ACNews #64
06 января 2017

Questionnaire - My name is Piotr Marecki and I am an Assistant Professor at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Together with two demosceners, Yerzmyey and Hellboj, we decided to write a book about the ZX Spectrum.

                       by Piotr Marecki

My name is Piotr Marecki and I am an Assistant Professor at the
Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Together with two 
demosceners, Yerzmyey and Hellboj, we decided to write a book
about the ZX Spectrum. We believe that the best idea for a book
about this platform does not involve putting forth the official
history of the platform, its creators and copyrighted products,
but rather focusing on the users of the platform. Our goal is to
show how this platform broke away from the manufacturer and
started a life of its own, especially within the creative
practices such as the demoscene. In our narrative we want to
make the platform users, primarily the active demoscene users,
the main protagonists of the book. Surely you realize that this
cannot be done without your help.

Such a project has never been carried out, so we have no chance
to base our ZX history on existing data. Because of the needs of
our project, we must produce the data. These are questions about
the Spectrum and your participation in the scene. They are very
detailed and responses will probably take some time to answer,
but we hope that we can persuade you to take the time - it's for
the platform.

We want to analyze the information that we will get from you and
include it in an upcoming publication, as one of its most
important elements (of course, we will also use existing
literature as well as our observations for the narrative). We
also ask for help in contacting us with people who are involved
in the ZX scene and represent different roles (or professions)
in it. Any advice, links, or information is invaluable for us.
Our narrative will be based on it all. Due to the fact that we
are dealing with the creative side of the scene and that we want
to map the creative work, we thank you in advance for mentioning
specific productions, events, forms of cooperation, etc. in your
answers. We are interested in your personal approach to the
scene and creative works. Your comments will be cited and we
really wish to use your nicknames for this purpose. We are also
very receptive to informal language in the responses. Any
language that you would use in the scene (let's show them what
it's really like!). We are preparing a book for an American
publisher, and readers who may have never heard of the demoscene
and the ZX Spectrum before, so some questions may seem banal or

                 Belonging and Identification

What was the main impulse that drove you to buy the ZX Spectrum?

Was it connected to the low cost of the computer?

What was the first contact like at the place where the computer
was purchased? How was it purchased?

Did a sense of belonging to the Spectrum scene already manifest
itself? What are the forms in which belonging to the scene does
manifest itself (then and now)? Where did Spectrum people meet?
Where do they meet now?

Was belonging to the scene connected with a special vocabulary?

Why would people tie themselves to the demoscene?

Are you able to indicate demos or intros in which identification
with Spectrum is mentioned?

Where are you in the hierarchy of demoparties connected with
Spectrum? Which party meant something to you?

                  Structure of the Demoscene

What was your function in the scene?

If you had to build a hierarchy of functions/ "professions"
connected with the demoscene, what would it look like?

In terms of the development of the scene, are there functions
that appeared and then disappeared? Why would they go away?

Since the scene is anarchical, does it have a structure at all
and what was it based on, if yes?

How is it that the scene continues to exist and is maintained
without any donations/grants/external sources of funding?

Does the demoscene really apply the idea of the free economy?


What's the origin of your nickname?

What's the point of using a nickname?

People in the demoscene often use nicknames. If you had to
provide their first and last name, what percentage of them would
you be able to?

Is it really possible to speak of the double life of the
demoscener? Do you do things under your nickname that you
wouldn't do under your given name?

Does friendship in the scene also imply friendship in
professional life?

What does it mean when sceners use multiple nicknames?

               ZX Spectrum and Other Platforms

Is it true that there were, or continue to be, wars between

If yes, how were they fought? In demos? On storage disks? During
a party? Instant messaging (IRC)?

Can you give an interesting example of a platform battle in the
demos or intros?

What words were used to signify "enemies". For ex. What would be
used for commodores or atarians?

Did ZX demosceners feel averse towards other platforms? Any

Do sceners profess something like a "clean platform"? For
example, could songs or tracks be presented only from the
original platform during parties? What does the "original
platform" mean to you?

Were there any spectacular departures from the ZX scene for the
purpose of joining another scene? How are these people judged?

Are Spectrum songs/tracks often imported, and can their versions
be played on other platforms? (Demos, intros, games, music,

                        The Collective

The first acts of the demoscene were mainly individual actions;
in the 80's sceners often worked alone. Then there was a shift
to group work. How did it look from your perspective?

What was the main reason for shifting to group work?

What models of team cooperation in the case of the demoscene can
you mention? Any interesting, unconventional examples?

An interesting process is also group work during the parties
themselves, for ex. during real-time contests. Can you describe
cooperation from your experience and the eventual results of it?

A creative product of the scene is a work of collective
authorship, signed often by the group. Do you know of any
atypical ways of groups coming together in the demoscene?

Teamwork also comes up in greetz?: what does it mean to greet
everybody and why can demos never take place without them?

              Ranking the Works in the Spectrum

What are the main methods of valuing creative works on the
Spectrum scene?

What causes works to win a party?

How much does the atmosphere of the party itself decide about
the winning work? Are there any Spectrum parties where some
creative works are favorited?

Besides the voting at the party, do other aspects of the scene
such as diskmags, voting for Pouet, also influence the ranking
of the works itself, recognition of groups or sceners?

What is at stake? What is the prize? What can be accomplished by
being on the scene?

What do you value about the scene? The possibility of obtaining
fame? Friendship? The possibility of enlightening your other
friends? Other aspects?

Do sceners participate in other creative forms in the field of
digital media (for example, game programing, app building,
etc.). How helpful is the demoscene in these creative fields?

                The Division of East and West

From the perspective of the Spectrum platform, what are the
general differences between the so-called East and West?

Can the approach to legal commercial programing be something
that distinguishes it?

Is participation on the scene connected to greater amounts of
free time in Eastern countries, which can be dedicated to
programing, creating music or graphics, going to parties?

Is it possible to say that the equipment and programs had a
political dimension i.e. in the 80's they prepared the public
for the social changes that were associated with the fall of
communism? (similar to rock music or video tapes in that time)

        Clones and Computer Equipment on the Periphery

Why was the ZX Spectrum, as the only platform on such a scale,

Does the idea of sharing (so important on the demoscene) stand
behind the practice of cloning, this time not on the software
level, but hardware?

The most important and most often used clones are: ...

What were the most innovative approaches to cloning (name of
equipment, shape of the equipment itself, instrumentation, other
forms of creativity?)

Where was it possible and where is it still possible to buy
cloned ZX equipment?

What stands behind the DIY idea? Does the demoscene also stem
from this, that the people involved in it can simply build their
own computer?

              Languages on the ZX Spectrum Scene

It is said the digital media is dominated by English. Does the
demoscene distinguish itself in this regard in any way?

What are the positive reasons to use languages other than
English on the demoscene?

Are you able to indicate works, creators, that consistently do
not use English, and despite that have a wide, multi-national

    Creative Programing (for people engaged in programing)

How did you learn to program for creative purposes?

What were the main places where it was possible to learn
programing? At home? School? Computer club? From friends?

Are you still trying to develop your coding skills?

Coding for the demoscene can be compared to a creative act. How
does the process look? Is it possible to speak of inspiration?

How is it with ideas for effect? What triggers them? Is the
visual aspect important? Is it more about imagination or a

An effect that made me drop to my knees was: ....

What kind of programs/tools do you use to create programs?

What role does understanding math or physics play in creating

                      Archiving Methods

Do sceners take care to archive their works?

What are the main methods of archiving works on the scene?

Are there different ways of archiving for the Spectrum scene?
Are you able to indicate some other collections of Spectrum
creative works?

How many of the oldest, the classic demos have survived till
today; how many have disappeared? Is it common to find the old
programs from the 80's and to put them up on the net (for
example, Pouet)?

The connection between the demo and a party is really important
on the scene. It is said that there are demos shown at a party,
after which a copy is destroyed. What interesting demos have
been lost?

Are the files that are archived always files that were final?
Are there situations in which the demo is completed at the last
moment and then published with errors? What is a "post-party
version" or "final version"?

How are such important things for the demoscene as diskmags,
real-time texts or photography archived?

How do demosceners benefit from the giant archive of the

Другие статьи номера:

Содержание - содержание газеты

Новости - Hippiman/Conscience выпустил новогоднюю игру Dizzy Rescues Santa, Польский культуролог Пётр Марецки прислал большой опросник для будущей книги, Сергей Смирнов (Gogin) возродил свой проект по портированию игры Super Mario для Спектрума.

News - Hippiman/Conscience released a New Year game named Dizzy Rescues Santa, I fixed several errors in my 3D engine, Polist culturologist Piotr Marecki who went to summer DiHalt with Yerzmyey, wrote a big questionnaire for his future book. I translated the questions.

История - SPbZXNet - продолжение

Анкета - Меня зовут Пётр Марецки, я доцент Ягеллонского университета в Кракове. Мы с двумя демосценерами, Yerzmyey и Hellboj, решили написать книгу про ZX Spectrum.

History - SPbZXNet - part 2

Questionnaire - My name is Piotr Marecki and I am an Assistant Professor at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Together with two demosceners, Yerzmyey and Hellboj, we decided to write a book about the ZX Spectrum.

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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