 90's. He's the main source we have for some of the unreleased games we've done. There are still some games from the 80's that's not available on the internet, most of those being educational games and children’s games.



D)
In the old days, in order to earn a first-release, groups had to find an overseas partner who would fix their games, and then, and only then, would the game be considered a true first-release. Do you still do that, or is that not considered as important anymore?

G)
Well, after Fungus joined Nostalgia we started NTSC fixing our games. It's important to him and us. S!R, Fungus and myself got NTSC c64's, and we do our own fixing. In our earlier releases (1994-2000) fixing was not an issue. But all our releases from #111 and upwards have been fixed/tested to work on NTSC machines.


D)
Considering the different nature of acquiring games today, does it ever happen that two groups get a game at the same time, and you are actually put in a race to get the game out - or can you take your time with each release?

G)
There might be a race between Triad, Onslaught, Hitmen, etc. but there's no race for us. We only crack old games, so we take the time we need. :)



D)
Many sceners would point to you as the best cracker in the scene today. Who do you consider the best cracker in the scene today?

G)
Well, I have to define cracking as I see it first: To me cracking is the ability to break a protection. I think S!R/Nostalgia deserves my vote, because of the effort I know he puts into each game he does, and the latest crack work he has done is quite impressive. I
would also consider Jack Alien + HOK of Remember, and certain members from Triad, Onslaught and Hokuto as well. But I do not know them or how they work. I only know they release a lot.


D)
What groups would you consider at the very top in the cracking scene right now, and where would you place Nostalgia among these groups?

G)
1) Nostalgia
2) Remember
3) Triad
4) Onslaught
5) Hokuto


D)
What future do you foresee for the cracking scene?

G)
Hmm. I expect the cracking scene to last for many years to come, but sooner or later it will all fade away into oblivion together with the demo scene.


D)
You have had a hand in every aspect of the scene since very early on in its conception. What, of all your c64-related skills, do you enjoy using the most? And also, what part of the scene do you enjoy working in the most today?

G)
It's definitely a mixture of Cracking/Programming that drives me. All in all I think I prefer the cracking scene. It's not big, but inside Nostalgia we work closely as a team, and most important - we share the fun!


D)
It's been said for years now, that the demo scene IS the scene now. How do you compare the demo scene with the cracking scene today?

G)
The demo scene is much bigger of course. But they are both connected from the early crack intros. To me it's all one big scene.


D)
What is your greatest wish for the scene in the new 2005?

G)
I want to see a lot of nice demos, X2005 and more rare games!


D)
Alright, it's been great, Glenn. I can't thank you enough for taking part in this interview. I know you're a busy bee. It's been very interesting to get a close look at what the cracking scene is about these days, and also very encouraging as far as what we may be able to expect in the future. Do you have any last words before we close this baby up?

G)
Yes, well, not much to say, but I want to greet everyone I know and knew, all the members of Nostalgia and especially the authors of "Pervo-sex text #12/panoramic". How did I miss this one? Thanks for the interview, Alex, and all the best.. +++


D)
Thank you. Best of luck with all of your projects, and a happy and prosperous New Year to you and your loved ones!
 
That wraps up this edition of Profile. We will return in the next edition with a new profile, who will talk about himself and also a significant part of the scene that will be put under the spotlight.

I hope you enjoyed this edition, and will return to read more when we return the next time. Thanks for reading!

[back]