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CRACKERS I: The Gold Rush

CRACKERS I: The Gold Rush

Regular price €30,00 EUR
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Software piracy in the ’80s and ’90s. The first book in the CRACKERS series. Digital visions and copy parties, intrigues and industrial espionage, disk traders and pirates. Elitism, escape and persecution: The mysterious life of crackers and their scene organisations shaped the computer age. 

  • Second Hardback Edition + free PDF
  • 170 × 230 mm portrait format
  • 336 brilliant colour pages
  • 130g/m² Art Silk Plus paper
  • Surface laquer sealing
  • UV-resistant and abrasion-proof

From USA to Europe. A narrative journey back to the last century when data was stored on floppy disks, computer games became entertainment and the law was unprepared for what happened next.

In a mixture of oral histories and media reports, the trail of one of the most secretive underground IT societies is uncovered: What distinguishes a cracker from a hacker? Why were they considered a threat to the entire games industry? Captivating anecdotes, historical depictions and hundreds of pictures bring this exciting software episode back to life.

The book series not only exposes the machinations of the underground, but also takes an in-depth look at the contemporary games industry, press relations and the limits and possibilities of the various national laws. But CRACKERS does not stop there. We calculate production budgets, let game makers have their say and put in a word for the development of cracker and demo groups.

Special Features
 and articles on Hagbard Celine (Illuminatus!) // Hacker vs. Cracker // Radwar Party 2 & 3 // Was (Not Was) // Cracking the Industry // The Crackers Deal (mimetic entrepreneurs) // Cult of The Circle // Blue Boxing // GNU license // Hackers in the Movies // WD1772 (Atari floppy controller) // Bootsector Messages (Thalion) //  Dragonflight (uncrackable protection?) // Manual Protection // Game Extensions (value enhancement).

Featuring: Radwar, German Cracking Service, B.O.S.S., MCA, Hotline, Dynamic Duo, 42-Crew, Copy Service Stuttgart, Troll & Co, ST Computer Service, The Blade Runners, The Medway Boys, Pompey Pirates, Automation, LSD, The Corporation, BBC, Cynix, The Replicants, Delight, The Exceptions, The Union, The Lost Boys, TCB, The Empire, Elite, Tristar & Red Sector, Thalion, Eclipse, Magic Bytes, Factor 5, Rainbow Arts, Argonica, Acornsoft, Graftgold, Firebird, Ocean, U.S. Gold, Magnetic Scrolls, Bullfrog, DMA Design, Mastertronic, Codemasters, Kingsoft, Erbe Software, Epyx, Electronic Arts, Ubi Soft, Infocom, Brøderbund, Microprose, Sierra, Lucasfilm Games, FAST, APP, Copylock Software, Gravenreuth & Syndikus… and many more.

CRACKERS: The Gold Rush takes the reader a crucial step deeper into a highly organised illegal European network that acted like a corporation ahead of its time. Key industry figures such as Rob Northen make their point. Former codebreakers on Apple II, BBC Micro, Sinclair Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, C64, Amiga and especially Atari ST reveal the truth of a unique computer youth.

Interviews with the protagonists and contributors are available in the sequel: The Data Storm


Paper and Passion

Included products

Book + PDF, bookmark


~170 × 230 mm

Production quality

Hardback edition, reliable binding, UV-stable offset printing, protected pages

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Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
A Beautiful Book

The presentation of the book is great, as is the quality of the pages and the book cover.
The books contains lots of interesting stories and tidbits about the beginnings and rationale of the cracker scene.
Good stuff

Florian Kuehne
Awesome and interesting book with fast delivery

I got the book a few weeks and I like it a lot. It's interesting to read about how things worked back then, especially for someone who wasn't born yet. The book itself is really high quality and I received the book in like 2 days.

Definitely recommended for anyone who is interested in this kind of stuff.

Szymon Kosecki
Awesome nostalgia trip with some real history

Awesome nostalgia trip with some real history


Amazing book covering the beginings with in depth information and details.

Great! The good old times come to live.

Greatest Book I‘ve Read for a Long time. Awesome!!!

Capture the spirit of the ’80s gaming industry

CRACKERS takes a bold look into the valleys of the floppy disk trade in Europe. US game production cast its shadow ahead and a game began that not only the illegal scene used to its advantage.

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  • Free Shipping

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  • Free Replacement

    If your book is seriously damaged in transit or there is a delivery problem for which you are not responsible, we will cover the cost of another shipment.

  • Free Extras

    We are delighted with every larger book delivery and, if possible, will gladly fill up your parcel with some cool premium gifts and little attentions.

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