Category Archives: news

SCA Archive & Call for Help

First of all, some exciting news: We received the complete paper archive of the legendary Swiss Cracking Association, Switzerland’s most prominent C64 & Amiga cracking group from the 1980s. Founded in 1984 by two brothers from Zurich, the group’s most (in-)famous stunt was creating and (accidentally) spreading the first Amiga virus, the “SCA Virus“, in late 1987. At that point, however, they already were a well-established cracking and demo group that put Switzerland on the international crackers‘ map and maintained contacts all over the world, until one brother went on to become one of the first Swiss game developers, while the other one moved on to the world of live music. We are very excited and grateful that they handed over their archive to us, which is being scanned right now and will appear here very soon. As a small teaser, today we present one letter from a rather unusual sender – the Zurich customs office, which confiscated two floppy disks and demanded a declaration of the value of the software, not realising that it was a pirate sending, despite the “Plutonium Crackers” tag.

However, I am using this exciting occasion to ask for your help. Currently, the “Got Papers?” work directory on my hard drive contains over 14 GB (!) of unprocessed image files. The reponse to my call for materials four years ago has been overwhelming, but I gravely underestimated the task I set myself back then. Doing justice to archival digitisation standards and meticulously compiling metadata for each and every scan requires lots of time and research effort: For example, swapping letters are, in most cases, undated, so one has to research the first-release dates of the mentioned games and the periods of existence of the sceners/groups in order to establish an approximate date of the document. Unfortunately, my spare time I can dedicate to this project becomes less and less, as I urgently need to complete my academic book on the 1980s cracking scene. So, in order to ensure that the collected materials see the light of the day and serve current sceners and future historians, I need volunteers to help me with processing the scans and establish metadata for them.

So, if you:

• have a deep interest in the preservation of scene history across platforms;
• have at least basic knowledge of scene history on some of the main platforms, particularly C64 and Amiga;
• are familiar with the most important scene databases (Demozoo, Pouet, CSDb, Kestra Bitworld);
• and have some free time on your hands and are able to stick to commitments agreed upon (you take over responsibility over only as many images as you think you can manage)

please do get in touch with me at gleb dot albert at uzh dot ch. Or, alternatively, meet me at Revision Demoparty in Saarbrücken on the Easter weekend.

Computer Subcultures Conference + Film

It has been quite around this project in the past weeks – for a particular reason. Together with Julia Erdogan and Markku Reunanen, I’m organising an international scholarly conference on the history of digital subcultures and their place in society in the age of early home computing.

The conference will take place on March 24-25, 2017, at the University of Zurich in the Collegium Helveticum. We’ll have a diverse programme with speakers from Finland, Germany, the US, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece and Switzerland. You can check out the two-day programme here. Attendance is free for all, yet you should pre-register due to limited seats.

On the evening of March 24, at 7pm, there will be a film screening. We’re happy to host the premiere of Konstantin Stürz’s new documentary on the early days of the cracking and demo scene – featuring interviews with Bacchus, Irata, E$G, Ziphoid and other well-known C64 & Amiga scene veterans. The director will be present to discuss the documentary with the audience. The screening will take place in the main university building, lecture theatre KOL-F-118, and is free for all to attend – the more show up, the better!

And when all this is over, there will be more scans posted here again…

Merry Christmas From “Got Papers?”… and Pete & Jamie!

The first year of Got Papers? is coming to an end, and it’s time to thank all contributors to this project. A staggering 431 items have been scanned, categorised, and uploaded since the launch in April, and about three times the amount of artifacts is still waiting to be processed – which will hopefully happen quicker than before, not only due to our volunteers, but also thanks to Gargaj/Conspiracy, who just developed a metadata processing tool for us as an early Christmas present. The credit for the overwhelming amount of materials must go to 49 contributors from all over Europe – sceners who have searched in their basements, wardrobes, and attics for long-forgotten materials and made an effort to share them with us. Thank you!

2016 will be an exciting year for the project – most importantly because we have just received an absolutely stunning donation. Skylab & General Zoff, two C64 pirate veterans from the 1980s, mostly known for their group The Movers, gave us their complete archive for scanning – over 500 pages of intro sketches, stickers, sourcecode snippets, software lists, scrolltext drafts, paper magazines, and, most importantly, hundreds of private letters from sceners all over the world, received by these two teenagers between 1986 and 1989. To provide a sneak preview into these materials, we give you today a Christmas card [metadata] sent over 25 years ago to Zoff & Skylab by another 1980s cracking and swapping duo – Pete & Jamie a.k.a. Thor & Zeus of the legendary British C64 group Teesside Cracking Service. So, we only need to repeat what they wrote back then: “Have a great time at christmas & new year guyz!” (and “girlz”, we may add).  See you in 2016!