It was 1988 and Strider had a problem. The first copy of the Commodore 64 game The Last Ninja 2 had just landed in the computer shop in Malmö where he used to work after school. Strider hade an exceptional opportunity to be the first kid on the schoolyard with a cracked copy of the game everybody wanted.

But to do that, Strider needed to pass the game over to his friend Gollum. Gollum was a cracker, specialized in removing copy protection from the games Strider provided him with. But Gollum lived in Ronneby. Mailing the game to him wouldn't do, because then he wouldn't get it until next day. That would give other groups time to get ahead and cheat the two friends of the release. Strider had to think.

The solution became one of the linchpins of Fairlight, the worldwide pirat empire that Strider eventually found himself being the ruler of. A couple of chocolate bars was all that was needed to convince a train conductor at Malmö central station to assist. Strider gave him the cassette with The Last Ninja in Malmö. When the train arrived to Ronneby, Gollum was waiting at the station. A couple of hours later, the game was cracked, signed with a Fairlight intro and ready to spread across the world. Strider could lean back and enjoy all the talk about him. Nobody understood how Fairlight could be that fast.

”That was the secret, a train conductor. Not many people know that today,” says Pontus “Bacchus” Berg.

He laughs as he tells the story. 25 years have passed and we're having a cup of coffee at Slussen in Stockholm. In a couple of hours, Pontus will board the boat to Finland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Fairlight. Some 30 members of the group will attend. Many of them have been friends for more than two decades, but several have never met face to face.

Did you ever own a Commodore 64? Then you know that Fairlight is one of the world's most enduring and legendary pirate groups. During these 25 years, the group has cracked and distributed hundreds of computer games, starting with the Commodore 64 cassettes of the 1980's through Amiga and Super Nintendo to contemporary lavish PC productions. The group was founded in Malmö 1987 by Tony ”Strider” Krvaric. This was long before the internet became common property. The Fairlight myth grew on BBSes, at demo parties and at schoolyards.

Sida 1 / 2