Reviving an old Pet Project

When I was younger I used to collect all sorts of legacy hardware from flee markets, yard sales and the likes. I built a formidable retro computer and game console collection. This has become very hard nowadays because 1) it is really hard to still find anything and 2) I don’t have enough storage space.

I recently went through a list of my precious collection items and while doing so got inspired to dig up an old pet project of mine that I last worked on five years ago.

Amiga Cracktros

I grew up with the Commodore Amiga computer. We first had a borrowed Amiga 500 at home until my brother finally got a shiny new Amiga 600. This must have been around 1992/93. It was the best gaming machine of its time (yeah, suck it up you Atari fans, you know it’s true 😉). Back in the 80’s and 90’s buying original games was not the norm. Instead, cracked versions of games would be traded among friends and at school.

One characteristic of those games were the so called “Cracktros” or crack intros. Cracktros are graphical demo sequences that would show before the actual game loaded. It was common among cracker groups to create those intros to show off their coding skills and gain fame within the scene. Some of those cracktros are pure works of art and I was always fascinated by the graphics and especially the music. Sometimes you would load a game just to listen to the cracktro music. Check out some examples here:

My all-time favorite cracktro is Paranoimia’s excellent work for Shufflepuck Cafe. To this day I love the music and the captivating animations.

A few years ago I was doing some iOS game development in my spare time, so I thought I’ll try to recreate the Paranoimia cracktro on iOS. I had a lot of fun building it using SpriteKit for 2D and SceneKit for the 3D effect. In fact I had so much fun that I wanted to build a cracktro creator app. So I started building some more effects but the project never got out of the playground stage and eventually I abandoned it.

A new beginning…

Fast forward to 2020. I remembered my little fun project from five years ago, dug it up from the archives and loaded it in Xcode. To my surprise it still compiles and runs without any modification. So here is my version of the Paranoimia cracktro running in the iPhone Simulator:

I still want to build something that makes it easy to create Amiga style cracktros and I have some ideas about how it could look. To be continued…