Interview with (Malte Mundt) ThunderBlade of Fairlight
What is your alias? If you find the story interesting, then let us know how you came up with it?
Have you changed handles? If so, give us the reason(s) and your previous nickname(s)!
Yes... once, I called myself "Airwolf". But as there was another "Airwolf", being in Genesis Projects, I changed my handle, to avoid misunderstandings.
When and where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born 19.1.1974 in Hamburg/Germany. Today, 14.10.1997, I'm living in Hannover.
When did you get your first computer and which computers do/did you own? When did you get your C64?
My first computer was my C64, which I got in 1987, when I was 13 years old. In 1988 I got an Amiga 500. Meanwhile I own also an Atari STE, a 486 PC, a C16, an Atari VCS 2600 and an Acorn RiscPC.
How did you get to know the scene? Who was your first contact (person you knew) on the scene?
As far as I remember my first scene contact was Brandon of Stash (later Master Delight/Hysteric). I started swapping in 1991 and soon I got some contacts in the scene. That the scene EXISTS, I knew from the beginning, as I always looked at the crackers' intros, read scrolltexts of little demos and so on... I was always interested in it and had high respect towards the real crackers.
Describe your scene career, including all groups you have been a member of! Keep chronological order please!
In early 1988, two classmates and me founded the United Software Kings. In 1988, I founded The Airwolf-Team of the 1.8.1988. It died from external and internal pressure in 1995, and I left the scene. I build a scene-independant group called Exxos. In 1996, I was offered to join Fairlight by Bacchus and Sledge, and agreed. As I was the almost only active member then, I left in 1997. Afterwards, I build a small group, named DMAgic, together with my best friend. Apart from all that, I joined a game-label called Protovision. In the beginning of 1997, two contacts and me build the GO64!, a professional printed C64 related magazine, to replace the dead "64'er" and "Magic Disk".
Which scene do/did you consider best and why? If you have been only on the C64, then give us the reason(s)!
The Amiga scene always has been a bit more arrogant than the C64 scene, that's why I finally decided to stay on C64. But arrogance and hatred can be seen everywhere, even in the so-called "friendship" scene of the C64. I am sure the C64 used to be the best in the 80's and maybe still early 90's, but nowadays I don't find any scene attracting anymore. I thought about entering the Acorn scene but there people are not enthusiastic about their machine..
What do you think you gained by being a member of the scene?
A lot of experience for real life. Because in the scene, there are human beings, and they behave like human beings. There are friends, enemies, lies, wrong promises, hopes, ideas, belief...
I learned about the "mass", about how people are influenced by others, and how people who care are made leaving the scene by those who are only interested in themselves and their "status". And I gained friends there, real friends for life which I wouldn't have had if I were not in the C64 scene.
What do you consider lost, wasted or meaningless during the years you have spent on the scene?
A lot of time. Many projects I did were not appreciated by the scene, well maybe they were small but if you are not the best, you are nothing, and even if you do your best, there will always be some people who scorn you - not because of lacking knowledge, but because you have not their opinion...
A lot of enthusiasm was lost, too.
What is/are/was/were your main interest(s)/function(s)?
I used to be interested in cracking, removing protections. It's fascinating..
Also coding is one of my main interests, although sometimes I lack the necessary patience.
Hardware used to be an interest, but as it is always frustrating when sending poor disk drives to hell, I gave it up...
What made you start doing graphics/composing/swapping/modem trading organising or whatever you did?
Somehow, I was always fascinated by programming...
What are/were your greatest successes/fiascos?
The greatest fiasco surely was the death of the Airwolf-Team.
The greatest success is the GO64! magazine.
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?
Well, against the Airwolf-Team there were declared some wars, first was a group called Accept, who noticed that we took C64 business quite serious and had fun to irritate us by endlessly criticising our products. Later came Avantgarde. One of their members had stolen a game coded by one of our members, and when we found it out and made it public, they gave their best to kill us.
This all stopped when they finally succeeded - when The Airwolf-Team died.
Have you attended parties? Tell us about your favourite conferences? You can even mention some fiascos.
I was at Tribute 1994, it may called a fiasco, as they announced 1000 people would come and afterall it were maybe 200. Nevertheless I enjoyed the party. Then I was on Symposium'96, The Party 6, and (as organizer) at SiliConvention'97.
Is/was there any special feeling in your crew, something more than just being in a group?
Oh yes. The Airwolf-Team, it was always more than just a group. We had a special spirit, it was a group of friends with similar ideals and goals.
What were your favourite groups/artists/coders/productions? Why do/did you like their work/these programs?
Coder: Manfred Trenz. He did simply the best games on C64.
Groups: Well, Eagle Soft is the best cracking group ever. My favourite demogroup is Oxyron, because of Coma Light 11 and 12. Also Skyflash/Oneway has my respect, because of his ingenious crunchers.
Give us a brief description on the development of the scene as you experienced it and computer society in general!
First people cracked for fun, were in groups for fun, enjoyed it. Then they became the scene, an established group of people who had knowledge and abilities. For people without that, it was impossible to enter the scene. Later they even had own magazines, like Mamba. Then the scene became organized. Some groups had hierarchicial structures, members were not just members, they were coders, graphicians, composers, swappers, and had their tasks. Then new computers came, and many people with knowledge left, mainly for Amiga. The former number two's became the new number one's, although partly lacking the necessary wisdom. As the scene got smaller, it opened a bit and let people with less knowledge in. As games stopped having protections, the left-over crackers took the former competition of cracking a protection first (meaning being the best cracker) and re-formed it to the "first release" mania. It became important to have the right contacts to get the orries early, and so you had the first release. As real cracking knowledge and quality of the released wares became more and more unimportant, many good people left the scene. Many of them who didn't did so when people who "cracked" with cartridges and found trainers with poke-finders thought they are someone. Respect for people with real knowledge decreased. In the demo scene, this was different - there still was real knowledge competition - until the limits of the C64 were finally reached. Then style became more important. Nowadays, new games for the C64 are rare, but there are still people who fool the left-over coders who still believe in the C64 by cracking/spreading their stuff. Some people are simply not able to adjust to the flow of time.
Meanwhile, PC's rule everything all over and fun, fascination and enjoyment in computers have disappeared almost completely.
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 am studying computer science. But as computer business nowadays is only about fooling people, I am not sure whether I will work in it.
How did your attitude towards computers change during the years?
In former times, computers fascinated me. C64, Amiga... Today, computers are Wintel PC's, and they represent waste of technology and money.
What do you like doing in your spare-time when not computing? What is/are your hobby(ies)?
Unfortunately, all interests I use to have have vanished.. and as I am now doing GO64! I don't have much time for other things... it's not that I like this situation but I don't know what to do about it, as starting with anything else would mean less time for current activities, and time is already short enough... One small interest I have kept, I regulary visit matches of Hannover's soccer team.
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?
Yes, there are... then I load old games with old ESI intros or play a bit Paperboy or such golden oldies...
What are your plans for the near/far future?
Near: Keep the GO64! magazine going, maybe introduce an English (International) version of it. Realize some C64 coding projects.
Far: I'll try to find a job in which my soul survives, and in my free time I'll do something on my C64... :-)
What is your goal in life? What would you like to achieve?
Find a job, find a girl (, settle down? :-)... I want to be there for my friends, help other people... be there for them... and improve this world a little, little bit...