Cracker's Map: Finland

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 Finland. The Finnish scene started to take shape during 1986. 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 Pure-Byte and 777-Team should make a tear drop from every old phreak who's been around. They were the FIRST Finnish groups to ever get fame and rise to world-fame. Pure-Byte's star was Yip, otherwise known as Jori Olkkonen, who coded "Scrollmachine", a legendary demo which achieved enormous success.

Special thanks to Flex and Grendel who were kind enough to provide further insights.

Disclaimer: notice missing detail? something wrong or want to leave some feedback? Send me a mail.

Accession was maybe the most "professional" style cracker group in the early Amiga years. I don't think their releases made much impact in the worldwide scene, but you have to give certain respect to the way they sustained the group through the years. I'd say Accession cracked everything they could, anything they got and a lot more. They put sometimes unbelievable effort in the cracks, sometimes paying quite fun speeding tickets before you just HAD to get the original to the cracker NOW OR FASTER. They also had pretty good technology at their hands.

To my understanding there is way more Accession releases than you can find from today's super highway. They did loads of Amiga cracking, PC cracking, console game cracking and so on, over a period of three decades. Grendel recalls some nightly phone calls from DDT/Accession asking "is this a hot/good game?" and in a sleepy reply saying something and he then communicates with their cracker about the importance of the crack. Fun stuff.

These days Accession is still active in a small way, the chaps are out there, doing occasional demo and intro stuff, drinking at parties and so on. But I suspect the cracking days are over now. :)

Bracket, Communist Cowboy, DDT, Evil, H7, jzu, Kakka, Menace, Moku, Monster, Nosfe, Sir Garbagetruck, T-101, XYZ-Soft.

Sickness Is Our Pleasure!

Hoffi had founded HTG (Hacker Trick Group) before, but left it and joined Deathstar. He was later kicked out with The Wicked and went on to building BLOODSUCKERS! Later he joined Byterapers at Rockstar's birthday- party, and went after some time back to Bloodsuckers."

Another big war of the golden year of '89 happened between Bloodsuckers vs other Finnish groups. BS had been teasing the Finnish groups already, but then came the final bit. Grendel: "I and Scy & The Wicked of Bloodsuckers were at The Silents-party in Sweden and released a small intro there. In the intro we together fucked all Finnish groups and wrote awful shit about everyone. "We made this intro just to send lots of fucks". Suddenly, no-one realised it was joke, took everything literally and started a war against BS. What's most interesting, no-one battled against Byterapers - even when the intro was BS and (B) cooperation products and I had been writing the texts as well. BS almost disappeared by the time, but did not die and is now high again. But it's very funny to see what ONE SMALL INTRO, with logo, music and scroll can do. Also funny was how almost ALL Finnish groups united against BS but achieved nothing else but some months silence."

Grendel: "Cannot remember at all whether Bloodsuckers did cracking back at the day, but they were definitely better known for bad humour, attitude and terrible demos that were bad on purpose. I'd say these days Damones continues the Bloodsuckers legacy very well, with the entire Bloodsuckers' trademark madness and most drunken demo scene rampages of any Finnish group."

Flex about Rockstar's birthday party: "This party was held somewhere around Tampere, Finland (my current hometown). As a 15 year old youngster I arrived from Oulunsalo (500km north) with my Amiga-friend Crusher (ex-Action Force). We got instructions how to get to the party-place but still we managed to get ourselves on the wrong bus at the centre of Tampere... :-) By showing the map, some people guided us on the right track. To our surprise there was someone else in the wrong bus going to Rockstar's party also. I still wonder who he was as later on even Rockstar did not recognise him. This mystery may never be solved. He had the invitation though... We arrived late and finally Rockstar came to pick us from the bus stop by 'car'. Need I say more than he had already started partying... Well the trip to the boat was not too long and finally we got to the small island where the cottage was. It was dark already and everyone was tipsy, so we had to put on a spurt. The result was me puking in the kitchen later on... Next day I had the worst hangover ever. I still remember myself lying outside gasping fresh air.. :-)

As the hangover passed, for me the party started again. There were couple of 64's and Amiga's and of course some computing was done as well. Later on that evening Rockstar told me he was bored being the only active Byteraper. We had had conversations before about cooperation between Contex and Byterapers. This nearly came true but as we were only after Rockstar, we didn’t let it happen. Our Danes also disliked the idea. Finally Rockstar told me that he wanted to join Contex. His brother Python and original-supplier Servant joined as well. Now the cracking section of Contex got truly powerful and the rest is history.

More about the party you can read from Byterapers' web-site... Broken flagpole and fear of death..."

Trivia: - Were in co-op with Blaze around 1988/89.

Communist Cowboy, Hoffi, Monster, Rawar, Scy.

Don't Settle for Less

Founded by Ruzzo in 1988 and died in 1990. The Shadow Bird (TSB) proved his skills in cracking (particularly in 1990) and later on ended up with the elite in Extasy.

- They had Topaz Beerline (back then called Topaz Co.) as a sub-group for a short time.
- Browbeat were in co-op with Motion.

Corpse, Crash, D.N.A., Disc, Dr.Code, Elf, Fozzy, Gas On, Grozier, Hawkeye, Iku, Infinity, J-Zax, Judge, Max, Monster, Mumbles, Oxygen, Ruzzo, Sam, Servant, Sky, Stranger, The Masterblaster, The Shadow Bird, Thief, Thunder, Wiz, Zarex, Zuuni, Zwizer.

A pain in your arse!

Founded by Grendel, Kasper & Professor Fate in 1986 with the name coming from Kasper.

Byterapers' very origins were definitely in Kasper's early cracks - as those gave him coding experience, and his crack-intos and other intros gave the group quite amazing visibility. Later (B) started attracting some more programmers and demo making and cracks lived side by side. But it was Rockstar and his supplier contacts that were the thing in the cracking side. As time went on, people came and left, and at one point it just seemed sensible to declare (B) as a "100% legal" group and just sever all ties to the cracking scene. Times had changed.

Grendel: "Byterapers had been growing fast, at the worst time there were 50 or so members, but later it dropped to sane numbers. The star of (B) was Kasper, The Lord of the Keyboard, code-wizard. Magic but dead lazy coder, who cracked about 300 games during his lazy career. Some cracks were spread very well, as well as some demos, so (B) started to gain same fame. Also a much smaller war between (B) and Zodux took place. Zodux was a small group which suddenly declared to be the NO 1! In a very short but intense war Zodux disbanded themselves, and came out as exactly the same group but with the name: BEYOND FORCE! Zodux were ultra-lamers, and at first Beyond was too, no wonder as they were just the same group. Later Beyond Force rose high on coding, as they got Solomon, a coder almost as good as FCS. Anyway the struggle between (B) and FIG continued unchanged until 1989. Both groups claimed to be no 1. Both got better all the time, FIG made better demos while (B) cracked faster and more than any other Finnish group. Both were top in their own area. Some demos like "Ice-Cold", "7 on The Top" and all those brilliant ones with FCS' code and Rock's music will always be remembered. Then FCS went to the army, and so Finnish Gold faded from the scene. They still exist today, but do nothing."

Flex: "I first met Rockstar at Byterapers' copy party in August 1988. We immediately seemed to get along well even though I was few years younger than him (me 14, Rockstar 17). We kept in touch after that and in 1989 he got access to the hottest originals and was the first to bring Byterapers into the cracking charts of the world. His skills were astonishing and together with talents such as Snacky/GP I'd say he brought cracking to the next level and a new era. I still can't believe all those packing & linking-routines etc...

I think Rockstar would like to thank Servant for all the originals he supplied him while working at the local game importer. At best Rockstar sent me new cracks around 4 days of the week. Cracking itself was serious business to get yourself high in the rankings at the time."

- Did the first release of Marauder 1.5 weeks before any other group and the delivery was via snail mail!
- Regarding Rockstar leaving the group to join Contex. Juho writes "a notoriously out of control party at my parents' country house provided some extra motivation for jumping ship, I must admit. Seeing toilet paper in the trees and vommit mixed with egg whites on the floor... was not my idea of fun. So that was it for Byterapers."
- Originally MJM-S, they had The Action Force as a sub-group in 1988.
- The Zaints got assimilated into (B) during summer of 1989 and worked under the name Zaints/Byterapers. 23 of the 25 members from Zaints were kicked out shortly.
- Contex and Byterapers planned to make a co-op in July/August 1989 (when "Coop-Intro" was made, but never released and somehow it sneaked out). The co-operation was almost born and announced to the world. At the end the result was Rockstar, Servant and Python joining Contex.

Action Force, Alfatech, AMJ, Armalite 1994, Black Belt, Block, CSA, DMC, Dr. Dick, Dr. Star, Fox 94, Frazze, Galaxy, Grendel, Growl, Hero, Hexheroes, Hoffi, Hotblack, Hotshot, Jate, Joija, JTP, Jugi, Kasper, King Fisher, Maestro, Merit, Micron, Mike, Mister T, Miy, Monster, Mordicus, Mr. Arcade, Mr. Sex, Mysdee, New Age, Pentagram, Professor Fate, Python, Questor, R.T., Rex, Rockstar, Sardon, Servant, SJL Cracking Service, Sky, Speed-Head, Suckho, The Damage Inc., The Golden Child, The Masterblaster, The Scorpion, Tyroc, Xwd, Zinus.

Collision is here to stay!

Collision was founded in 1990 by Shark/Calix, Zipper/Tac'2048 and 2NY/Tac'2048 (Finland), later on sceners from Sweden and Denmark joined the crew.

Originally a demo and cracking group, but now legal. They also had a co-op with Electric Boyz in 1993 which ended in the creation of Palace.

2NY, Ambre, Artic, Astro, Bart, Buzzer, Caba, Captain Howdy, Domix, Dr. Who, Duck, Entex, Eric, Flotsam,Genius, Jake, Kraftverk, Matrix, Oca, Paladin, Passion, Ray, Ripstar, Ross, Sato, Shark, Spectre, Sprint, Star, Tommy J, Wave, Yoda, Yoko, Zipper.

The Best You Can Get!

Founded by Flex & Apollyon on 26 November 1988 and died on the 15th of May 1990.

Contex had members from Finland, Denmark, Norway and Germany. Mainly Finland and Denmark.

Flex: "Contex got famous thanks to talented members. Organising a successful group at that young age (14-16 years) and at that really competitive era was educating. Looking back now it was ruthless sometimes kicking a member out just for being not active enough, or just that his latest work was not satisfying.. But I remember back then you really had to take care of your image. Everything would be different now for sure."

Contex was originally created by members from Action Force/Byterapers. Soon after, Scrap and Danish Piracy Society 2010 (DPS 2010) joined in and after Weird Science split up, Mr.Smart, NOP (changed into Cycleburner) and Sensei joined too. Promising Finnish talents such as Scorpion/Ziplers, Zany/Swap and Judge/Browbeat were recruited early 1989.

Later in August 1989 Rockstar, Servant and Python from Byterapers joined, due to (B) being lazy as a group and at that point Byterapers cracked nearly nothing. Earlier there were discussions about a co-op between Contex and (B) but eventually it didn't happen. Rockstar was already rising high in cracking and with assistance from Drake's cracking in Denmark, Servant (aka Bud aka Warehouse) as super original-supplier and Contex's heavy swapping unit (Mr.Smart, Rocha, Flex, Nam, Scrap) with hundreds of contacts, they brought Contex into the top 5 cracking charts while the demo-section had already topped the charts. The highest peak was achieved in November and December 1989 when Contex hit #1 in demo- and swapper charts and at the same time #5 in cracking chart. Individually, Rockstar was top 10 in cracking, Cycleburner top 3 in coding and both Flex and Scrap top 5 in graphics (source: Magic News and Fatal News).

Contex had The Mystic Cavern (HQ) and Garden of Eden as their BBS. Nam and Style (ex-Johnny Boy/Sphinx) were also strong modem traders who assisted to increase the group's visibility.

Flex and Apollyon founded Artline Designs in November 1989 as a label for their graphics and music. Soon after Scorpion joined Artline too. When Contex split up in May 1990, Artline Designs continued with these 3 guys and Judge joined. The Contex cracking section later on formed Extasy, after Rockstar and Servant had stopped by in Fairlight for a short visit.

The story behind the name: Apollyon and Flex both took a dictionary and wrote down words. Both had spelled "context" on paper. With a little thinking the name was obvious...

Flex on the reason behind Context dying: "I think the main reason for splitting was that Apollyon's and my interest for the whole business reduced to almost zero as Rockstar and Servant were seduced to FairLight at the Horizon's copy party (Easter 1990). Losing such important members gave us some kind of an excuse to stop ourselves... We had been pushing hard for years, to the post office and back almost daily. Then there were the girls, alcohol, music etc. You know the score.

Looking back now I think it was not fair for the rest of the group that we quit Contex. I don't remember if I ever asked if someone would take over the group leadership. But everything was so absolute and so serious back then. What we start - we end.

The boys didn't stay in FLT for long and they formed Extasy, consisting of many old Contex members. Artline Designs was already formed earlier as a label that no-one expected anything from but was delighted to see something released. That's the way it is even today.

Later on I was told that it was only Servant who wanted to join FairLight. Rockstar followed his original supplier. Somewhere it is written that Contex was absorbed into Genesis Project. This is not true."

Apollyon, (Artline Designs), Bud, Crime, Cycleburner, Drake, Flex, Judge, Kreator, Metal, Mr. Smart, Nam, Nigel, Ozone, Python, Reflec, Rocha, Rockstar, Scorpion, Scrap, Sensei, Servant, Snoopy, Style, Tech, Trailblaze, Trax, Warehouse, Zany, Zeta.

The Mystic Cavern
Garden of Eden

Quality is our Strength

Founded by Style, Rockstar, Servant and Drake in June 1990 and died in March 1991.

This is the former cracking section of Contex. Rockstar and Servant left Contex to join Fairlight. After a few days only they left Fairlight again to form Extasy.

Their first crack was the first release of the System 3 full pricer "Vendetta" which was imported to the states by INC.

Grendel: "Short lived in time, high on speed. What else could we say. Great veterans of Finnish demo/cracking scene did their very own thing for a time, and created a cracking monster we can still remember with fondness."

Rockstar: "Right from the start, I came to be known as a really high quality cracker who came up with innovations that sometimes left people scratching their heads. Later on I also released some software in the form of the widely used Extasy packer, and another powerful cruncher that was only spread to friends on an Eprom I think.

I guess I also gained some notoriety for coming up with originals way before the others in England and in mainland Europe. I had some pretty okay connections and most of all a superb supplier and friend called Servant (I didn't pick that handle for him though!). Some of the first releases I did were inexplicably never released in other countries, and yet there were no shenanigans involved. All legit releases. I'll be happy to keep the secret still... ;)

Around this time, the modem trading and U.S. imports really started in a bigger way, as I recall. We grew Extasy at a rapid pace, and made a name for ourselves doing fast cracks our British and German competitors couldn't touch. This of course was very entertaining to our small group of northern mavericks, including our hard working swappers and traders up in Vaasa. Being the winning underdog was great. :)"

- One of Rockstar's friends from New York sent him an NTSC computer and he was one of the first European sceners to be NTSC fixing his own cracks. He also did some imports to Europe and some PAL fixing like "Ski or Die" from North East Crackers.

Drake, Mr. Smart, Nam, Nigel, Radical, Rockstar, Servant, Shadowcat, Skandle, Sorceress, Style, The Corsair, The Masterblaster, The Shadow Bird.

Founded by Gallstone and Rock in 1986.

Was a part of The Austrian Union & The Jezebels Union. The group is perhaps most notable for being authors of the very first, original Future Composer - or to be more exact, the first version was released on the 13th of June 1988 by later FIG member FCS (Finland Cracking Service) - but later versions were released under the FIG label. This legendary music composition program was very important to the evolution of the C64 music scene, and many famous composers started their work using this editor. It was later developed further by other people and groups.

Grendel: "Finnish Gold is the best demo group ever on 64 in Finland. The Finland Cracking Service (FCS) was long a loner doing demos by himself, and coding for Omega Team (later known as Finnish Gold). Then he joined FIG, and started one of the brightest stars ever. In the very end FIG was a member of the legendary TAU, The Austrian Union and made for them one of the best demos on 64 since that date. Later they left TAU, as well as TJU and created FIG's fame on their own. I could yet mention "V-Crackings Inc.", which stood for another Finnish legend named MOKU, later being at FIG and founder of Accession in 88."

FCS was one of the first real crackers of the early Finnish scene in 1986 followed by Conan/Stack and Kasper (B).

Evil, Finland Cracking Service, Gallstone, Lemming, Miy, Moku, Rock, SJL Cracking Service, Spemu, Wraith, XYZ-Soft.

Miracle of the unknown

Their main cracker was Dr.Pain who provided quite a few cracks during 1991/1992.

Ace, Alien, Dr.Pain, Enduro, Junkie, Micke, Zealot.

Founded by Jaywalker and Cruiser (ex Mr.Blitz and Bubble Bobble/ Zeus Duo) in 1989 (original Zeus Duo) with main cracker as Xentrix and died in February 1991 when their members went to Giants (during Giants their main cracker was The Shadow Bird from Browbeat/Extasy fame).

Axor, Bubble Bobble, Criminal, Critter, Cruiser, Cujo, Dwarf, Exorcist, Jaywalker, Lizzy, LOD, Mr. Craco, Mr.Blitz, Napalm, Nester, Plodex, Servant, Shogun, Slime, Tonic, Willy, Xentrix, Yeti, Zarch.

Founded in 1993 as replacement for the co-op of Collision and Electric Boyz as the name Collision+Electric Boyz (short CLI+BOYZ) was too long and unhandy for the graphicians.

!Cube, 2NY, Ace, Artic, BP, Flotsam, FX, Genius, Hoffi, Junkie, Kreator, Oca, Page, Pain, Rockstar, Teaser, Zealot.

Founded in 1984 by Yip, Miv and PP.

Yip is nowadays known as Petrik Salovaara. He is back in the scene again and now as a member of Artline Designs. He also delivered a couple of game soundtracks like Netherworld, BMX Kidz and Uuno Turhapuro Muuttaa Maalle. In the late 80's he also worked as a freelance-editor in Commodore oriented papermag C-lehti.

Conan, DDT, Miv, Nipper, PP, SKU, Yip.

Founded by Icebreaker and Conan on the 26th of July 1987.

Grendel: "Stack was that time's crazy party-parta-group. Fast 64-cracking and even (at least) ONE demo from Zados. Zados was, is, the crazy here with myself in those days parties, drinking together under the table, crazy talk & party habits and outfits..."

Flex: Conan worked alone for long like many in the Finnish scene before that "group-thing" started to happen. A real cracker of his time and together with Rockstar you could say they were the 2 cracking superstars of Finland. Sadly Conan's cracks didn't spread that well and I think lots of his stuff is lost forever. Conan lived 10 km from me in the northern Finland (Oulu) and was godlike for us local kids."

There were two Conan's in the Finnish scene. Conan/The Stack (build like a brick shithouse!) and Conan/PureByte (coder).

Conan, Icebreaker, Swapsnake, Zados.


* The Jezebels Union was a loose "association" of the Finnish demo groups thriving during 1987-1988.

Grendel: "During the New Year of 87/88 there was the first Finnish party, kept by the TJU, The Jezebels Union. At the party, XYZ-Soft coded the first Finnish Amiga-demo ever. TJU was something we could only dream today: all Finnish groups in one Union. Later when TJU split, the event started being named the Finnish Gold party. There was the WHOLE current scene, all 40 guys! The Jezebels was a big thing to be, but unfortunately it was killed: Finnish Gold was the 1st group to leave it, saying they didn't need it. No one needed it, but it was a good thing to be. X-Men followed, and so the elite groups slowly left TJU. During these times a competition between Byterapers and Finnish Gold began about the leading place in Finland. In '87 there had been the same kind of compo between (B) and Stack, but Stack lost ground with moving to Amiga and laziness. Now was starting a much longer and bitter competition. Afterwards thinking, neither group could win, as both had concentrated on different areas: Finnish Gold were demo makers, while (B) were crackers and spreaders. Anyway, for some time a hidden WAR was going on between groups, while other groups were keeping out of the way of the struggling 64-giants."

Grendel: "It happened in Vaajakoski, near Jyvaskyla, and there were maybe 40 people. EVERYONE was there. 29-31.12.1987, plus minus one day. Practically nobody had seen each other before. That weekend forged the basics for the Finnish scene. The Real Scene. The Scene where groups knew each other, where members knew other group's members at least by name. The time when the scene was so small you KNEW everybody, personally. That weekend, dreams were forged, friendships were made to last, and the cornerstone for Finnish Scene Legends was built."

We will continue to research this country and add information to preserve.