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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 3500 of these for MS-DOS are playable in your web browser! Also, we hold a collection of 440 scene software installers that complimented the cracktros and 200 demoscene productions to juxapose.

NFO files and scene releases

NFO or information text files are generally in every scene release of which we hold 5900 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.
The 4090 group release proofs are to verify the use of retail-ready physical media that's supplied for release.

ANSI art

Coloured ANSI text art was commonly used on BBSes for advertising and theming of their sites. This collection includes over 3000 pieces used for marketing BBSes, FTP sites, group NFOs and brand 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 13800 files include 6400 BBStros, 2800 ANSI art, many images and 1900 text files. We also have a large collection of FTP ads plus lists of BBS sites and FTP sites are also available.


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. The 1020 issues for 190 publications are also listed under their publication titles.


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, BBS ads, NFOs and cracktros.


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. You can also download a live copy of the Defacto2 database used by this website.

Text files and documents

The vast majority of scene releases involve text and documents such as the 12710 text files hosted here. Of which, 5900 are NFO files plus the 2690 texts created for the Commodore Amiga. There are also more modern document formats such as PDFs, HTML, and websites. As well as some files covering the former Apple ][ and Atari ST scenes.

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.


Public notices and community farewells.

For sale

Adverts for commercial goods and online services, that vary in legality.

Group jobs

Calls for new group memberships or employment and tools for possible applicants. Sometimes a trial crackme is made to test one's abilty.


Internal tools and documents that were never intended to be made public, but give a great insight into the operations of scene groups.

Game hacks

A small collection of hacks, exploits, cheats and trainers for legacy PC games.

Guides and how-tos

Texts and guides on how to analyse, patch and crack legacy software.

Computer tools

Legacy software to analyse, decrypt, patch and crack other programs.

ANSI tools

Legacy software used to create and edit ANSI art files.

NFO tools

Legacy software designed to create and edit NFO text files.


  • Images include pixel art, photoshop creations and various photos.
  • Music tracks found in productions and songs inspired by the scene.
  • Videos mostly of animated group logos.


Discussions with scene members, be prepared for bad speling and typos. There are also countless other interviews contained within the numerous magazines.

International Network of Crackers (INC)

Fairlight (FLT)

    • Ford Perfect Jan, 1993

      Before the "Incident"...
    • Genesis Oct, 1991

      Software Chronicles Digest interview

Razor 1911 (RZR)

The Dream Team (TDT)

  • Belgarion Oct, 1991

    Retired THG member and ex-sysop of The Festering Pit BBS
  • Hard Core 1993

    An interview with the founder
  • T800 Jan, 1996

    Defacto interview
  • The Grim Reaper Feb, 1993

    Adrenalin interview

Bandido 1999

Of Drink or Die and RiSC, Griffiths made global headlines in 2007 after being extradited to the USA despite never visiting the country

Bryn Rogers Aug, 2012

My memories of Lamers of Power

ChinaBlue June, 1998

Retirement and the 'bust or be busted' scene mentality

Marvel July, 1999

An artist for Future Crew, the most influential demogroup on the PC

TGK June, 1998

Scenelink interview about Amnesia

Operating systems


Software written for the original x86 operating system and precursor to Microsoft Windows. This platform was popular in North America during the 1980s and for much of the world during the first half of the 1990s.


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.


Is the software created for Apple's macOS and earlier OS-X line of operating systems.


Scene software created for the Linux desktop and server platforms. This software may fail to run on modern distributions


Shell scripts and software created in interpreted programming languages such as PHP, Perl, TCL, Python and Ruby.


Multi-platform applications written in the Java programming language.

Scene milestones

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 August 12

IBM PC 5150


Earliest distributed cracked game

Galaxian broken by Koyote Kid

First PC clone March

Compaq Portable

Earliest unprotect document May 12

Directions for Unprotecting SPOC by Randy Day SPOC.UNP


Earliest PC groups

Against Software Protection (ASP)

Software Pirates Inc (SPi)

EGA graphics standard October

Earliest info text October 17

Zorktools 1.0 by Software Pirates Inc


Earliest text loader May 26

Spy Hunter by Imperial Warlords


Earliest DOX

Dam Buster Documentation by Apocalypse BBS DAMBUST1.DOC

Earliest PC loaders June

Gremlins by Mr. Turbo

Ultima 3 by ESP Pirates

and later Frogger II by SPI


AdLib audio standard

VGA graphics standard

Earliest PC demo June 22

3 Dimensional EGA Demonstration

First 32 color VGA game December

Rockford: The Arcade Game
The first 256-color game on the IBM PC


Earliest standalone BBS ad April 4

Swashbucklers II BBS README.!!!

Earliest ANSI ad June

Paperboy by BSP SCREEN.ANS

Earliest NFO-like document July 30

Romance of the Three Kingdoms by BSP

Earliest ASCII art October 6

Fire Power by $print $PRINT.TXT

The earliest example of scene drama November 25

TNWC accusing PTL of stealing a release README.NOW



First 256 color VGA game March

688 Attack Sub
The first 256-color game on the IBM PC

Earliest BBS ANSI loader March

Rogues Gallery BBS

Earliest PC intro April

First intro by Sorcerers

Earliest PC cracktro April 29

Lombard RAC Rally by Future Brain Inc (FBi)



Sound Blaster audio standard

Use of the .NFO file extension Jan 23

Knights of Legend by The Humble Guys KNIGHTS.NFO

Earliest PC cracktro with music December 2

M1 Tank Platoon by The Cat

First enchanced PC game on CD-ROM Winter

Mixed-Up Mother Goose 1. 2.



Earliest BBS VGA loader March

XTC Systems BBS

Earliest contemporary cracktro April 12

Blues Brothers by The Dream Team, Tristar & Red Sector Inc. (TDT/TRSi)

Earliest elite BBStro October 21

Splatterhouse BBS





Earliest CD release November 17

Slob Zone by ROM 1911


Earliest CD-RiP June 4

Virtual Pool CD-Rip by Hybrid



Earliest ISO November 27

Lords of Magic by CiFE










BBS-a-holic +708

Park Central +708

New York

Cloak-n-Dagger +516

The Pits +718


Dimention XXX +215


Manhattan Project +503


Midnight Oil +214

Los Angeles

Midnight Oil iii +818


Nevada Testing Ground +313


Rusty-n-Edies +216


Silicon Wasteland +713


Spyrits Crypt +802