An interview with 2tuff of Crystal
This interview with 2tuff of Crystal was not conducted by me. It was taken from a text file on Heikki Orsila's website but I have reformatted the text as 2tuff always wrote in capital letters which makes it damn near impossible to read. (I remember that all the docs he typed up were also completely in capital letters). For a native English speaker, his spelling, grammar and English is absolutely awful, so I have corrected a lot of mistakes in the original text file while trying not to alter his style.
How did you come up with your alias?
From a gangsta rap album I bought from a friend which had a picture of the crew and their handles on their baseball caps. I saw this hard looking geezer with *2tuff* on his cap and thought yeah kewl. The trouble was, whilst I was supplying software for the Amiga to Crystal and Super Nintendo to various I had a fucking mass of handles mostly to do with gangsta hip-Hop as they sound fucking dope and hard haha. You might remember a few of them such as Mr. Scarface, Bushwik Muthafucking Bill, Ice-T, Ice-Cube (the 1st one), Lyrical Gangbang etc etc. The list is endless as the yankee BBS scene members will recall after having to change my BBS handle numerous times haha much to their moans and groans. But 2tuff is the real laster and everyone knows of me and it tehe!
17th November 1973.
What was your first computer, and when did you get it?
My first computer was the Commodore 64, after having one of those crappy 3-in-1 Grandstand machines (incidentally I still have it virtually brand new boxed under my bed tehehe). My mother brought it me, after my endless moans after seeing my cousins, his girlfriend Mary had just bought him.
How did you get into the scene and what groups have you been a member of?
Shit it happened way back with the C64, I was like only really young and coming from primary school over the wall from the one *posh* estate as we know it, to my hell-hole council estate. I started to walk over this small car park space with garages and this bloke stopped me. I thought he was going to kidnap me or sommit hahaha. He told me he'd heard I had a C64 and wondered if I would like some titles cheap for it. Of course me not having loads of money and easily being able to get dosh from my mom in small amounts said "yeah".
That day I went round to his house and his wife let me in. She opened all these draws full of cassettes of C64 titles neatly labelled. I checked the names of some of the games and was amazed. After that she showed me all his crap old style 5.25" floppies. He had some group which I can't remember what it was back then. Incidentially he went under the handle of Turbo which its hard to ever know if he made it to the modem scene cause so many had this handle! He used to get them from various people who had contact with the modem scene though.
Anyway back to the story, then I got further and further into piracy. I found another contact called Kam from Birmingham. He also had contacts and was in groups such as Hotline on the Atari ST when they finally came out later on. When the Amiga came out I fucking loved it from what I saw in the Amiga and computer journals at that time. After a while I brought myself one. It was the old A500 1.2 with 1/2meg memory haha and lots of gurus tehe.
Fortunately Kam did not win by trying his hardest to get me to buy an Atari ST (Shit Technology haha). I was still going to Kam's and Turbo's, but then Kam put me onto a kewl guy called Carl alias Infiltrator of Crysis International on the Amiga - a well known UK group mostly based as far as I know of in the UK. It had some kewl gfx artists, of which one was very good this Asian geezer.
Anyway I started my own little group up with a friend who owned an Atari ST, I called it Power Distribution. We both did small disk compilations, me for demos and games and my mate did just game ones. In fact on the Atari ST we did some good ones which a lot of UK scene members respected highly. I did a shit load of mail trading and had hundreds of contacts.
I joined a couple of other known UK groups and then I joined Cryptic UK. These were quite a kewl respected Birmingham based demo group with loads of brummy members scattered everywhere. I only ever met the leader of Cryptic, that's when I'd left and a long time after, when he wanted Super Nintendo software from me until he copied me and got an SNK Neo-Geo haha.
After a while I decided to get onto the modem scene, as I was fed up with it all. I stopped going to Turbo's just as he became good friends with Scooter of The Lads in Liverpool, another known UK legendary demo group etc. I was in contact through mail-trading with a guy called Mike who was in Birmingham's Excel and supplied Quartex and another group. Mike sold me a 9600 US Robotics courier HST modem and gave me a list of BBS's in the UK and a couple in the States. He also showed me how to CC my calls long distance etc.
After getting on a couple of boards I started my own up called Bright Star BBS when I was still in Cryptic UK. It was nothing major and had a few callers. After a while I dumped it and just traded as I only had one line and my parents wanted it back hahaha.
I joined quite a few groups, such as Mayhem UK, Share & Enjoy etc, I can't remember half their names anymore. I quit my computer studies course and went onto the un-employment figure. I then joined I think Scoopex to become their UK supplier. That night I phoned up a BBS I'd been on for ages called Dulcet Tones in Scotland run for Crystal and was telling my mate Scott the sysop I had joined Scoopex to supply originals. He told me it was a waste of time as they were no good as crackers and to join Crystal as their supplier had left along with N.O.M.A.D, Zelnik etc through a stupid argument which Zelnik started. I said "kewl" and I sorted out what was to do with their old supplier Infiltrator (Carl).
I then supplied Crystal for almost 3 years, I think it was early 1991 I started. Let's just say my first original was Thunderhawk from Core Design, which Fairlight beat us on, due to me having problems with my A500 and being slightly later back with original than expected. I'll give credit to Fairlight for that one as it was a hardish MFM crack.
Our first crack with an original supplied by me was Rod-Land. It was the first ever crack to be released same day as the title came out and on a dinner time. In fact we at Crystal shook the scene with the speed of the cracks for a long time. After a longish period Skid Row tried to compete with us, but was easily destroyed. They started to use the same place I was but their supplier had to come from Liverpool and back whereas I only lived about 4 miles away from where I used to get the originals.
I remember when most of the titles, in fact virtually all for a fucking while were just released by Crystal after a massive length of time and releases others started to float around like a turd nugget on the top of the toilet water, people such as Quartex, Ministry/Nemesis/Classic etc. They were all going where I was but we were still beating them all to a massive percentage of the games.
Everyone knew our cracks were very reliable and even when some of them were defeated by a long time and they then double released us people would still have our version. One day I was at the place 1st getting a Super Sprint type game for the Amiga and I met Mike and Munchie in the car park when I came out and someone from Skid Row had gone in for it as I came out and then someone else from another group came on a motor-bike. It was funny us all there roughly the same time.
Over the years I've been in quite a few elite groups especially on the console scene due to me getting access to some really fast beta and final SNES titles! I started a Crystal division on the SNES and supplied a few titles for them such as I think my best release ever which was Super Mickey Mouse. This was released like months before the final and it was all there, in fact I found some glitches in the final I had not got in my version. A lot of people liked that release.
I supplied the following groups titles over the time: Crystal, Fairlight, Napalm, Sneakers etc.
All I will say about me and the scene was, it was done for phun not like all the other groups and suppliers who did it for dosh. I did not want money or nothing, I only had any just to cover my travelling expenses. All these others charged their group leaders modems and machines + money. I enjoyed beating others to titles and making Crystal as great as they were. The same went for everyone else in Crystal. We seemed to waste our own money out of our pockets to get originals etc. Scott spent a fortune of his wages on the originals, which we knew we probably would not sell. In fact Scott has a massive shit load of them still in his house. This shows really how good Crystal was. It's a shame those days are gone, I would love for it to still be there, apart from the phone bills when not CC'in or BB'in.
I did also occasionally hack a few telecom systems, the most obvious one was vmb's but I hacked a few of my own blueboxes. I remember us not having a box for ages, after those 2 assholes disclosed how we boxed on a UK television programme. So I was told by a guy with his ear to the ground that China was maybe boxable. I seriously sat there for ages hacking it and used two dialers multitasking to defeat their pretty hard to crack system. Finally it got out but most only had it for a week maximum, I had it for around 2 months or more. I also hacked a kewl BB when the lines were shit on the other available ones.
What groups have you been in/helped, of which you can remember?
Amiga: Power Distribution, Mafia UK, Cryptic UK, S.A.E, Scoopex, Legend, Crystal
SNES: Crystal, Sneakers, Napalm, Fairlight, Legend + more
What was the proudest moment in your career?
When I joined Crystal and especially when I supplied their first crack supplied by myself and cracked by I.B.M. (Sebastian from Denmark). It was a Rob Northen protected title called Rod-Land.Â
For what specific reasons do you think that you are remembered and for what reasons would you like to be remembered?
Gosh, quite a few many I guess bad ones. Over the years I got a lot of enemies, due to being so fast at supplying. As we all know if you don't join a group when asked they don't like it, especially when you're destroying them and they don't see a light at the end of their tunnel. I used to argue with shit-loads about various things and what used to piss me off the most was if they slagged Crystal off. After all the effort I and the others put in and caning the opposition they would have the nerve to slag us off. People like Zelnik started a lot of the trouble. He was kicked out of Crystal for sommit and he did not like it so he caused trouble and got N.O.M.A.D, Scrote, Protocol etc to leave also. He then used to make up things to split me from Crystal constantly and phone my house up in the middle of the night on conf's with Ministry and Nemesis members laughing, so bloody childish.
I think I'll be remembered for obviously my supplying talents and how dedicated to the scene and Crystal I was. And also I think a lot of people will hopefully remember all the work I put in helping to create the very first console scene when me and Executioner (sysop of Treasure Island BBS UK) tried to get everyone to stock SNES titles and make conferences up. It took a lot of persuading to get sysops to carry the titles and also make them believe it was actually possible to pirate a SNES ROM cartridge. Also I got a lot of the yankees to support the PC-Engine and Genesis. The only console scene I did not have anything to do with was the SNK Neo-Geo scene.
What made you stop the scene activity ? (And do you remember when?)
The Amiga scene had majorly started to show it was going to die. Then after a while I got a job and my first day at work 3-4 originals came out and we had my favourite source to get hold of them. I got them and supplied them and we cracked I think 3 out of the 4. I think it was one of the F1 games from Domark and I can't remember the rest.
Thinking back on the good old days, is there anything you regret?
I regret turning down a lot of equipment and money in offers from other groups who wanted me to supply them originals, but as I said before I was not doing it for that. I adored Angels which then became Crystal and when N.O.M.A.D. etc left I and others were quite down so it was a pleasure to become part of probably the best cracking group on the Commodore Amiga. Every group was good but Crystal I reckon had that little bit extra, either in team work, reliable cracks, spirits, or our sheer speed.
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