Zippy’s Letters: The Cynix P.O. Box

Famous Scottish Atari ST cracker Zippy a.k.a Absu, member of the groups Cynix and The Medway Boys, who was very recently interviewed on Codetapper.com, provided us with photographs from his letter archive. This time, we bring you a very special portion of these documents: The inbox, so to say, of the Cynix P.O. box in Merseyside from 1992-1994. Most of these letters stem from less-known sceners or even complete outsiders, non-scene fans and users of Cynix cracks, encouraging the group to continue cracking in a time where the Atari software industry was already in decline. They were answering to a poll of sorts, initiated by Cynix themselves, who, in the scrolltexts of several crack intros, urged users to write them if they did care for Cynix to continue cracking. And they did – from all over the world! In what is just a small surviving part of the letters Cynix received, we find letters and postcards not just from all over the UK, but also from Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Iceland, Serbia, Australia, Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Slovenia. These letters – some by people who would become prominent Atari sceners, some by unknown home computer users – testify not just to the transnational audience an active cracking group could reach, but also to the fact that the cracking scene and its protagonists mattered to a lot of people far outside the scene itself. These are literally fan letters, hailing whom the authors perceived as heroes for letting them enjoy software for free.

You can download the high quality photos and metadata sheets of these 74 letters from our archive under /zippy/cynix_po_box/, or browse through them in the gallery below.

SCA Disk Design Compo 1987

Swiss Cracking Association, the legendary Zurich-based C64 group, whose archive we have covered in numerous updates, always loved to come up with something new – be it a spectacular game hack, the first Amiga virus, or a disk designing competition. In their “SCA Competition!” demo from March 1987, they made the following announcement:

SEND US YOUR MOST BEAUTIFUL 5.25” OR 3.5” DISKS. PAINT IT, SPRAY IT, DYE IT OR PUT SOME ORIGINAL STICKERS ON IT. THEN WRAP IT IN A PAPER WHICH CONTAINS YOUR ADDRESS. THE WHOLE BUNCH HAS TO BE PUT INTO AN ENVELOPE AND SENT TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS : PO-BOX 470 / 8037 ZUERICH / SWITZERLAND. AFTER HAVING DONE THIS, YOU LEAN BACK IN YOUR CHAIR AND WAIT FOR YOUR PRIZE… 1ST TO 3RD PRIZE: A DINNER WITH THE SCA-CREW (ALL TOGETHER, IN ZURICH) 4TH TO 10TH PRIZE: AN SCA T-SHIRT (100% COTTON, SIZE: S,M,L OR XL) 10TH TO 25TH: AN SCA-STICKER OR AN SCA SWAP-DISK.

Numerous swapping partners followed that call and sent in colourfully designed floppy disks. The SCA brothers don’t remember anymore how many disks the competition ended up with, who was the winner, or whether they really did go out for dinner with them. However, at least they preserved four entries: One by future SCA member Spot 3001 [download]; two by a Danish guy called TRP [download1|download2], and another one by an unknown competitor [download]. We are happy to present the scans of these colourful disks to you – as well as the scan of an original “SCA swap-disk” [download] which was announced as one of the minor prizes.

More C64 Disk Covers from Goat

We haven’t featured C64 disk covers for a while, so here are some from the collection of Goat/Laxity, which was scanned already four years ago. This big batch features 50 disk covers from the early- to mid-1990s (with one early exception from 1986), including some really extraordinary ones. I won’t make a list here, but you can go to /diskcovers/ in our archive, sort the files by date, and scroll down for the most recent additions to download the scans and see the metadata. Or simply view them in the gallery:

Arny’s Internal Letters, Pt. 1: TSK-Crew

A while ago we brought you letters from the collection of Arny, an Austrian C64 coder and graphics artist active in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These were letters he exchanged with his swapping partners – this time, however, we present his internal group correspondence. The first batch is from the time when he was in The Softkiller Crew (TSK), an Austrian cracking and demo group active in 1987-88, into which he got recruited in the summer of 1988 and in which he stayed for only a few months. These (sorry, German-only) documents shed light on what a new member of a relatively well-organised group faced in the 1980s: rules, contacts, expectations, new friends. An unexpected bonus of this batch: The flipsides of SSD’s letters contain printouts of logs from some 1986 BBS! You can download the high-res scans complete with metadata from our archive at /arny­/­internal_tsk/ or browse them below.