C64 in Argentina: Crack the Crack

The Polish magazine C&A Fan #4 from last summer contained two articles on Commodore 64 and cracking in Argentina. For me this is a very interesting topic, because both the hardware, software, and the computer cultures were (are?) different there.

The first article is about the company Drean that manufactured the official Argentinian C64 clone, and the other one concerns “cracking” in Argentina. Together they paint a picture of how Drean bought faulty Commodore motherboards, fixed them up, and released them as official clones (unlike most clones that are unauthorized). For the software part, shops sold cracked games and even made their own versions of the EU/US crackintros. I really like this idea of ‘cracking the cracks’, messing with the commercial *and* the underground sense of copyright and attribution. (Hm, I think 8GB once told me that even demos were sold in South America..) Anyway, I asked the author Pablo Roldan for an English version, and I was happy to get a quick response. I have edited the text slightly and here they are for your pleasure. If you have more sources or information to add, please comment! I did not fact check these texts. Also, it seems that CSDb or intros.c64.org could use an update with South American software.

13 Responses to “C64 in Argentina: Crack the Crack”

  1. Akira//8GB Says:

    This was retardedly stupid.
    When I was a kid I didn’t know what was going on.

    To me, acquiring software was only done in one of two ways:
    1- My cousin or friend would copy me some software on a diskette
    2- I would go to teh computer store, and for a little sum, i would get a game copied. Extra if the game took more than one side (!).

    This was my reality from when I was 6 until I was at least 12.

    When I grew up and after getting in contact with US and UK magazines about my beloved Commodore, I came to the realization of what was “piracy”, and original software. I even got lucky and got some german diskmags (from family that lived there), namely 64’er, Golden Disk, GameON, etc.. which would, strangely, include “scenemags” like Mamba (why? Piracy was very punished in Germany since then as far as I remember) that would inform me further about what was the crack scene, demo scene etc. I learned about “lamers”, how to send “fuckings”and all sorts of nice things. I also started to hack into games and create cheats using a machine monitor. Neat times indeed.

    So after all that my mind changed a lot about how I perceived software and copyright. Also changed my mind about the intros I would see slap-banged in front of my games. In most cases, games would get broken when they did that and wouldn’t run properly after that because people here were all lamers. It got worse when the Amiga 600 and 1200 came out, all these lame “recracks” would not run on the new machines, since most sported “awesome” “”””intros”””” made with RSI Demomaker :S I go to hate these people, specially Bad Boy (Crackers Revenge).

    Another interesting thing is that, tehse Drean C64 machines, were all a fucking weird hybrid. We use PAL-N here, a weird PAL standard hat is, hehe, not standard. Normal PAL (B, G, what everyone uses) is useless here, you can’t see colours or hear sound (through RF) because I think it’s a PAL freq. but with an NTSC colour system.
    So these machines were hybrid NTSC/PAL machines. Their VIC is NTSC, but the clock crystal is set to PAL and the RF modulator outputs PAL-N. This brings weird shit, like, NTSC tuning table for SID, but on PAL speeds. Really shitty machines for ANYTHING. I had a german C128 myself :)

    Og fuck that was tl;dr!

    • chipflip Says:

      I got through it! :) What do you mean that this was retardedly stupid? Are there any flaws or inaccuracies in the text? Or do you mean the Argentinian ‘cracker scene’? Also, I remember you saying something about buying demos back in the days. Is that correct? Or did you mean the diskmags that came with german magazines?

      • Akira//8GB Says:

        NO, no, the fact that these people would “recrack” the games was retared! Let me emphasize on the quotes of “recrack” as what I could say most of these people did was only “completely break” games. Many times they included in the same game, allegedly, PAL and NTSC fixes… most of these games would not run in my european C128 and they were a disgrace to get into. You had argentinian “recracker” intro, US distro intro, european provider intro, cracker intro… it was stupid and this broke games since I bet shit was removed to fit these many cracktros!!

        Yes, I did indeed buy demos. My first contact with demos was accidental, in many of these “one sided” C64 game disks, there was extra space filled up with short demos of mainly american cracker groups. They would be more like intros: some routines, a tune (usually ripped) and some text with fuckings, greetings and the like. But then when I got to the Amiga, my soft provider (to whom I stuck with since none of my friends had an Amiga so I knew this old guy since I was 6 until I was like 21, he was like an uncle to me! :P) one day when I went to his shop (everybody else would had quit providing sot for Amiga and C64 around 1993 except him), he showed me something that he said “you would probably like”.

        He inserted a disk in the Amiga and fired it up.
        It was Technological Death by Mad Elks.
        That was the first trackmo I ever saw. I was ecstatic! And I had to pay for it and everything (little) else he had that was similar. The cost was the same, one disk, X amount of pesos! (it used to be 1 copy 1 peso, and each diskette, 1 or 1.5 pesos)

        Soon thereafter I found out PD companies in the UK would also store demos in their catalogs and tried, with much fail, to import those. I wonder, however, how was that dealt with by demosceners? Most PD companies back then stored demos in their catalogs.

        I also paid for my first tracker. But it was pirate indeed. It was DSS8 by GVP, and this same guy gave it to me with the same reasoning (“you will enjoy using this app”). I wonder where he is, if he’s still alive, I’d like to buy him a beer and see how he’s doing.

  2. TRUE CHIP TILL DEATH • TCTD micronews for 2009-12-07 Says:

    […] Cracking the c64 in Argentina: https://chipflip.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/c64-in-argentina-crack-the-crack/ 21 mins […]

  3. chipflip Says:

    Ah, PD companies selling demos – an interesting parallell. Hm. Maybe some saw it as a compliment, that a ‘PD-lamer’ would distribute their works.

    I was also blown away by Technological Death, but my brother showed it to me for free :)

    • Akira//8GB Says:

      I remember this PD thing pissed off many demo makers. Some credits said stuff like “do NOT sell this ins PD libraries/disks” or some such thing. Therefore my paying for a demo was no different. But yeah it was a shame that I didn’t have anyone with an Amiga nearby, that was my main problem, otherwise, the spread would be big. The Amiga userbase was VERY small, I was lucky to have one (my uncle gave it to me as a present, in 1992, real late! But I couldn’t afford one. HE also gave me my C128 before, which I couldn’t afford either!).

      The C64 userbase in my school was STILL small, only two guys had them and we tried to swap as much as we could, but you also got to realize the socio-economical reality of Argentina back then. A computer was a very luxurious product to have at home. Only rich families would have access to it. I just got lucky I had family living in German and buying this wasn’t as troublesome for them (they had computers since forever)

  4. Akira//8GB Says:

    I just read that the article mentions the Drean C64 being more compatible with PAL games than NTSC machines and I think this is incorrect, as I said, since these machines have NTSC VICs.

  5. Akira//8GB Says:

    Also says these machines were faster, which is not what I remember from the ones I used. They were all high pitched and slower.

  6. Akira // 8GB Says:

    I suppose I only had access to these fucking NTSC VIC machines. I only owned two Dreans and that was when I was collecting, I sold and/or threw them out long ago because they were useless to me.

    But I don’t understand, why would MOS technologies make a PAL-N version of the VIC? Can you explain this? It’s really far fetched.

  7. m Says:

    mr chipflip must upload these cracks to the http://noname.c64.org/csdb/

  8. Crackers Cracking Cracks « CHIPFLIP Says:

    […] Cracking Cracks By chipflip Akira has uploaded a bunch of C64-games at CSDb. As seen here before, the Argentinian C64-scene was special because 1) they had its own C64-clone that worked with the […]

  9. Al Warka and the Iraqi Home Computer Scene « CHIPFLIP Says:

    […] But it’s important to not forget other regions. I’ve previously written about C64 cracking in Argentina, but there’s lots more to research about e.g Asia, Africa and the Middle […]

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