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File contents


Cracktros and intros
Cracktros are mini adverts created by cracking groups to announce their releases to the community. Initially, these programs were inserted and launched whenever the cracked software was in use. We have over 400 cracktro and crack-intros for Windows individually itemised for download, while another 1900 of these for MS-DOS are playable in your web browser! Also, we hold a collection of 320 scene software installers that complimented the cracktros.
NFO files and scene releases
NFO or information text files are generally in every scene release of which we hold 4100 items. Often, they are stylised with ASCII text art and arranged in a standard format. In the early days, these texts included detailed group information, but now they focus more on the cracked software. Also, we hold a collection of 140 NFO viewers and editors.
ANSI art
Coloured ANSI text art was commonly used on BBSes for advertising and theming of their sites. This collection includes over 2600 pieces used for marketing BBS, FTP, group NFO and logos.
BBS ads
Bulletin Board Systems were a proto-Interweb for online communication and the exchange of files during the 1980s until the mid-1990s. This collection of 8400 files include 4500 BBStros, 2300 ANSI art, many images and 1300 text files. We also have a large collection of FTP ads plus lists of BBS sites and FTP sites are also available.
Magazines
Before the web and social media existed, groups used to exchange ideas and write articles on their communities in the form of digital magazines and newsletters. These 880 publications are also found under their magazine titles.
Filepacks
Filepacks are packages of files that share a common theme that people have collected and curated for easy distribution. Popular pack topics include ANSI art, NFOs, cracktros and BBS ads.
Databases
Scene databases are often once private datasets of cracked software titles, release dates and associated groups. Due to their size, these sets are often incomplete and sometimes inaccurate.

These milestones for the PC cracking scene are based on what we have collected. There were earlier and more notable communities on other microcomputers for which the PC scene often poorly mimicked.

First PC 1981 August 12
IBM PC 5150
Earliest distributed cracked game 1983
Galaxian broken by Koyote Kid
First PC clone 1983 March
Compaq Portable
Earliest UNProtect document 1983 May 12
Directions for Unprotecting SPOC by Randy Day SPOC.UNP
Earliest PC groups 1984
Against Software Protection (ASP) and Software Pirates Inc (SPi)
Earliest info text 1984 October 17 and NFO-like document 1988 July 30
Zorktools 1.0. by Software Pirates Inc and Romance of the Three Kingdoms by BSP
Earliest DOX 1986
Dam Buster Documentation by Apocalypse BBS DAMBUST1.DOC
Earliest PC loaders June 1986
Gremlins by Mr. Turbo and Ultima 3 by ESP Pirates and later Frogger II by SPI
Earliest PC demo 1987 June 22
3 Dimensional EGA Demonstration
Earliest standalone BBS ad 1988 April 4
Swashbucklers II BBS README.!!!
Earliest ANSI ad 1988 June
Paperboy by BSP SCREEN.ANS
Earliest ASCII art 1988 October 6
Fire Power by $print $PRINT.TXT
The earliest example of scene drama 1988 November 25
TNWC accusing PTL of stealing a release README.NOW
Earliest BBS ANSI loader March 1989
Rogues Gallery BBS
Earliest PC intro 1989 April
First intro by Sorcerers
Earliest PC cracktro 1989 April 29
Lombard RAC Rally by Future Brain Inc (FBi)
First use of the NFO file extension 1990 Jan 23
Knights of Legend by The Humble Guys KNIGHTS.NFO
Earliest PC cracktro with music 1990 December 2
M1 Tank Platoon by The Cat
Earliest BBS VGA loader 1991 March
XTC Systems BBS
Earliest contemporary cracktro 1991 April 12
Blues Brothers by The Dream Team, Tristar & Red Sector Inc. (TDT/TRSi)
Earliest elite BBStro 1991 October 21
Splatterhouse BBS
Earliest CD release 1994 November 17
Slob Zone by ROM 1911
Earliest CD-RiP 1995 June 4
Virtual Pool CD-Rip by Hybrid
Earliest ISO 1997 November 27
Lords of Magic by CiFE

Mainstream news
Scans and retypes of computer magazines and newspaper articles that attempt to report on the scene.
Busts and takedowns
Reports and alerts for software pirate arrests and police raids.
Community standards
Rules and agreed standards for the various divisions of the scene.
Community drama
The very competitive scene often has led to online flamewars and occasionally offline conflicts.
Interviews
Discussions with scene members, be prepared for bad spelling and typos. There are also countless other interviews contained within the numerous magazines.
Announcements
Public notices and community farewells.
Group jobs
Calls for new group memberships and tools for possible applicants. Sometimes a trial crackme is made to test one's abilty.
Restricted
Internal tools and documents that were never intended to be made public, but give a great insight into the operations of scene groups.
Guides and how-tos
Texts and guides on how to analyse, patch and crack legacy software.
Computer tools
Legacy tools to analyse, decrypt, patch and crack software.
Game hacks
A small collection of hacks, exploits, cheats and trainers for legacy PC games.
ANSI tools
Legacy software used to create and edit ANSI art files.
NFO tools
Legacy software designed to create and edit NFO text files.
Alternative scenes

Media
Documents
Operating systems
DOS
Software written for the original x86 operating system and precursor to Microsoft Windows, this platform was popular in the USA during the 1980s and for the rest of the world during the early to mid-1990s.
Windows
Windows became the inevitable replacement for MS-DOS on the x86 platform. Most Windows software released in the 1990s and would probably target Windows 95 and 98 while later releases would be for Windows XP or 7.
macOS
Is the software created for Apple's macOS and earlier OS-X line of operating systems.
Linux
Scene software created for the Linux desktop and server platforms.
PHP
Web applications that target the PHP programming platform.
Java
Multi-platform applications written in the Java programming language.

Proto-scene groups

Some significant groups

Some boards (BBS)