Subliminal Extacy #03
01 апреля 2001

Demo Parties: Breaking The Mould

Demo Parties: Breaking The Mould
                Demo Parties: Breaking The Mould

                         By Gasman / RA

Ecstasy was one hell of a demo.  I first saw it at a Speccy  and
SAM convention in  September 1996 -  the same show  that I first
met Extacy-3  and the  United Minds.  It wasn't  a demo party as
such - just a place where Speccy and SAM fans could meet up, buy
and  sell  games,  generally  see what  was  going  on  with our
favourite computers.  But back  to Ecstasy  Megademo. It  was my
first glimpse of the Russian scene, and I was so unprepared  for
the experience that  my first thought  was 'Is that  a SAM Coupe

In one part  of the demo,  Imp asked the  question "Amiga rules,
but Speccy is still more  widespread home computer - so  why are
there no demo / game competitions where everyone could show  his
talent and get his reward?"  It wasn't long before his  question
was answered, in the form of Enlight 96, and so a revolution  on
the Speccy scene began.

That was then, this is now.  I'm writing this in the week  after
Millennium and  Paradox. I  must admit  that nothing  from those
parties has  particularly inspired  me, and  with this  in mind,
I've started thinking  about what the  Speccy has really  gained
from the demo-party culture.

It's no surprise that my current thoughts about this have mainly
been sparked from my visit to this year's Forever party.  Seeing
it all first-hand made me realise the real value of demo parties
- appreciating each other's work  in a way that a  simple e-mail
could never communicate. Without  events like this to  bring the
scene together, demo  making would feel  like throwing all  your
work into a black hole.

At Forever  I also  learnt about  the C64  and Atari  scenes. Or
maybe I didn't. Certainly  I got to see  a selection of the  all
-time  classic demos,  and the  Atari demos  in particular  were
mindblowing.  I can  easily imagine  that they  came about  from
rival groups, striving to be the  best. But when it came to  the
competitions,  I realised  what had  happened to  those scenes.

There were  simply too  many parties.  As a  result, parties  in
France  would only  attract French  groups, parties  in Germany
would only attract German  groups - and consequently  they would
struggle to  find enough  entries for  the competitions.  That's
what I saw at Forever - the Atari and C64 were only  represented
by  a  handful  of  Czech  and  Slovak  groups,  and  ended   up
overshadowed by the Spectrum. As Forever was one of only half  a
dozen  Spectrum parties  this year,  it attracted  contributions
from all  over Europe,  and this  gave the  impression that  the
Spectrum scene was more active.

Admittedly,  you  could  point  out  the  lack  of  a  full demo
competition at Forever and claim that even the Speccy wasn't  as
well represented as it could have been. It appears that Spectrum
demo makers,  in common  with other  scenes, are  focusing their
attention on  the biggest  party. In  the case  of the Spectrum,
that party is Chaos Constructions.

"Peanut prizes inspire monkey competitors," declares one of  the
taglines on Random's e-mail.  And yet the philosophy  of 'bigger
and better' isn't necessarily a good thing. After all, surely it
goes  against  the whole  demo  scene principle  of  working for
enjoyment rather than money?

But don't worry, I'm not going  to start a rant about the  evils
of capitalism. Everyone likes money, and I'm not going to change
that in a hurry. However, it's a sad fact that the demo maker of
today is not asking "What can I do for the scene?", but "How can
I win this compo?" (Hello Serzh! ;)

To explain what  I mean, let  me take you  back to Forever.  The
darkened school hall  in Trencin. The  end of a  long evening of
competitions.  The  finale  of  the  night,  Bobering  2000   by
Syndrome,  the one  full Spectrum  demo to  be released  at the
party. Chip music still echoing through my head. The sense  that
I had finally 'experienced' the scene. Feeling practically dazed
by the sensory overload, and the anticipation of the results. It
was then that Ellvis came up  to me, and asked what I'd  thought
of  Bobering  demo.  Without really  thinking,  I  said "Yeah...

Sure, it  was. Lightsourced  and texture-mapped  3D figures  are
impressive,  no  mistake.  A  minute  or  so  later,  my thought
processes arrived at an afterthought:

"...But very... Russian."

As much as I liked the demo, I felt that it amounted to a  rerun
of Napalm, or one of the CCOO0 invitation dentros from a  couple
of weeks  before. It's  easy to  see why  it was  done that way 
- it's a tried and  tested formula. Rather than trying  to break
new ground, they'd opted for  a style that wouldn't add  much to
the scene, but would make  them safe contenders for winning  the

I'm all  for demo  parties -  not too  many or  too extravagant,
that's  all.  And  a  word  of  advice  to  demo  makers  -   be
imaginative. You never know, it might pay off big time. And then
you won't be a one-day-wonder party winner - you'll be a  legend
on the scene.

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

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