The DemoScene
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Screen from TCB's megademo.
If you're not sure what the demoscene is, then the best way to sum it up is by saying it's a subculture of digital artists. Crews (or sub-groups of artists) combine graphics, sound and programming in such a way that demonstrates their capabilities with as much of a "wow" factor as possible. Back in the day, there was massive rivalry - not just between crews on the same platform (i.e. in my case, the Atari ST), but also between platforms, usually the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.

Most releases came out when everyone came together at demo parties/meets and originally had a lot of scrolling text, rasters (coloured bars that went past the normal limit of the screen), chessboards, bouncy balls and 3D stuff, just like the screen you can see to the left.

Both platforms put out some pretty amazing stuff over the years, but the demos being released today are a completely different thing, concentrating more on sequences of cool effects as opposed to the scrolling text and bouncy balls of yesteryear. They're much more polished these days, too.

Some of my old-school favourites were The Lost Boys "Ooh Crikey, Wot A Scorcher", and TCB's "Cuddly Demos". There have been so many amazing productions since that it's impossible to list them all, but as a lot of people now run them in emulation (i.e. using Hatari), they can run on virtual maxxed out machines with 4MB of memory, giving some great results.
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My favourite oldschool ST mega demo.

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Another TCB screen.
If you want to investigate further, there's loads of stuff out there to watch. A lot of content has been captured and uploaded to YouTube, but if you want to download the content and watch it natively, these are always good places to start:

  • Pouet.net - A great demoscene site for all hardware platforms.
  • Demozoo.org - Releases for just about every platform you can ever think of.

We're just a bunch of old guys continuing to do what we enjoy, keeping the scene alive. 🙂