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The Beginning
by Jeff Smart

The Beginning of Jeff Smart, Bojesoft and ILLEGAL, written by Jeff Smart...

Alright, all the way back into somewhat of 1984. We used to be a small bunch of school mates and neighbours and then there were games like "Choplifter" or "Kaiser" which really didn`t work well on a "datasette" anyway. The most usual thing at that time was that eveybody chose himself a handle, a nickname that he mainly took for entering high score entries. One of them named himself after some German detective cartoon character called "Nick Knatterton". So I thought for myself in the equal direction and also came with a cartoon character, one of an original Spanish comic, if I remember correctly, one that dealt with two really stupid secret agents called "Clever and Smart". One of them was "Fred Clever", who came up with wondrous things out of the blue (like "M" in the James Bond series if you will) but also ruined most of the cases. The other guy was "Jeff Smart", who was quite smart indeed, but always got kicked in the balls caused by Clever`s stupidness. Anyway I took Jeff Smart as one of my mates back then took the other one.

The competition of having a C64 game first or especially being faster than your friends with it grew when some guy from neighbourhood used to have the latest and best games more quickly than we did and the bastard didn`t share his stuff with us. It was this sort of like, you know, that old game

"Ah, you can have look at it. But I can`t give a copy, sorry. You see, I promised it." "Why is that?" "Oh, otherwise he wouldn`t give his games to me"

That "he" was some other guy in town who knew someone knowing some other guy who got the games directly from somebody removing the copy protection. So the greedy aim of having games more rapidly than he did grew high, as you can imagine.

By the way it happened that my parents moved into the town centre so I was pretty close to the biggest shopping mall. I often hung out in the computer department store and gathered with some mates. Somehow we came into talk with some of the guys working there and I got to know he was also pretty keen on having some of our games, too. So over a period of some weeks we came to a deal. I would provide him with copies of my new games and he in exchange let me copy some original games and I tried to remove the copy protection at home. By that time this shopping centre used to be quite fast with most of the new games, especially I remember them having games from "Ocean" very quickly in their stores. So I ran home, made two or three copies of the disk and brought it back to shop. Then I returned home and tried out the game. Sometimes it even worked without anything to be done and also when there used to be light protections it became not really a problem to crack it.

I somehow figured out that I needed a sort of group behind myself as I didn`t want myself to show up here alone. I didn`t really have a reason for that, I think. Anyway, as two first letters of the infamous German tennis player Boris Becker, a handle that some other guy from town chose as his own and my first two letters, we came up with "BO JE"... and as I thought that "Eaglesoft" was the main attraction on the C64 when it came to cracking I also put a "SOFT" behind it... so "Bojesoft" was born. Over a few months we became somewhat of local heroes with some pretty good cracks. I still remember a version of Activision`s "World Games" with three not working events around. Through the shopping centre I got hold of the working original game and came back within 30 minutes to spread the working version. Anyway, I made myself not really appear anymore there for a couple of weeks and I really enjoyed myself in standing next to a bunch of people in front of the C64s in the shopping mall just hanging out there without them knowing I was the guy who came up with the games and also heard them talking about that "Jeff Smart" dude. In the meantime a lot of local dudes gathered at that shopping centre.

Somehow and I really can`t tell why, I was at home fascinated to read in a C64magazine about that program "Newsroom" which allowed you to make an own newspaper. I tried hard to get it, and was even close to buying it (!!!) but through that store connection I got finally hold of it. I was so fascinated by the idea that I really spend several days in learning how to work with that program and finally managed to come up with one page (!!!) of a magazine. That page consisted of eight parts that could also be fitted into one another.The contents were of course in German and featured several game reviews and a top ten of the best c64 games. I can really remember how I was thinking about a name for it and even know some of the alternative names that I came up with ... that was "Copymag", "Copy 2000", "64stuff" and "pirate`s booty" that I almost took. If only I knew how important that decision was and how famous this would one day become... you know that I called it "ILLEGAL". The main reason, simple as it is, was really that all letters could be drawn without circle lines and thus easy to display.

I printed a few copies of the first Illegal and spread it among my friends. It must have been around January 1986, started off counting from all the issues. Over the next months the source of game supplies through the computer store almost stopped as my mate there moved to a different department and it became difficult to come up with originals. Meanwhile Bojesoft had grown with about eight or nine members (Mr. Miller, Turtle, Airwolf, and I don`t remember the handle of the others), and the idea of buying originals and selling the copies was born. But it really didn`t work well as the speed of getting the games was decreasing. Anyway, most of the others members of Bojesoft got in touch with a lot of mail contacts. That started off with sending out a few disks to some guy who put up an advertisement in a c64magazine. I can remember that this was most the usual way to get in touch with someone out of town so there were really ads with some "looking for sharing 64 games". Through this way we started to get a few great contacts who steadily sent out the latest copies. Also the first local battles errupted as I remember the "Federation against Bojesoft" but I can`t exactly tell any reason for this but it as quickly disappeared as it appeared. But there were some guys we had a fight with, I think of Scooter (Bjoern from Oberhausen) and our fight in front of the bus station and I also can think of Brian (Michael from Bottrop, later a good friend who concrentrated on programming music and he used to be in groups like T.W.G.I. and F.A.M.E.) who once came storming up one me in the main post office trying to hit me with his motorbike helmet. But in the end it was all easy and only Scooter hit me once on the head. But I started wearing shoes with metal fronts and kicked him hard.

Anyway... The great thing about all the contacts was Bojesoft being mentioned in some gereeting list and this became more and more important and I know that is was the lad called Mr. Miller who got in contact with some guys from German Spreading Service. Over the months they became quite fond of us and this friendship grew.

In the meantime I was regurlarly doing my "ILLEGAL" and it also grew up to four pages, I think. I started copying it in a local copy shop because the printer at that time was unbelievably slow and the toners were also quite expensive. I don`t know how big the circulation of the magazine was at this point of time but we used to send it out to every contact as a sort of "present". The contents were still only game reviews and the TopTen. We also did send out a filling form for choosing the Top Ten Games. The idea of expanding the magazine came when some guy from that German Spreading Service came up with asking if he could also write stuff for that magazine. He send me his articles by mail and I included them and on the way back they also distritbuted the magazine. We started doing this as a corporated thing but Mr. Miller decided to go on an ego trip and asking his contacts only to mention him in person but no longer the group things had to be changed quickly. So we all joined the GSS and the "ILLEGAL" was from now on produced under this name. The decision to join GSS was pretty clever as it made things much more easier to get in touch with guys who never heard of Bojesoft but of GSS. One day we all got to the South (Heilbronn) where they came from and joined the bunch for a party. Unfortunately for me I haven`t met my friend and of their members, Maruder (or Marauder?) there, as we had to leave quite early for the train. I can`t really remember how It all worked but I got to know some guys who later became great friends, that was Hi-Tec (Heiko from Oberhausen) and T`Kay (Thomas from Muelheim/Ruhr). everything was expanding very quickly... in every direction and with the idea of the greeting lists and regular meetings things had to be included in the "ILLLEGAL" as well. I also got hold of contacts abroad, I remember very well my old pal Mad All from Commandofrontiers/Belgium and Swyx from Triangle/Denmark.

By the time back then local guys who regurlarly drove to a famous meeting in Venlo/Holland came up with the biggest and newest stuff that I have ever seen at this point. So it was clear that it had to be arranged for us to get there. As none of us was 18 and had a drivers` licence at that time we were looking for somebody to drive... The Venlo meeting were usually held on the third Saturday of every month and the day came that I found someone really keen on new games (a workmate of my dad) and he would give me a lift to Venlo. I especially prepared an issue of "ILLEGAL" with some parts in English and made about 100 copies and started waiting outside for him to arrive... but the bastard came very late and as we arrived in Venlo the meeting was just closed and the only good thing was me talking to Mad All but that was all. My first Venlo party became a real fucking mess... good thing is, is was the only bad Venlo meeting and there were lots to come which I couldn`t have known at that time of course.

Meanwhile "ILLEGAL" became more spread and as I included a "Postlagerkarte"-adress (sort of a p.o.box, but only cheaper and they didn`t need your real name for it.. so mine was opened for a "Stefan Schmitt") I got a lot of respond from all over the country and even from abroad saying "your magazine is cool but I can`t read German" The entire contents slowly changed from game reviews into news of the cracking group, rumours and of course the Top Ten Cracking Group. Through my dad`s work I could phone for free and spend many afternoons talking to a lot of guys on the phone. I even phoned up the guys from Belgium, Denmark and Holland. By that time the job as "copy slave" got a new meaning for me as some boy from school asked if he could have some new games. In exchange he offered to copy as much "ILLEGALS" as I wanted at his father`s company. I also got him to send "ILLEGAL" to a list of contacts that I gave him and I included some adresses of people from Ikari, Hotline, Fairlight and Triad. People I haven`t spoken with... yet. And through that I really got in contact with them all. I got to know Mr.Pinge of Triad very well. Also lots of mates from England, e.g. Just Ice of Ikari, Tri-Dos, Sledgehammer of Hotline, Strider and Gollum of Fairlight and so on. It was clear that I had to do the "ILLEGAL" completely in English and that thing became more and more popular.

Venlo meetings became a regular monthly party for us, and I got quite known for spreading the magazine there. I normally sold it for the price of 2 DM, but since that guy copied about 500 issues I usually gave them out for free... at least for all my mates there. Sometimes or let`s say often when Dutch dudes wanted to have an issue but didn't have DM I asked them for a beer so I got pretty pissed everytime...

A lot of Copyparties were held at that time, I remember just a few of them. The one most worth to be mentioned was held in Germany`s capital at this point of time, Bonn. Organised by Fantasy Cracking Service (Fantasy was a very close friend of T`Kay by then, and rumour has it, that Fantasy later tried to commit suicide) it became really famous for having Munich`s Beastie Boys (and Robert was a great friend to me) down in the cellar live cracking "Out Run" and everybody up there was waiting for them to be finished. After that Robert and I played "Combat School" the whole evening. It was great.

As the editor of that magazine I was sometimes made responsible for little fauds or even spreading false rumours. Sometimes there were small fights, one them at the above mentioned copy party, when two lads of the Madonna Cracking Group showed up. As I can remember I mad fun of them in the past based on their very bad English... I was down in the cellar anyway and told there was someone waiting upstairs wanting to beat me up. When I came up there was only this small guy of MCG and nothing happened.

"ILLEGAL" stayed pretty famous and we have been showing up to many parties. Joining Triad. By the end of 1987 it became clear that GSS were no longer really present and with us knowing so many lads there had to be a change. I was talking to Hi-Tec and T`kay the other day and they agreed that I was right. But they hadn`t had any suggestions how to go on so without telling them I decided by myself I`m going to ask to join a group and didn`t know where to start. I was very close to Mr. Pinge at that time and Triad was undoubtetly top of the pack so I wrote him a letter asking him to join Triad together with Hi-Tec and T`kay and make the "ILLEGAL" for Triad. It is no joke, that one day before I turned 18 the telephone rang with Mr. Pinge on the other line telling me it was alright for us to join Triad. Later on I learned that Strider of Fairlight was quite sorry about my decision, and I am really sorry, should have probably asked you, Toni. Way to go...I`d wished I`d seen the faces of T`kay and Hi-Tec phoning them up and telling them, that they`re now in Triad. I remember the joy when I received a couple of days an express package by Mr.Pinge with latest Triad cracks with a big welcome greeting for us. I also remember our first Venlo meeting coming up with self-made Triad-T-Shirts (quite embarassing, seeing it from now).

Over the Triad membership I became very close to one of the true heroes, Janitor. For me, he used to be one the best crackers of all time. We`ve written each other very long letters and I got to know him pretty well. He had a beautiful sister way back then.

TOP 1 - extraordinary party No. 1 One of my favourite events became attending to the PERSONAL COMPUTER SHOW in London`s Earls Court two times, way back in 1988 and 1989. I guess it was the first one in 1988, when IRATA, T`KAY, two other dudes (Ioannis from Mettmann, and some guy from Gelsenkirchen) and myself drove on our own to London. I had the drivers` licence for a couple of weeks and it was Ioannis` car we drove with. We were pretty late for the ferry to Dover and drove like Michael Schumacher through the nightly streets of France to the harbour. Then, about 500 metres short of the entrance of the harbour and only 5 minutes before the ferry`s departure we had to stop, because of a level crossing barrier. I don`t know how and why, but the car went out and we couldn`t get it started again. We were really desperate but in the end the car went on again and we could get on the next ferry. In London, about highnoon, I remember us having big fun driving around through the traffic jam, the biggest traffic I have ever seen. We also had a funny accident. Funny, because someone drove onto Ioannis` car from behind and some strongly weaponed guy came running towards us... they belonged to a secured money transfering car. Nothing happened on the cars though. Having finally reached Earls Court we looked for a cheap hotel and found immediately one close to the place. Irata didn`t want to spend money on a hotel and said he was gonna sleep in the car. The PCS itself was great. We met all the guys from England and had a wonderful gathering at a bar downstairs, said from all to be one of the biggest meeting of all times back then. Everybody from England and all Fairlighters from Sweden were there. Too bad I missed the oppurtunity to meet my best mate George (Weetibix from Scouse Cracking Group) who didn`t show up. At least at our place. Irata really slept in the car and almost froze his butt off. On the next day he wanted to sleep in the car again, but the police has taken it before as we parked where we shouldn`t have. So we smuggled him inside the hotel room and had to spend about 400 DM on releasing the car again. But this tour full of chaos was beautiful.

TOP 2 - next extraordinary party I don`t exactly know who really started up that meeting (Danish Gold?) somewhere up in Deep Denmark and I can`t say when it was, but we knew for sure we had to go there as it was our only chance to meet up with the Triad gang. Again it was Ioannis` car that we drove with. T`kay and Hi-Tec were with us, too. We reached the small city where the party should be held very early in the morning at about 08.00 , that I can clearly remember as if it was yesterday. We didn`t really have a map though T`Kay bought a not useful map for a high price. But two guys, one of them carrying a giant ghettoblaster, were wandering through the streets and we thought that it might not be the worst idea to ask them... yeah, it was funny to learn that these two were Pinge himself and Ixion from Triad. The place to be was a really small wooden hut up a hill in a forest.Naturally I was really keen to meet Janitor after all the time and found him sleeping in some room.

Someone said... "I`m not gonna wake him up" and he said "I`m only standing up `cos Jeff Smart`s here!"

I remember playing soccer outside and over the day lots of people arrived and beer supply ending rapidly. I remember myself asking for Ioannis` car keys, said I needed things from my luggage and then driving fast and furiously through a small forest over stones to a petrol station to buy the most expensive beer of my life. On my way back over the hills and far away I accidentally broke his car (and he hasn`t known that by now). The exhaust pipe got off and the car was making a noise as if it was a Formula1-car for it was an old Toyota, I think. Later on, because the place was too overcrowded and heavily damaged by the drunken ones we had to move to some school` gym, Ioannis was in his car wondering what has happened but I said I haven`t been driving... way back was funny, because the car was freakingly loud but it drove us back safely. Jesus Christ! PS: EVENT(S) (E.G. COPYPARTY) Twice in Denmark. The first time, Danish Gold summer 1987 I guess... Everything was very new. Second time, a year later, don't remember who arranged things. I do remember drinking large amounts of beer and getting driven into town by a very drunk Jeff Smart together with Ixion. (JANITOR in "In Medias Res")

TOP 3 - Let`s get ready to rumble Venlo meetings became really great. They even had to move to a bigger place on the opposite site of town. I can tell how I enjoyed the entrance, because everybody had to pay some Gulden but me. I dropped some copies of "ILLEGAL", shook some hands and I was in. Quite snobbish, I know, but great. One meeting anyway something happened which later talked about in some demo by Scoop reviewing the Venlo meeting. There was to be read "Craziest guy at the party: Jeff Smart. For breaking someone`s nose" I can`t really remember his name or what it led to it, but I think it had to do something with that infamous Madonna Cracking Group I mentioned before. Anyway, he came up really unfriendly to me (of course!) so I just gave a knock with my forehead. Too bad he broke his nose by that. Sorry dude.

TOP 4 - all on TV Yeah. One of the best days... imagine the following... meeting up in Venlo, huge meeting, lots of people, even a lot of pals from England. Then heading to Cologne for a TV show with MWS of Radwar discussing the state of the cracking nation with a lawyer in front of the camera and afterwards one of RADWAR`s famous parties... You tell me, I am crazy... wait a minute and I even got proofs. We have tried hard and shortly before xmas 1988 we could finally persuade some English guys to come to Venlo and Just Ice of Ikari, Tri-Dos and a few others really made it. We all met in Venlo where the English were surprised of how big such a meeting can be. What happened afterwards was pretty unique. German TV station WDR featured a monthly computer magazine called "high score". As its name says it was mainly about games and stuff. This episode was different... some very infamous lawyer Dr. Grafenreuth discussed things with a programming bloke and none less than MWS of RADWAR in front of the cameras LIVE ON GERMAN TV. And the best thing... the audience was packed with the who is who of the European cracking Elite... Hotline, Ikari, Strike Force/Movers and so on... I EVEN GOT A VIDEOTAPE WITH THAT! Embarrassing moment for me it is, when Grafenreuth is talking rubbish and I try to translate to Just Ice what has just been said and I`m on TV and you angrily see me shouting "WHAT A SHIT!!!!". Deejay (by that time also in Triad) broke his car in a parking lot in Cologne. End of that was not end of the day... what a great coincidence, that RADWAR organised their 2nd party just for this occasion. And what a great one that was... no computers, just party... great stuff to talk about for ages. And I remind myself talking to Mr. Zeropage up to six in the morning.

TOP 5 - the private You see, I can hardly remember much of the details of the past. It must have been too much. Too much of what? Let`s put that aside as I can also hardly remember the reason or what led to the entire bunch of Fairlight, including Radwar, Strike Force/Movers, I think and some of the German Triad members visiting us in our hometown. We had a meeting at Brians gardenhouse (the same guy who tried to punch me with the helmet) and had a really great time. Some existing pictures of that are to be seen on the net.

TOP 6 - Denmark again Another Danish Party. Again I don't know exactly when but I do know, that some Danish Ikari members organised it with Dominators and AVH from RADWAR and myself driving all the way up to Denmark. I guess T`KAY and HI-TEC joining us again. I remember lots of beer. I remember my old pal Christian from Austra (!) coming all way and bring along some strange Austrian liquor which really kept me going. I remember a school place, I remember a bad hangover and I remember AVH being very sick the other day so I had to drive home all the way...

Conferences stuff Lots of things to tell about all the conferences... funniest things: You all probably remember Strider`s classic motto

"KILL A COMMIE FOR MOMMIE"

Now it happened that I knew some guy from town and his father was really the local leader of the German Communists Party. I told Strider about that on one conference and we spontaneously decided to phone him up in the middle of the night. As the guy was online Strider shouted in German "DU DRECKIGER SCHWEINEHUND" (something like "you dirty bastard")... I think I made myself wet. Weetibix Back these days I guess he was one of the funniest. Everytime you had him online you could be sure you would be hearing great jokes and stuff...

"WHAT`S UP, GEORGE?" - "MY DICK"

He used to be the main cracker for Scouse Cracking Group, in the recent time pretty successful in England. After Janitor and Mr. Pinge dropped any activity for Triad, I no longer saw any reason to stay there and George and I were pretty close at that time so I joined SCG for a couple of months. Besides I was always a fan of Liverpool F.C. Hehe. Another thing...

"Hey George. Wanted to call you, but I had a woman on the phone. She said she was just having a shower?" - "And did you fuck she up?" - "No, I though it was your mother..."

Yeah, every American dude putting up such a conference line you asked at the time, said he knew Mitch in person. EVERYONE. Naturally nobody really knew him. I always asked any conference operator to let this Mitch guy know I`d like to interview him for my magazine...I was never called back by one of these blokes. Until one day... in the morning, some US guy said "Hi Jeff, I`ve got Mitch from EagleSoft on the phone for you..."

And blimey, there he was. And we talked for like two hours. I kept him asking about all the stuff he`s doing in USA and so on. And of course we did a short intervew for "ILLEGAL". I used to have a question where you could dictate the question to me, I remember I haven`t understood his question. Though he praised me for my good English. Ha, I also remember I stayed off school this day... because I wanted to talk to him... only time by the way. He gave me his adress, I sent him an "ILLEGAL" but we never spoke again. But hey, I must admit, I was really proud to see myself apperaring personally in EagleSoft`s next greeting list though I didn`t ask for it. Everything achieved by then, when you measured it from the goal where it all started from... Elite Again I can`t exactly tell when and why, but a German supergroup was founded shortly before the end of my days. I know after a meeting, we decided that a few of the German Triad members, most of Strike Force/Movers, Mr. Zeropage, Irate and of course the entire Radwar bunch would once again try to operate in big style. I came up with that name Elite, and within short time everybody was wondering, where Elite came from. It was a very big comeback from MWS/RADWAR who really was motivated again... unfortunately for myself only for a very short time as on May18th, 1989

R.I.P. J E F F S M A R T

At 7 a.m. the bell rang. three policemen came up and looked through my room, searched through everything, took all my computers, disks and magazines away. November 6th, 1989, high noon. Had to get to court. Said I never swapped pirate software. Judge said he didn't believe a word. May 22nd 1990, five minutes to twelve. Second time at court. Judge said five witnesses had testified I never swapped software, one said I did. Case was dropped because I was "presumed innocent". #38 Conan (Strike Force) and me had telephone chats almost every day and we went on talking about going to one last Venlo meeting again to check if everything was still allright... I had the idea of accompany our trip to Venlo with the final release of ILLEGAL #38. Conan thought that was a cool idea and without having a computer ready of being into business or whatever we managed to push it out in time. Only thing that worried us later, was that Venlo was a great heap of shit, so it was not really worth the effort. Having looked at ILLEGAL #38 again, I thought it was a great issue for all the old guys who joined the years 1986 to 1989 at the top, and it were the old guys who liked it most. The thing I had most joy was writing the "STORY OF SYSTEM FOUR", where I could slag anyone off without letting anyone know. Sounds wicked, I know, and so it was. and the conclusion of all that Boy, when I was asked by - nd-! to come up with something like a Jeff Smart story, I didn`t have a clue where all that would lead me to. As I repeat myself, I can`t remember much of the stuff especially and really unfortunately also most of the names of the dudes back then... I have kept contact over the past years only with a very few ones, and some of one haven`t known me back then. Strangest things happened in the old days.

BUT DO WE REGRET ANY FUCKING THING?

Not at all.

Yours,
Jeff Smart.

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