Nordic Scene Review 02
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NSR #02 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
NSR #02 - A Midsummer Night's Dream [Twoflower] You thought we'd fuck up this issue didn't you? Noone should be able to make enough decent reviews with the puny amount of releases surfacing since the last issue, right? Dear audience, you're not mistaken. Looking back on the second quarter of this godforsaken year have left us shallow, empty and easy to mislead. As a consequence of this, we have decided to add some traditional C64-mag bloattext like demodiscussions and interviews (yes, we decided to skip the Formula One section right before deadline) and to hang out with women as cheap and easily mislead as ourselves. Fact is that we even considered to fill out the mag with cut'n paste text from CSDb and C64.sk, but after some heavy consideration we dropped that idea since that really would be ripping the concept from the rest of the C64 magazines out there. Just being a blatant copy of Game Over(view) is enough for the moment. In the real world much things have happened during these months though, and I guess noone of you has missed that Turkiye was elected (with one vote in the council tipping over to Turkiyes advantage!) into the nordic community during a recent meeting with the primeministers of Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Thus, the nordic countries are now Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Turkiye - and as a consequence we have decided to add a turkish editor to our staff. With these words, we like to welcome Nightlord to the crew. Welcome to NSR, Nightlord! Welcome to the nordic community, Turkiye! Since we recieved a lot of criticism, both positive and negative, on our first issue we decided to overlook them, hoping that they will equal eachother out. If you still are in doubt about how this magazine works, we'd like to clarify one or two things. First of all, you should all be aware that we are equipped with a complete set of rules which render us fault-proof, much in the fashion of the swedish unemployment offices or the swedish social security. So, before you decide to criticise this issue, take a note in your mind about this. Every piece of criticism will be carefully considered and bounced towards this brilliant set of rules, and answers to your queries will be overlooked for ages until our negative reply finally will reach you. [Puterman] Okay, so here's the second issue, a bit later than I had hoped, but I guess we'll figure out how to do this properly sooner or later. The people who whined about the font will have to live with it this time too. The people who whined about other stuff... Wait, the font was apparently the only negative thing about the first issue. Okay, so we'll just keep trying to deliver the same thing over and over, and everyone will be happy. Including us, as we'll probably turn into robots by doing that, then we'll probably turn evil and try to destroy mankind, which will make the rest of the creatures on this planet really happy... Until we destroy them too! Right, now that you know what to expect from upcoming issues, I'll move on to the next topic: Demo of the Year 2004. Or well, I was planning to comment on that, but then I found that I just wasn't interested in it at all, and when I tried to write about it anyway, everything I wrote turned out to be speculations about the IQ level of the guy who organized it. So we'll just leave it as it is, those of you who are interested should check the discussion at CSDb, it's long, but it's filled with involuntary humour. And as I really don't have anything more to say, let's hear what mr. Nightlord has to say... [Nightlord] Hi everyone. We all know how boring it gets to read the hello messages of new staff members in diskmags. Poor guy starts telling in great detail how and why he joined the mag, what he will be writing about in this issue or the next. Like anybody cares... The catch is that people will see your articles in this and the next issues anyway and there is not much point in trying to provide an introduction and contents information. So I will talk about something else but related. Yes the demoscene coverage of today's diskmags just sucks. I believe there are two really critical points. First of all, most mags are not dependably periodical and second of all those few mags that do review demos tend to review the same set of releases, usually from the popular brand crews and a few fake ones from their friends. The spectrum of releases today range from a number of fake and pointless releases to serious but not popular demos and to the big winner demos from the brand teams. We are going through very strange times with respect to demo making. There seems to be ever less criticism and feedback to the demo creators, usually limited to a few one-liners in Pouet or CSDB. This very much reflects the patterns of the very fast consuming audience of today. The ease of downloading and watching a demo in an emulator in the warp mode, has the side effects of ignorance and isolation between the audience and the authors. Less people vote and even less people seem to care. This is a loop that needs to be broken somewhere. Therefore I wanted to start a diskmag for demo reviews a few months ago, around the time the first issue of NSR hit the market. In a few days Puterman contacted me and I was instantly convinced that I could contribute more to the scene by being a part of NSR than starting my mag on my own. So here I am. When I am choosing demos to review I will try to favor the serious but unpopular demos in my choice of reviewing. The reason behind this is that I believe the lack of recognition these demo attempts get is one of the main problems of the C64 scene today. The spectrum of the demos has gone to the extremes, leaving this mid part empty. That means there are very few mid demos, which in turn means there is a big gap in the quality of winner demos and the fake or beginner releases. No one can easily overcome this kind of a gap. This situation resembles the economic health of societies. The healthiest societies are those with most of their population in the mid income range. There will be a few poor and a few rich. When a society loses the mid range population, what usually happens is that the number of poor greatly increase and the rich get richer and fewer. This goes on until the society collapses one way or the other. So using the same analogy, having less and less mid range demos is causing an increase in the amount of fake or beginner releases and fewer high quality releases whose quality keeps increasing. Take a look at the party compos. You will see a few quality releases and an increasing number of fake releases. Usually the quality difference between the top one or two spots and the rest of the positions is so high. You get my point. Always keep in mind that anything I write is strictly subjective and you are more than welcome to disagree and discuss with me. Go ahead and write to me in these cases and correct me. Credits for this issue: - Magsys by Iopop. - Text by Nightlord, Puterman and Twoflower. - Music by Maktone.
Demos [Puterman] The Maximum Overdose party was arranged in Lubeck, Germany towards the end of April. It's a small party, so I didn't exactly expect any great releases, so I was positively surprised that four small demos were released. Stuttgart from Judas (famous for their "Dansa med Achmed" demo) got the fourth place. I guess the most positive thing about it is that it's evidence that some Swedes bothered to go to a small German party. This definitely shows some scene spirit. Petscii isn't exactly my cup of tea, but the main screen looks quite okay, at least for a fake demo. I will not mention the music, but I will mention the great English in the (jerky) scroller. The third place was taken by the first release by someone called Engine of Gnumpf-Posse (great name there!). A scroller and an (ugly) logo might not make anyone very excited, but it's a first release, so we'll just wish them good luck with their next release, instead of wasting too much text on this one. The second place was taken by the small Habemos demo from K2. This one is quite nice, although K2 give you exactly what you've come to expect from them. The picture looks good enough, and the fact that it was originally done on an Archimedes for the GBA appeals to my sense of humour. For some reason they decided to release a fixed version after the party, where they've added some colour changes to the main effect, with the net result that the whole demo looks more ugly. B0rje's tune is in his usual style. I don't really know what he's trying to accomplish with his composing efforts, but he seems to have set up his own set of dogma rules. This one seems to consist of a drum beat, using only one of the three available channels. I wouldn't call it minimalism at its best, but rather minimalism at its most minimal, and leave it at that. [Nightlord] I was worried "Am I missing a hidden part or something?". I had to check through pouet and CSDB and saw that it really was this short. I do not want to sound too harsh, but I absolutely see nothing in this demo that I find remotely interesting other than the picture. And you can hardly see it. The fading upscroller in the final version is nice but instead of increasing my appreciation of the demo, it simply further bothers me by making this production more disproportionate. It is hard to explain but I find this demo very unbalanced and possibly stripped to meet a deadline. [Puterman] The surprise winner of the compo was Streetuff's "Mini" demo, featuring something as amazing as another one of those really exciting 8x8 plasmas. I don't know what's up with the C-64 and 8x8 plasmas, but it seems you can't arrange a demo compo without getting at least one demo using this very, very, very outdated effect. The minimal tune in this demo actually works for me, though. Summing it up, it seems the votes were cast more or less at random. The only demo which shows some quality is K2's one. They must be really impopular or something, I have no other way of explaining why it didn't win this compo. Now let's move on to some other demos... The HVSC-intros [Twoflower] These two intros, for update #41 and #42 of the High Voltage Sid Collection respectivly, was something of a surprise to me. Eventhough they're kind of nice in their own way, they're equipped with exclusive soundtracks - by Agemixer in the #41 and a quadraspeeder by Jeff in the #42 - two tunes extraordinaire which qualitywise are way above the rest of the intros. In a way I find it a waste - two very good tunes used in intros most won't even will bother to check? These two dittys would easily have been the perfect soundtracks of any new demoproduction. But on the other hand - sidmusic isn't really what the scene currently is short of, so why not? For you who are starved of scrollers, these two won't let you down (Tip from the editors: for better reviews, use more scrolls. For optimal reviews - DYCP. For a perfect 10? DXYCP!). Curiously enough, the most interesting thing about the releases isn't what they consist of, but rather the fact that the intros emits a vibe of sub-scene. You clearly get the feeling that sidcollecting is a sub-scene of it's own, and that these releases are aimed towards the people involved in it. You can't even find intro #42 on CSDb when this is written. Security Camera by Falcon Soft This is a quite interesting concept. Again an animation in three colors, in the style which Falcon Soft are known to favor. Before starting a Falcon Soft demo up, you can more or less guess the colors (blueish?) and the concept (animation?) before you even look at the name of the file. Surprisingly, this demo has quite an interesting concept which could have been developed into something far nicer. Now it consists mainly of noise (which Upstars made better this time) and an animation of a room in perspective. This combo wakes no further interest at all. Adding some details and events wouldn't have hurt a bit, and would have pushed this demo from 'pointless' to 'nice'. Too much Bayliss-factor. I'm out of here. Scamster by The New Dimension Talking about the Bayliss-factor, here's a production from the man himself. To make the story short: Richard got scammed by the ringtone company called Jamster (they stole his credits!) and he sets together a devious revengeplan - he uses his demomaker to get even! Very interesting concept. Why he positions the crazy frog in a 90 degree position beats me? I can cope with the black bulletholes in the frog, but a 90 degrees angled frog rendered in three colors (blueish?) + background is too much at this point, even for me. [Nightlord] Now this is something we could call a concept demo for sure. Richard has a clear motive and a message to give with this production. I am sure we, the target audiance, will appreciate the message with our heads tilted to the side trying to figure out what the creature in the background is and unable to read whatever is there in the middle rotating with mind blowing speed. Songs for Summer by Civitas [Puterman] Richard managed to make another release just in time for this issue of NSR. Songs for Summer is a very typical Bayliss release: sloppy coding, ugly 1x1 font, colour-cycling and an uninspired logo by JSL. But this is a music collection, so I'm willing to ignore those things. Unfortunately the tunes are also very typical of his style. It's not like they're bad or anything, but a bit more variation would be nice. What I like the most about this demo is that he actually bothers to put together another music collection, instead of doing what everybody else seem to be doing these days: release .sid files instead. So while the latest Goattracker compo might result in tunes with more variation and higher quality, Songs for Summer is still way more interesting to me, as it's a real C-64 release. Petscii ate my Tinysid by Chrome And while we're on the subject of online music compos, the Tinysid tunes were wrapped up and released in this excellent little piece of data soul. I don't know what to write about it, except that it makes me feel good and that it makes me think of robots. 15 Years After by Wanderer [Nightlord] This 4K intro is quite nice. It has an appropriate level of old skool feel to it. It is interesting to see Wanderer productive. After many forum fights involving lots of classic scene discussion ground coverage and yet another revelation of the much repeated "old scener finding today's scene in the internet" behavioral patterns, Wanderer seems to be on the productive track now, with a nice intro which always says more than a million forum posts. Apart from this fact I do not have much to comment about the intro itself. Something Fishy by Wanderer [Puterman] Wanderer also managed to release a demo, consisting of a couple of odd looking parts. It's certainly not going to become a classic, but it has a fresh feel to it. It's obvious that Wanderer has done exactly what I want coders to do: trying to create something that they think might look cool, instead of re-using the same old ideas over and over. My favorite part is the hidden one, which is typical for this demo: a cool idea, a decent implementation and horrible graphics. I sure hope Wanderer will keep up his coding, because this is really promising. Dungeon Horror by Jumalauta [Nightlord] Another nice surprise though a bit short. It has got a nice textureless dungeon engine and another OK effect. Definitely worth looking at. I can not tell whether the dungeon is real-time but it is smooth enough for my taste. Ruuvari is definitely able to code and productive coders are what this scene needs most dearly now. I must say I really liked was the music as well. I did not see the credits of the music anywhere though. What I do not understand is why ruuvari would release something under Jumalauta label. I would probably overlook this just because of that label, had I not been desperately looking for stuff to review. Corto Maltese Side 2 by Tukka [Puterman] This is pretty much what I've come to expect from Tukka: basically crap, but with a pretty good tune. This is just another one of those releases that seem like a lot of fun at the party, but which loses its point when the party visitors are starting to get sober again. Or maybe it doesn't, if they're heavy drinkers who never sober up. (I'm really glad I thought of that exception, because we're trying to make everyone happy here, and quite a lot of people have alcohol problems, you know.) Crazed 2 by Retro64 [Nightlord] A small NTSC demo which once again carries more value with the hope of some activity in North America than it does in its own being. Nevertheless, this is a simple little oldskooler with nice fonts and logos, and some promising first time coding performance. Also in the note two new demos rebirth and arcana are bing mentioned by the crew. I am going to be eagerly waiting for those. Chessboard Zoomer 256b by Noname This was a real surprise to me. I find it truly impressive and delicious. Although it is hard to write a review to a 256 byter in a diskmag, I could not help but voice my appreciation of this piece of code by Cyberbrain. Vertical Smiley by Asymptote [Puterman] Very oldschool, very much standard stuff. It seems my expectations have reached a new low recently, as I actually thought it was a bit cool that they managed to code a sideborder scroller. Resident Evil etc. by JSL I really don't feel like saying much about this one, as I'm really not interested in either BASIC demos or petscii. I guess a bit of work goes into making these animations, but I really don't understand who's supposed to appreciate this stuff. I guess at least JSL himself does... He also released some other similar things, like a few collections with "jokes". I could rant and rave a bit about how stupid those jokes are, but I'm just not in the mood. Just avoid that stuff. The same goes for the Grand Theft Auto "demo" by someone called Finchy. Honolulu by Hujowa Best demoe in year: 10/10.. Yees I know these guys real good from before with verry good demoe like demoe return of the iceman or maby demoe plottkiform their latest masters peace.. This groundbraking rlz have intiresting concept some sort of gay demoe.. But also bannanna is alive!!!!! Hes even dances to greate tune Honolulu.. Hes happy bannanna!!! Old dirty badger verry good musicman but now also greate ass coder.. Keep coding keep fucking! The "forgotten and resurfaced" stuff Emulated by Upstars [Twoflower] At first I thought this to be a fake demo until I recalled the demo "Risperdal Dreams" from the same group, released at ASM-02. Gladly facing my mistake, I transferred it and checked it out. To begin with, this demo got a very finnish vibe reminding me of other oldschool demos made by the finns, like "Roots" by PU239 and Upstars earlier demo "Risperdal Dreams". Looking at the details, most of this demo is pretty standard - LDA#$00, STA$D020/D021, add effect, logo, loader, etc. The first part which is something out of the ordinary is the one in the middle, a part which whips around effects in a way which reminds me of some old Bonzai stuff. The second gem in this demo is the brilliant final part - I don't understand why chareffects haven't been used with noise in this fashion before. Ok, so Dekadense might have been kind of into it, and ok, perhaps WD and ourselves have aswell - but still. This refreshing bit of code, suprisingly released at ASM'04, was completely unspread until now, save for the videoversion which Hollowman introduced me to last year. [Puterman] I just have to chime in and praise this sexy chunk of data. The last part is the one that really stands out, but most of the stuff has its' points, and I appreciate the dirtiness of it. The Sun by Shape [Twoflower] The last officially released work of Kjell Nordbo remains something of an enigma to me. This demo, ment to be released on (or some short time after) last LCP, wasn't spread by reasons unknown. The only two which got copies of this demo were me and Zyron (which was asleep when it happened). As it turns out, Zyron can't find his finished version, and thus - my version is the only one left. It feels kind of strange to be the only one beeing in possession of a demo which I haven't even been part of. With this review, i've decided to change that. Without spilling too much beans on what this demo is about, I can tell you that it is on the serene kind which you see too few of on this scene. It's the kind of a demo which demands your direct attention for a couple of minutes. The only demo which I feel is somewhat related to it is the final part of the Panoramic Design masterpiece "That's The Wave It Is". Slowly correlating with Zyrons music, the demo builds up a crescendo and leave you somewhere else. Try it. You'll like it. The demo gets it's official release together with this magazine and will be found on this disk along with the magazine you are reading and Kjells last official note, "Silvergate".
More Demos Death or Glory by Covenant [Nightlord] Another demo I nearly overlooked because of the label. But this time it is no basic slideshow story with bad humor. This is a serious two sided demo with a few nice parts. Above all I sincerely congratulate the Covenant crew for undertaking such an ambitious project and finishing it. It is something one rarely witnesses these days. Anyway let us try to break this down to its components Throughout the demo, I liked the soundtrack in general. Especially the part with the Pirate ship picture and the unlinked last part are my soundtrack favorites. [Puterman] I have to agree here, I often find Richard's compo tunes a bit boring and predictable these days, but his style fits perfectly in this kind of demo. [Nightlord] I think graphics were also nice. The highlight being the full screen pirateship, the logos were decent as well. Codewise the demo had a few interesting effects and some ugly ones. My favorites were the chessboard zoomer and the 3D rotating dots pyramid. The lighted cubes were nice codewise but I think cube is a bad choice when you are not using perspective projection. Any shape with parallel edges look annoying without the perspective. But I must say I liked the general attitude I sensed from Honesty. I felt he thought like "OK here are a few effects that I have done. Yes they have been done before but this is the first time I am doing that so I will release them". Also I know it is not wise to try to put words into someone else's mouth but I am trying to make a point here. I think people sometimes act overcritical towards coders that release effects that were done before. I feel it is correct that one should search for originality, but also some routines are nice to practice when you are growing to be a better coder. And only after working with the fundamentals a bit one can come to an optimum point where he/she can start to think about the never before undone stuff. For this reason I would like to voice my appreciation to Honesty with regard to his diving into fundamental effects. [Puterman] The fact that Honesty is quite obviously getting better at coding is what makes me most happy. I have a feeling that most people are just too lazy to actually try to reach new levels, but Honesty is working hard to improve his abilities. Besides that I also see some development of his tendencies to make original looking parts, despite the fact that he's working within the confines of a quite dogmatic oldskoolism. If he keeps developing in this way, upcoming Covenant demos could be really nice. [Nightlord] Overall I think this is absolutely the best thing that Covenant ever did and I hope they will keep on this track. If they can not live without bad humor (killing birds with farts and shooting cannons out of pirate buts) I will need to keep ignoring those parts in the hope that they will release serious stuff like this every now and then. [Twoflower] Let's get this straight, shall we. Know that I - to be able to give the reviews as fair judgement as possible - refused to prematurly watch the reviewed releases in Vice. Know that I, for this issue, wanted the firsthand experience of viewing the fresh demos on my standard C64 setting since I found my last reviews a little uninspiring. The single event which almost made me give up the entire plan was the transferring and watching this double diskside demo using kernal-routines and a MMC-64. God knows this takes time, but I felt dedicated and had no other option at that time. I really looked forward to a somewhat polished doublesided demo. To get the ideas of what the demo is all about, you can read Nightlords notes on it, but I still like to add some details. First of all, it's really oldskool in a way, but not entirely. This demo circles around the concept of "The Hungarian Gambit", which Iopop introduced me to. The Hungarian Gambit is the technique used by scrollerwise describing the different changes of the screen (...it's little empty on screen, but now... LOGO!) and since that isn't something i've seen in a long time, i'm quite amused. Another thing which you will find plenty of is the "Holy Trinity of Oxyron" (logo, effect, scroller + swap internal order of these three now and then) aswell as the classic black background. Still, this can't really be stated true oldskool - there are far too many separate parts outside of the loader, it sort of got a concept (an anal pirate concept, but ok) and most important of all, the music uses introductions. I agree that I kind of enjoyed seeing it in some strange way - but to be frank, I wouldn't have bother to transfer it if I had seen it forehand. Axis of Evil by Fairlight [Twoflower] I was expecting very little from this demo, judging from the sneak comments i've got from Puterman and Hollowman. As I got the impression that this was to be an invitro, I expected even less. Well, surprise, surprise - this was far more than expected. Black and white colored graphics and effects (very nice) and unnecessary loaderscreens (less nice) makes this demo a nice, although classic one. Much of the hires-fx really rocks, the pinnen-effect in the middle is very good looking and the circles are downright outstanding. The hires graphics, especially the pic on the glassed guy with glasses, serves its purpose and adds a nice vibe to the overall impression. Even the blippy tune in this demo serves its purpose nicely, eventhough it isn't really my kind of music. What doesn't serve its purpose, on the other hand, is the fucking loader. This isn't the first time a Fairlight demo fucked up completely for me after transferring (and don't blame my drive - i've got seven of them!). I'm not really sure who to blame, Hollowman for using an old experimental revision of Krills loader, or Krill for providing it to Hollowman - perhaps they aren't even using Krills loader, but fact still remains. This demo freezes. It freezes over like a friggin' scandinavian lake in december. It might have to do with my ways of transferring it (MMC64 and 1581-copy), but I doubt it. Three separete downloads and three different transfers using different techniques and disks later, i'm kind of sick of seeing it crash. [Puterman] It's the same loader as in Loaded and Postcards from Stockholm, and I don't know if anyone's complained about those. [Twoflower] I can't really understand why they are throwing some marvelously looking stuff into an invitro, it's completly beyond my understanding, but I can agree that it's a funny and nice idea? After all, why should all the nice stuff be saved for large productions which already are overloaded with eyecandy? To sum it all up; this is a nice little demo with a loader that sucks. If you've been able to watch this all the way through on the real thing, you are probably a happier guy than me, and you probably don't have a 1541-II either. Or atleast you might have a better way of transferring. [Nightlord] This probably is the best invitro ever. I got a weird feeling about putting lots of effects in an invitro like Twoflower says. I mean the effects were nice, new or improved. The linking was obviously thrown together quickly like the oxyron demos from the mid nineties. But every negative thing that comes to my mind quickly vanishes as soon as I remember that this is only an invitro. [Puterman] Right, so we'll call all our demos invitros from now on, just to get positive reviews in our favorite mag. [Nightlord] I liked the rotating sphere effect really much. It probably reuses some code from the multicolor version from the rotating planet 1000000 miles away. My other favorite effect is the rotating arcs. It does not look incredible, but it feels so fresh and original to me. I do not like the rotating around y-axis effects in the middle and at the end so much. They are very clean implementations but I do not think they look too good in hires. The graphics are nice and no surprise. It is hard to express my impression about them though. They sure are nice and artsy and very Fairlight, but I think I am yearning for a different graphical style in Fairlight demos for about a year now. It started to feel a little predictable to me. The music is completely unattractive to me. The lead sound and the melody kind of annoys me. The drum and baseline feels so unoriginal. I simply hope they had used something else for the music. But than, I can picture Puterman dancing to this tune in my head, and suddenly the music does not feel so out of place. All in all, it is a production containing nice elements and in the last few months unfortunately it is one of the few better things that was worth the electricity and internet bills you paid while downloading and watching. And that says more about the demoscene gap I talked about in the editorial. Something that Fairlighters do with about 2% of their potential is more eyecandy than loads of fake crap in the scene. I probably will not transfer it to a disk though and therefore never get hit by the problems about loader that Twoflower told about.
Tsunami (100%) by Booze Design
Tsunami (100%) by Booze Design [Twoflower] Asian styles are very much in fashion right now, so why shouldn't an asian-styled demo surface on the C-64? Well, at Floppy'05 "Tsunami" hit us, and we who watched it on the big-screen eagerly awaited its final release. Comparing with the earlier prodcuctions from Booze Designs, this demo isn't as code-dependant as "Cycle", and not as heavily relying on graphics as "Royal Arte". Both well performed, well balanced and consistant in style; this demo is in a way the perfect blend of both. Eventhough you cannot argue much about the technical aspects, save for the vectorpart which feels both quite unnecessary and unnecessary long, you might or might not like the style and theme of the demo. Personally, I experience the cold and laidback expressions of Vogue-style models and the zombiefied Sneaker Pimps as quite unpersonal, the same vibe I got from Dane's "Phases" some years ago. I would request a more personal choice of motives and that HCL and Dane relaxed a little in their perfect democreations - they're obviously capable as I have seen wonderful evidences of such earlier on. Good looking and well timed, this demo got it all, save that it doesn't transmit anything to me, it just leaves me empty in the long run. It might be the lack of text, it might be the minimalistic graphics and the asian symbols - I can't really spot it. [Puterman] Yeah, I can relate to that, the visuals feel pretty empty. The Chinese (or whatever) characters don't exactly make me excited, and the same goes for the faces. This is compensated for by the excellent music and the original ways in which some standard demo components are used. [Twoflower] What I really like with this demo is the overall style, painted as a laidback drama in red and white, and the fact that every single part of it feels worked through. Everything from the note, Dane's competition-entries to the demo itself feels like it got equal attention from the creators. As a demo, it's worth to view several times as it got fantastic graphical effects (like the wave-effect!) aswell as very nice graphics from Dane, graphics which are well welded into eachother with asian pictograms and the white and red colors. [Puterman] I actually don't care much at all for the design elements. It's all very well implemented and smooth, but if it wasn't for the actual effects and the music I wouldn't be very enthusiastic about this demo at all. And that's exactly what I think about Cycle as well. The glue between the effects is too well made and coherent. I guess both these demos represent what most C-64 demo coders wish they could achieve, but never have the energy or the skills to realize. So even if I'm not 100% happy about it, I suspect that most people don't understand what I'm ranting about. [Twoflower] Viewing this demo is a little like taking a boattrip down a river of your choice; somewhat expected but very beautiful and enjoyable. The grand finale of this trip, complete with a japanese war-flag sunset and the wellknown wave from Hokusais "39 views of Fuji", is the final destination on this journey through a red and white asian landscape. I'll leave you there. [Puterman] I have to add that I just don't like HCL's loader. Or, well, my drives don't. This demo is the second one ever that doesn't work on my Oceanic. The first one was the first version of Royal Arte... [Nightlord] It was really impressive to watch this on the big screen like the other two marvels at floppy party making top three. I think it was the color scheme that made me really like the demo. It is a very consistent demo in certain aspects, although I agree with Twoflower about some of the graphics feeling out of place. Effectwise, I found this demo very subtle and interesting. The wave effect got better in the 100% version and the xy scrolling xfli pictures is quite harder to do than it catches the eye. The japanese transparent text upscroll was also very nice. On the graphics front, I must also add my appreciation for the piece with three blended girl faces in 3 directions. Somehow it touched me and I think it is very original for C64 demo making. Obviously the overall looks of the demo, the consistency in colors, the design of several effect scenes, the use of transparency are all very well implemented. I have an awkward feeling about the music. Alone in itself, it is a nice piece for sure with cool sounds and flow. In synchronisation with the effects it is quite nice. But overall, in this demo it feels a little weird. Maybe it is the same reason that the fashion mag cover boys and girls seem cold and unpersonal as Twoflower puts it. For a demo being named Tsunami in the year 2005, I can not help but feel those graphics and this music feels too much "clubbers partying in beer commercial". If you can just forget about the name of the demo and the disaster that name refers to, you will be fine probably. I did not realize I felt like this until I saw the notefile. There is a slower, more sensitive incarnation of the tune in there with the wave effect in blue. And when I saw that I instantly felt like "this is really the way this demo should have felt like".
Mags Driven #30 [Nightlord] Sometimes you load a production. Be it a demo or a diskmag you instantly get the sense of a certain quality to it. That is what I felt when I loaded this issue. The logo, the text immediately put me in the mood for some serious mag reading which is something I used to get out of Domination and something I can not get out of VN anymore. Although this mag is clearly more American in its content and feels a bit more disconnected from the rest of the scene, it still covers quite an interesting ground. Driven also means more to me since I am about to move to the U.S. I am trying to get an idea about the feel of the scene over there. Especially the text they provide about the expos over there is kind of interesting to me. In this issue the one of the focal points, the DTV discussions and information presents a nice overall picture. I think the hardware scene is going to be one of the areas where driven will continue to have the strongest coverage. Being close to a lot of garage hackers and big legacy names like Jim Butterfield, hw scene seems to be also one of the biggest focuses of gatherings in U.S. One of the most interesting texts for me was the H.O. interview. It is nice to read how one can never really get his hands off the breadbox. There also is text covering the tiny SID stuff and the Crazed 2 demo by Retro64. The interesting thing is that it is more like an HBO making-of documentary with comments from makers and narrative by the editors. If you still haven't read this mag, you are loosing time. Go read it. [Twoflower] Eventually, the legend returned. One day, it suddenly surfaced and soon thereafter the 30:th issue reached us. The legend was back on its feet and ready to fight. Unfortunatly, like with most returns (like, f.ex Mike Tyson's) it wasn't too well equipped to handle todays scene. Driven is back in the same style it left us, although a bit weaker and a bit older. Perhaps even with a little less spark than before. Don't get me wrong here. It's obvious that Coolhand and Dokken put down quite some energy on both of the last two issues of this magazine, and the return of Driven in 2005 was surely more than I had hoped for. But some more time is needed before the editors are back in their old shape. The first issue simply didn't have enough content. No PAL-report and some quite well-known rumours was the overall impression. Ok, that i'm not really fair here. Driven was a load better than most of the existing C-64 magazines out there, it's just that I remember the old, fantastic issues from the last years of the nineties. What I feel need some change is not only the content, but also the approach. First of all, i'd love the magazine a little more relaxed. Ok, not Game Over(view)-relaxed, but still. The americans got their sort of dry, technical style, and that's ok for most of the content, but not for coverage of the european scene. The american scene is surprisingly small, consisting of scattered retrosceners, conventions, hardware fanatics, old crackers and so on. But the european scene is a completely different story, and need a different approach. Need I say I stopped reading the european "party"-article when I reached the word "Web-IT"? Vandalism News #44 [Puterman] Vandalism News #44 was released, two and a half months after issue #43, so it seems they almost managed to keep their release schedule. This might not be altogether positive, though, as this issue feels a bit rushed. The absence of charts was a let-down for me, but it's still kind of nice that the decision to not publish them because of too few votes was taken. This shows some serious ambition. However, if Vandalism aren't able to draw enough votes, despite Jazzcat's valiant efforts, which mag is? [Nightlord] Allright... VN needs to be carefully analyzed. There are positive things from my perspective that really needs to go on. Like the two month schedule thing, and a very nice disk maggy approach to the news chapter. And there are my complaints. But let us go one by one. Right the schedule. Apperantly the 2 month release schedule is too much I feel. Much like Duke's analogy of VN to a TV network, VN needs to be big in scale. I believe it can not and should not decrease content in favor of a tight release schedule. It could be increased to 3 or 4 months maybe. Of course that is my suggestion. [Twoflower] Quite opposite to Nightlord's views on this mag, I don't find it too small, having too little content. In my opinion, a magazine of today should consist of the bare necessities. With the current flow of information from the net, with the mindnumbing forums and the silence of a bot-ridden #C-64, magazines need a slightly different approach. Intelligent, moderated discussion; in-depth articles; topics which need more to be stated than discussed is what I foresee will dominate the few magazines left. In a way Vandalism News already got this. [Nightlord] Second point... VN can not and should not have any copy and paste chapters whatever its motive. The reason is same. VN is just too big a legacy. The disappointment that I felt with seing the demos chapter was huge. I hope that never ever happens again. [Puterman] The same goes for the reactions: they're also ripped from the web, and to add insult to injury, the stuff taken from pouet isn't even correctly credited. [Nightlord] For example the news chapter is a famous discussion. If the newspapers and monthly magazines have news chapters even in this day and age of TV and internet, why can't diskmags. The trick is on providing oppinions and insights on the news. Just like VN has achieved here. So a big thumb up to that. [Puterman] The news chapter is better than in other mags, not only because some of the stuff reported was actually news to me, but also because it's commented, both by the editor and by the people involved. Some of the stuff, like member status of groups and who's idling the most on #c-64, just isn't interesting though. Bringing up the age old "is the scene dead?" topic again doesn't exactly excite me. Should this just be considered a filler, or was it seriously meant? [Nightlord] And all the effort trying to keep the cracking scene alive... All the coverage the related stuff gets in VN. It just makes me wonder "why". Respecting the cracking scene, the very roots of this entire subculture, is something. Not objectively realizing the input output relations of the environment that nurtures that scene and not reallocating resources and coverage to other areas in need is something else. I am not ,repeat, not disrespecting crackers here. But a sack of demos do not even get proper review coverage and people spend chapters and forums of text space discussing how to revive the cracking scene. [Puterman] And to end the complaints section, Duke's advertising his own articles at the end of each one he's written doesn't exactly add to the reading experience. It makes me wonder if he feels that his articles are more worth reading than the rest of the mag. [Nightlord] Another thing I really did not enjoy in VN is the Scene Show chapter. Offcourse this like every other thing I said is highly subjective. However I really think humor is a natural gift. You either have it or not. All of us sometimes end up in funny situations, but being able to unleash humor at will is a gift. You can not learn it or push it. And does VN really need a humor chapter. [Puterman] I've always found that kind of stupid jokes completely pointless too, but I actually found the part about myself pretty funny, so maybe it has a point after all. [Nightlord] On the positive side the Floppy report by macx was fun. I hope to read more from him in the later issues. [Puterman] Yep, Macx' Floppy report, where he speculated about the infamous mystery man Jejk, was the highlight of this issue. Of course, this stuff might not appeal to people who haven't actually seen him in action (or should I say "out of action"?), but he's the stuff of legends, take my word for it! As always, the magsys is pretty slick (although I still don't find navigating it very enjoyable) and there's a set of tunes by famous C-64 musicians included. Unfortunately no intro this time, but the last one was nice enough for two issues. All in all, this is one of the weaker issues of Vandalism News that I've read, but I'm sure the next issue will be better if they get the new demo reviews section going and learn to cope with the stress of releasing more frequently. [Nightlord] I am waiting for the next issue with a little doubt and worry at the moment. Game Over(view), about 15 new issues [Puterman] Well, you guessed it, a bunch of new issues of Game Over(view) were released while we were doing our best to complete just one. They're exactly what you'd expect them to be: excellent. Reading a new issue of Game Over(view) is pretty much like good sex: it only lasts for a couple of minutes, but it's a load of fun. No need to say more. Just read it and laugh, or, if you're a mag editor, read it and weep.
The Loss [Twoflower] It's very hard to know how to start an article about someone who has recently passed away, whoever that person might be. Whatever the first lines will tell you, they are bound to feel wrong, lacking and somewhat missing the point entirely. This one is dedicated to one of the most unique artists we've had the privilegie to have on this scene. Kjell. Kjell Nordbo has passed away. He left us by his own choice, by his own hand, at the place he liked the most and resided in - his little cabin in the woods, located 15 minutes away from the bus-stop, but only 10 minutes away from the sea. The exact reasons why are unknown, but ridden with a bad back and sore neck which led to him beeing hospitalized at times, diabetes, depressions and a general discontent of the world around him, I can understand the fundaments of his descision. A descision which probably rose over time, a decision which was planned and set to action on the last day of April, 2005. It's a small comfort to me that this decision probably wasn't caused by a sudden depression and that he had arranged his passing to be as easy as possible to his closest relatives. He was laid to rest in Sandnes, next to his grandfather, and during the ceremony one of his own compositions was performed by the organist. Many of you might think that this kind of text is unnecessary, and in a way, it kind of is. In his last musiccollection, ''Ghost Escapes Body'', he spent quite some pages on describing his view of life, death and the soul. For each part of the puzzle which Kjell gave us, we were given more and more insight into his mind and his thinking. We who once and then had the pleasure to talk to him recieved some crucial pieces to the jigsaw, but the main motive was always something of a mystery. He was a unique person, a unique artist and one of the most brilliant musicians i've ever had the chance to get aquainted to. We at NSR like to bring you one piece of this jigzaw, the piece which transmits his views on life, death and this world. The text is called ''Silvergate'' and was a part of the GEB compilation. You can find it accompying this issue of NSR along with his last demo, ''The Sun'', made by him and Zyron. When I last spoke to him, we discussed the fact that he probably was the last active scener who made his art in the quite unique norwegian style, a style where the details and the work mattered a lot, a style which you could recall in both his music and his demos. He was always quite critical of his own work, and I'll never forget the fuzz he started when he discovered that there was a bug in his demo, "Handicraft" at LCP 2002. He promised me that he would chop the C-64 into little pieces with his hatchet and bury it in his backyard. At the last time we met, I luckily got the chance to copy every single release he ever did release, and I also got the chance to see unreleased stuff meant to be released after his next demopart. When the news of his death first reached me, I was afraid that he had done what he threatened to do - burning his C64 together with all his stuff and burying it in the backyard of his cabin, letting it meet the same destiny as his Amiga 1200. Something did stop him, though. Perhaps the love of his creations, finished and unfinished? Kjell wouldn't have wanted us to feel sorry for him. He himself described this place to be a rather harsh one, hard to get by in. A place where he was as misplaced as Jalla the Spider or Spacebeing Dollin. Now Kjell has left, Jalla is nowhere to be found, and Dollin is back at Pangaea, the green planet, never to be seen again. Farewell.