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The story of International Network of Chaos

This is not the history of the C+64 scene, but instead the history of INC and a few tidbits about some groups we were directly involved with.

International Network of Chaos was formed in October of 1987 by The Shark. The purpose of the group was to import games from Europe into the USA. At this time, The Shark was at the level just below the elites of the scene and wanted to move up. Originally, The Shark was the only member of INC until the addition of Zombie (BBS operator) two months later. Also at this time, The Shark was attempting to gather up contacts in Europe to begin trading. First on the list was Strider of FairLight whom The Shark had briefly talked to earlier when he was in WCC. FLT was at the time trading with FBR. Two other attempted contacts were Lethal of Hotline and Ian of CCS (who later became Ian of Fusion). Ian was at the time receiving a lot of games in the mail that had not yet made it to the USA which could serve to be a valuable contact. At this time, not every Euro had a modem and the idea of phreaking was almost nonexistent among the Euros. USA groups had the Euros "on a leash" as we use to say. Times were good. One problem existed with Ian was that he did not have a modem. To persuade him to trade with INC, The Shark offered him a 300 baud modem (yikes!) which was believe it or not was a very popular speed at the time. After Ian had received the modem (about late '87 to early '88) everything appeared to looking good for INC (we still hadn't released a game). One slight problem. Only days later, RAD had mailed Ian a 1200 baud modem and an NTSC C+64. Guess who traded with Fusion? This was a clever, but dirty deal on the part of Ian since he swindled a 300 baud modem from me which he would later send to another member (I sent that fucker 2-day mail to England! $40!). Well, hoping that all wasn't lost I asked Ian if he would consider sending me the games he got in the mail from other groups. This was agreed to but it later turned out not to be such a great deal since Fusion would either recrack some of the games that they received in the mail or they wouldn't send them over in the hopes that they would get them in their shops soon. Although he did send INC about 2-3 games which provided INC with their first releases (utter shit though except for Jinxster).

Back in the USA, Zombie was kicked out of INC for being incompetent and a new member was added, The Butcher. The Butcher provided an added advantage because he lived on the East Coast in which he could get home from school three hours earlier than my self. In addition, he knew a hacker by the name of Nodooles who supplied us regularly. At this same time, I was also talking with FLT who (along with Triad) were releasing the top games (i.e., the multiloaders - games with multiple files causing havoc among the flock of freezing flunkies in the UK - Fusion included). FBR was now controlled by a guy named Oahawhool who was quite a character (and my arch rival). He was a master of bullshitting and deception -- also a well known drug addict (haha). I desperately wanted to trade with FLT but Strider was committed to FBR. Oahawhool, knowing that I wanted to trade with FLT, attempted to spread propaganda about me to Strider and others on the scene. The bad news for Oahawhool was that Butcher lived in the same city and knew a lot about Oahawhool...A lot of bad things. For more on this, see ex_64ers. The acts by Oahawhool towards me only made me work even harder to get FLT as a contact. More on this later. Back in England, I was still trying to persuade Fusion to trade with INC by sending them USA cracks and other groups' imports. Two new members had recently joined Fusion -- Mark LeMay and Weetibix. In a related matter, RAD was considering leaving the scene. Who would then trade with Fusion? Hopefully INC, but as it turned out, ESI added an importing section to their group led by Prowl. Not only had RAD quit, but also Ian of Fusion was hanging it up leaving the group to Mark LeMay and Weetibix. This 'new' Fusion only traded with ESI briefly since Prowl didn't like to deal with those Euros. Finally INC had a contact in which we could have a somewhat steady flow of games. About this same time, Oahawhool wasn't treating FLT like he should have. This was where INC finally got its chance. Oahawhool, seeing the end was near, made one last ditch effort and asked The Shark if he wanted to join FBR but this offer was rejected. FairLight decided to drop FBR and trade with INC. Oahawhool was devastated and this marked the steady decline of FBR.

Now with FairLight and Fusion as contacts, INC was solidifying themselves as one of the top groups. We now had another new member, Depeche Mode, who ran a BBS. About two to three months later, however, The Butcher started to act childishly when he found out that I was trying to recruit another member. He felt threatened that he would be replaced, but that wasn't my intention at all. Because The Butcher continued to act strangely he, was kicked out of INC and soon after he formed a group of his own. I can't remember the group's name but because of him being kicked out of INC, Weetibix decided he didn't want to trade with INC but instead with Butcher's group (I remember after looking it up -- Why? No, that's was their name..."Why?"). Thus, this disagreement caused Fusion to end shortly thereafter leading to the birth of Phoenix (Mark LeMay) and the reemergence of Scouse Cracking Group (Weetibix). Mark LeMay could have kept Fusion around, but he wanted to have his own claim to fame. Immediately after Butcher being kicked out of INC (with Depeche Mode leaving with him), a new member was added -- The Duplicator. The date at this time was around the Summer of '88. The Duplicator had two proficient abilities that most people on the scene did not -- he was a hard worker and he could Blue Box. The ability to Blue Box was thought to no longer exist in the USA but it still worked in one area, Nevada. Blue Boxing provided to be incredibly valuable since the idea of "my code is dead!" wasn't an issue. A few months later, INC imported a game that needed a massive NTSC fix. The game was Bionic Commando and since RAD was dead, I decided to call up Blackhawk/RAD and ask him to fix the game for us. His brother, Warehead, said that Blackhawk wasn't interested, but he gave me a phone number to a bright programmer named The Mindslayer (TMS). Although he couldn't fix the game, it was clear that TMS was a skilled coder so we asked him to join INC. INC had never had a real programmer so it was a delight to have TMS, but as we later found out, INC got more than a programmer. In addition, Lethal/HTL introduced INC to Sledgehammer/HTL. And Sledgehammer introduced us to Bod/HTL. Bod, at this time, was a nobody in England with a 300 baud modem who would later prove to be a great contact. Butcher's group didn't fare too well (only about 10 releases) but he did receive an offer to join ESI. The plan was for The Butcher to take over the cracking responsibilities of ESI after Mitch would quit the scene. Shortly thereafter, Mitch quit the scene and Butcher struggled to fill his shoes. ESI was now being beat on a few games. Poor Butcher knew he couldn't handle some of the tougher protection schemes used by Cinemaware and a few others. A few months later, ESI ended seeing its future bleak with Butcher at the helm and with Mitch deeply in retirement. About this same time, The Duplicator (as well as the rest of Las Vegas) were busted for Blue Boxing. I'm not sure how they got caught but either someone turned them in (Oahawhool?) or the fact that nearly every lamer in the area was doing it was just too obvious. The Duplicator planned to come back to the C64 scene but he decided to get a PC instead. INC was now reduced to just The Shark and The Mindslayer, but we later added a guy named Mr. Floyd who helped with importing and spreading.

One last incident occurred in the 2nd half of 1988 that I must tell you all about. After Duplicator got busted, INC went two months without a release. There weren't many releases coming out in Europe outside of England, so FairLight was hurting for about 3 months as well. FBR was doing quite well although the group they were trading with was freezing everything in sight (Steve/Zenith), but they also inherited SCG after ESI had died. It was a good time for Oahawhool to see INC doing so poorly. There was, however, a game coming out that EVERYONE wanted -- Last Ninja II. Considering that System 3, the company who made Last Ninja II, was based in England, Oahawhool thought it would be a sure bet that either one of his English groups would get the game first. This led Oahawhool to proclaim, "Whoever imports Last Ninja II will be the greatest importing group ever!" I kid you not. To Oahawhool's surprised, the game was released in Finland (I think) first and word quickly spread that Gollum/FLT was working on the game. Just as Gollum was wrapping the game up, Strider received a call from Oahawhool where Joe was begging Strider not to send INC the game. Here is an exact quote, "Tony (now it is spelled with a 'y'), I don't care who you send Last Ninja II to, but whatever you do DON'T send it to The Shark!" Poor Joey.

Heading into 1989 proved to be the greatest year for INC. At this time, the games coming from Europe were becoming more complicated internally providing for some incompatibilities between PAL and NTSC machines. This problem had existed before but only for a few games. At this time, it seemed that around 50% of the Euro released needed an NTSC fix. Most NTSC fixes required more work than cracking the game did. Enter The Mindslayer. This guy had never NTSC'ed games before, but he dug in and learned how on his own. Although we had many released coming from FLT and Phoenix, we still did not fully dominate the scene. But with most other importing groups lacking an NTSC fixer, we were able to release most of the games coming out at this time. Imagine if you were an importing group without an NTSC fixer and you had a game first to release but it needed an NTSC fix (FBR? PE? Intense? hahaha). To make matters even better for INC, Sledgehammer sent us about 10 games that year and later in that year Bod started to send us some as well. One of the truly great months in INC's history came during the middle of 1989 when INC released EVERY game one month including two USA cracks. I remember seeing the directories on the BBSes with ALL the files having a "/INC" at the end of them. 1989 was certainly INC's year. Stepping back a little bit, Mark LeMay quit the scene and luckily we had Bod to trade with. Bod improved his cracking skills and also began to get some originals from a new member in HTL named XXX/Paul. Also, the beginning of '89 marked a sad day for the C64 scene. The Euros finally figured out that they too could phreak. An independent Euro (well almost, they still needed Americans to give them the codes) is certainly a sad thought. I recently read an excerpt from a Triad magazine on their Web site that spoke of how annoying Americans are. The guy complained of importers calling him up at 3:00am and saying "Want to go Excluzive?" Well, we Americans had an equivalent annoyance with Euros calling up and asking "Got any codez? Go get me some!!! I need some now!!" Fuck that. All kidding aside, I actually enjoyed talking to people in Europe. Back to the History of INC. To handle this new wave, INC added a hacker by the name of Skreemer. Also during 1989, Bod & XXX split up from Hotline and formed Talent. A move that certainly pissed the hell out of Sledgehammer. Just a little later, the cracker from NFI joined INC, Master Kracker. Towards the last two month of '89, I had to take a few months off to concentrate on playing football at my high school. During this time, INC still did quite good but the group was lacking some organization. Mr. Floyd quit the scene and TMS had recently discovered alcohol (i.e., he would rather drink than fix, haha).

In January 1990 I returned to put INC back on the top again. This also marked the beginning of a disk magazine from INC named The Chaos Chronicles. The main purpose of this magazine was to establish a group rating system based on releases instead of popularity (hello Influx). The magazine was a smash and no one could dispute the Common Sense rating system since the releases spoke for themselves. As for INC, a lot of work had to be done since Talent/Ikari no longer traded with INC and FairLight had pretty much dropped the C+64 scene (mainly Gollum and Strider). In addition, TMS would only fix games now and then causing even more problems. To top it all off, our main hacker, Skreemer, wasn't doing any hacking. He eventually got kicked out. To replace Skreemer, we added an alleged hacker named Illusionist. He lasted two weeks and adding him was probably the worst decision I had ever made while in INC. Oh well, it's amazing what one will do in desperation. We began to trade with a new group named Contex who provided us with about 10 games in 1990. In addition, Ikari/Talent decided to trade with INC again after they dropped a group by the name of Excalibur lead by X-Factor. They always come back, don't they. Now, in March, INC was once again one of the best groups out there with Exodus being the only real competition. Towards the end of 1990, I decided to end INC and quit the scene. The reason? For one, I was approaching 18 and the rewards would soon no longer outweigh the risks. Second, TMS had already quit the scene. Third, the scene was slowly starting to die. Games were no longer coming out in the same volume like they use to. Only one professional C+64 magazine was still on the shelves in the USA (if there were more, they were hard to find). And finally, the majority of the people left on the scene were Euros (lamers at that). It was time to move on. INC had a great run. We released over *175* titles, 10 of which were USA releases including Bard's Tale III, 4X4 Offroad, and X-Men. INC's quality was outstanding. If a game was crap, we wouldn't even release it (take note FBR (Oahawhool), Abyss, and PE). I had a great time on that little machine releasing games and competing with other groups. It was certainly a machine that was pushed beyond its capabilities which ending up having a huge impact among many computer users.

Members listed in the order in which they joined

The Shark
Date: Started INC in '87
Title: Group leader, importer, spreader, original supplier, king
Accomplishments: Established INC as one of the best importing groups ever. Stole FairLight from Oahawhool. Known as the fastest spreader on the C+64 scene. Known as the best ragger on the C+64 scene. Known for having a big ego, but I don't know why? Started Chaos Chronicles - a disk magazine that ranked groups in the fairest way possible. Also, had to put up with Bod's (Talent) strange behavior.
Ending Status: Ended INC in December of 1990.

Date: Joined INC around 1st quarter of '88
Title: BBS Sysop
Accomplishments: none
Ending Status: Kicked out for failing to meet INC's standards around the 1st quarter of '88.

The Butcher
Date: Joined INC around 1st quarter of '88
Title: Importer, spreader
Accomplishments: Imported a few games for INC. Had a hacker friend by the name of Nodooles who supplied INC with unlimited codes.
Ending Status: Kicked out for acts of retardness around the 3rd quarter of '88.

Depeche Mode
Date: Joined INC around the 2nd quarter of '88
Title: BBS Sysop
Accomplishments: Ran one of the best BBSes at that time.
Ending Status: Left INC to join ESI around 3rd quarter of '88.

The Duplicator
Date: Joined INC around the 3rd quarter of '88
Title: Importer, spreader
Accomplishments: Imported a bunch of games for INC. Only person able to spread games better than The Shark.
Ending Status: Busted for Blue Boxing around the 4th quarter of '88.

The Mindslayer
Date: Joined INC around the 3rd quarter of '88
Title: Programmer, NTSC fixer, BBS Sysop, importer, spreader
Accomplishments: Responsible for INC's best intros. NTSC'ed fixed over 40 games. First person to include and automatic PAL/NTSC checker in his fixes so that the NTSC fix wouldn't cause the game to not work on PAL systems.
Ending Status: Left INC and the C+64 scene around the 2nd quarter of '90.

Mr. Floyd
Date: Joined INC around the 1st quarter of '89
Title: Importer, spreader, artist
Accomplishments: Imported a few games. Drew some of the graphics that appeared in INC's intros.
Ending Status: Left INC and the C+64 scene around the 3rd quarter of '89.

Master Kracker
Date: Joined INC around the 3rd quarter of '89
Title: Cracker, importer, programmer, BBS Sysop, our group's verbal punching bag
Accomplishments: Cracked a few games for INC, imported a few games, obtained the group Contex as a trading partner.
Ending Status: Stayed on the C+64 scene after INC died. Later joined Mirage.

Date: Joined INC around 3rd quarter of '89
Title: Hacker
Accomplishments: One of the best hackers at that time.
Ending Status: After going 6 months without getting a code because of legal problems, he was kicked out around 2nd quarter of '90. Later joined Exodus.

Date: Joined INC around 2nd quarter of '90
Title: Douche bag, importer, wanna-be hacker, spreader (of ass-cheek's for his buddy Juan)
Accomplishments: Person to get kicked out of INC the fastest (two weeks). Couldn't get a code to save his life.
Ending Status: Kicked out around 2nd quarter of '90. Probably working at Burger King now.
One interesting side note, there was a span in 1989 where The Mindslayer and myself (The Shark) were the only two members in the group. I remember we use to have the following phrase in our intros that pissed off everyone: "How can two members be so good?" haha!

Story written by: The Shark of INC
Source: INC's homepage

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