The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Three

in #storylast year (edited)

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This series is dedicated to my friend ‘The Pieman’ who hosted ‘THE P.I.T.S’ BBS in New York City and sadly passed away in 2016. I know his son ‘Blake’ will be reading this sequence of stories with anticipation.


We will never forget you man, you were one of a kind.


Also I would like to say a big thank you to Fabulous Furlough, ex-leader of ‘The Humble Guys’ who helps me fill in the gaps of what happened almost 30 years ago, and to The Slavelord who has given me a plethora of memories from the early days.


The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) is a continuation of my previous series, The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops


Other articles in this series:
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part One
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Two


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June 1990


WARNING: Bad Language ahead, please put the kiddies to bed.

It was with great trepidation when the next day I dialled into Spamland and found that Eddie Haskel had approved my access to his pirate THG member BBS. It was running PCBoard which I was getting familiar with and so I took some time to have a look around.

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What struck me was the sheer amount of games listed and readily available to download (or so I thought), and all the flavoursome handles people were using.

Rusty 'n Eddie’s had been my first taste, but this was like being led into a candy store and I honestly did not know where to look.

@steddyman mentioned to me that Prince of Persia was one of the early games we managed to acquire, and I remember it not being too large (possibly a single disk), so this may have been the first target.


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I was quick to learn that you couldn’t simply ‘leech’ warez without uploading something first. My first attempt at downloading what may have been Prince of Persia was terminated rather rapidly with colourful words appearing that stated something like..., ‘Fucking upload something you leeching shithead’.

I was imagining Eddie Haskel watching at his end with huge smirk on his face. ‘Fucking Lamer’, he was probably murmuring with a self-satisfied smugness.

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Being a sysop was godly; being a sysop of a THG Member board was akin to being Zeus.

After some mucking about on Spamland I learned that I was on a 4:1 ratio. That meant I could download 4 times as much as I uploaded. 4:1 was not bad compared to some others I subsequently applied too; 3:1 and even 2:1 was more normal.

Undeterred I now needed to find something to upload to Spamland, anything... I didn’t matter did it? Well yes it did if you didn’t want to find yourself unceremoniously kicked out forever and word getting around that you were indeed a 'fucking lamer'.

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If I would have uploaded a load of junk in a zip file that could have been the end for me, and as tempting as it seemed something stopped me. Was it a sign from the ‘God of Ripped Software’ telling me to conform?

Fortunately, I worked in a support team with a big software library literally next to me. The trouble is that it consisted of business software only, but was that really a problem?

A scan of Spamland revealed that there was indeed business software available for download, and so my eyes lit up. I could upload something legitimate if not terribly exciting and gain some upload credits.

It seemed that new software was required and that meant checking the date stamp on the files. If they were too old, then they were not going to cut it. Would my offerings be acceptable to the godly Eddie Haskel?

What I uploaded I simply can’t remember, it was likely something so obscure and yet new enough to pass as acceptable. It wasn’t as though I had to look too far, there were shelves of original software in front of me ripe for the zipping!


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Pkzip was the friend of the uploader and one had to know how to use it utilising a DOS command line with the correct parameters. All this was part of the learning curve, and so I created a single zip file that was likely named ZIPFIRETE.ZIP or similar (there were no long filenames, and everything using 8.3 convention in 1990).

ZIPFIRETE.ZIP might have been ‘Zip Firelighters Terminal Emulator for the AS400 v.1.3’ for all I know. It didn’t matter, so long as it had a recent file stamp and that it didn’t exist on Spamland already.

After uploading a single disk that may have compressed to 500K, yes, you read correctly... 500Kb, not Mb, I was awarded 2Mb in download credits.

Prince of Persia being on a single 720Kb disk may have been 600Kb or so zipped, which was easily within my new allocation for downloading.

I can’t honestly remember if the game was good or not as the thrill of obtaining it via this cool underhanded method was ultimately more satisfying than the reward.


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The zip file I received contained the game, an .NFO file with cracking notes on how to install, and another text from this character named ‘The Slavelord’. The contents of it had me falling around with laughter. How audacious were these ‘Humble Guys’?


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The whole thing was based on being called "Humble", and then being the absolute most opposite that you could be. We were trying to take the piss, but if we could wind you up in the process, even better! - Fabulous Furlough.

One could apply to become a HumbleSlave or HumbleSpittle and they even had a 1-900 number for fans to leave messages. Someone had an incredible sense of humour and I knew at this point I wanted to be part of ‘The Humble Guys’.

There were about a dozen HumbleSlave's at any given time, probably 20-25 throughout the time. As Fabulous Furlough said, they usually were good for a few weeks, excited at first, then burned out rapidly. BigBobRob was the top guy, he was always enthusiastic and he just had a really good attitude about the whole thing. He actually applied to be a spittle initially, seriously, and knew / understood it was all a put-on but was having a lot of fun with it. - The Slavelord.

I wanted some of this, and so I started down the dark path of infiltration into the group that at the time was the dominant force in IBM PC cracking and pirating in the BBS underworld.


To be continued...



All images have been cited and are under the category 'Labelled for Reuse' or are in the public domain.

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.NFO files courtesy of the .NFO libraries at https://defacto2.net


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Haha, that is pretty funny, you were a lamer. It's okay, I was a lamer too when I was getting warez off of IIRC. Those were the good old days weren't they! :) Thanks for sharing this. It was a good read and I look forward to finding out the rest of the story!

I was technically a lamer at that point yes, but would not have admitted to it at that time. These things take a lot of writing.

Its not just the memories, but getting together all the supplemental stuff like screen shots, nfo files, and going through a lengthy text file I have generated with snips of info from the other THG members I make reference too. They are not STEEM people but read all these things I do!

I can imagine it is quite the undertaking. That is cool that you are still in touch with a lot of them and they read this!

Its just a couple of the US dudes though they were key players and the UK guys who will come into it later on in the story.

It sounds a bit like Oliver Twist: You've got to pick a pocket or two, if you want to get fed. Lol.
I wonder if there are any 32-year-olds about called SlaveLord.

I miss those days, it was great fun and you could really wind people up.. which is what I did later and you will read about that. The Slavelord is likely to be my age give or take a year now, though I haven't actually asked the question.

I was wondering if anyone had actually named their first born after SL.

LOL, probably not.. though the 1-900 did exist but at this time it was not a 1-900.. see below.

YES, the 1-900 number DID exist. I managed it. YES, people DID call. Not many, but some really did. I don't know that we ever got a request for a picture though. - Fabulous Fulough

He's talking about this..

I never did ask if the PO Box really existed. Haha!

It seems quaintly old-fashioned, asking for a self-addressed envelope! But voice mail - cutting edge at the time. Wonder what the message said.

There was a whole culture that most people were unaware of. I didn't get into that side too much, but I had a lot of fun on BBS's. Not been called a leech in a while :)

It was a great time, but also stuck in a time which can never come back. Pieman's son loves information about all this, anything at all and even set up a BBS to see what it was like.

Your post took me back to my days of running a Citadel BBS in the late 80's prior to the World Wide Web. What really tugged my heart was the screen shot of Prince of Persia. Loved crossing blades with the Fat Man. 😎

You ran a BBS? They were great fun and it was so much more interesting than the now 'everything at your fingertips' internet.

Yeah it's nice to know such tech is still available just in case. We, proudly, could get emails coast to coast on the CitNet, even though it took 2 days to do so. 😎

I was connected to some mail system on The Demon's Forge (forthcoming info), and had to collect it in the form of a data file and import it somehow.

I grabbed the data from MeanMachine's BBS in Buffalo, NY as he was the hub.

I know the PD boards ran on FidoNet or something, but on the pirate system it was OOF-NET (Our Own Fucking Net..)... lol...

Yeah, CitNet would be one Citadel Node calling another in the night with the intent of incurring as few long distance call charges as possible along the route.

Aaaah, I can hear the sound of the dial up modem connecting now!

It was distinctive, wasn't it?

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Oh man my buddy Timmy ran a bbs when we were kids living in our parents house. Of course he did not have a dedicated line. There was so sequence you had to do to differentiate from a normal call lol, I cant even remember now. We graduated high school back in 84 so this must have been even earlier in the 80s!

This was 1990, but I didn't start mine until around a year later. The early 80's is before my time on the IBM platform, I started around '86.

Best as I can remember he ran the bbs with a Vic 20 and I had an Amiga in the mid 80s. Seems like a lifetime ago.

A BBS on a VIC-20, blimey that would take some doing.. hope he had a RAM expansion... 3.5Kb doesn't go far!

Nice post. And also the warning up over the post help also lol. Nice post

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