czwartek , 30 maj 2024

History of Commodore 64 in Poland… Interview with Waldemar Czajkowski

Mr. Waldemar Czajkowski is a man who in the breakthrough of 80’s and 90’s distributed in Poland probably the largest number of cassettes with computer software for the Commodore 64. How the whole process of theirs creation, recording and distribution looked like, you will learn from this interview.

V-12: When and under what circumstances you became interested in the Commodore 64 computer?

Waldemar: Honestly I don’t remember in which year I bought my Commodore 64. Friend of mine Piotr Wadolkowski, who persuaded me into buying it, argues that it was in the year of 1986. However I suspect that it might be even earlier, because after graduation in 1987, I didn’t took any other gainful employment, but I got to continue to work more on the business associated with the cassettes, which started two or even three years earlier, and soon began to profitable. Of course, in the first period of my use of the C64 with datasette I was just a player who played whole days and nights with a games loaded from tapes.

In the meantime, the computer has become very helpful in my preparing for lessons on studies, on which we’ve been working on the rubber ZX Spectrums! [laughter] ZX stood in the hall, next to the twice bigger drive and digitizer. Around the other devices were connected, which incidentally, were more valuable than the same central computer. We’ve been joking at that time that this whole jumble of electronic equipment has so much processors around, that if we would run them all and after that took out the ZX, the rest of them would continue to work safely! [laughter]

In our houses we’ve been working on the ZX Spectrum simulator on the C64, by writing on him some programs in BASIC. Next we recorded it on cassette and brought to the lessons on studies. Unfortunately, there were problems with loading of these programs on ZX, because there were the general difficulties in setting the proper head fit settings etc. Despite these troubles, it was more worthwhile to work on C64 instead of buying new ZX. Only when I was on the 5th year of my studies, they come to the school with PCs, getting rid of ZX. But C64 was never used at the Technical University of Wroclaw.

V-12: When you came up with the idea of using your computer for business purposes?

Waldemar: Originally I started to exchange games with my friend who dragged me generally in the mood of C64. At some time we have reached a situation in which we exchanged throughout the whole software, which we had and we just didn’t had any new games! Another person, with which we contacted, was Mirek Zapedzki, son of Jozef Zapedzki – twice Olympic champion in shooting. He had more contacts and through them he gained some new programs, with which we’ve been exchanging with him. Then I started to go to Warszawa, because on the Grzybowska street there was already something going on. Firstly we’ve been still exchanging with the software, but next I’ve started to buy them. I was also twice in Czechoslovakia for some programs! Somewhat later, here in Wroclaw got formed an exchange, where people got the idea to sell games to the C64.

V-12: So on this exchange you’ve been doing first steps with your cassette business?

Waldemar: Yes, without a doubt! At the time, the Commodore 64 was really a pile of cash, and the disk drive itself was more expensive than the computer. At the beginning I was only a datasette keeper. Over the time, I wanted to further develop and expand my hardware, so I started thinking about going on with the business.

The exchange originally was organized in the Harbor Club (Klub Zeglarski) on the Wyspianski’s Coast (Wybrzeze Wyspianskiego). It was a small room on the ground floor and first floor, where one day a dozen of people had gathered with a idea of creating an exchange. It was necessary to pay for rent, and somehow it all organized. When I went there for the first time, I’ve got really disappointed. Not only that few people come, I’ve also concluded that the driving here from Swidnica, the whole idea of dealings is simply uneconomic, especially since people were reluctant to want to pay for the games, and they also were more willing only to share them. Hence, in general, my first attempt on the exchange was unsuccessful.

After few months I decided for the second approach. This time I had my own place organized on the ground floor. Many people then came and bought some games, which was a big surprise for me. Business started to turn on, and with every exchange at my place it started to create more and more longer of queues. For having something to copy for the people, I was going to Warszawa and buying programs on cassettes from Robert King, with which I’ve been in contact for many years. For the tapes from Robert I had a special datasette, which was set to the proper head fit. All of the games from him I’ve been running and testing. Of course, not all of them I’ve played to the end, because there was no time for this. Later I’ve been treating this only as the obligation on the basis of their review. In addition there were more and more games and less time for playing with them.

Later I’ve been taking also the cartridges from Robert, such like an Action Replay’s and Final’s, until I began work with the so-called Ladybirds – Atrax. But I will tell more about this later. On the exchange I’ve been usually going overflowed with 2 bags and backpack „Himalajka” in which were the C64, disk drive, tape recorder and tapes. I’ve been putting everything on the table and soon after that people started to stand in the queue. Often I was spurred on because the whole process of search, load and recording the program was time-consuming. More times the games have been extremely ripped versions from the disk as freezed games in which after passing one stage computer asked to insert another disk. This software was taken from Robert King, who a lot of these games was pushing into the market. Often when I took from him one cassette with a 20 games, only 5 of them really suited to playing, and the remainder was a crap. Robert King while recording of his tapes, he called them as “Latest”, but from what as I know, I was the pioneer in creating thematic compilations of games called for example „War games”, „Programs for drawings” etc. It was caused by the fact that on the exchange there was a little time for the copying of software, and people are impatient and often even suggested that I should come with a second set of computer! Then I did some thematic tapes and when people were asking me about specific games, such as „For children”, „For two joysticks”, „Sport games”, then I suggested to them my compilation of games created personally. The first 20 parts of tapes I knew exactly very well – every game! They were all checked and verified. Later I recorded another 20 named „Latest” on which I placed the games chosen from hundreds of topics about which I’ve been often asked on the exchange.

Generally, I will not conceal the fact that while the first period of using Commodore 64 I was a typical player, who was sitting through the whole nights upon computer. By contrast, selling tapes were my first real business. C64 has been launched at my place all the time: for playing, for studies and to earn some money at the weekends.

V-12: How much you could earn on one cassette with games?

Waldemar: Currently I do not remember what kind of prices they were (this was before denomination). On the exchange there was the three of us: me, Mirek and Pumex, knowed also as Jerzy Poprawa. Recording one game costs specified rate, which we’ve been setting together depending on inflation. Then, when I began to offer people my theme tapes, the price of one of them cost a few games that I could record separately. So if someone wanted for example 5 games to record separately from the cassette, it would be more expensive than for the 20 games on the tape. I informed the buyer that they have here verified themed games, which are available simply faster and cheaper.

Commercial which was linked to the file recorded at the end of Waldemar’s tapes which included catalogue of the games.
While trying to copy protected game, this screen appeared after running the programy.


V-12: How do you recall this period of copying games on the exchange in Wroclaw?

Waldemar: It was an interesting time in my life, full of new experiences and getting new contacts. It was also fulfilled with many funny situations! I remember when one day came a guy and introduced us to the joystick, which he claimed to be “indestructible”. And the boy slipped out of the crowd and said “Are you sure?”. That guy said, „Of course I’m sure! Nobody is able to destroy it in any way”. And both finally bet, that this kid at some given period of time, around several minutes is able to break the joystick on the responsibility of the owner. As he fell into a trance, then within minutes he broke it! [laughter] Seriously talking there was practically no joystick to be wasted. And it was a very large joystick with springs, clear, probably SV-127 model. Cost few times more than normal joystick and appeared to be robust and indestructible. We’ve been doing our joysticks for ourselves. I’ve studied electronics, so as it turned out that these were mere sticks and sheets do not always work, I took the limit switches, added a stick (for example, stick to change gears), and it worked! In some games we had to go diagonally, so you had to have this confidence that the joystick will work properly. I had some that looked ugly, but they worked great! [laughter]

V-12: Does yours cassettes were available only on the exchange?

Waldemar: The first 20 tapes were created precisely in order to propose them to the people on the exchange when they wanted to get more programs. Then I thought that since business is going well, I could try to put the package with the games into the commission shop. I went first to a music shop in Swidnica, but there wasn’t any of interest in the subject. However I found one commission shop and said that they could put the tapes on the exhibition and perhaps someone will buy them. They took from me 10 tapes and during next few months nothing happened. But after that time one person came, then another, and finally the whole packet of tapes got sold. I put there another 20 pieces and somehow the selling process was slowly going on. Then I found a technical commission shop in Wroclaw, where they also took from me some tapes. I thought also to locate some other shops in Swidnica, in which these tapes could be placed. I found one that was originally florist shop where the saleswoman got from me one set of tapes.

Being successfully encouraged with the sale of games in different places, I decided to try to distribute them in other cities. So I entered the train and went to Jelenia Gora. Business was slowly going on, and the tapes began to descend with around 10-20 in the amount of pieces. After graduation, I did not have the funds to continue to maintain, so I started to work more on the more business related to the C64 tapes. Other shops began to find the contact with me, also got opened one computer shop in Wroclaw, which was a real shock! [laughter] The biggest increase in sales of cassettes I’ve noticed when three of my colleagues, including one which was living for some time in Germany, founded the computer warehouse. It was just a shock! First they rented the basement, then the villa. Its company they called JTT from their names and at that time, this name was quite recognizable. Those guys agreed to take my games and sell them in theirs warehouse. Then I began to record on a large scale, and they distributed my tapes in stores that were out of town.

V-12: Are you able to estimate how much money you could made on one tape? In 1993, the price of one piece in Szczecin was 30.000 zlotych, which is now 3 zlotych.

Waldemar: No, I do not know. People took from me the tapes massively. I sold them for about half the price than they were later distributed in shops. Warehouses payed even less. But I don’t know how large were the amounts. However, overall earnings were incredible, because the villa apartment, where I live and the first car I bought with money earned on the Commodore 64! While selling the software for Amiga in later period, I never had the opportunity to earn so much money. However, to obtain an adequate income, it had to produce huge amounts of tapes and ride with them around 1/3 of Poland.

Since that time I had a lot of merchandise, I began to get the suitcases and bring the tapes personally to the stores. For the earned money I bought my first car Trabant, I mean Trampolo [laughter], which was going like a storm! I’ve been riding these tapes and my first transport I’ve addressed to Jelenia Gora. The next towns, for which I provided firstly cassettes was Brzeg Dolny, Wroclaw, Walbrzych and Klodzko. One day I got the idea to go to Szczecin. Here I had a few customers, including wholesale, which was distributing the tapes to many stores.

The furthest reach of my distribution was Swinoujscie, however, due to the fact that in this town, you have to play with the ferry crossing into the other side of the river, I’ve quickly gave up. The maximum line of distribution was designated by the cities such as Pila, Wagrowiec, Konin, Kepno, Kalisz, most of the town on Silesia, and even we’ve been riding to the Olkusz after the Silesia.

In Warsaw Atrax was getting my tapes for distribution, however, there wasn’t that much. I’ve been going also to Gorzow and surrounding places, spending the night at my aunt’s home, who lived in Szczecin on the settlement called Klucz, from where the next day in the morning I was going to the center of Szczecin, and then to the other cities.

V-12: And how you’ve been getting more new receivers?

Waldemar: In those days there were not so much shops, so often if there were two in one city, it was something! Apart of course from the biggest towns in which there were usually a few stores. It was therefore not generally a problem to find buyers, but usually they searched me, and reported a wish to purchase.

V-12: How exactly the whole process of recording games on tapes were looked?

Waldemar: The first cassettes I’ve been recording personally. I had a master disk, from which I’ve loaded a game, which next I’ve recorded on tape. Round and round. For speed up the things, I bought second Commodore 64 with a monitor. Over time, I’ve been increasing the number of computers, and while having 8 of them, sitting in a rolling chair and pressing record on a one datasette and loading a file from a floppy disk on the second computer, I found that there wasn’t possibility to handle everything at the same time, because when on one computer the game was loaded, on another one the game was recorded, and again, and again! It was a very tiring job. At that time Piotr Wadolkowski came with a big help, who did for me the adapter to copy programs from one tape to another. His gadged he built and placed in casing from Distal. It supported alternately one or second datasette.

In the meantime, I’ve started to trade with cartridges. I’ve imported them from Warszawa, and they were mainly Final’s and Action Replay’s. One day came to me a chap and says that he needs only case for cartridge. He wanted me to arrange 100 cases. This man was named Anrzej Janeczko and was the owner of the Pracownia Elektroniki „Mian”. I got for him those cases and after a month he came to me and said that he has to sell one cartridge named Mian Box. The cartridges from Mr. Janeczko also were sold by me at various stores in Poland.

V-12: There were also famous Black Box cartridges, including BB8, from which one version contained yours advertisement on the main screen…

Waldemar: Yes, yes it was! I established contact with Romuald Drahokaupil, exactly he contacted me first. I knew him from studies because he was my lecturer in electronics. He told me then that he created his own cartridge, called Black Box, and asked if I could sell it somewhere. Of course I helped him with sales and in return I got an advertisement on the main screen. Occasionally I asked Romuald, if there would be a possibility to create something which could help me to record tapes on more than 2 datasettes. He said that he can do it for 8! For his device he was getting probably around 1 million Polish zlotych of that time.

Soon it became that this invention can be combined in cascade, which allowed to recording on 64 datasettes simultaneously! Most of my people engaged in copying, has around 100 datasettes connected at the same time! Imagine that? For tape recording I had about 10 people in total. Each of them had from 60 to 100 Commodore datasettes attached to the C64, which allowed for production of even a few thousand cassettes in one day! Employees also had a separate computer for testing. They were running Head Fit and been checking that the bars are quite good and they’ve been loading randomly one game. It was differently at that times because some people did everything perfectly, and with other people it happened that there was something wrong. In such situations, I was forced to verify some of the merchandise that were exchanged when something was wrong. In my house there was one room full of cartons of Fuji cassettes filled with tapes which were prepared according to the numbers and they waited for transport to the shops.

V-12: From where you’ve been getting the tapes for recording your sets of games?

Waldemar: In the first years of my business, getting any clean cassette was a real art! There was only a possibility to buy only already recorded tapes. If any of the music band from Poland during 1988-1990 period has won the Golden Plate, including the sale of cassettes, I can say that it is partly caused to me! [laughter] Well, then I went to bookstores and bought exactly all music tapes and others which were available. In those days there were only 2 Polish factories, which were producing tapes: Chemitex Wiskord Szczecin and Stilon Gorzow. However there was no possibility to buy any cassetes in neither the one nor the other, which was kind of a paradox!

When I had some connections I’ve heard that in Szczecin on some street there is a shop selling haberdashery, where you could buy the cassettes! [laughter] Seriously! In the haberdashery! I went there and stood in the queue. At the counter I’ve asked for audio cassettes, thinking also, that for the moment the saleswoman will kick me out, but she came with a question: „Which ones? 60-minutes, 90-minutes long? [laughter] In such strange places I had to buy tapes for my production! When there was the possibility of placing an order in Stilon, it turned out that it was necessary to come with a lot of formalities, to write applications and wait for weeks to process the application. There were problems, for example questions like „Who are you? What is the company?”. Hence, in Stilon was really hard to order something.

My first sets of tapes I was recording on different funny cassettes acquired in bookstores, such as language courses, or music cassettes about which I’ve mentioned before. Then it turned out that you could buy BASF, or other tapes in Pewex shops for dollars and vouchers! [laughter] I was going through all Pewex shops, because even those tapes were expensive, it turned out, that it was still worth to pay. Finally I’ve realized, that there are still less tapes, and my sales was growing up with the time.

V-12: So, the demand grew, and the supply was still limited?

Waldemar: Unfortunatelly yes. The demand was increasing and in the beginning I was very limited that I had no places to take the tapes from. I wanted to place an order in Pewex for cassettes! [laughter] It wasn’t possible! I spoke with the deputy director of the Wroclaw’s branch, which required many of formalities. It was a waste of time and I gave up for the peace of mind. Finally I found a distributor of Fuji to Wroclaw, which guaranteed me the opportunity to bring more units, around 8-10 thousands of tapes. However, it was never possible to obtain the number of merchandise that were ordered, because the same dealer had often a limited number of them.

I had already the Volkswagen Transporter, where it was the possibility to locate from 8 to even 12 thousands of tapes! But the tapes are not light! [laughter] Oh, I’ve been carrying them too much in my life. The package with 100 cassettes weighs over to 10 kg, so contrary to common belief, it wasn’t light work!

For some time I’ve been recording on Fuji tapes. But in the end they proved to be quite expensive, and competition with the games on the market was growing up. Their prices were falling, so I was forced to find some new alternatives. There appeared some companies, including from Warszawa and Lodz, which offered so-called winding No Name tapes. I’ve been ordering from them around 10-20 thousands of pieces, which I’ve carrying with the bus car. On request, they did the special inscription on the tape, so I ordered one: „Professional Computer Cassette Fuji C = Commodore” with the drawing of 2 small monitors. Additionally, these companies were characterized by the fact that they did not pursue small orders, so I needed to get really big amount of tapes in one time. Therefore, I can only estimate that the during whole period of my work I’ve sold in Poland a few hundred of thousands of thematic cassettes with games which I made!

Different tapes used for the games recording. First ones are missed here.


V-12: We already know how’s been looking the whole process of recording the tapes, and I’m wonder, how it was with the covers printing?

Waldemar: The first series of 20 cover tapes was printed on the MPS 803 dot matrix printer. Next ones were presented much better. With the time I’ve been doing copies of the covers using photocopier, and later even on colored paper. I’ve been using Geos on C64 for their creation and I remember that I’ve been tiring with the location of the inscription at the bend of the cover. And generally it is worth mentioning that this kind of art on the text editors at that times wasn’t so easy!

I met also with the copying of my cassettes by a company from Lodz, which was so arrogant that she was copying the covers where was placed my name!

V-12: What was the reason to implement a new colorful covers during the breakthrough of 1993/94?

Waldemar: It was just the pressure of competition. Colorful covers were taken in the printing house on demand. The idea came from the Amiga, since I started recording 3’5 inch floppy disk with the software, for which there were required quite prettier wrappers. So in one time they printed for me a new covers for the C64 cassettes. For me, the designing of one cover on Geos at the beginning was very time consuming. Those later covers were created in the printing house. I probably provided them a covers from previous versions for that they have the source from which they could rewrite the game titles and their descriptions, and they took care of the whole project.

An example of the evolution of Waldemar’s tape covers.


V-12: You still didn’t mentioned about the story behind adding protection for your games using Micrus Copy program. How this whole process looked like from the kitchen?

Waldemar: After years I’ve found on the floppy disk the program called Micrus Copy 4, but honestly I don’t remember when I started to protect my games with it. Anyway, one time came to me its authors to offer me a program that will protect programs from tape to prevent them from copying. I bought it, but after a while someone started to spread the program who was decoding Micrus protection. I suspect that they could be the same people, who did that protection.

The whole process of preparing the master tape was extremely time consuming. Every game I’ve been protecting with Micrus and recording on the tape. Ready and working master tapes were transferred to my employees, who were copying them.

V-12: You are also an author of the German dictionary on C64

Waldemar: I’ve been not doing so much on my Commodore 64, but in fact the translator of the German language is my work. About how he got created, the sentences are divided, because in those days, it all looked much different than today. While doing the dictionary, I used the English version of the program and changed it all into German, which I better knew at that time. Since I heard from someone that if more than some percentage amount of the program was changed, I can then sign this program with my name as the author! [laughter]

V-12: In 1991 on the marked appeared some books with descriptions of yours games, which publisher was Palma Press from Wroclaw. How has your collaboration with this publisher?

Waldemar: Unfortunately I don’t remember! [laughter] At one point I had several people who were involved in producing and distributing the tapes. I know only that I went to the Palma Press to settle anything, but I do not remember the details now. Probably the one of my colleagues initially established contact with the company and asked them to cooperate.

V-12: And how it looked the cooperation with Atrax??

Waldemar: While riding to Warszawa on the exchage I was buying the cartridges from them, and also various adapters for the C64. Our collaboration was keeped for a long time and I was taking the products for sale from Atrax even after we went into legal software. One of the things which I’ve arranged for them, was to sell license for Black Box by Romuald Drahokaupil. Atrax was the one and only company which was officially and legally distributing these cartridges in Poland! Other versions of this have been copies.

Original Black Box v8 from Atrax which was created by Romuald Drahokaupil.
Different clones of Black Box.


V-12: Let us now turn to the later period of your business. Year 1994 comes in Poland with the Law of Copyright and Related Rights

Waldemar: While entering of the law of copyright, I decided to move back all of my tapes from stores, exchanging them at the same time with the original from Avalon and Mirage companies. I’ve destroyed those tapes because I didn’t wanted the situation, that someone suddenly comes to me and see that I still have them in my possession.

V-12: But there have been some situations that yours tapes were still in shops. For example, in the computer store in Szczecin in the settlement called Sloneczne, there was a man who was getting from the counter one cassette from time to time and selling them for 10 Polish zlotych per one…

Waldemar: He was doing it on his own responsibility, because I already did not had anything to do with this. When the law appeared, for all the shops in which were my tapes, I presented a proposal to withdraw the merchandise at the sale price and supply of original games, which anyway I had to buy from someone else. Margin on the legal software was unfortunately less and gradually I began to get the smaller money from my business. I’ve been selling later mainly software for Amiga and PC, but everything went progressively down. Also the taxes did much at that time.

In 1997 my company went into bankrupt because someone stole my car with the merchandise in Szczecin. All things related to the C64 and Amiga put back to rest. I owned at that time about 15 of Commodore 64 and really I don’t know, what happened to them. I suspect that the working ones went for employees, and damaged, for example without running SID’s, found their way to the basement, and after years got threw into the bin. Once I had a few cartridges of education, which also got shared the fate of those C64’s. Who would buy such a thing now, especially when the history and geography is outdated? [laughter]

V-12: Do you remember any funny or surprising stories of the entire period of your earning activity on C64?

Waldemar: There were various interesting stories. Once I’ve packed the entire Volkswagen T4 up to the roof with a cassettes. I’ve placed there more than 12 thousands of them and then it turned out that the car moved really barely, because his load was 900 kg, and he was carrying well over 1.2 tons! [laughter] The worst thing was when I wanted to stop before crossroads. It turned out that the brakes did not foresee, and the car stayed until 2 meters after the traffic lights, right in the middle of the crossing! Good luck, that nothing was riding from the other side! Then I went probably 40 km/h per hour with a big fear…

Another noteworthy event was the situation in which it was found that there is some discrepancy between the setting of my head fit, and the original! I don’t know how it happened, but at some point it became clear that we differ for about 180 degrees. If someone had an original new tape, then he couldn’t load properly of my tapes. And then came a dilemma: whether to twist my head set, or leave the original. One of the biggest of my successes was that I’ve convinced one warehouse in Poznan to begin with change in the original datasette slant of the head fit! Can you believe that? [laughter] First they said that I should change the set of head fit of my cassettes, then they will buy them, but I convinced them to have Poznan went on my head fit set! [laughter] This city was one of the bigger of my customers and quite often I’ve been sending there twice in a week a car with the merchandise.

Yet another example, such an event: just before Christmas I sent the car with the contract for several companies in Poznan. When an employee arrived to the first one, they suggested to him that they will purchase all of the stuff! Without long thinking, he sold them all tapes, which he was carrying. When the worker was going back to home, I got a phone call of a man from another company based in Poznan, asking where is the car with cassettes? I said that it’s on the road to them. After a while I look, and here my man arrives with an empty car and says without a hint of hesitation, that he had sold everything in one place. I had a big problem, because with all of the companies I’ve cooperated in some years and didn’t wanted to disappoint them I had to organize a night action with several people to record a batch of missing tapes and the next day to deliver it to the expectants! [laughter] As you can see, the market has developed very dynamically, and orders were even counted in thousands.

I have a few memories connected with the exchange. When we were standing before the doors at 8 in the morning, there were carrying out various disputes, mostly in the subject of wars between the Commodore and Atari. There was one man who always fell and shouted „Atari rules! Commodore is so-and-so”. One day he came to the exchange and shouted „Listen! Amiga is the best!”, and others responded, „What Amiga? You are Atari?”. He answered „Me? I sold Atari, Amiga rules”. [laughter] That was the biggest Atari freak which I ever saw!

There were the times where at least for the 7 years I’ve been regularly riding every Saturday for shopping on the exchange in Warszawa, and then on Sunday for sale in Wroclaw! There were even organized some Christmas exchanges.

After a long time after the abandonment of my weekly visits to Warszawa, I went back and I’ve checked on some new place, which tapes are now on sale. A salesman started praising this one series, saying: „Sir, these tapes are very good, chosen with the themes, cool games, selected by Waldemar Czajkowski! Here you can see on the back the name of his company…” Being well surprised I asked the question: „What’s that? By whom?” Seller said: „By Waldemar Czajkowski from Swidnica! Did you heard about him?” And I said: „Sure! I’m the Waldemar Czajkowski!” [laughter]

I also remember when one day my son came to ask me how much the Commodore shirt costed in the past. Then I remembered that I was a long time ago in a shop, which was all filled to the brim with Bayern Munich T-shirts with the Commodore inscription! Maybe you will not believe, but one shirt costs 100 marks – it was 4 or 5 average of salary in our country! These were the times… I also remember that I bought joystick for the 9 marks in the shop, one of the best! [laughter] I brought green monitor, which had a small defect because he was working on… 220 V! For sure you don’t know how bigger was tension in the network? [laughter] Between 160-180 V! I plugged the monitor to the network, and often it began to show me some strange stripes. I put the meter into the outlet, and there were 160 V! Then I had to mount a transformer from 220 to 220 V! [laughter] These were the times! Moreover, it was the same with my clock which was controlled by 50 Hz from network, and which should theoretically go with an accuracy to 1 second per year. He was late usually 2-3 minutes per day, because the network was 48-49 Hz! [laughter]

V-12: So how do you recall generally those years spent with C64, from both the player and a businessman sides?

Waldemar: After the years I still have a sentiment for the C64. I’m getting tired of the PC games, because they have lack of so called playability. I remember those sleepless nights upon Commodore 64, when my mother chased me into the bed! [laughter] That sitting by the nights came from that on the studies in a dormitory we played with the guys in Eurobusiness. Once, after a long game, one of them suddenly gets up and says: „I go into the army.” And we said: „What? Into the army?” “Well I go to the army”- he replied. „8 AM I have the training!” [laughter] We played in Eurobusiness, while others played the bridge. I played several times in the Eurobusiness with the world champion … but in the bridge! [laughter] I liked the different games, before computers entered.

One of my favorites on the C64 was a Pirates game, which occasionally was crashing! According to some rule, the program counted the percentage of task, and to finish the game, you had to swim to a specific port, which couldn’t be done during the mission. One time the game got crashed and displayed me the task at 176%! [laughter]

V-12: What you are doing currently in your life?

Currently I’m a financial advisor of Aegon firm, exactly I’m an analyst of personal finance. I specialize in systematic investment programs, pensions and investments. Each of the readers for the password „C64” can get my free advice. Of course, the most accurate would be the personal contact, it means like a people from Lower Silesia, but others may also be contacted. My address is waldemar.czajkowski.finanse[at]

V-12: Well. I think that we came to the end of the interview. Thank you very much for your time and valuable stories from the past!

Waldemar: You’re welcome! For me it was a nice meeting, and moreover the possibility of going back in time and remind myself of good old history. Greetings to the River’s Edge readers!

Interview conducted by Paweł Ruczko a.k.a. V-12/Tropyx on 5.12.2009. Transcription of the interview was completed on 28.12.2009.

V-12 with Mr. Waldemar Czajkowski!
V-12 with original sign board which advertised Mr. Waldemar’s computer business for many years.

Meeting with Mr Waldemar Czajkowski was for sure fulfilling one of my dreams. It may sound quite odd, but in fact since many years I wanted to know the history of production and distribution of those famous tapes protected by Micrus Copy software, which I’m collector since I got my C64 exactly in 1993. From my side I would like once again to thank Mr. Waldemar for your time and really interesting stories, which sometimes were really surprising. In future I have plans to show the history of buying those tapes, because there is so much to remember!

Paweł Ruczko a.k.a. V-12/Tropyx
Szczecin, 12.01.2010

My two first tapes which I got together with my C64 in 1993.