A crack intro, also known as a cracktro, loader, or just intro, is a small introduction sequence added to cracked software, designed to inform the user of which "cracking crew" or individual cracker was responsible for removing the software's copy protection and distributing the crack. It has to look good if they wanted to impress the viewer and sometimes it looked even better than the pirated game itself. They first appeared in the early 1980s.
These first appeared on Apple II and later ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC games that were distributed around the world via Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) and floppy disk copying. Initially the intros consisted of simple messages, but they grew progressively more complex as they became a medium to demonstrate the purported superiority of a cracking group.
Crack intros became more sophisticated on more advanced systems such as the Apple Macintosh II, Commodore Amiga, and Atari ST, as well as some IBM PC clone systems with sound cards.
Cracking groups would use the intros not just to gain credit for cracking, but to advertise their BBSes, greet friends, and to give themselves recognition. Messages were frequently of a vulgar nature, and on some occasions made threats of violence against software companies or the members of some rival crack group.
Crack intro programming eventually became an art form in its own right, and people started coding intros without attaching them to a crack just to show off how well they could program. This evolved into the demoscene.
Crack intros that use chiptunes live on today in the form of background music for small programs intended to remove the software protection on commercial and shareware software that has limited or dumbed-down capabilities. Sometimes this is simply in the form of a program that generates a software package's serial number, usually referred to as a keygen. These chiptunes are now still accessible as downloadable musicdisks or musicpacks.
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