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Sébastien Laborie

Sébastien Laborie


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Today, we had the chance to talk to Orion, the second person we interview from the famous Replicants group. But there is more, Sébastien was also a member of Fuzion. These days he is very active in the scene and lately he was responsible for releasing the obscure Son Shu Shi, a game thought to be lost in time. If you want to learn more about the French cracking scene in its hay days, this is something for you.


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Sébastien Laborie Interview

Written by Brume

April 14, 2021

1) Intro
2) His history with computers
3) The first steps into programming
4) The copy party that started it all
5) The beginnings at Fuzion
6) Starting as a rookie
7) The tools used to crack and pack
8) The Replicants come into play
9) Working for 2 groups at once
10) The Empire strikes back
11) The scene in the good old days
12) Though game to crack
13) Reaching the goal of 200 menudisks
14) A fake release of Fuzion #200
15) More Fuzion CDs in the pipeline
16) The demise of the Replicants
17) Nintendon't!
18) Escaping the law
19) The memories
20) Revisiting the scene
21) Re-revisiting the scene
22) The dec0de project
23) Son Shu Shi
24) Once lost, now found
25) Enhancing a classic
26) The hardest thing to accomplish with the release?
27) What do the creators think?
28) Cracking tools of today
29) Releasing the source code
30) Details of the protection
31) Reuniting the Replicants
32) The Crackers - by Microzeit
33) Other projects
34) Favorites
35) Thoughts on the productions of these days
36) No final words

1) Hello Orion. First of all, thanks a lot for taking the time and doing this interview. You are the second person of The Replicants we have the honour of talking to, ever since the interview with Excalibur over 10 years ago. Can you introduce yourself in a few words for the people who haven't heard of you before?

I am Sébastien, 47 years old, I live in Paris, France. I discovered computers at the age of 12 and I was instantly fascinated by them. I was an active cracker on Atari ST between 1989 and 1993 in both Fuzion (a French group that specialized in compact disks) and The Replicants (the famous cracking group). Today, I’ve turned my passion into my job and I work for a US company as an engineer in the field of embedded systems.

2) When and how did you first enter the world of the micro computer? What was your first computer?

A friend of my parents gave me a ZX81 computer for my 12th birthday. I remember my first time with this machine as it was yesterday. I opened the manual, plugged in the machine, and booted it. The prompt of the BASIC interpreter appeared on the screen. I tapped in "Print 2 + 2" and pressed ENTER. The magic worked and I immediately understood that it was my thing.

3) What did you do with the computer in those days? Did you play a lot of games?

I developed small programs in BASIC. I really loved that. Video games didn't interest me much. However, one game had a special impact on me: 3D Monster Maze: it was the first time that I saw Z80 machine code. It was mysterious to me because I only knew BASIC.

4) Then came the Atari ST. How did that happen?

In 1987, my parents had just moved to a small town in Seine-et-Marne, near Meaux. I was 13 years old and our new neighbours invited me to their house because they were organizing a "party" between friends with lots of computers and they probably understood that I might be interested, having a ZX81 myself. I remember walking into their house and finding lots of Amiga and Atari machines in every room. Several machines were running the game Goldrunner which had just been released. All these machines, these colorful graphics, this music… I was completely amazed. It was my first copy party and I didn't know it yet. However, I immediately realized that I needed one of these machines. The Amiga was too expensive. I was therefore offered an Atari for my 14th birthday. During the first two years, I mainly coded small programs in ST BASIC and GFA BASIC. I also got cracked games thanks to a work colleague of my father. So, I discovered cracktros! I actually spent as much time watching them over and over as playing the games. My favourite crew was The Replicants. I loved the intros coded by DOM for IK+ and Barbarian II.

5) It seems to me Fuzion was your first group? Who created Fuzion and when did this happen?

Fuzion was created by Cameo and Ellfire for fun during a weekend of summer 1989 at Cameo’s home. Cameo and Ellfire met through an ad in the famous French computer magazine TILT in order to exchange software on Atari ST. Cameo was already in the ST demo scene and therefore had some technical skills. He was in the demo group The Constellations (CST) under the nick Andromeda. I met Ellfire, Kasar and Fulcrum in high school (Lycée Henri Moissan) in Meaux. We were studying different subjects but met outside of class to exchange cracked games on the Atari ST. In autumn 1989, Ellfire presented us Fuzion as the new cracking group which was going to become number one and bypass The Replicants! He was kidding of course, but two months later, Kasar, Fulcrum and I joined the group to take up this challenge! In reality, it was mainly for fun and showing off to impress other school friends.

6) What was your role in the group at the beginning? Did you immediately started cracking and packing games? Where did you learn how to do it?

In the beginning, I did not know the assembly language and I had never cracked or packed a game! I was just a lamer, like all of us except Cameo! He got us started (Kasar and I) by providing us with examples of ASM sources. Later, he also taught me some cracking techniques. Cameo was our mentor. But I had to learn everything on the job, starting with the ASM sources I got from him and the famous technical book 'La Bible du ST'. It was a long learning process. At first, I focused on coding intros. I always loved coding. I also started packing simple games using standard tools. Nothing really difficult. It took a year before I cracked my first game, Strider 2, in December 1990. In the summer of 1990, an unexpected event occurred which almost ended the group: Snake offered Cameo to join The Replicants. The co-founder of Fuzion, our mentor, and the only cracker in the group dropped us. The future was in our hands: either we adapt and develop ourselves to survive, else Fuzion was going to die and disappear… So I had no choice but to quickly acquire skills and take over for cracking, filing and packing games.

7) Which tools did you use?

To develop my intros and the routines used in my cracks, I always used Devpac (GenST). For the reverse engineering and the cracking, I started with MonST. I remember the first time I used this tool. It was the first time that I debugged a program in machine code. This first session lasted for hours and it was a revelation: I was good at it and I loved it. I remember going to bed right after this long debugging session. I then had a completely weird dream: I was debugging my brain! Tracing my thoughts under the debugger as if I were stepping through my code! Later, I switched to Adebug which was much powerful. Most of my cracks were done using Adebug.

8) Next you joined the Replicants? How come?

When Cameo left Fuzion in mid 1990, The Replicants were at the top while Fuzion was in danger. But two years later, the situation changed completely: The Replicants were declining in popularity, old members had stopped their activities and Cameo was alone in the cracking business and it was more and more complicated for him to obtain 'original games'. On the other side, Fuzion was shining: we were able to obtain original games quite easily. I had become a good cracker and I regularly made file versions with mega-trainers, so quality cracking was ensured, many groups wanted to collaborate with us and develop intros for us.

We had reached quite a level of maturity in the business, our reputation was at its highest level! At this stage, Cameo had no other choice than to call his old friends in order to restore the leadership of The Replicants. So Ellfire, Celtik and I joined the legendary Replicants while remaining in Fuzion. For all of us, it was like a dream to be able to join The Replicants. When we all started on the Atari ST, obtaining the first cracks which we swapped in our high school, a Replicants intro before the game started was something mysterious and exciting and, for sure, inaccessible for all of us! Somehow, it was a kind of proud revenge for the initial Fuzion members: Cameo left us in 1990 to join The Replicants in a period we were close to lamers in terms of coding and cracking. Fuzion could have disappeared with his departure, but two years later, he needed us to make The Replicants live again.

9) So you continued working for Fuzion as well during that time? How was the relation between the 2 groups?

Yes, in fact Cameo, Ellfire, and I were in both groups at the same time. Fuzion was buying the original games to fuel The Replicants with the latest news to crack. The goal was to crack and spread these news as fast as possible under The Replicants flag. Then we made improved versions (link-filed, packed, ramdisk…) for Fuzion’s menus. These versions required more work and therefore more time, so we made them only for Fuzion for which reactivity was not essential. During this period (mid 1992-mid 1993), The Replicants and Fuzion were two different groups but in reality one team.

10) There still seems to be a little war raging between The Replicants and The Empire. Do you have any idea where that came from?

In the beginning, both groups got the original games from the same video game magazine where some of their swappers were working! They were therefore in competition and this could lead to conflicts. This is probably one of the reasons, but certainly not the only one. This public war did not prevent mutual respect and even real friendships. For example, we were very close to Blue Max from V8 who lived in the same city and who visited us regularly at Ellfire’s HQ.

11) How did you feel about the Atari scene in general back then? Did you attend regularly at copy parties?

At the time, I was a shy teenager and rarely went to the copy parties. I was satisfied with the private meetings of the group (Fuzion or Replicants) during which we always had a lot of fun. There was real fellowship within the group. So I spent most of my time either alone at home coding and cracking, or at Ellfire's HQ with the rest of the group. I was a kind of a geek, I was passionate about the technical side of it all and I completely relied on Ellfire for the relationship with the rest of the scene. But today, I regret that I was not more present in the scene and that I did not get involved in a more personal way with other sceners. I probably missed a lot of the scene history.

12) Which games gave you the most headaches when cracking? Which were the hardest to break?

Parasol Stars had a great protection scheme: a huge decryption shell, then several internal Rob Northen Copylocks, and finally more than 30 checksums hidden everywhere in the game. A nightmare! Besides this one, I don't remember any other difficult protections. I remember that many crackers were afraid of games written in high-level languages such as Silmarils games. These games are very difficult to trace under a debugger. DOM was known to be a specialist in cracking such games. For my part, I had developed a technique that allowed me to crack these games in less than 2 hours.

13) Fuzion managed to release 198 menudisks. Why did you not reach 200 menus?

With Ellfire, we had planned to stop at menu 200. But an event as terrible as unexpected occurred in the summer of 1993 which suddenly put an end to the Fuzion and Replicants adventure and which prevented us to release the last two menus…

14) At the Demozoo website, there is a compilation of NoExtra, where the intro to FUZION #200 can be found. Is this for real?

This is either a fake or the personal initiative of a scener who was a fan of us, but it is certainly not the intro planned for the menu 200.

15) But at the moment, do you plan to release menus 199 and 200? And if yes, do you have already have an idea what would be on them?

It's on my to-do list! I have some ideas for menu 199, but I’m still looking for a good idea for menu 200…

16) How and when did the story fo the Replicants end?

In 1993, the Atari ST was on the decline and we wanted to launch The Replicants on Super Nintendo consoles. I even got a development kit for the SNES and I was about to get started with this new machine. But in order to be able to copy and swap the games, it was necessary for each user to have a 'copier'. This 'copier' enabled you to load the game from a floppy disk instead of reading the cartridge. So it was first necessary to equip French users with a copier before being able to copy, crack (add trainers for instance) and swap the games. So we started importing copiers for SNES consoles from Hong-Kong. But Nintendo's business model was not Atari's, and by copying SNES games, we were directly harming their business.

So the reaction was quick: a few months later, on July 7th, Ellfire was arrested by the Police Special Investigation branch. He was brought to jail in the center of Paris (Châtelet) for 48 hours and he was then interrogated by the famous justice magistrate Edith Boizette who was usually dealing with politics such as Bernard Tapie or large companies such as Toshiba. It was a shock to all of us (and to our parents) and a terrible fright. We had no choice but to stop our illegal activities immediately. It was the end of Fuzion and The Replicants.

17) Were you also involved in the Nintendo part or were you only interested in Atari?

Ellfire, Celtik and I were involved in the Nintendo adventure. We imported the copiers in turn. Ellfire was arrested by the police because it was his parcel that was intercepted at customs. But it could have been mine. I just had a stroke of luck.

18) Finally, during the Nintendo crack down, only a few crackers were really worried. How did you manage to escape prosecution?

In this affair, 37 pirates were arrested simultaneously in France. For 4 years Ellfire was under a probation period during which he had to visit the local police station in Meaux every week in order to check in. He was not allowed to leave the French territory unless he had special authorization from the justice magistrate. It took 4 years between the arrest and the legal proceedings. When the legal proceedings were held, the sentence for most of the pirates was a combination of a fine (between 5000 and 20,000 French Francs) and a prison reprieve (meaning that you should not be arrested again in the following years, otherwise the jail sentence would be applied). Fun fact: the last Super Nintendo copiers were sold in order to pay Ellfire’s fine!

19) What memories do you cherish from the Fuzion/Replicants period? Do you have some cool memories you like to share with us perhaps?

This adventure was unique in more ways than one: it was an incredible technical learning, a cultural and underground experience, and a human adventure especially as it took place during our teenage years. I remember the carefreeness, the positive rivalries, the fun and the fellowship. The Fuzion & Replicants experience was decisive for me, because this learning in the field made the difference during my studies and then in my job. I certainly owe the job I have today to this amazing experience. I have a very funny anecdote: Celtik was older than us, he had a job, was married and had children. But his marriage was in crisis because he was spending too much time with us, teenagers, hacking on Atari ST. So one day, to get revenge, his wife reported him to the police! Two police officers came to their home to interrogate Celtik. But one of the police officers was actually our friend Thys Elroy, another hacker on Atari ST! They continued the interrogation normally and, once back at the police station, our friend simply buried the case!

20) After this adventure, you quit the Atari scene, only to return 12 years later (mostly thanks to Atari-Forum). Why did you regain interest in the scene?

After Ellfire got busted, I stopped all underground activities, I focused on studying computer science until I got my first job at Sun Microsystems in 1999. Fun fact: I met Steprate of Equinox at the university. We studied together and worked for 10 years in the same company and even in the same team! In the mid-2000s, I decided to dump all the Atari ST floppy disks I still had. There were all my sources and some cracks on these floppy disks and I wanted to preserve them. Nostalgia took me back. I then wanted to find my old friends and in particular Cameo, my mentor. So I browsed the various forums and groups on the net. I found Jace (a former member of Fuzion!) who had created a web site dedicated to The Replicants. But no trace of Cameo ... So I left again because at that time I did not feel the wish to get involved in the new ST scene.

21) So you left the scene again, for more than 10 years. Only to return yet again, and today you are one of the most active members. Why?

In 2016, I received a notification email from FB telling me that people were talking about one of my cracktros on the Replicants page. So I logged into FB and started discussing with them. Nostalgia took me back again. And I tried to find Cameo once again. But this time an unexpected event occurred: after asking the question about Cameo on FB, Cooper of Paradise invited me in a secret FB group which had been created by Jace: 'The Replicants'. The aim of this group was to find the former members of The Replicants. Jace and Cooper had already found Fury, Illegal, Excalibur, R.AL and Zae, but all the others were missing. So I decided to join them in this hunt for The Replicants! In 4 years, we managed to find almost all former Replicants members: Snake, DOM, Maxi, Ratboy… and finally Cameo! Through Facebook, I also got closer to the guys involved in the preservation of Atari ST productions (Atari Legend, Demozoo, STonish ...) and I gave them a hand by convincing several of my mates to give their floppy disks so they could be dumped. I therefore realized how important the preservation of the Atari ST heritage is and wanted to contribute in my own way. Based on my past experience, I decided to focus on documenting protection and cracking techniques. Today, I make retro-cracks and I publish the fully documented sources of these cracks on my Github.

22) Together with Maartau/Atari Legend you have worked on a project called 'Dec0de'. Can you tell us what this project is about? what is its goal?

This project comes from a funny anecdote: I wanted to extract the texts from all Fuzion's intros for the Demozoo site. To achieve this, I decided to unpack all the intros using existing tools like "The Naughty Unpacker". But for several intros, it didn't work. So I looked under Adebug and realized that many intros were protected against reverse engineering using tools developed at the time by crackers. For instance: Cooper from Cameo, Anti-Bitos from Illegal, Megaprot from R.AL... There was no tool to remove such protections. In other words, there was no tool equivalent to "The Naughty Unpacker" for these protection shells. So, I decided to develop one. Maartau was an incredible help because he collects all the protections! This made it possible to enrich dec0de with most of the protection systems created at the time. Then, a second version of dec0de was released with the possibility of removing Rob Northen Copylocks from protected games! Once again, Maartau played a major role in providing me with all of the Rob Northen Copylocks he found in the original games available on Atarimania. It is important to specify that all reverse engineering of these protections was done under Adebug. In other words, I cracked all the protections supported by dec0de under Adebug, the old-school way! It was the challenge I set myself.

23) Let's talk about Son Shu Shi, and let's start at the beginning. For those who don't know, this game was released by Expose Software in 1991, in very low quantity. An original version of the game was never found, and we only had an incomplete crack by Terminator Kid. It took almost 30 years for a fully working version to surface. And to make matters worse, the Amiga version was found half through the 2000's, but no trace of the ST version.

Yes, Son Shu Shi is one of the few games for which there is no 100% version: the only ST version is the crack of Terminator Kid and this version is not properly cracked (several checksum routines are still active in the game) and in addition all the images available on the Internet are corrupted.

24) But you have found an original, fully working version, right? You completely cracked and trained it. How did you manage to find it?

While looking for former Replicants members, I found Mit from the demo-group NeXT. Mit was also cracking for The Replicants under the nick Black Angel. When he told me that he still had all of his floppies, I convinced him to give them for preservation. And in the lot, there was a surprise... A developer version of Son Shu Shi which was 100% functional. It made sense because Mit worked for Expose Software, the company that published Son Shu Shi.

25) What exactly have you done to this version of Son Shu Shi?

The commercial version (the crack of Terminator Kid) is slightly different from the developer version (provided by Mit): the commercial version has additional features: life credits, speedup of disk loading using a cache in high memory, a different mechanism to pause the game... In fact, I realized that only the main program of the game is different, but all the other programs and data are identical. So the idea was to restore the version of Terminator Kid thanks to the developer version (by replacing the corrupted data in Terminator Kid’s version with the correct data extracted from the developer version), and to start from this restored version to make a 100% functional crack with lots of improvements:
- Completely remove the copy-protection, especially the 11 checksum routines hidden in the game (4 checksum routines were still active in Terminator Kid’s crack);
- Add a mega-trainer;
- Repack game files using UPX (was Pack-Ice from Superior in the original version);
- Make a file version, ie make the game load its data from a filesystem (originally, the game did not use a filesystem but loaded its data from hard-coded disk areas without TOS assistance);
- Use a ramdisk when possible to speed up loading;
- Add 1.44 MB high density floppy disk support;
- Add hard-drive support;
- Add support for MegaSTe, TT, Falcon and CT60 machines;
- Use improved sample replay routines (music modules and sound FX) that work on Falcon (and that do no longer hang on ST in the high score screen!);
- Improve the stability of the rasters in the high score screen;
- Allow the musics to be played at 50Hz, and the game frame rate to run the correct speed, on 60Hz VGA monitors;
- Use improved ACIA/IKBD routines (keyboard/joystick) so that IKBD events are no longer lost (original routines used a weird and unreliable mechanism);
- Modify the game finale (special animation played when the game has been finished) so that it is now possible to access the high score screen and restart the game;
- Fix several bugs that were present in the game but that only appear on fast machines;

26) What was the hardest thing to accomplish with this game?

Clearly, porting the game on the Falcon and CT60 machines! I do not have a real Atari machine at home and therefore have to work on an emulator (I use Hatari on Mac OS). And these Atari machines are only partially emulated. So, after each development, I had to ask a friend to test my work on real hardware, then if there was a problem, I had to understand the root cause and fix it (without being able to reproduce the problem myself) and start again this process until the problem is fixed. It was particularly tedious and frustrating. So thanks a lot to Twister, GT Turbo, Cooper and you for the testing!

27) Do the original creators of the game, and the people at Explose Software, agree with what you did to their game?

Yes, they are very excited! We are all passionate and the preservation of our common history is important for all of us.

28) Which tools do you use today for cracking?

Exactly the same tools as at the time: GenST for the development and Adebug for the reverse engineering. And the funny thing is, I use the versions I dumped from my own floppy disks! Note also that I kept all my sources and in particular all my 'cracking' routines of the time ...

29) So you managed to create a working version of this game once and for all? Are you planning on releasing the sources of your work?

Yes, this is the first 100% version of Son Shu Shi for Atari ST: the copy-protection has been completely removed and all the data is now correct. My goal is the preservation of cracking techniques and this involves sharing knowledge. So yes, the sources of my crack of Son Shu Shi are freely distributed.

30) Even though this developer version wan't as well protected as the commercial version by Terminator Kid, you have completely analysed everything. The game was incredibly well protected. Can you share some more details?

It's true, in the developer version, there is no protection. But in Terminator Kid's version, there is none either. Indeed, the part that checks that the disk is an original copy has been removed by Terminator Kid and only the checksums are still present in the game. Keep in mind that no original of this game was found. So when I started working on Son Shu Shi, I only had Terminator Kid's version and this new developer version, both without copy protection. So, initially, I had no idea what protection was used in the commercial version. But while I was investigating the checksum routines of Son Shu Shi, I discovered that one of these routines was using the value 'SYNC' to decode a magic value. SYNC ... like the demo group? I then explained my discovery to Troed / SYNC who was very surprised and immediately told me that the same checksum routine was used in the protection of Audio Sculpture. The copy protection of Audio Sculpture was known to be tough, and there was a thread in Atari Forum about it. So I studied this thread and traced the protection of Audio Sculpture under Hatari to see if the "checksums" part was the same as that of Son Shu Shi. And bingo, the checksums were the same! I then thought that the same protection had perhaps been used on all the games published by Expose Software... I thus traced No Buddies Land under Adebug, and there too, I found the same checksums. That was it: the same copy protection had been used on all releases published by Expose Software but this copy protection is only present on Audio Sculpture today, since no original of Son Shu Shi and No Buddies Land had been found.

So I studied in detail the protection present on Audio Sculpture and I wrote a technical documentation which explains how it works: This copy-protection is called IPL (Initial Program Load) and it actually consists of three different protections assembled into a single mega-protection whose complete execution takes 15 seconds! It was developed by talented Atari ST sceners and is probably one of the most evil protections used on Atari ST! The first part of the protection was originally developed by Illegal (The Replicants) for the game Toki but Ocean decided not to use it. The fact that Illegal's protection was not used on the game Toki had led Illegal to crack Toki and code the famous intro in which he gives the finger, which sparked a memorable controversy between him and M-Coder! So the Toki protection was eventually integrated in the IPL. The second part of the IPL was developed by Zarathustra (The Invisibles) and also includes a piece of code developed by Altair (the author of the Atomik Packer). Zarathustra (Pascal de France), who unfrotunately passed away in 1999 (at the age of 30) had a central place in Expose Software. He was an outstanding coder and a person with a great sense of human relations. The third part of the IPL was developed by Zarathustra, with the help of Illegal and Redhead from SYNC (hence the checksum routine which uses the value 'SYNC' ...). After I finished documenting this incredible protection, I suddenly had an idea: even if this protection is no longer executed in the crack of Terminator Kid, it is perhaps still be present on the floppy disk? I then inspected the tracks of the disk of Son Shu Shi to see if I could find pieces of the copy protection of Audio Sculpture, and bingo! It was still there. Final proof was thus provided…

31) The release of Son Shu Shi is really something special. You have called all your old friends of The Replicants and a completely new intro and scroll text is made, filled with hidden surprises. Can you tell us a bit more? And how were you able to convince all the old members of the Replicants to participate in this release?

For this special crack, I wanted a special intro… So I asked all the former members of The Replicants, as well as some of their close friends, to participate in the scrolltext to tell us their memories and give us news! It was also the perfect opportunity since Jace, Cooper and I had just found them all during the past few years. So, you will find there: DOM, Excalibur, Rank Xerox, Fury, Illegal, Maxi, Cameo as well as Mit (who provided us with the developer version of Son Shu Shi), Zae (formerly swapper for The Replicants, owner of the famous Replicants address '5 & 7 Places des Marseillaises' and also the founder of Expose Software), AVB and many others… It was not difficult to convince them to join the project because they all have fond memories of the ST adventure. But collecting all the texts took a little time because everyone is now quite busy in their family and professional life! This mega-scrolltext (with 20 participants and several tens of KB of text!) is not in the main screen of the intro... it is in a hidden screen, so you have to find it! This is a brand new intro, specially created for this crack. The main screen was coded by Jace / HMD, the graphics are from Dieu / HMD and the music (2 pieces) which I really love is from Dma-Sc / Sector One. And cherry on the cake, the hidden screen was coded by Fury! This is his comeback on the ST coding scene, 30 years later! And don't miss the incredible ASCII art made by Senser / Effect in the README.TXT file!

32) Marco Breddin (Sodan of the group Stax) is working on a new book dealing about the underground world of crackers on the ST. I guess the Replicants play a big part in it as well? Can you share some details about this? Did you manage to uncover all the dark secrets of the group for this book?

This book will be an incredible event. There will be huge surprises and real stars from the era. The Replicants will of course be there. But let's be patient and wait a few more months to find out!

33) Do you have some other projects on the Atari ST in the pipeline? Are there still games you like to crack?

I will continue documenting cracking techniques, and the next copy protection I will describe is from 1986 and is exceptional for the time. It has undoubtedly inspired many other protections. Studying new protections, participating in the Crackers book, retro-cracking games, finishing the last two Fuzion menus... I have a lot of things on my To Do list!

34) If you were forced to leave and stay on a deserted island, which 10 games / 10 demos would you take with you?

These games had a big impact on me:
- Goldrunner (the first game I discovered on the ST)
- The Secret of Monkey Island (The only game I finished without trainer mode!)
- Bubble Bobble (I broke so many joysticks because of this game!)
- Le Manoir de Mortevielle
- Speed Ball 2
- Xenon 2
- IK+
- Spherical
- Buggy Boy
- Lemmings

And these demos are essential:
- The Union Demo
- The Cuddly Demo
- SoWatt
- The Mindbomb Demo
- Life's A Bitch
- Dark Side Of The Spoon
- Ooh Crikey Wot A Scorcher
- Froggies over the fence
- Virtual Escape
- We Were @

35 ) What do you think of the latest productions on the Atari ST?

I admire and thank all those who participate in the effort to preserve the Atari ST heritage. And all the new productions (demos or cracks), blogs, forums, coding parties go in this direction. The rivalries of the time have been replaced by goodwill and knowledge sharing and that is a great thing.

36) Any final words of wisdom?

Let’s wrap……

OK, thanks for this interview. It was a nicely detailed trip down the hackers memory lane!

Wanne learn more? See our full video.

Interview Comments

Please log in to add your own comment to this interview

Great interview, full of details and anecdotes, really an enjoyable read! Thanks a lot!

It lifts the veil on a lot of things that were very mysterious to me as a teenager swapping disks at school! I'm French but I did not even realize some of these groups like The Replicants were French, because I did not speak English at the time and could not read the scrolltexts... Still I did spend a lot of time looking at the cracktros.

I'm looking forward to more scrolltexts being collected on the AtariLegend menus pages to be able to finally read the ones from The Replicants and others!
April 14, 2021

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Terry Lloyd

July 16, 2024 by grams88

When Sega released its Master System, it came bundled with the game Alex Kid. To this day the game remains very popular, loved by many. One of those people is Terry Lloyd. More so, Alex Kid was the main inspiration for the Atari ST platform classic Axel's Magic Hammer. But that is just one of his many accomplishments. Terry has been around the block. Working as a game programmer at the beginning of the 80's for Gremlin Graphics, he then moved on to Core Design, which he helped get off the ground. During the 90's he formed the company Malibu Interactive. On the Atari ST, Terry's resumé include Dynamite Dux, Car-Vup, Rick Dangerous 1 & 2, Torvak the Warrior, WarZone and many more. Read all about this veteran of the games industry in this exciting interview.

Adrian Powell

April 18, 2024 by grams88

It doesn't always have to be about computers, coding and graphics. Adrian Powell, the artist behind the original Lemmings game, crafted all its artwork, including box art and promotional materials. His passion for painting lemmings has persisted over time and he is still painting lemmings to this day. Powell's work remains influential and has helped selling millions of copies of this classic (ST) game.

François Lionet

February 22, 2024 by grams88

Every ST enthusiast must have heard of François Lionet, haven't they? He is the creator of STOS, The Game Creator, and the individual who single-handedly taught thousands of people how to program and create games. Without his contributions, we might never have known about figures like Tony Greenwood or Deano Sharples, and the ST Format cover discs would have appeared far less vibrant. Let's discover the stories that the godfather of STOS has to share.

Ian Scott

August 21, 2023 by ST Graveyard

Success stories on the Atari ST are rare. But 18 year old bedroom coder Ian Scott managed to do it. In 1992 he released his STOS graphic adventure Grandad and the Quest for the Holey Vest and it turned into an absolute cult classic. This is his story ... and so much more.

Frederic Gerard

March 18, 2023 by ST Graveyard

Frédéric Gérard was an Atari ST demo-scener who became a professional game programmer. He started his career at Titus in 1990, after he came 5th in the notorious Génération 4 demo competition. He is responsible for one of the absolute best arcade racers on the Atari ST, Crazy Cars 3. This interview takes us back to 1985, where it all started. From demoscene nostalgia to the development of an absolute classic.

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