Recollection 01 ch09 Genesis Project - A Brief History
A (Not So) Brief History by Antichrist, founder of G*P
In the early 1980s, the company Commodore released an 8-Bit computer, called Commodore 64 or C64. It was the first widely used home-computer, and marked the dawn of the computer-as-gaming-console era. Literally thousands of games were released for the Commodore 64. The games were pretty expensive and usually had a copy-protection. Naturally kids began to crack those protections and copied the games for their friends. Those crackers were regarded as the Robin Hoods of the computer world. They stole from the rich software companies and gave to the poor kids who couldn't afford to buy the latest games. Eventually these crackers joined forces and formed cracking groups. A new sub-culture developed: The cracking scene.
Cracking groups installed small intros in front of their games to let everyone in the scene know that they were the ones who had removed the copy-protection. Each group tried to out-do the other, either by releasing the very first cracked version of a game, or by installing the most trainers (cheat options like invulnerabilty or unlimited lives) in a cracked game. While there were many different cracking groups, only a handful achieved international notoriety. One such group was Genesis*Project.
It's all so long ago, but if my memory doesn't fail me, I got a C64 in 1985. My very first handle was Tron. (I loved that movie! Haha!) I didn't really do much back then though. My pride and joy was a little tool I programmed in Basic, which renamed or scratched files and formatted floppy disks. Besides that I swapped cracked games with other kids at school. Those first cracks back then were released by some of the very oldest groups, like Dynamic Duo and 1001 Crew. After a couple of months I changed my name to The Nauseating Timelord (TNT) and founded Genesis*Project.
Where did I get the name from? Why, Star Trek of course! Genesis Project was the name of the device that created Earth-like conditions on previously uninhabitable planets. Back then every group not only had a fancy name, but a 3-letter abbreviaton that was placed at the end of the file name of each crack. So I added a star inbetween the G and the P, to make it 3 letters. (Pretty stupid, huh?!)
By the end of 1986, G*P's fame had grown past Aachen's city limits and we got our first members from Cologne. Dr.J and another guy (whose name I have forgotten) joined us as crackers and programmers. They never really cracked anything though, and whatever they programmed looked pretty awful. They just had no feel for design. I decided to kick them out of G*P again. They got so upset, that they vowed to beat me up the next time we'd meet at a copy party. They were replaced by two programmers from Denmark, Alf and Spike. They had everything that Dr.J and his friend had lacked... Excellent programming skills and a great feel for colors and design. They created our first demos and a couple of very nice intros. Until then I had programmed all our intros myself. Each of my intros came with a very easy editor, which allowed anyone to modify and customize the intro. I spread those intro editors and they were the very first selfmade G*P programs that were widely circulated in the international scene. Until then, all we had ever spread were games cracked by other groups. Ironically one of the people who loved to use my intro editors was a guy named Thomas/Playboy, who later was one of the founding members of X-Ample, the famous C64 demo and game programming group.
A guy who lived only a couple of minutes away from me had started his own group, called Exact. He came to my house once or twice and we swapped a few games. He was a jerk and his group was really just a bunch of lamers and re-crackers... Except for one member: A kid from Bavaria, using the handle Snacky. When I saw one of his cracks for Exact (I think it was the Flintstones game), I immediately realized his potential. I asked him to join G*P. Finally we had a real cracker! Exact was very upset and started a feud with G*P, which lasted until Exact fell apart.
In 1987, Snacky organized a copy party in Nuernberg. Alf and Spike had come all the way from Denmark and, together with Freddy, spent a week at my house. Then we all took a train down to Nuernberg. It was so much fun that even now, 12 years later, we still speak of it.
For a while G*P teamed up with a dutch group named Fire Eagle. Both groups used intros that featured both names in front of our cracks. Fire Eagle were the first to upload & spread G*P cracks on bulletin boards. These boards, usually called BBS, were located in the States and used by European groups to spread cracks, because it was much easier to hack into the American phone system, than into a European system. After a few months we broke our co- op with Fire Eagle, because the agreement had become pretty one-sided. G*P was doing all the work, while Fire Eagle was getting all the credit, since they were the ones uploading the wares to the boards. After the end of the co- op with G*P, Fire Eagle split up.
By 1989 G*P had grown into an internationally famous elite cracking group. We had members in Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, and in the USA. Back then people were so much into the scene that members of elite groups were treated like big celebrities. At copy parties members of elite groups were surrounded by small crowds like movie stars. Almost everyone in the cracking scene was in it for the fun and the fame, not for any financial gain.
Goblin, Dawsy, Scrap, and I met at a big computer expo at London's Earl's Court. We spent three days together and had so much fun, that it's still one of the things I remember best about my scene days. Dawsy taught me how to always get the freshest hamburgers at McDonald's by customizing them in really annoying ways. Haha! Goblin was arrested by the British police for publicly smoking pot on the top stairs of the Trafalgar Square monument. I guess he was used to more liberal laws in Switzerland. Haha! He was released a short while later, and the next day, we were able to snatch a copy of the yet to be released game Midnight Express. We actually had to dismantle a display desk at the expo to get into the computer, which had been locked away, so none could take and copy the game that wasn't going to be released in stores for another few months.
Goblin decided to stay in London for a total of two weeks. During this time he beat every single English group to every single game that came out. And there were PLENTY of new games being released for the expo! Now that he was in the same location as the English crackers, and was not being handicapped by any geographical disadvantage, noone was able to keep up with him.
We started to rely more and more on spreading our wares through American boards. In 1991 The Mystic Cavern, a BBS run by The Sorceress, became our HQ. Previously the board had been the HQ for Contex. It was the HQ for both groups for a little while, until Contex was absorbed into G*P and The Sorceress, Rockstar, Drake, and Janec joined us. The Mystic Cavern was continuously voted among the top 3 boards in all those scene mags that were now being circulated. The Sorceress and I spent a lot of time on the phone with each other, and I visited her in the States a few times. By now the scene had begun to bore me. The C64 was slowly dying. Fewer and fewer games were being released because the software companies concentrated more on the Amiga, the Archimedes (Remember that one? What a dud! Haha!) , and the PC. And instead of cracking games, the groups now spent most of their time trash-talking and feuding with each other. In 1992 I left the C64 scene and moved to the States. The Sorceress and I got married in 1993.
Meanwhile Snacky switched over to the PC. In 1991, at a small G*P C64 computer party in Cologne, Germany, Snacky met a few guys of a new PC group called Supremacy. After a lot of fun & boozing together, Snacky joined Supremacy, and Supremacy was renamed into Genesis*Project. The founding members of G*P on the PC were: Snacky (G*P/C64), Olga (Supremacy/PC), Widdy (Supremacy/PC), and M-Bob (Supremacy/PC & Legacy/C64). The first two people to join G*P/PC were Axiom (Beastie Boys/C64) and Weasel (Crazy/C64). Check out photos of all these superheroes on the members page. Or see G*P's first PC intro from 1991 [Download: 53kb] by our exceptional coder Olga, featuring the world's first raster timer/split on a PC (will not correctly work on newer machines). But as everyone grew older and real life tasks, like finding a job, began to demand more and more time, G*P on the PC developed from an active cracking group to a social club.
We have all gone our separate ways, but our past together makes us stay in touch. Some of us have become programmers. Raistlin for example was one of the programmers who developed Test Drive 4 and 5 for the Playstation. Alf became a web-site designer and online programmer for a Danish company. Jesper Olsen, one of our musicians from Denmark, is now working for a German software company, developing games for the Playstation. Punisher is a successful DJ in Belfast, and has published several CDs. Guess what the name of his first CD was?! Right... Genesis Project! Scrap now designs graphics for a major advertising company. Snacky has become one of Europe's foremost system technicians. He is constantly flying from one country to another, setting up and maintaining computer networks. If you work with computers in a large European corporation, you may have met Snacky, and don't even know it.
by The Sorceress
I can't remember exactly when I got my first 64 but I had a few of them. I ran a BBS called The Source on the old Ivory program. My name was The Sorceress. I was in a few groups such as Extasy, Censor Design, and Empire. It's hard to remember them all. I was also a HQ for Empire, which was a Canadian Importing/Fixing group (they fixed PAL games so they'd work on NTSC computers). Then I became involved in Genesis*Project. At this point new games were getting fewer and fewer, and when a good game did come out there was a big competition to be the first to release it. I remember Oliver and I on the phone with the Empire guys (Booze, ETN, Tristan, and a few others), rushing them to fix the games and to get them on the boards before the competition got it first. And because we had the best fixing group, we usually did beat the competition.
During this time I was running a C-base program and had renamed the BBS to The Mystic Cavern. I met alot of people while running the BBS. Some were nice and others were less desirable. It was like a soap opera at times and it's funny to think back now about the C64 and the BBSing days with the Internet here.
One day while surfing the net we stumbled across a c64 site. Understand that here in the States there is no longer a 64. We were very suprised and decided to look up some old people we knew. We did find a few and got in touch with them and exchanged letters, telling each other what we were doing these days. There were a few good crackers that came with me when we felt it was time to move onto a new group that were more productive. It was like a time warp. My last days on the 64 are almost 8 years ago. Now if you read this story and say to yourself "This can't happen to me." Let me tell you... I didn't think being on the Commodore 64 would change my life in the way that it did but it worked out very well. : ) We are happy. We went from swapping games to sharing our life together.
Well, that's all for now. It's been nice sharing a part of my life with you.