By the age of 16, I was putting together scroller type C64 demos and some small games. I have managed to locate a few of them and decided to put them on my web site. You can select each one and it will be loaded into a Java C64 emulator. The emulator is available from https://c64emulator.111mb.de/
Sample of H.C.S C64 Demos
More C64 Demos by other great teams
What is your alias? If you find the story interesting, then let us know how you came up with it?
FREAK – I was watching a program on TV, I think it was in 86 and it was about a young computer hacker called Freak. As I am an introvert and always felt different from other kids, especially as I stopped playing soccer, I would spend all my spare time in my bedroom playing and hacking computer games.
Have you changed handles? If so, give us the reason(s) and your previous nickname(s)!
I used ‘Fat Hamster’ while I was in the Amiga scene.
When and where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in 1969 in ELY near Cambridge, England. I now live in Essex, England.
When did you get your first computer and which computers do/did you own? When did you get your C64?
My first computer was a VIC20 which my parents purchased for me for Christmas 83/84? I am not able to recall the year. I then bought an Amstrad CPC464 when they first went on sale and a second hand C64. In 1988 I purchased the first on many Amiga computers, the first an Amiga A500.
How did you get to know the scene? Who was your first contact (person you knew) on the scene?
Some friends at our local I.T.E.C had access to COMPUNET and this is when I first experienced the ‘SCENE’ we all used to hang out at our local computer shop. Once I had purchased a modem and a Compunet account I started chatting to people on Partyline.
Describe your scene career, including all groups you have been a member of! Keep chronological order please!
I was only a member of ‘THE HARLOW CRACKING SERVICE’ which comprised of myself, Gairy and Andie. A lot of stuff we had created was never released although Gairy did work on commercial games and rewrote the Hubbard music player, which was used in another game.
Which scene do/did you consider best and why? If you have been only on the C64, then give us the reason(s)!
The best scene was the C64, although I did write a couple of demos on the Amiga I found the C64 easiest to program. I liked the fixed address space. When the Amiga scene became big, people started dropping the C64 and didn’t move onto the Amiga.
What do you think you gained by being a member of the scene?
Being a 3rd generation hacker (1st generation was people who built home computers, 2nd was people who wrote O/S, 3rd was people who wrote games/demos) you were part of the history and the evolution of computing.
There existed a strong bond between coders and most would share their source code and explain new routines. Most coders would know their C64 better than their girlfriends (if they had one).
What do you consider lost, wasted or meaningless during the years you have spent on the scene?
I lost my education as I spent most of my time during lessons thinking of game designs and writing code routines. I also avoided girls as they were a distraction to my coding.
What is/are/was/were your main interest(s)/function(s)?
My main interest during school and up to 1985 was coding on Pet/BBC/ZX81, then 1985-1990 on Amstrad/C64, then 1990-1992 Amiga. I did some systems hacking during the 1987-1991 period. Although now I do program (Win95/NT – Visual Basic 4/5) it’s not my main job. In 1997 I purchased a C64 and Amiga 1200 and will again be following the scene.
What made you start doing graphics/composing/swapping/modem trading organising or whatever you did?
I started coding because I was fascinated about how a computer functioned and how by using assembler you were able to create things only limited by the imagination and hardware. Also cracking games and swapping was a big thing as we could not afford new games while at school.
What are/were your greatest successes/fiascos?
My greatest success was hacking into Istel and the British library using an Amstrad computer. I also requested a dozen boxes of brochures from the Egypt tourist board and had them sent over to a friend’s house as a joke.
Was there any special connection between you/your group and some other people/groups on the scene (co-operation, war, friendship etc.)? If so, what made it start and stop?
Gairy from our group was the guy who spent most of his time talking with others like Ash & Dave, Ian & Mic, Pazza, Skuzz and swapping code etc. I always felt a bit intimidated by people who I considered far superior to me.
Is/was there any special feeling in your crew, something more than just being in a group?
We were like brothers as we all had a common love for the C64 and of course Beer!
If you are not a C64 scener anymore, when and why did you leave the scene?
I left the scene in 1990 when it was almost dead and sold all of my kit and gave away most of my source code disks which I later regretted.
What were your favourite groups/artists/coders/productions? Why do/did you like their work/these programs?
Ash & Dave, Ian & Mic, Mean team, The might Bogg, Dokk, Skuzz, Alpha flight, 1001 crew, Yak, Judges, Stoat & Tim, Hubbard, Galway, and others for original work.
Give us a brief description on the development of the scene as you experienced it and computer society in general!
In the beginning the scene life was simple, bitmap with a scroller, then came demos which contained more parts, then the complexity of the math’s increased, everyone was searching for new routines and bitching if somebody else copied them. The ‘Hacker ethic’ (share code for the common good) started to die. Commodore’s marketing was always bad and that’s why the Amiga died. People started moving onto the PC, which was a complete bastard to code (unless of course you were in Future Crew).
What is your profession? What do you do for a living? Does it have to do anything with computers? Is there anything you do in real-life that is similar to what you have been doing on the scene?
I now work in a Bank as a Systems Analyst supporting NT (better than windows 95), AS400 (Very stable) and SUN Microsystems. I doubt I would be doing this kind of work if I were not part of the scene, as the 80’s for me were the best years of my life. Although I have a Pentium 200 Laptop, Nintendo 64, Sony Playstation, I still prefer playing the C64 and old arcade games (using an emulator on the PC).
What do you like doing in your spare-time when not computing? What is/are your hobby(ies)?
In my spare time I watch motor racing and films and enjoy life with my wife and baby (divorced in 2017).
Are there moments when you feel nostalgic thinking back to the past years of the scene? If so what do you do when it happens?
Most days I think about the old times and the fun/excitement it brought.
The 80’s were a period where people who were interested could really understand the technology right down to chip level.
What are your plans for the near/far future?
I would like to write one more game for the C64 before I die.
What is your goal in life? What would you like to achieve?
I would like to be remembered in life for any programs, which I have written and for enjoying anything I had put my mind to. It does not matter whether people are good or bad at things as long as they enjoy the experience.
My goal in life is to become the best that I can possibly be in the field of work I am doing. Try and be happy in a world of chaos.
The following video goes through the process of how a C64 demo is made. If anyone finds any similar talks, please let me know.