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Propaganda First Release List #1 2018
by Hedning/Genesis Project & Dr. Strange/Atlantis

Welcome to a new concept in PROPAGANDA land, released by GENESIS PROJECT and ATLANTIS. This is the first issue of the FIRST RELEASE LIST, which this time is incorporated in TRIAD's kickass diskmag ATTITUDE.


Unfortunately ATTITUDE will not be published four times a year, even if we all would love that to happen. That is why we (Hedning and Dr. Strange) will keep you updated about the status of the C64 cracking scene this way.

In time we plan to have PROPAGANDA back as a full feathered diskmag, but until the new suit is finished, we will focus on covering the first releases only in The PROPAGANDA List.

Historically there have been many lists counting first releases. The most recent lists are the ones found in PROPAGANDA, but also Laxity's Game Corner, and Onslaught's Vandalism News.

The rules of these lists differ, and even if the response from certain magazine editors have been grumpy and straight forward aggressive when it comes to competing rules we are certain that the PROPAGANDA rules will be the ones that will make most sense for the C64 first release scene.

It actually boils down to you, the sceners, to accept and honour the rules you like, not to some editors or self proclaimed "experts" that think they know better than the sceners that actually build up our beloved scene.

First off: We respect and build upon tradition, whatever others say. Check out the PROPAGANDA rules from the 90ies, and compare, and you will see that we have a unique mix of logic and sense. Our point system both respect the traditional values, and takes in account the modern situation that we live in. We are more than one guy, and one group, to decide what points that will be handed out - members of GP and ATLANTIS, and also TRIAD is initially involved. The rules have also been discussed with EXCESS.

Second: We will discuss every release. We will be completely transparent when it comes to facts, gossip and information about the state of the scene regarding every release. For some groups this might be great, for others a bit embarrassing from time to time. We want to uncover the state of the cracking scene at the same time as we help it thrive. We promise we will make the first release list interesting for everyone, not only the crackers them-selves.

Third: Our rules are compatible with the rules in VN and Game Corner in some sense. As you will see many principles are the same, especially when it comes to what boards to upload to, to win the race. If you fight for first releases you will show up in all lists, but the way we count releases may differ. Of course we believe the PROPAGANDA rules will make most sense. And if you do not agree, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it. We are here for you - and the Scene.

THE RULES

The rules below are, just like we stated in PROPAGANDA #28 and #29, open for discussion. We set the rules in our own magazine, or course, but we do listen to our criminal friends. This will be Rules V1.1. (1.0 published in PROPAGANDA #29).

Comments will be accepted from all active C64 cracking groups, not random sceners, or old farts living in the past. We do, however, reckon tradition.

We build on the well working rules set in PROPAGANDA #27 (1998), but tweaked to fit our needs in the new millennium. So, let's get going:

Since CSDb is a database mirroring the scene, and not a release site per se, we will honour the tradition of the past, supporting only the BBS Scene. To get points, you will have to get real. THE HIDDEN, ANTIDOTE and REFLECTIONS counts. You need to be first on all three boards to win the race. In other words: Make sure you spread your warez. You can still win if another group just uploaded their stuff to two places. 24 hour rule apply.
  • THE HIDDEN (GENESIS PROJECT/ATLANTIS): the-hidden.hopto.org:64128

  • ANTIDOTE (TRIAD/ONSLAUGHT): antidote.triad.se:64128

  • REFLECTIONS (LAXITY/ONSLAUGHT/EXCESS/DEMONIX): reflections.servebbs.com:64128
If one of these are down at the time of your release, you will have to upload to CSDb, and prove that the board was down, and just not occupied. You are also encouraged to upload your stuff to these elite boards, even if they will not be counted:
  • FROZEN FLOPPY (GENESIS PROJECT): bbs.retrohack.se:6464

  • RAPIDFIRE (EXCESS/LAXITY): rapidfire.hopto.org:64128
Let's go over to the rest of the rules:

NO POINTS

Releases not gaining any points at all are games written in BASIC (even if it contains some ML instructions), including compiled basic. Also anything created using one of the known game-makers or construction kits, such as S.E.U.C.K., D42-Adventure System, Garry Kitchen's GameMaker, Pinball Construction Set, or Arcade Game Construction Kit etc. will be ignored. If the game has less than 50% ML it will not be counted. Intro excluded. Fake groups will be ignored as well.

Only exception are commercial full price games, think Pirates! or Ripper!

No points will be given unplayable previews, previews exceeding version 4, or old unknown previews of games that already had a full version released. While it is nice to preserve these previews for archival purposes, they are not really previews anymore.

Non-English games will not recieve any points either. Full translation to english is a must to gain points.

Of course trainer(s) are required for first releases, if the game requires them. Cheap intro linking will be ignored.

THE POINTS

Within the List you will normally just be able to read the over all points a release recieved. In case you want to know exactly what your release got, please contact us (Hedning/Dr. Strange).

Points are given like this:
  • 0.0 - 3.0 for the QUALITY of a GAME.

  • 0.0 - 2.0 for the QUALITY of a CRACK.

  • + 2.0 for a PAL/NTSC FIXED First Release.

  • + 1.0 for an already PAL/NTSC working game or if the game was released on PAL or NTSC only before.

  • 0.0 - 1.0 for something special, like translations, or fixed bugs in the original game.

  • - 1.0 for ANY bugs that weren't in the original, 2nd versions or lack of level-packing.

  • 0.0 - 1.0 for Previews.

  • - 5.0 for ANY Re-release.
The 6 months rule from back in the days (NTSC/PAL fixing and bug fixing time-frame) is boosted to a 12 months rule.

24 hours rule apply. This means that you have to be first on all three counted boards within 24 hours to win the race for a First Release. In this time frame re-release punishment points will not be handed out for the losing releases.

January 2018

It's a new year, and a new list! So let's get down to business. January started off fine, with Laxity setting the standard with 9 first releases and 3 ntsc-fixed games. The rest of the groups could not match that, but let us look closer on what was released:

LAXITY

Really strong start for Laxity in 2018. They were very active for the whole month, and we have a feeling that they continued their tradition from 2017 to release all new games they can get their hands on, but also older games, often translated from German.

Balloon Flight (4.0) © 2018 Stefan Kostic both had a highscore saver installed and was NTSC fixed. Other groups did check the game out but decided not to release it, but it is indeed quite enjoyable, even if Laxity has been releasing better games under their lamer labels in the past.

Another story is Steel Ranger Preview +C (0.0) and Steel Ranger +3C (5.0), both © 2018 Psytronik. They were both handed to Laxity before the official release, which could be seen on the first release boards, where the releases were uploaded long before the official release. If it is a leak from Psytronik or the coder Lasse Oorni we don't know. The preview was released at the same time as the full game as a teaser for the game itself, and will not gain any points as it is not a preview per se.

They also handed us the second preview of 8192 (0.6) © 2018 Zirias. Now: over to the older games they released in January:

Avaruuden Valtaus +3TD (2.9), translated to Space Conquest, is an oldie from 1985 © 1988 Tecnopress Oy, and was translated from Finnish and trained by Goat. A nice find, just like Astex 64 +3ED (3.0) © 1986 Tecnopress Oy. Another Finnish game translated (and NTSC fixed) was Viljo +3FT (4.2) © 1987 Protocol Productions.

By making effords translating games they also released UFF +2TPDF (5.2) © 1992 Rainer Boehme, which was NTSC fixed as well (not Rainer, though). Pengo(+) +2D (2.5) from 1992/93 was also preserved and released. It seems Laxity has a lot of time to dig up and preserve old unknown games. That's dedication.

Laxity also get points for NTSC fixing Iceblox Plus +3H (2.0), Tetris MP [2in1] 101% (2.0), both first released by Hokuto Force, and Squad 1 101% +6H (2.0), first released by Fairlight last year.

Total January score for Laxity: 33.4!

HOKUTO FORCE

The only first release from Hokuto Force in January was Ice Blox Plus + (1.7) © 2018 Karl Hornell. After a trainer bug in Genesis Project's inital first release HF won the race. The game is a really nice comeback from the legendary Hornell.

Total January score for HF: 1.7.

EXCESS

Excess is speeding. In 2017 we saw a full feathered comeback from this group. They have been releasing stuff before, of course, but not with this frenzy! They seem to have fun as well, and was able to snatch one of this year's most promising titles: Pains 'n' Aches +2D (4.0) © 2018 Psytronik. They also found and released the second preview of Kevin in the Woods + (0.8) © 2015 Bamse. Other previews released were Tor Cars Preview +1DF (0.6) © 2017 Prezes Games, and Snake 360 Preview + (0.6).

Total January score for Excess: 6.0.

GENESIS PROJECT

Europe's no.1 was able to release one full game and two previews in January: Blok Copy RX +3D (4.0) © 2018 Cosine was quickly trained and released, fighting off ROLE who also tried to win the race. The two previews were Microwave64 Preview (0.8) © 2018 Paul Hocker, a game ported from the Apple II, and the second preview of Retaliate + (0.8) © 2018 Ivcabral, winning over Mayday!, who released their version the same day.

Total January score for G*P: 5.6.

ATLANTIS

Atlantis started the year with Sydney Hunter Preview + (0.7) © 2018 Collectorvision/Exidy, a promising preview, indeed.

Total January score for ATL: 0.7.

AXELERATE

Axelerate. Yeah, you read right: Axelerate seems to be back, and they started off by releasing something most groups already ignored (by a reason): Zulp Preview (0.5) © 2014 Dirk Ollmetzer. Not a good start, but hey - don't give up! Welcome back!

Total January score for AXE: 0.5.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST EMPIRE

ROLE was able to first release Tetris MP 1.1 (2.0). Seems not much energy was put into the release, unfortunately, and Laxity did show how things should look like in their NTSC-, and bug fixed, version.

Total January score for ROLE: 2.0.

WOLF

Painter +4DH (2.0) was dug up and handled by Wolf, with added hiscore-saver and more. Unfortunately the intro is not NTSC-compatible.

Total January score for Wolf: 2.0.

February 2018

Compared to January February was slow. Laxity delivered more than one first release, but other than that it was a desert month.

LAXITY

Laxity released the third preview of Retaliate +3 (0.8), one NTSC fix Tetris MP V1.2 101% (2.0), and two full games: Star Toast +2H (2.9) © 2018 TND, probably leaked to the crackers by Richard Bayliss, the coder, as Laxity's version appeared before the official release. Since one or two years Laxity seems to have a special deal with him, paying him with NTSC fixes of his games, to get the games directly from the game developer before anyone else. A nice deal for sure, but perhaps questionable for a game developer to have too close bonds to a cracker group?

Total February score for Laxity: 9.9.

HOKUTO FORCE

HF did what ROLE did: A pure introlink of Tetris MP, this time version 1.2 (1.5). Now the game almost twice as big, without any additional pros, as the intro is as big as the game itself.

As Tetris is hard to train, without killing the game play, it still counts.

Total January score for HF: 1.5.

EXCESS

Excess gave us Digger Preview (0.3) © 2018 Sergey Borodavkin, harvested too soon, as the game is almost unplayable.

Total February score for Excess: 0.3.

FAIRLIGHT

In their strive to come back, Fairlight tried to harvest a vast amount of educational games in 2017. Many of them were released before, but some were first releases. Even if you could not question the impressive work put into the releases, you could question the research, and the time spent by mainly Bacchus to try to change the rules to his favour, without much of a thought on tradition and support of the boards. Still, they made a damn fine job on Tink Tonk Castle Clobber + (5.5) © 1985 Tink Tonk Inc. A shitty game, now in a golden dress. And FLT, don't mind the lame SD2IEC fan club. What counts is a good old 1541. If a game runs fine on a 1541 it's not the release that's bad if someone has a problem with their modern 1541 emulator; it's the user's choice of emulation. Good work.

Total February score for FLT: 5.5.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST EMPIRE

ROLE gave us the second preview of H.E.R.O. II (0.5) © 2018 Maltes, thanx to Bordeaux/Excess, it seems.

Total February score for ROLE: 0.5.

March 2018

LAXITY

Again Laxity dominated the charts, with three full games and two previews, plus one NTSC fix. The full games were Diced64 +2MD (2.8) © 2018 Jiminy. This is a 4K Game, but we don't care as it is not shitty. Mayday! seemed to want to release it, but could not think of a trainer. With a levelskip O'Dog showed how to do it.

O'Dog also found the final version of Jetpac Wars +2F (3.5) © 2017 Mscifu.

Quad Core +5D (3.4) © TND was also released, probably as a part of the TND deal we mentioned earlier between TND and Laxity, as noone else had a chance to even test the game before Laxity released their very worked out version.

When it comes to Moonspire: The Draxx War - Preview +6M (1.0) © 2018 RGCD, it seems that the developing team was a bit irritated that LXT was able to dig through the code and extract playable levels - good work, LXT! Crackers do what crackers do. And RGCD seems to have integrity enough to withstand the crackers will to grab stuff. That makes the race funnier.

Laxity also released L.O.V.E. Preview +4D (0.9) © 2018 Retro-Programming.de, and fixed Indeflataball +7HF (2.0) © 1988 Silverbird Software, originally first released by Onslaught in 2017, showing ONS how it should have been handled.

Total March score for Laxity: 13.6.

EXCESS

Excess gave us Snow Preview (0.6) © 2018 M. Hardy, harvested from Facebook where the developer post his previews.

They were also able to grab and release Galencia Khaos Sphere Preview (0.8) © 2018 Jason Aldred, in a fierce fight with Genesis Project. The original was obtained through the Kickstarter backed game project.

Total March score for Excess: 1.4.

GENESIS PROJECT

G*P released one full game and one preview in February: Fart Escape +4 (3.0) © 2018 Picaro Games, sided with the second preview of Digger +2 (0.7), which, in comparison with Excess' earlier preview actually was playable. G*P had to fight Laxity to win the points, however.

Total March score for G*P: 3.7.

FAIRLIGHT

FLT snatched Snow Preview 2 +2 (0.6), and seems to be hungry for more.

Total March score for FLT: 0.6.

HOKUTO FORCE

Hokuto Force released Snow Preview 3 (0.0), also harvested from Facebook, and too close to Preview 2 to gain points.

Have patience, guys!

Total March score for HF: 0.0.

ATLANTIS

Atlantis released Explorer +4T © 1984 Markt und Technik, translated and with a lot of work invested. As it is in full BASIC, no points are awarded, but it shows the dedication that some groups put into releases and preservation.

Sydney Hunter And The Sacred Tribe +6 (4.5) © Collectorvision is also released by the Swiss group.

This was definitely handed before to the cracking group since it was released on the same day of the official release, following coder's willing.

Total March score for ATL: 4.5.

TRIAD

Triad finally showed up in the charts with Bewitched Preview 2 +2 (1) © 2018 1UP. First preview of this game showed up seven years ago, but hopefully it will be finished before 2025. ;)

Total March score for Triad: 1.0.

Results for the first quarter 2018:

GROUP#RELPOINTS
LAXITY2256.9
Genesis Project59.3
Excess77.7
Fairlight26.1
Atlantis35.2
Hokuto Force33.7
ROLE22.5
Wolf12.0
Triad11.0
Axelerate10.5

Contact Hedning (hedning64[at]gmail[dot]com) or Dr. Strange (drstrange64[at]outlook[dot]com) for any comment or query about the list.

See you in three months!

HEDNING/GENESIS PROJECT & DR. STRANGE/ATLANTIS

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