About the Apple ][ Hackers
The Apple ][ hackers were born out of a software industry which made it almost impossible to copy a software package, even for the purpose of having archival backups. Most companies also only sent one disk out with the package. There were a few exceptions to this rule but with the popularity of the Apple ][ computers among teens of the time, it meant that there was an entire force of young talent with time to burn. And burn they did, all so brightly, cracking every known scheme produced.
Several companies arose from both the need to protect software as well as the need to copy the copy protected software. Companies such as Locksmith, Central Point Software, and magazines such as Hardcore Computist led the way in the charge against the copy protectors. However, even these tools did not go far enough in some cases. Copy Cards such as Essential Data Duplicator and others were created to do bit by bit copies of disks. These were great but that gave way to other schemes which did not follow the norm for the Apple ][.
Thus the cracking techniques such as those espoused by the Midwest Pirates Guild and other groups that shared their cracking information became even more important. Many of the efforts to re-crack software today follow many of the same techniques that were used in the 1980's. Of course, now we have better utilities, hardware, and 30 years of knowledge to back up those efforts.
As for the copy protectors battles with the hackers, it all bus dissipated when many companies gave up on trying to beat them and only one company sold their software completely without protection. That was Beagle Bros. Others kept pouring tons of money into the copy protection schemes and burning through profits that they had made just to keep up. But that was the fallacy of the thinking of the time. the Hackers won that fight for sure and the proof of that is in these lists.
These days, emulators tend to rule the roost as far as running these old games and the actual hardware is not only becoming rarer but is also becoming unstable in some cases. Of course, 30 years on, no one expected the Apple II to be around, much less that a group such as Brutal-Deluxe would actually re-crack dozens of titles, all without crack-screens in order to make them available to everyone. But alas, the skills of cracking software is becoming a lost art but it is an art that is still necessary in order to preserve many of the titles from the 1980's.
The Word "Hacker"
Unfortunately for those hacks who love their hardware, the word Hacker was associated in the early days as someone who broke software encryption. That usually was a 15 year old kid somewhere in middle america, or misguided youth as many would say. But it was more out an abundance of time and kids that wanted to play a particular game. They would get it, hack it, put their splash screens on the package and give it to all their friends. It eventually became a prestige thing and trying to out do other hackers in getting a particular package to the warez world before anyone else. Cat Furs, AE's, and other pirate BBS's were born out of this cottage industry.
Soon Hacking as is was called, was so rampant that the amount of money being spent to stop it was in the millions of dollars. The whole Business Software Alliance thing came about due to it but even that had its own pitfalls.
The biggest problem is that it should have been called cracking as that was really what it was. It was cracking codes and protection schemes. But for some reason, no thanks to the media, people had images of Matthew Broderick in War Games. Now the word hacker is forever associated with cracking due to this misperception.
Where This Site Came From
Chris, Mark & Terry's Apple ][ Home Page was one of the main stopping points for many in the early days looking for Apple II information. Three young Apple programmers, Chris Duke, Mark Fischer and Terry McCurdy were the curators of the site. The three Apple enthusiasts as they called themselves created a page was short, quick and concise, had a cool startup screen back in the late 1990's and early 2000, and they also had a great list of the original Apple II Hackers.
This hackers list was originally created in 1996 which marked the 19th Year since the release of the Apple ][ computer. Obviously there had been tons of hacks by that time but most of the great hacks that people remember had been done more than 10 years prior at that point.
Chris in 1984 Mark & Terry
Now with the 30th Anniversary of the Apple ][ come and gone we have recovered the list they originally made and have put it up in new format so that everyone can access the page. Before you get stomping mad and say it is copied, it has been off the Internet since 2004 and we make no claims over the information. Also we have updated several of the entries and added new ones where information is available. Keep in mind that it is only here as a historical reference. Many of the graphics used here are from the original site but we have added dozens more as we are finding the crack screens on software we use.
About Hacking and Piracy
Since all of the activities of piracy are illegal, we do not condone piracy nor do we encourage anyone to do it. We made this site out of respect to the history of the Apple ][ and nothing else. (There, that is our disclaimer. Now onto the good stuff).
Without further adieu, herein lies the greatest club of hackers ever to grace the face of the earth. This list has been made as complete as possible using the original archives and new information. While many of the people in this list went on to bigger and better things in the computing world, they will be forever remembered for the antics in their youthful endeavors that gave many companies fits and many kids the games they played.
If you have any additions or changes to this list, please contact us using the contact form on this page. We also accept screen shots of Hacker screens from known hacked games so please feel free to include them when possible.