Actually HQC tried to always appear as one single entity to the
outside, so the four members of HQC are not very well known by
their individual handles, in fact, they actually changed their
handles every now and then and one of them even did not have any
handle. So, whenever you came across an HQC production, you could
not tell who was actually involved. You might call this some sort
of corporate identity. But for the sake of completeness here is
the list of members and what they did.
1. Sir Prize (named after a local rock group): some cracking,
preferably using the tracing feature provided by the C-Mon
(or was it C-Monitor? - well, you know which program I mean),
but mostly being responsible for contacts and spreading
2. Gary (named after Gary Moore, he already used this handle when
playing Summer Games on the C64), later known as ACG (Amiga
Cracker Germany, in spite of the fact that he never did a single
HQC crack): he was mainly responsible for the HQC intros.
3. (the member without a handle): he did all the work on the
4. Dr. Nobody (what he used to call himself in C64 times), later
changed to Lucifer (a bit more fitting): main cracking work,
music for the intros
How did you come up with your alias ?
Well, the name HQC was born while members 1 to 3 (the people who
founded HQC, member 4 joined HQC some days after HQC had come to
life and produced their first intro) were sitting on a bench,
waiting for a local transport train (they were far to young to
have a driver's licence). Today it is not possible to reconstruct
what exactly led to the use of the term "Crackings", which,
basically, does not exist in the English language. What they meant
was "High Quality Cracks", however, "Crackings" sounded somehow
better. So the name "High Quality Crackings" was born. Later they
actually startet liking the term "Crackings", since it made them
a bit special. Others made cracks, then 100% updates to these
cracks, followed by 101% cracks. HQC _never ever_ did such a
thing. HQC crack(ing)s simply _worked_. Period. So, the name
"High Quality Crackings" was a nice way to underline that fact,
while "High Quality Cracks" would have been just another group
making cracks and not crackings.
City / Country:
Muenchen (Munich), Germany
1971, 1971, 1969 and 1972, respectively.
What was your first computer, and when did you get it?
All HQC members started out with a C64 in about 1982 or 1983. They
even did some cracks and ROM modifications (a la SpeedDOS) on the
'64 under the name "The Secret Service (TSS)". However, they were
only known locally.
How did you get into the scene and what groups have you been a member of ?
All members have been HQC members and only HQC members from the
beginning to the end. At the beginning, Headbanger was of invaluable
help to us. He was the guy that helped us to get known. A bit later
Hotline became an important provider of original software. Keep in
mind: this was long long before modem trading was popular. Spreading
was done by carrying baskets of envelopes containing a disk with
the latest HQC production to the local post office. So, originals
were also sent by snail-mail, no possibility to transfer any raw
disk images electronically. To put things in a nutshell: Headbanger
got us going in the scene. I do not really remember how we got
to know him.
What was the proudest moment in your career ?
Cracking my first MFM custom format game by reading the raw MFM
tracks, converting them into standard tracks readable by the
trackdisk.device, writing a hardware-level loader for these
standard tracks and replacing the game's original loader by my
own loader. (Thus making the game copyable with plain old
diskcopy.) Of course I can only speak for myself, i. e. member
number 4. But generally, we were always proud when we made it
to the post office in time, just one or two minutes before it
closed, to spread the latest HQC production. And what made us
particularly proud was the fact that HQC crack(ing)s often were
preferred to other groups' work, since the HQC version was known
to be working. No 100% or 101% versions of an HQC release!
For what specific reason(s) do you think that you are remembered ?
1. For making cracks that work. (This is the "Crackings" aspect mentioned above.)
2. For making cracks that work smoothly. Some people just did
not care for details. For example, imagine a copy protection
that seeks the floppy drive's head to track 80 or 81, checks
the protection, then seeks back to where it started off.
Of course HQC always removed that annoying seek as well as
the protection check, whereas others simply removed the
check. (This is the "High Quality" aspect.)
3. For doing an awful lot of cracks that work smoothly.
4. For doing an awful lot of cracks that work smoothly and
that nobody else could have done. Especially in the early
days HQC had knowledge that nobody else had (e. g. concerning MFM custom
formats). So there were programs that
only HQC was able to crack. Later this knowledge spread around.
5. For being real gentlemen. We did not have any wars with other
groups. We were always polite. We did our work and we did it
well. We did not want to waste energy by bickering childishly.
Today there is nothing that we would have to be ashamed of.
We have done a good job.
6. Maybe for creating the first boot block intro which contained
synthesized music. (I am not quite sure about this claim.)
7. For trying to strictly adhere to their principles.
a) HQC is HQC, no handles for individual members.
b) Be nice to other people and do your job.
c) Do your job well.
What would you like to be remembered for ?
Answer number 7 to the above question. Since this partially is some
kind of spiritual aspect which made HQC so much different from
most of the other groups. However, answers 1 to 6 are not bad, either.
Well, but actually we would like to be remebered for being the
greates crackers for all times on the Amiga. :)
What made you stop the scene activity ? (and do you remember when?)
When the modem trading came up, cracking was not so much fun
any longer since people wanted quick solutions instead of good
and working solutions (cracks). Moreover, other (good) groups
appeared that had more colourful intros with funkier music than
HQC had. So HQC began to look a bit old-fashioned. Moreover
HQC were only four people. The other groups were much larger
and thus could be omni-present in all the BBSs, whereas HQC
was very limited in this respect. So, somehow the funny times
were over, which eventually led to our retirement. Unfortunately
there has never been any "good bye" demo or something like that,
although at that time we were having the first music routine that
was capable of playing 8 voices at the same time (by real time
mixing) in an acceptable quality, which would have been our
chance to, well, sort of "vanish with a big bang", i. e. one
last great work. Actually, the last HQC release was a patch
to Monkey Island I (or was it II? I cannot remember). Some
ignorant had cracked this game by patching the run-time system
(the game system used by Lucasfilm was based on a virtual
machine that interprets pseudo-code, today one would call
this bytecode) instead of the game pseudo-code. Since cracking
the (undocumented) pseudo-code was orders of magnitude harder
for most people than cracking native code, this clearly was
an HQC job. We fixed this successfully. Since modification of
the run-time system had some subtle side effects on game play,
our version eventually became quite popular.
Thinking back on the good old days, is there anything you regret?
Not a single thing. We never sold our souls and adhered to our
principles as well as possible.
What was your favorite
That pinball stuff done by H. G. Berg, I think. Was
it called "Pinball Wizard"? And Emerald Mine. And much
earlier: Marble Madness and Defenders of the Crown.
The first demo on the Amiga done by a scene group,
namely by Megabyte. It featured the Megabyte logo,
a bouncing little filled circle, symbolizing a
ball I guess, that bounced on top of the logo and a
loop of a quite ingenious part of Jean-Michel Jarre's
Zoolook album. Oh, well, of course, a simple
scroller. That was quite amazing at that time.
Oh, yes, and of course the "Bouncing Ball" demo
and "Robot City".
PROGRAMMER(S) (OR PROGRAMMING TEAM(S))
That guy who did the '64 emulator and some games.
Was his name Randy Linden? I don't really remember.
And that Arkanoid guy, who placed messsages to
crackers all over his code. Don't remember his
CRACKER(S) (OR CRACKING GROUP(S))
The world-ruling H.Q.C. inc.
OVERALL GROUPS :
The world-ruling H.Q.C. inc. Well, they did not have
particularly intriguing intros, but their cracks
always did work.
Martin Galway (on the '64)
BEST COMPOSED TRACK(S)
Galway tracks like Comic Bakery, etc.
Some guy from Switzerland called Orlando. Don't
remember any details. But he did some amazing
graphics in the early days.
EVENT(S) (E.G. COPYPARTY)
We have never been to copyparties.
The best memory is the fact the we are part of
Amiga history, which is an amazing feeling.
At that time some of use were pretty addicted to
Amaretto and Cherry Coke. Others preferred beer
as they do today.
What are you doing nowadays ?
Member 1 is working for a company as an IT planning
expert. He is married and has just become father
of a daughter.
Member 2 has studied computer science and is currently
working for an insurance company in database design.
Member 3 has just finished studying computer science
and is running a successful Internet company.
Member 4 also has just finished studying computer
science and will probably become a Ph. D. later.
What are you doing on your spare time?
Member 1: unknown
Member 2: sports, sports, sports (body building, aerobic, tae kwon do, etc.)
Member 3: nightlife, sex, techno raves
Member 4: see member 3
Is there anything you'd like to say to the public (read: admires)
Hey, we are just guys like you. It was quite amazing when we
got the chance to meet our idols from the old '64 days. They
were just guys like us. They drank the same beer, laughed about
the same jokes. So, just forget about that stupid fools that
call themselves "eleet." There's nothing that makes them better
than you are. Even HQC once were a bunch of lamers. But then
again, this was back in the early 1970s. :)
What is the meaning of life?
To do something for the benefit of mankind - just like HQC
showed you. HQC were devoted to the Robin Hood principle,
i. e. the democratization of software for the benefit of
mankind. And this is what at that time gave meaning to the
lives of the four members of HQC: they had a mission to