Interview with Crossbow

Published in Vandalism News #60 - Diamond Edition
Performed by Jazzcat & guests

Vandalism News #60 - Diamond Edition has arrived. To help celebrate, I decided to corner an elusive scener in a mini-interview with some carefully chosen questions. Thinking on what the questions should be, many things come to mind, but how to choose just five questions only as a challenge?

We ran an opinion poll challenging C64 fans to pose a single question:

- If given the opportunity, what five questions would you ask Crossbow/Crest?

Would they be related to the complexity of his demos? Some routine that has confused you for a long time? His attendance to scene events? His private life or his future scene projects?

Here are the responses that Crossbow deemed suitable for reply... a man of few words...


- Are you DeeKay? ;)

Not at the moment.

- Was Meet Crest meant as a troll project from the start?


- Do you have a lot of unfinished routines laying around, like me?

Yes. Many stuff for Meet Crest.

- Do you have a list of ideas for effects, and if so how long is it?
Yes, there is a list with about 5 things.


- Which effect that hasn't been done yet would you mostly want to see done?



1. What gives him the motivation to produce new VIC tricks. How does he develop and find the new tricks, is it by trial and error or in combination with approaches of how the VIC works?
2. What his greatest C64 accomplishment is?
3. Whether or not he believes there is anything new to be discovered VIC trickery wise?
4. What is he doing at the moment?
5. Above all. When will 'Meet Crest' be released?


Ninja/The Dreams:

1) What unreleased parts do you have?

Stuff for Meet Crest.
2) Can I see them?

Not yet.
3) Any VIC behaviour left which nobody discovered so far but you?


4) Would you like to do a coop demo?
5) Why Java instead of low-level?


Freestyle (ex-Illusion, Avantgarde, Talent)

What was your main take away / acquired skill / learning from the C64 scene to your current profession?



1) How did you discover so many hacks of the VIC chip.  What was your method?
Accidently. Try&error.

2) Do you get stupidly excited when discovering new effects? 

Yes J

How did you feel when you got 9 sprites on a raster line? 

Stupidly excited. Wondering why nobody had that idea before. (Including myself)
3) I'm a 37 year old man with a wife and 3 kids. Will you marry me?



1) Who in the scene do you admire and why?
2) Meet Crest was bollocks, correct?



1) What business do you work in today?
2) Did your former scene-life change your life (today)?
3) How do you deal with your "64-talents" on modern systems today?
4) Do you regret anything in your 64-scene-life?
5) What would you do different in your 64-scene-life if you would get a second chance?


Olav Mørkrid/Offence/Panaramic:

1. Which drugs have you used to inspire your work? Rate their effectiveness.

2. Describe your coding process, from idea to planning to actual
coding to enhancements. How is this different now from before?
Planning all on paper and in my head. Then “just” hacking it into the memory.
3. List all the people in the scene you think are idiots.

4. How has being German affected your work?

I am not German. I am Austrian.
5. Has the C=64, even in a remotely indirect way, ever contributed to getting you laid?



1) If you had to join another group than Crest, who would it be?

Ash&Dave (&Crossbow) J
2) A Crest demo you regret?
3) Your fave coder?

Olav Mørkrid

4) Why haven't you shown up on parties like others?

I don’t like parties.

5) Anything you still would like to code and consider a real challange?


Cargo/Singular Crew:

1) How do you feel, have you still got enough inspirations for new effects?
2) Why did you continue in exclusive hw instead the classic configuration?
3) What are your future projects on the scene?
Meet Crest.

4) What about your Zelda clone?
Not enough time for that.

5) Don't you plan so strong clasic "comeback" demo like Censor or Oxyron?






1) It is well known that you code on real HW, but what about the entire coding process for a demo part or effect? For the new school effects, for example, do you plan and test everything on modern platforms with higher level languages before going to ASM?


HCL/Booze Design:

1) Which demo of your own do you like the most (and why)?

2) Which effect of your own do you like the most (and why)?

3) What other demo do you like the most (and why)?

Maybe Pimplesqueezer 3

4) What other effect do you like the most (and why)?

5) Why do you stay away from (most) c64-parties?


Berry/ex-Riffs, ex-Life:

1) How did the C64 affect you life, private and professionally speaking?

2) Demos -> 2, 4 and 6 bit mess -> genius! How did you figure this out? (in a nut shell, if possible).

It seemed to be logical to use this way to have a “nice looking” listing + using a limited amount of basic lines creating assembler code.

3) Attending any coming party?

4) What is your view on the demo-scene’s future?

5) Any C64 project coming up you are chewing on now?



1) Do you always use a machine code monitor to code, if so, why?
Yes. Don’t need anything else.

2) The 9 sprites on the same raster line routine, do you consider it "real"?

3) Are you DeeKay? ;)

4) Are there any routines you consider IMPOSSIBLE?

5) Which of your routines was the hardest to code?


Ziggy/The Force:

1) How has coding been part of his life? How does it continue to be? I mean - once you found you were really good at it, really good at it, do you have a ritual behind it? Are you just really fast at it and you have time for other things? Do you obsess over ideas and routines? Do you blow hours and hours on it? Do you balance it with social life, family life etc? 

2) Also, what inspires those ideas? How do you get to that level of refinement without compromise? Do you find it hard to polish an idea down to that level of perfection others just do not get to? How much time would you spend perfecting a routine from just 'working' to being exactly what you want?



1) What is your home planet?




1) Are you a secret member of Lore of Arts?


Ed/Wrath Designs:

1) For some programming has been very theoretical, and for others it has been more intuitive way of of testing stuff. Would you say you always kept the same programming style, or did you evolve at some point in order to find those last glitches (sprite wrapping error, etc) and do you have any examples of the demos or routines showing that development?
Did it take a long time to generate such routines?

Depends on the part. Mostly, it takes some time to think & calculate about all on a piece of paper, and when I sure that it works, I’ll start to write the code on the c64.

Of course, things like the sprite-wrapping stuff is pure testing on the c64.

2) Writing the C64 history is impossible without mentioning your name, in fact despite there are plenty good programmers out there, you belong to the canonical writing of the c64 demo scene with your efforts. Would you say you think you still can contribute in your expertize of field or have we finally found most of the bugs the machine is capable of creating?

3) A lot of the demos have often been cute, colourful, polished, with beautiful music scores and excellent graphics. Have you ever thought about glitches, the ugly parts, noise, and a completely different aesthetics. Example: the Booze Design demo Industrial Breakdown vs. Avantgarde.

4) Blureu animations are nice and looks incredible, but they are still animations. Will we ever see something real-time where the REU operations can help to generate new semi-real-time effects?

5) We are now quite a few years into the scene and many of us grew up with a cultural baggage that might in some way inspired our ways of making demos. From where did you get your inspiration and did it change over the years?



1. Many people have quit the c64 over the years. How have you managed to stay motivated for programming C64 demos as well as keeping up the creativity and invent new coding tricks?

2. What is the favourite demo part among the ones you've programmed?

It’s not released, yet J

3. What is the most impressive demo part/coding trick from others?

4. Did you ever attend programming competitions at high school or university, and if yes, how did it go?


5. What is your favourite C64 game?

Only one? That’s hard! Maybe Space Taxi.


The picture below is of Crossbow's unusually shaped thumb, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is where Crest get their slogan "Thumbs Up".

Funny enough, this enormous digit does not come from his unique 8-finger typing system, but is actually genetic and runs in his family.

We knows Crossbow is quite likely not reading this right now, as he hates disk magazines, but Vandalism News gives him a thumbs up also, for his replies, as short as they were, which gave us all an insight into, perhaps one of the most elusive sceners of all time.

At 2010 Commodore meetup