Nordic Scene Review 03

From C64 Diskmag Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Nordic Scene Review #3: Autumn Chaos

Nordic Scene Review #3: Autumn Chaos    
Welcome to another chaotic issue of     
Nordic Scene Review.  I guess the first 
thing you'll notice (or rather, have    
already noticed) is that the charset is 
the same.  Well, don't blame me, blame  
Twoflower for disappearing into some    
art school in Amsterdam.  His sudden and
unexpected absence means that there's no
text by him in this issue either, so all
you get this time is the ramblings of   
me and Nightlord.  Oh well, who cares,  
we're still the best editorial staff in 
the world.                              
Well, let's see if Nightlord has        
anything interesting to say...          
Hello dear readers. I must say I am in  
quite a good mood nowadays. There has   
been quite a content explosion in the   

scene lately and I am happy with it. I  
do not remember a more active 3 months  
since 2003 when I first returned to     
the scene.                              
There is more than half a dozen demos   
that I considered quite large scale and 
high quality. Plus maybe two dozens of  
lesser stuff. We were also bombarded by 
diskmags and blogs. That is as bombarded
as you can get in 2005.                 
It was interesting to see the reactions 
to NSR#2. Some people think we are mean 
in our criticism. Believe me when I     
tell you this, we really are not half   
as mean as we could be. Sometimes,      
I watch some crap and think to myself   
"oh my god please end this torture soon 
before I go blind" then pull myself     
together and write "This demo is quite  
unexiting, hopefully the authors will   
improve bla bla". So please at least    
give as much criticism to the demos you 
say we are mean towards as you give to  

us on this issue.                       
Speaking of being mean, I also think    
this is going to spread. Now that       
Game Over(view) and NSR are quite       
well received among the larger part     
of the scene, I expect more diskmag     
writers to follow a meaner style of demo
reviews. Also sceners giving reactions  
on csdb and pouet will probably follow  
this trend. So ladies and gentlemen,    
I say be prepared to see a little more  
tense times ahead of us. To those who   
plan to write mean demo reviews in the  
future, just make sure you know enough  
about what you are being mean against.  
But all in all I think demos are now    
going to be talked about more than      
before, not just in the diskmags but    
also in csdb and pouet reactions. And I 
think there is some credit we deserve in
NSR for this. Having said that I think  
we should pass on most of the credit we 
receive to ALIH.                        

Now let us see whether the scene will   
be able to hold this much activity over 
the winter.                             
Text: Puterman and Nightlord            
Music: Radiantx of Panda Design         

LCP Demos

LCP Demos                               
Sphaeristerium by Instinct, Triad       
and Horizon                             
I still haven't managed to watch the    
whole demo, so I'll just comment on the 
stuff I've actually seen.  The vector   
part crashed on my 128d, and the colour 
cycle part crashed on the C-64 + 1541-II
combo, while the Oceanic managed to     
keep it alive for a few more seconds.   
I guess the C-64 might not dig the      
VSP abuse.  Sometimes watching demos on 
the C-64 can be pretty difficult...     
I think I agree with most people        
that this was the best demo at LCP,     
but it does it by using brute force.    
Some of the code seems to be really     
nice and there are some cool ideas,     
but it's definitely not a demo to watch 
if you're more into flow and content.   

The linking is a bit sloppy, with empty 
screens during loading, and the music   
isn't really anything special either.   
The music was interesting at the        
beginning for me. But I start to get    
bored of the quite repetitive tune      
around the canyon part. Than the music  
becomes the weakest link of this demo   
in my eyes.                             
It might have been a good idea to       
use more than one tune...  The vector   
animation that's read from disk is a    
nice idea, but the execution is far from
perfect.  The colours are ugly and the  
idea of moving around in an abstract    
city doesn't exactly feel fresh.        
The crucified zombies was a nice touch, 
though.  The moving colour scroller is  
nicer, but the empty linecrunch area    
makes it all look a bit empty.          
The circle parts, which I suppose were  

made by Iopop, are nice, but it feels a 
bit like recycled ideas from Borderline.
The canyon (or whatever) part is the one
that really sticks out, lots of big,    
fat thumbs up for that one.  I always   
appreciate it when people make something
that looks original, even if they're    
just reusing some old effect.           
Surely a powerful demo. Surely one of   
the best in 2005. There is something    
that scatters my focus when I try to    
put together my reflections on this     
piece. First of all I was looking       
forward to more Twoflower pieces than   
just one in the Turn Disk part (and     
one in the note). Then there are some   
nice Iopopish parts although I agree    
with Puterman that some of them have    
a feeling of being recycled. I did      
not like the background of the vector   
city, rasters being wider than the      
animation frame. but streaming data     
from the drive is definitely a nice     

and interesting idea. But the design    
of the city buldings etc. could be more 
interesting... I loved the color cycler 
and the canyon parts. The end part is   
also a lot more interesting than first  
catches the eye. I am kind of stunned by
the overlay of three layers (the shadow,
the circles and the logo).              
That end part thingy sounds intriguing. 
Too bad I can't get that far...         
Unfortunately as good as this demo is   
I do not think it will be a part of my  
"hmm let me sit back and watch a demo   
now" collection. But great to see       
Jackasser and Pernod in action.         
To sum it up, it's far from perfect,    
but it has some nice parts, and that's  
all I really need.                      

Smart Girls Hate Booze by Booze Design  
It should be obvious to everyone that   
this was never supposed to be a really  
kick-ass demo, but it's nice to see     
Booze relaxing a bit after flexing      
their muscles in Tsunami.  There's a    
lot of potential in this demo, and now  
and then it gives me that special Booze 
vibe, while some parts of it just seem  
This is the first time I think we see   
something from all three of them (HCL,  
Dane and Jailbird). Something I have    
been looking forward to since Dane      
joined in, but it is not "the demo" I   
was expecting. Anyway still a Booze demo
is a Booze demo and we mortals should   
be thankfull to receive one before the  
next Floppy.                            
The 4x4 stuff is pretty ugly, but at    

least it's in the 3 leftmost chars,     
which might be candy to some of the     
people who appreciate coding effort.    
Unlike Puterman, I actually liked the   
first 4x4 effect very much. And the     
scroller is really nice and HCL's       
dedicating it to us makes me feel       
obliged to code one that beats it. We'll
see whether I will be able to do that.  
I did not like the greets zoomer and the
rotating faces that much. The graphics  
were nice overall, the girl with the    
cube being the top. The music with the  
classical vibes relates well to the     
smart girls and definitely provides     
for an interesting and fun listening    
The graphics are also a mixed bag: some 
of the pictures are really nice, while  
some of them are just boring and ugly.  

Still a good effort from someone who's  
officially left the scene.  But maybe   
he's back again.  It's hard to keep     
track of all the people who leave the   
scene and then return.                  
All in all it's sort of nice, but it's  
lacking the in your face effects that   
you've come to expect from HCL.  I guess
we'll have to wait until the next demo  
for more of the standard Booze quality. 
Looking forward to the real killer demo 
from this trio.                         
Hello: Friend by Fairlight              
To refer to the recent VN#45            
article this demo is as art as it can   
get. Hollowman pretty much denies the   
entire coding side of demo making       
and fully storyboards a network of      

"concepts". I hate using the word       
concept now that it feels emptier and   
emptier. But anyway.                    
I know a lot of people will not like    
this demo. I know Tdj will like it. And 
I know that I will like it although I   
can not quite figure out why. And you   
will see that when you read this review.
Why the stupid car crash metaphor? That 
was the line I kept thinking over and   
over after I watched this demo. That    
was so powerful to me. Maybe the        
most powerful line I ever read in a     
demo. Even more powerful than the       
paragraph in Thief (the one about       
actions being not sticky).              
Then I think about the music. It annoys 
and consumes me. It probably is intended
but still makes me not want to watch    
it again.                               
But the "look out the window"           

scenes... I relate a lot to them (as    
you can see in Broken) I feel at home   
in those parts.                         
But the general hires high contrast     
graphics style. I am so tired of them in
Fairlight demos. This is not a fault of 
the demo. They are nice in isolation and
in the demo. But I am really bored of   
seeing this style over and over again in
Fairlight demos. Let me put it this way:
if the graphics were anything but hires,
this demo could have been one of my all 
time favourites. The storyboard is great
and the dialogues are effective. But    
please please Hollowman, more colors... 
Speaking of storyboard, there is one    
part I did not find so subtle. That     
is the spending distribution part. I    
can not think of a more subtle way      
of telling about neglecting friends     
thing. But still it feels a bit         
disconnected from the rest of the demo. 
But all in all, I really liked this     

one. I like it more than many people's  
favorite Pretending to See the Light.   
Kamikaze by Creators                    
This is a demo that shows some          
potential, but like many other Creators 
demos something is missing.  I'm not    
sure if they're trying to say something,
or if the visuals are all there is      
to it.  In any case, making conceptual  
demos isn't an excuse for the kind of   
bugs that this one contains.  Maybe they
didn't have time to finish it, but I    
still think they should have polished   
it a bit before release.  It might be   
a case of deadline coding, though.      
I personally did not enjoy anything     
in this piece except for the amazingly  
ass kicking second tune. I can not find 
anything else to write about this. Oh   

and maybe I can say how bad I think the 
zoom animations look.                   
Blueprint for Organic Toy by Panda      
It's really nice to see that Radiantx   
managed to put together something a     
bit more serious.  I kind of feel like  
saying that he seems to be learning     
fast, but in my experience reaching     
about this level of coding skill is     
pretty easy, and moving on from here is 
the real test.  But I'm sure he'll keep 
working, so it'll be interesting to see 
what will happen next.                  
All in all this demo is nothing special,
but it shows some potential, as well as 
some pretty obvious Iopop influences in 
the more designish parts.  I kind of    
like the twister and the last screen.   
Unfortunately Radiantx suffers from a   
serious lack of graphical support, which
means the end result looks pretty much  

like something I might have released a  
couple of years ago.  Not that that's   
negative in itself, but it's easier     
to appreciate a demo with some cool     
graphics in it, at least in a case like 
this, when the effects aren't enough to 
distract me.                            
Nice to see someone who has just started
writing c64 code this year releasing a  
trackmo in July. The twister was the    
highlight of the demo I think. And I    
think the multiplexed circles would look
better if they weren't trapped in the   
first 255 coordinates.                  
The music and the design are also       
nice. I am looking forward to see what  
Panda Designs will release at the next  
Floppy party.                           
We/Banana by Fairlight                  

Ehehe... First I must say I believe one 
should approach this one as a Puterman  
scroll broadcast more than a demo. But  
you need to be someone who has been     
reading Puterman for sometime to fully  
appreciate the text.                    
The plotter and the bobs are nice       
parts. Nothing much to say about        
them. The final blur code reminds me    
of Ultragui.                            
The chord progression in the music is   
not my cup of tea. But the lead sound   
is very nice.                           
Not a very serious demo. Seems that the 
Fairlighter duo couldn't get together   
in time to build something bigger for   
LCP. Let's wait for Floppy then.        
Tropical Fever by Onslaught             

This one's a typical MacX demo: abstract
picture, ripped music and a scroller.   
It's a bit more colourful than his      
earlier productions, and the music by   
Jonathan Dunn could also be described as
"colourful".  When I'm in the right kind
of mood, I appreciate these productions 
more than typical compo winner trackmos.
It's hard not to feel good when you're  
bombed with so much positive emotions.  
Nice little Macx thingie. I fear        
sometimes people will think I am being  
inconsistent with my reviews. But sorry 
you guys are wrong. This little thing   
is nice and the music kicks ass.        
I can understand if some people don't   
like this kind of stuff at all, as      
there's no code or anything.  But well, 
to some of us a positive vibe is enough.
The happy-happy data scrolltext         
absolutely rules.                       

Asslicker by HCL                        
Once upon a time HCL wasn't a very good 
coder.  Kudos to Vodka for reminding us 
by releasing this old piece of crap.    
God Jul by Vital                        
Vital, famous from the early days       
of Booze Design, coded this one.        
"God Jul" means "Merry Christmas" in    
Swedish, which means that Vodka showed  
some really good timing by releasing it 
at LCP.                                 
Dataapan tar en fet                     
Not really worth a mention, but it gets 
one anyway.                             
Svamps by Stop                          


Assembly Demos

Assembly Demos                          
Boogie Factor                           
As much as I don't like the 70's        
here is one of the most original        
and entertaining demos I have ever      
watched. Before trying to analyze the   
components it needs to be said that the 
way demo is put together and works as   
a whole makes it the best demo of this  
year so far in my eyes.                 
First of all I found the soundtrack     
amazing. I mean oh-my-god amazing. Reed 
manages to create a disco soundtrack    
that sounds better than real disco      
music. The octave walks in the bassline 
makes me shake my head to the music     
everytime I hear it. My favorite is the 
music that starts with the Fairlight    
The graphics in this demo not only serve

their purpose by putting a smile on your
face with those afro hairdos, but are   
also quite stunning at times. The nose  
to chin female face beneath the stars   
and the female torso shot with the white
dress made me go "wow".                 
Codewise there is a very well achieved  
balance of originality and technicality 
that can be very rarely achieved by     
anyone. The rotating star, the disco    
ball and the bobs look great. I do      
not like the kaleidoscope effects       
so much. But I think the crowning       
achievement in coding is the flawless   
and streamlined linking.                
For two years in a row the Fairlight    
Finland section has managed to hit us   
with great stuff at a party where I     
had no hope of seing c64 demos being    
released. They are certainly a different
school of demo making than their Swedish
counterparts. Even at times I feel      
like watching demos from two different  

groups. But variety at this level of    
quality can only be positive.           
It would be really interesting to see   
a demo co-developed by the Finnish and  
Swedish Fairlighters.                   
Boom Boom by Aspekt                     
A new demo by Aspekt is something       
that'll make me pretty excited, as      
they've actually managed to release some
demos that have a fresh feel to them.   
The code hasn't been super-impressive   
so far, but it's obvious that Ruuvari   
is doing his best to improve his skills.
This time his efforts at producing more 
impressive code has affected the overall
impression of the demo negatively.      
Those 3d thingies might be a bit more   
impressive than some stuff in the       
previous demos, but they just don't     
look very good.  There have been ugly   
elements in the previous demos too,     

but it's definitely worse this time.    
The whole theme of the demo leaves me   
a bit cold.  The vibe is definitely not 
as deep this time.                      
Don't get me wrong, this might sound    
a bit negative, but this demo is still  
better than most of the stuff that gets 
released these days.  The flow is good, 
and that's pretty important, and some   
of the design elements, like the sprites
in the text screens, are really nice.   
Ruuvari hits our screens with another   
demo higher than a certain quality. I   
agree with Puterman that the demo       
leaves a worse overall impression than  
the previous Aspekt demos. The whole    
thing looks like a practice ground where
Ruuvari is getting ready for something  
bigger. Or maybe that's just me in my   
positive mood.                          
However, unlike Puterman, I did like    
the 3D C= logo and the perspective      

bobs. What I did not like was the       
roto-zoomer with low framerate and      
no vertical synchronisation (meaning    
update bugs).                           
The graphics remind me of Industrial    
Breakdown and I do not like this kind of
"trashy" graphics. Okay I understand    
the point of making them trashy but I   
do not like it.                         
The soundtrack on the other hand is     
good and the loading screens are well   
designed. But I am looking forward to   
a different style in the next Aspekt    
demo. Something different than 3-4      
effects in memory and switch back and   
forth between them in synch with a fast 
tune. This style is good and reminds me 
of Triad's flash and digi parts from    
the mid nineties. But it limits the     
quality of the design elements as well  
as the effects.                         

Symphony Demos                          
Annihilation by Padua                   
Paradoxus Padii?  This is both very     
typical and atypical for a Padua demo.  
In a way, they're doing everything      
right, but they still fail to make a    
good demo, according to the standard    
ruleset of the scene, or something.     
The music is "good" (ie. it's very well 
made, but fails to interest me), the    
parts are carefully faded in and out    
and there's quite a lot of graphics.    
Unfortunately the effects are absolute  
crap.  And well, some of the graphics   
are seriously ugly (while some pictures,
like the hires ship, are really nice).  
I guess it's safe to say that Cactus    
is a better mag editor than coder.      
Still, this is the scene, we do what we 

feel like doing, if Cactus feels like   
making a demo, that's great, more people
should do that.  The fact that it's an  
ambitious attempt at making a kickass   
demo is in a way more important than    
the fact that it's a failure.  It's all 
about enthusiasm.                       
On a side note, I have a feeling        
that some of the design elements are    
influenced by Biba 2 by Arise.  It's    
nice to see that that demo has actually 
had an influence on some people.        
Nothing much to add to Puterman's       
words. But I would like to encourage    
Cactus to delve deeper into the         
world of effects. If he has this much   
patience in linking, he should have     
enough patience to learn about higher   
quality effects. Also Lord Hypnos can do
some nice stuff too. So more time and   
dedication from this team can produce   
higher quality demos.                   

You Can't Stop Us by Tropyx             
Tropyx celebrate their 10 year          
anniversary with a production that      
really looks like it was made in the    
late 90s, was hidden in a time capsule  
and has now been unearthed to haunt us  
like a ghost from the past.  I don't    
know about the rest of you, but I have  
a hard time remembering the names of    
the groups that produced all those      
8x8-infested trackmos with tacky C-64   
techno that the scene was flooded with  
in the late 90s.  This one could have   
been produced by any of those groups.   
It has everything that defined that     
style of demos: 8x8 parts, plotters,    
black loading screens, hires animations 
and a painfully long memberstatus part. 
The quality of the code in this demo    
is similar to that in the Padua demo.   

It's all pretty slow and ugly, and the  
animations don't look very nice either. 
There's not much graphics, but what's   
there isn't of very high quality.       
I don't know if it's for nostalgic      
reasons, but all this actually makes    
me appreciate this production in        
a funny way.  If I'd have to pick a     
favorite from Symphony, I actually think
I prefer this one over the Padua demo.  
This one's more dirty, and that always  
appeals to me.  I just don't like nice  
fades between the parts, I want it to   
be more like this.                      
I should also point out that You Can't  
Stop Us is a definite step forward from 
Tropyx' last demo, Time for Torment.    
And it might be because I'm tired,      
but the "lodaing" joke actually worked  
for me.  Good stuff!  An involuntary (I 
think) joke that was also really funny  
was the use of the word "snailswapper"  
in the credits parts.  I know that      
there are many sceners who are more or  

less weird, but swapping snails must    
be one of the more odd hobbies I've     
heard about.  Okay, so I guess I am     
really tired.                           
"No design is also the design"... Yeah  
right. Or is it an excuse for being     
lazy? I pretty much hated this demo     
except for the music and seeing there   
are considerable hours of work behind   
this demo makes me more angry with the  
motto above. The same team with the     
exact same skill set, in the exact      
amount of time could have created       
a demo ten times better than this,      
had they focused just a little bit on   
the design. I mean who cares about      
when a certain member entered the       
group. Please...                        
Spring Loda Meeting by Tropyx and       
Vulture Design                          

This one has a little bit more to offer 
than some meeting demos we've seen.     
Not much more, though.  But it has 5    
scrollers instead of just one, and it   
has some ugly pictures that are sloppily
linked together before the main (scroll)
part begins.  Nothing to remember       
though, unless you attended the event,  
I guess.                                
Intro by Viper                          
You can't be more 1997 than this.  8x8  
all the way.  It's running more smoothly
than other productions with similar     
effects, so I guess it's pretty well    
coded.  However, even if you make the   
best 8x8 plasma in the world, there's   
no way I'm going to be interested.      
Ice Cream by Tropyx                     

4k demos (I refuse to call things that  
don't introduce something else "intros")
are really all about impressing coders  
with fresh effects.  Well, that's what  
it usually is anyway.  This one won't   
impress anyone, but it's still pretty   
cosy, with the weird music and the      
original logo stuff.                    
Colors4k by Clochard                    
Wouldn't it have been better to call    
this one "Trashmo 4k"?  It really looks 
trashy, with weird design choices.      
This just doesn't cut it.               

Random Demos

Random Demos                            
Arvika 2005 by Panda Design             
So it seems Panda Design managed to     
release their second demo.  I was hoping
that their second release would be a bit
more ambitious, but Radiantx struck back
at LCP with something better.  This one 
was coded live at a rock festival,      
which shows that mr. Radiantx possesses 
a great data spirit.  I also have to    
compliment him for his frequent use of  
the word "freshness" in the scroller.   
Irrational by Chorus                    
Clarence seems to be back for real.     
This time it's just a small collection  
of random parts, but it's nice to see   
that it was just ten months between the 
demos this time, instead of 10 years.   

Seeing the news of a Chorus demo release
instantly excited me and I downloaded   
it at once. This one is not as big as   
Demode, but still manages to impress    
me with some subtle coderpron. Yes I    
am talking about the ten letters in the 
lower border. My deepest respect.       
Other than that the first graphics      
fade in and the raster bender are       
also nice. We can't really talk about   
linking here.                           
This one might be a bit too traditional 
for me.  Just like I sometimes feel that
demos with no real code feel empty,     
this one feels empty for the lack       
of something that stands out.  Sure,    
everything is performed with a lot of   
skill, but all in all it's too classical
to move me in any way.  Of course, I'm a
sucker for stuff like AFLI plasmas, but 

one part that looks nice isn't enough   
to keep me interested when there's so   
much ugliness surrounding it.  I know   
there are a lot of people who dig Leon's
graphics, but I find them appalling.    
The graphics I think are a little weaker
than general Leon quality.  The musics  
are OK. Nothing too impressive.         
Obviously a rather quick production. But
it does not matter as long as I can see 
Clarence's work.                        
The fact that this one refused to run   
on a 1541-II didn't exactly make my     
impression of it any more positive.     
So while I appreciate the quality       
and the fact that Chorus are actually   
releasing stuff, I'm not inspired to    
watch it again.                         

4Kaos by Wanderer                       
It's a bit hard to comment on this one, 
as I don't have an NTSC C-64, but what  
I can see sure doesn't look impressive. 
Fast Blade by Willow                    
C-64 techno and ugly 8x8 stuff makes    
me wonder what year it is.  1997?       
That period is over, and someone needs  
to let Willow know that it's time to    
either learn to write some real code or 
make conceptual grayscale demos.        
I like the general techno music and     
effects thing but not in 8x8. I am sure 
it looked OK on the big screen but noone
will seriously consider demos like this 
one important.                          

Primary Star 2005 Invite by Anubis      
I always think it's worth a few thumbs  
up when someone actually bothers to     
release a real invitation to a party.   
It'd still have been nice with something
a little bit different.  This one's     
just a bit too boring and ugly to stick.
The picture in the text part is a nice  
idea, so it's kind of sad that it's     
so ugly.  Well, at least it wasn't just 
another logo.                           
Willowdemo by Oerg                      
A starwars scroller that looks OK.      
And it's made with 3d Message Maker by  
Master's Design Group.  Exciting stuff. 

German Font Review by The Dreams        
Yes, we know that this font is hard     
to read.  I'll try spanking Twoflower   
Paradise Meetro by Paradise             
Sometimes I wish I hadn't promised that 
we'll review all the releases.  It's not
like there's much point in writing      
uninspired reviews about uninspired     
demos that consist of a logo, a tune and
some text.  But I'll try to imagine that
that's what I want to do with my life   
and drop some random comments here.     
The logos are pretty nice, while the    
starfield has to be the worst one I've  
ever seen on any platform.  I'm not sure
if it's supposed to be a starfield, so  
sorry if I misunderstood some really    
interesting design concept.  Oh, and    
some people want more elephants in C-64 

productions, so I'll try to make that   
huge group of sceners happy by writing  
the word "elephant" here: elephant.     
Is everyone happy now, or will I have   
to do it again in another review?       
Evil Face by Creators                   
Another one of those scroller+picture   
demos, but this one doesn't feel        
completely pointless.  I don't know what
it is that I like about it, so I guess  
I'll just turn mystic and proclaim that 
it has a soul.                          
Forgotten Bytes by Science 451          
Isn't it a great feeling to watch a new 
demo that consists of rasters, rasters  
and more rasters?  And isn't it cool    
that it's filled with oldstyle C-64     
music and scrollers?                    

Or does it just feel stupid and boring? 
Does it feel more like you could just   
load one of the five million old raster 
demos from 1988 instead?                
I think I'll let you decide this time.  
Kuno Nuko Demo IV by Kuno Nuko          
When I was a kid (standard disclaimer:  
I'm still a kid, blah-blah) my favorite 
hockey team was AIK.  I don't know why, 
but I liked the name and their colours: 
yellow and black.  Maybe that's why     
I actually like this, the 666th         
scroller+picture demo reviewed          
in this mag.  It's mostly black and     
yellow, although I'm really not sure    
why space is yellow in the picture.     
I thought it was mostly black out there,
but then again, most of my knowledge    
on astronomics comes from watching      
Star Trek.  I guess Sledge might know   
more about that kind of stuff than I do.
Or maybe it's about artistic freedom.   

Thumbs up for the cosy tune too.        
Stereoid by Civitas                     
I like notes.  I almost always          
read them, for some bizarre reason.     
Maybe it's because text in general      
is very important to me, or maybe       
it's just generally interesting to      
know what the creator of a production   
has to say about it.  In the case of    
Stereoid by Civitas, the note is needed 
to explain what's going on, because I   
really had no idea.  Unfortunately it   
sort of ruined the impression for me.   
When I first watched this thing, I had  
no idea that you were supposed to wear  
3d glasses.  The converted pictures just
looked very odd to me, but some of them 
actually looked odd in a positive way.  
The strange colour clashes almost       
compensated for the fact that the       
world's slowest loader was being used.  
Well, maybe it isn't the slowest one    

out there, but it feels like it takes an
eternity to load every picture.  Anyway,
I wouldn't normally waste this much text
on a collection of converted pictures,  
but the idea was at least a bit         
interesting.  But not more than that.   
Chesszoomer by Skate of Glance          
I think the problem with productions    
like this one is that there are very    
few of them around, and you have to     
try your hand at coding minimal stuff   
like this yourself to appreciate it.    
Of course the pouet crowd will go "Wow, 
I never thought you could do that in    
256 bytes!" just because they think     
that's what you're supposed to say.  Me,
I have no idea.  This might be cool,    
but I think in future issues we should  
hire Ninja as 256 bytes reviewer.       
(I don't want to, but some weird and    
highly unethical force is making me     
include a stupid standard joke here: Of 

course he'll only get 256 chars for each
review.  Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!) 
Chesswaver by Skate of Glance           
As the title suggests, this 4k demo     
contains some sort of waving chessboard.
That's it.  This isn't really enough to 
make a cool 4k.  If it wasn't for Krill,
this could have been considered a decent
4k, but we've come to expect more.      
Much more.  So better luck next time.   
Living by Glance                        
After reading some comments on this     
one on the net I had really high        
expectations.  Unfortunately this demo  
isn't quite what it's blown up to be.   
There really is no excuse for including 
something as profoundly ugly as that    
last picture with the frog and the city.
What is this, a flicker contest?        
The design stuff doesn't really interest

me, but at least some of the parts      
are really nice.  The chess waver is    
much nicer than the one in the 4k,      
and the plotter is hardcore.  Some of   
the other effects are also really nice  
and original, so this gets a thumb      
up, although there's a lot I don't      
like about this demo.  The music for    
instance, it's not exactly horrible, but
I just don't like it.  The same goes for
the graphics, the logos are just boring,
and the above mentioned frog picture    
could make anyone puke spontaneously.   
Anyway, it's nice to see a seriously    
meant demo from a new group.  If these  
guys keep working, I'm sure we'll see   
some stunning releases from them soon.  
Beertime IVA by Dekadence               
Oh baby, this makes me feel so good...  
Britelite, hit me one more time!        
I know I'm constantly complaining about 
the lack of originality in demos.       

Sometimes I'm asking myself why I       
bother checking out new demos at all,   
when I know exactly what I'm going      
to get.  This one is one of those rare  
releases that make me stay in the scene.
This is datasoul.                       
This was the best looking Dekadence     
product I have seen. The music is       
I think the strongest point of this     
release, as well as the nice horizontal 
twister. The overall linking and        
the quality of the effects is quite     
high. The tunnel probably is harder     
than it looks being in the borders but  
I feel the end result does not look so  
good. Other than that I think all the   
effects and their fades are very cleanly
implemented. Some pixel graphics would  
have made this demo a lot more complete.
I can see the need for graphics in some 
demos, but this one feels complete to   

me without the graphics.                
Britelite has a long history of         
recycling old parts and dropping the    
same boring and ugly chunky crap time   
after time, but this time it seems      
he's tried to provide us with some real 
quality.  Several of the parts are so   
fresh that I wish there was a way to    
hold the parts.  Shift/lock anyone?     
Making nice parts doesn't have to be    
about hardcore code, as some people seem
to think, it's about being clever.      
One thing that is quite interesting     
to me is that I notice there is a       
solid Dekadence-clapper community out   
there. No matter what Dekadence produces
some people automatically seem to start 
cheering for it. I am not saying this   
as an offence to Dekadence. I do not    
think it is their fault. I just think   
this is not healthy feed back to the    
authors and might indirectly block their

improvement. I hope the Dekadence crew  
recognizes this and keep giving ear to  
more independant feedback channels.     
And I don't think you should take stuff 
you read at pouet very seriously. :)    

The mags

The mags                                
Oh yes, we had lots of demos released   
lately. And according to a little       
research I made in the CSDB recently,   
the demo productivity in the scene is   
somewhat stable in the last 10 years,   
but these last months the amount of     
higher quality releases was so positive 
to me.                                  
The CSDb stats are notoriously          
unreliable, as all new stuff tends to   
get added, while older stuff doesn't    
get added.  I believe there were lots   
of more releases in the late 90s than   
According to the same research          
the number of diskmag releases were     

dropping dramatically in the last 3-4   
years. Had it not been for 21 issues of 
Game Over(view) in the last two years   
the total number of issues released in  
the scene in the last years would make  
you cry and want to kill yourself. So   
seeing around 1500 diskmag releases in  
a week was definitely a positive shock  
to me this time.                        
Not only that but also the content      
of those mags seem to glide into a      
direction that makes me very happy. A   
demoscene coverage that I believed to   
be seriously flawed a few months ago is 
now nearly saturated. And yes that is   
a great thing if you have been craving  
for quality content to read like me.    
At the same time, saying that it's a    
mixed bag would be almost as gross an   
understatement as saying that we're     
happy to see that Attitude is finally   

Some mags seem to be put together in an 
industrial fashion, with each new issue 
just being a copy of the previous one.  
This goes for Scene World, which keeps  
it's odd focus on stuff that's not      
really related to what most of us call  
"the scene", and for Publication, which 
I've thought of as "promising" for way  
too long now.  Both of these come with  
an intro, which is nice, although the   
actual intros are pretty uninteresting. 
The one in Publication is basically     
boring, while the one in Scene World is 
seriously ugly.                         
Publication keeps it real with some     
coding stuff from Nightlord, which      
is cool, but the magsys still needs     
some serious improvements.  I wouldn't  
complain about it if it was a regular   
magsys, but this one has a tendency to  
get in the way of your reading.  The one
in Scene World isn't annoying, it does  
its job, but I guess you should know    

that by now.  As always, Scene World is 
jampacked with text, but most of the    
articles are just fillers.  The only    
standout text is Murdock's party report 
from Floppy, which I liked because it   
was so personal.  It's written very     
much like your average party report,    
with descriptions of the journey to the 
party, but for some reason I actually   
found his reflections on Swedish trains 
and stuff like interesting.             
I've wondered for some time why the     
Scene World editors continue to fill    
their mag with content that feels       
completely empty, but you don't have    
to get into any serious deconstruction  
to realize what they're after when      
you read their mag reviews.  They seem  
to think that what's important is the   
number of blocks that a mag occupies on 
the disk, which is why Game Over(view)  
always gets much lower points than much 
worse publications.                     

Scene World unfortunately remains       
uninspiring in many respects.  I think  
they have solved all of their problems  
with the outfit by now. But the quality 
of the text needs to be improved. What I
said for the Dekadance-cheer club also  
goes for the Scene World lovers. I am   
OK with such a crowd as long as the     
authors keep giving ear to reactions    
from different fragments of the scene.  
The most positive thing about Scene     
World is that Merman is realising the   
importance of having nice demo reviews  
and focusing on them. The biggest       
remaining obstacle for this mag is      
finding writers that follow the scene   
closely enough.                         
The contents of Publication are more    
minimalistic: there are no news, no     
interviews and no reviews.  I guess this
mag would need a more dedicated editor. 
Zeitgeist just doesn't seem to have     

enough time to put together the kickass 
mag that Publication could be.          
Another regularly released mag that     
we've praised a lot in the past is      
Game Over(view).  I'd almost given      
up on them ever improving their mag,    
and the 20th issue was the same old     
stuff again.  However, issue 21 comes   
with a new magsys and some other new    
features, like the original (but almost 
empty) release list and an interview.   
This is a definite improvement, which   
actually says a lot, because it's always
been a great mag, despite the quirky    
magsys and the small amount of text.    
The fact that they've managed to release
it montly for 21 issues now is really   
impressive.  We have a lot to learn from
this project.                           
Game Over(view) has officially kicked   
every other mag's ass big time in       
my eyes with the release of issue       

#21. Very nice outfit and one of the    
more exciting text performances this    
time. As Puterman says, unbelievable    
robustness to keep going monthly for    
21 issues. And in C64 Game Scene in     
2004-5... Game Over(view) is literally  
rebuilding the Game scene. It remains   
extremely inspiring and fun to read.    
Both Vandalism News and Attitude are    
very conventional high-quality C-64     
mags.  They include all the standard    
stuff that you expect in a diskmag,     
and technically they're both very       
My biggest congratulations and thanks   
this month should go to the Vandalism   
News crew. After a worrying issue #44,  
this is how a mag should give ear to    
the reactions and regroup and strike    
back. This is more important to me than 

the analysis of individual articles. The
"management" and "resource allocation"  
of the crew definitely deserves a thumb 
up from me. Great shift of focus guys...
I've felt for several years now that    
the crew behind Vandalism News have a   
tendency to drown you in too much text. 
Some of it is really good, while some   
of it is just too much.  They got a lot 
of well-deserved bashing for the demo   
section in the last issue, and in issue 
45 they instead flood their readers     
with a huge amount of demo reviews.     
It's nice that they have serious demo   
reviews again, but while reading them,  
I got bored pretty quickly and started  
longing back to the days of Ed and Joe's
often annoying over-interpretations.    
Come back, guys, this mag needs you!    
Oh, and what's up with having yet       
another Seal of Focalor review?         

The much flooded demo review section    
can get boring for readers at times     
maybe but it also is a great source     
of feedback to the authors of those     
demos. The team of reviewers will need  
to improve their knowledge a little bit 
I think. Today's demos include a lot of 
cross references in many layers and the 
reviewers need to be on top of pretty   
much everything being released in order 
to catch those (see Puterman's review   
of Sphaeristerium and the crucified     
Well, yeah, I guess I have good reasons 
to remember a demo called Wok Zombie.   
Attitude only has one review, an old    
one by Oswald, but sometimes less is    
more, and while I'd sure want to hear   
his opinions on some newer releases,    
I found this one very interesting.      

Yes, the review of YKTR by Oswald was   
very detailed. As much as I do not agree
with some of his views on the demo,     
the review is nevertheless a nice one.  
I know that lots of people claim not    
to be interested in the charts, but I   
always enjoy them, and both Attitude and
Vandalism News have managed to gather   
an impressive amount of vote sheets.    
It kind of makes you wonder what the    
Scene World editors are complaining     
about.  Obviously, people aren't too    
lazy to vote, you just need to get them 
motivated enough to spend five minutes  
filling in a vote sheet.                
I know there is a general scene tending 
to vote less. Nevertheless, I still     
think some kind of a present (not "of   
all times") platform for competition    
and comparison should be there for      
the benefit of the scene. The only      

remaining charts are CSDB where you     
are competing with the shadows of TTS,  
Slammer and Quiss. The closest thing is 
to go to a party and compete there. And 
there are only two parties where there  
is serious competion. I wonder how this 
awards thing will work, although I feel 
it won't be a substitue for the charts. 
The party reports are pretty good       
in both Attitude and Vandalism News.    
I liked Cactus' report from Symphony,   
but it's still nowhere close to MacX'   
wonderful report from LCP.  I've said   
it before and I'll say it again:        
Vandalism News would be much better if  
it contained more stuff written by him. 
Oh, and an extra bonus is of course that
the enigmatic Jejk is mentioned again.  
Yes, please more of those Macx          

The Scene Podium chapter was kind of    
interesting. I felt that although the   
comments of both "tech guys" and the    
"art guys" were quite in line. But the  
presentation of those comments were kind
of making them more opposed. I think the
"art vs tech" discussion has evolved    
beyond a point of fruitful dynamics and 
entered into a repetitive era.          
Attitude on the other hand after many   
years has come back and I am thankful   
to that. My biggest concern is though,  
"should I trust the next issue to be    
released sooner than a year". It is     
impossible not to agree with RRR's      
comments about the quality being more   
important than frequent releases, but I 
think anything longer than 4 months is  
too long a delay for a diskmag.         
This issue is filled with good          
text. Like Vandalism News, Attitude     
also has its share of "reader opinions" 
type of chapters. I am unfortunately    

beginning to feel kind of bored         
with this type of text. At least the    
discussed subjects should be very well  
chosen. For a chapter like this to      
be interesting the subject should be    
something not so abstract as "can new   
things be invented". Rather it should   
be something either more contraversial  
(such as the art vs tech thing in VN)   
or something more down to earth like    
"was Chorus or Focus the real winner of 
X2004" :).  The thing is it should be   
a subject where I need to be interested 
in hearing the comments of some random  
stranger on.                            
All in all, it's pretty obvious that    
Attitude is the winner here.  Maybe it's
just that I've been waiting for it for  
so long, but the contents are really    
well balanced, and almost everything    
is interesting.  This is data soul.     

There were a few German Mags also       
released lately, but I have nothing to  
say about that other than to refer the  
readers to previous Game Over(view)     

Music Collections

Music Collections                       
SID Expander by the Ancients            
It's nice to see some serious music     
collections being released, no less     
than three of them at LCP!  I think     
this one is my favorite in the pile.    
It's obvious that a lot of effort has   
been spent on the tunes, and I really   
appreciate the effort to make music     
in different styles.  The instruments   
may sound a bit more like the standard  
modern stuff than what you'd expect from
a serious old-timer like Rambones,      
and I'm not quite sure if that's        
positive or negative.  It would have    
bothered me more if the music style     
had been the standard stuff as well,    
but fortunately things are happening    
that keep me interested.                
The music is of course the most         

important thing in a music collection,  
but the interface deserves a mention    
here, because of the simple but         
nice-looking patterns in the background.
The fat sounds in the intro are also    
nice, and add to the data-vibe of this  
fine release.                           
Trapped in Circles by Creators          
Another music collection by Creators in 
their usual style.  Unlike some other of
their weird-looking and weird-sounding  
productions, this one manages to build  
an atmosphere that feels genuine.       
The intro is interesting in all its     
simplicity, and the main part looks so  
good that it makes me wonder what the   
rest of the scene is up to.  The music  
isn't exactly my cup of tea, though,    
it's a bit too unstructured and...      
I can't think of the right word to use, 
so I'll just make one up: gadotomtly.   
Not sure if it makes sense, but TDS     

sometimes manages to sound like Wacek   
and Kjell at the same time, which       
is pretty impressive, but it doesn't    
exactly provide a positive listening    
experience.  Extra superduper thumbs up 
for just including 5 tunes, of course,  
that's about as much as I can take.     
If TDS tried a bit harder to build solid
grooves instead of just being weird,    
he could turn into one of my favorite   
Larger than Life by Blues Muz           
Scene morbidity.  Kjell strikes back    
from the grave.  As I might have        
mentioned before I'm not one of his     
biggest fans.  Well, at least he made   
an impression with the self-portrait in 
the intro.  Kjell fans will probably dig
this, and for the first time I think I'm
starting to get it too.  After staring  
at the hypnotic screen for a while      
I started appreciating the music.       

For some reason I can't really have it  
running in the background, I have to    
watch the screen and concentrate on the 
music to like it.  Maybe I just need to 
get used to all the strangeness and the 
wild mood swings (tm) in the music.     
CTR Sonix 13 by Creators                
I guess most of you, our dear readers,  
know what it feels like to be totally   
uninspired and bored.  You desperately  
want to do something, or rather, you    
want to want to do something, but all   
you can do is sit around and do nothing.
Or waste your time playing computer     
games, watch TV or whatever.  I wish I  
could code a kickass demo part instead  
of sitting here doing nothing.  But I'm 
just not in the mood for doing useful   
stuff.  For Mermaid it seems to be the  
opposite.  She wants to do useful stuff 
instead of making C-64 productions,     

but she ends up coding, pixelling and   
making music, and sometimes she really  
hits the spot.  This music collection   
smells of frustration and hopelessness, 
so it works really well for me right    
now.  You get 8 tunes which all carry   
the same feeling as the scroll text.    
The girl in the picture looks like      
she could feel in lots of different     
ways, but in this context I choose to   
believe that she really wants to be     
somewhere else, doing something else.   
The techning sprites are probably just  
an annoyance to her, which is why she   
closes her eyes and try to think of     
something nice.  Which of course fails. 
I think I'll press the reset button now.

Personal tools