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

in #truestories3 months ago

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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, The Slavelord who has given me a plethora of memories from the early days and to Suicidal Tendencies (@trolleydave) who remembers more about the UK scene than me.


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


I was once known as 'Bryn Rogers', a member of THG (The Humble Guys).


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
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Three
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Four
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Five
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Six
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Seven
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Eight
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Nine
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Ten
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Eleven
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twelve
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Thirteen
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Fourteen
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Fifteen
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Sixteen
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Seventeen
The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Eighteen


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October 1992

It was with heavy hearts that I and HootMon returned to the UK directly from Los Angeles which meant a huge 11 hour flight.

Even then I was no fan of flying and would have much preferred a direct teleport.

Within a few short months THG were losing the plot and their dominance in the scene fading.


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Some old dude from the South of England tried to create an account on The Demon’s Forge using his real name.

I figured him to be a lamer but read his personal message. It went something like this:

Hi, I’m John Smith from Southampton and am 68 years old. I would like to apply to The Humble Guys

That was it.

Was this bloke an agent from FAST? (Federation against Software Theft)?

I smelled a rat and decided to ignore ‘John Smith’ as there were rumours around that crackdowns were going to commence, and a certain antagonist who’s name escapes me was about to target the UK BBS scene.

’while Hi.T.Moonweed was happy to let any old lamer on to The Flying Teapot, I kept a very firm grip on my BBS’

Within a few days I was talking to Hi.T Moonweed who was telling me all about this ‘John Smith’ character.

Apparently he had gained an account on The Flying Teapot but Hi.T. was not taking him too seriously.

Due to ‘THG’ ignoring him, he had somehow managed to contact Hard Core of TDT and was now in alliance with our European rivals.


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...'Virgin Megastores no longer exist on our high streets, the great recession took care of them'...

He lived next door to a Virgin Megastore and had signed a five year contract with Mr ‘no personality’ himself (Hard Core) to provide goods and warez directly using his own funding.

This was a blow, we could have done with a friendly affluent pensioner who was looking for some kudos. What else would he do with his time, prune the plants in his conservatory?

How the fuck had a non-scene 68 year old pensioner contacted Hard Core who lived in Sweden?

The situation reminded me of another that happened only months before. Razor Blade now of Razor 1911 who lived only 15 miles from me had wanted to join THG and had received a similar response from the American guys.

’the group still had some reputation but everyone had burned out, except the British contingent and we were all a little paranoid’

I had invited Razor Blade to my gaff as he was desperate to learn the black art of blue boxing.

Not that I participated in such nefarious acts, I just knew the ‘theory’ and was happy to pass the knowledge on to a fellow pirate, even if he belonged to a major rival group.

It required one to show a peer just how to do it. A phone conversation did not cut the mustard.


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...'as long as we could obtain quality originals such as Popeye 2, THG were safe and still the premier cracking group. OK.., so some were not as good as others and Popeye 2 somehow made it into the hands of The Power Lamer....'...

All was not lost and I had still had Mr Bond as a local supplier. He was always great about loaning original disks out provided I returned them by a certain date.

By this time I was frantically trying to re-establish THG-DOX, the documentation wing of the group. This meant typing in instructions from games to co-habit the full release.


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...'typing the instructions from a Microprose game was demanding to say the least, some were hundreds of pages long, the manuals very thick and you could lose days of your life'...

It was a fruitless task, people really didn’t give a crap about ‘dox’ and after preparing one of the Ultima Underworld ‘dox’ releases and then have Night Ranger upload the INC version to ‘The Demons Forge’ I had to reevaluate my life and say to myself, ‘what the fuck are you doing?’.

Night Ranger was positively smirking in his message to me (if you can smirk in writing), and like me must have been struggling to get games.

From that point on I felt quite happy to relinquish control of the ‘dox’ market to him. I wanted no part of it.


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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Interesting that this whole sub-culture was going on with hardly any public knowledge. I guess there are lots of similar things still going on with deadly rivalries.

BTW Do you get any clicks on your referral links at the bottom. I don't get many.

Interesting that this whole sub-culture was going on with hardly any public knowledge. I guess there are lots of similar things still going on with deadly rivalries.

Oh yes, it's still going on and I think Razor 1911 have survived through all these years. I'm no longer interested, and just use my PS4 for gaming now. I have to buy the games, but it's no longer a big deal.

BTW Do you get any clicks on your referral links at the bottom. I don't get many.

I haven't had a single one. It's like advertising to the blind!

I think I have had a few Manna and Presearch referrals. I know someone signed up to Wirex recently with my link, so I may get something for that. I think I may have got something from Coinbase, but that was probably via a post.

Your doing better than me, I'm thinking of taking them off. Maybe they look a bit shilly.

I am intrigued to find out if John Smith really is a harmless old pensioner!!

Wish I could remember his real name, the backups of the Forge were made on 2 x 1.44Mb floppies and then got lost, all the messages etc were recorded there. He will be in his nineties now if still breathing!

That's a big if!! Pseudonyms are much better!

Everyone used dumb stupid names then, Lord this and that.. a bit like here!

Everyone used dumb
Stupid names then, Lord this and
That.. a bit like here!

                 - slobberchops


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Exactly like here!

Yeah, like living the dream all over again but not having to type Microprose manuals in this time.

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Wow, very interesting. I probably would have been cautious about that guy too. Older people with tech knowledge weren't as common back then as they are now. There is no way to quantify the red flags that would have thrown up.

Older people with tech knowledge weren't as common back then as they are now.

Yeah, the once young are now the old... like me!

I used to love those multi-coloured scrolling banners with wavy water reflections on demo screens. They were the best part of new releases.