Nordic Scene Review 06
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Nordic Scene World Review Again
Nordic Scene World Review Again [Puterman] Radiantx wrote a review of issue 5 over at CSDb, which I think is worth some comments. [Radiantx] Good issue, though nothing breathtaking. Of course, given the sparse amount of releases since the last issue, there isn't really much to be said. One thing I've noticed is that NSR is starting to feel a bit "mechanic". I get the feeling that everyone involved sees this as "just a side project", something small to be thrown together mainly when one has some spare time to kill. This reflects even in the (for him) uninspired tune by Zabutom. I know this isn't entirely the case, and I'm not actually complaining - after all, I'd hate to see these people becoming less active making quality demos just because of having to do this mag. It's mainly a reflection upon things. [Puterman] He is absolutely right, this is a side project, and we spend very little time producing each issue. Additionally, crappy productions don't inspire us to write great reviews, as they do with ALIH. (No, you're not going to read one single issue of this mag without some praise for the great Game Over(view).) And quite frankly, most of the stuff that was reviewed in the last issue was absolute crap. This isn't meant as an excuse, though. In my opinion, this mag shouldn't have to be inspired and witty all the time. I still think it's a great mag, actually it's exactly the sort of mag I wished that someone else had started a long time ago, so that we wouldn't have had to do it. Having said that, there's a lot of room for improvements. I've been doing a pretty lousy job as an editor, but I'm working on the processes to streamline the production. I think most of us have a tendency to want to work in a very unorganized way with our scene productions, because after all it's just a hobby, and we don't want it to feel like we're at work. However, through the years I've come to realize that discipline and professionalism doesn't make it more boring - it just makes it easier. One of the things I've done a bad job with is collecting music for the mag. With almost every issue it's been a case of scouting on IRC during the last couple of days. After all, there are so many musicians around, getting one of them to give you a tune shouldn't be a problem. Maybe not, but sometimes it means that you have to get poor Zabutom to finish a tune in a couple of hours. Unfortunately my bad work as an editor also resulted in some chaos around the release of the last issue, so Twoflower's editorial and an intro he produced didn't get included. He was late, but in a way it was mostly my fault. I'm the one who does the editing, linking and last minute code changes. Therefore I'm responsible for setting deadlines and informing my co-workers about them. As I said above, I'm working on the processes, and we're getting there, slowly. The result will be a better mag. [Nightlord] Here I am, trying to organize all the thoughts echoing in my head. Is NSR becoming automated, soulless, uninspiring? Are the uninspired demos that we are relentlessly trying to cover, draining the motivation in our hearts, undoing the flame we used to feel about this project and the provocation we hoped to instill on demo makers? These questions were probably what my subconscience had been asking to my perception for sometime. When we were finally faced with Radiantx's comment, I could do nothing but pause for a moment. I still can not say I can see the whole picture in my mind, all I have is disconnected fragments of urges, questions, worries and inspirations. Yes, NSR has been well received generally by the readers, encouraged other diskmags to invest in their demo review chapters more and therefore achieved one of my strongest urges for being involved. We are all able to read more demo reviews compared to the time when NSR first came out. Not all reviews are fair (should they be?) or factual (they should be) or well written (subjective anyway). Nevertheless scene thinks (reviews), therefore scene is. Is it fun doing this mag. Well it barely is. "Barely" because the deadlines come at the most inconvenient of times usually. And we effectively miss lots of sleep and rest (or time slots to spend on our own demos) in order to cover tens of those "oldskool" rasters + logo + scroll intros that people won't give up on releasing. This way we have a sense of achievement, an assumption of an "identity". We are the relentless warriors upholding an ideal of "giving feedback" to every effort in the scene, small or big. Those who release small products as a part of their growing need the feedback, the recognition, for it hopefully will fuel and direct them. Without that feedback, that attention, one feels lonely and sees one's efforts as unjustified. I know I did feel this way back in 2004 when mags of the day were either not paying attention to demos or were on a break. I sincerely believe it is different now. Make a demo and you will get feedback from many fronts. Starting a mag is one thing, continuing to write quality text is another thing. I feel we are inevitably linked to and limited by the quality and the amount of releases. As our main inspiration ALIH keeps proving this point wrong month after month for two years, we are still holding our ground by saying ALIH is a special case, a demigod with special powers of darkness. We mortals should not be compared to that being about our inability to write mind-warpingly funny and intelligent text about mind-warpingly non-funny and non-intelligent productions. Yes, as long as people keep doing unoriginal and uninspiring demos, we will (and maybe we should) keep pointing out that it is unoriginal and uninspiring. Unfortunately there are not too many different ways of doing this and certain patterns of text begin to be easily recognizable. Thus comes the claim for becoming automated, and soulless. So, in an attempt to be a fair mirror for demo makers we end up being predictable and repetitive. If we become predictable and repetitive, we will lose our position as a provocative power. For me this mag is about inspiring or provoking people to express and unleash their creativity. The hope and ability to ignite an action in others is the heart that pumps the blood in the veins of this mag. Thus we can not allow it to stop. This is a dilemma, a paradox that we will have to take care of in the coming issues. This is the next challenge we will need to overcome, as we will also be continuously trying to convince ourselves, that all this effort is really paying off and is worth pixeling one less graphic, coding one less demo part or composing one less tune. [Twoflower] In the end it's all about what you want a mag to be; that you have a clear intent and clear goals to aim towards. In our case (and GO(V)'s, a mag we blatantly keep copying) the intent and goals are pretty clear. We want to release a magazine spreading our views on the latest releases on the C-64 demoscene. We focus on the releases themselves, and I believe that we can make people check out the overlooked ones and possibly ignore the overrated. Perhaps we sometimes succeed in making people pissed enough to improve themselves? Perhaps we can encourage people to make more, and suprise us a second time? Perhaps we just make people depressed? Whatever the outcome is, our intent and goals are clear to us - and that's more than you can say about most other C-64 publications. Yes, perhaps because we have chosen an easy niche, but still. As Puterman mentioned above; as editors we have to make choices, concient choices to make the production of our magazine as smooth as possible. This can't include an easy "let-go"-attitude which includes waiting for years for reviews to come, but rather to actually try to set a deadline and keep it. The scene benefits more from having a regularly released magazine than one badly updated magazine covering three disksides, and I can't for the world understand how magazine editors possibly can see it in any other way. If a magazine lacks a chapter or two - or as in our case my last editorial, reviews, intro plus the chance for the dutch sceners to correct the texts they contributed - then so what? The scene needs activity. The scene needs continuity. The scene needs magazines with clear intentions and goals. I hope we can keep our intentions and goals clear, I hope we can bring you irritation, enjoyment and sometimes now and then an unreadable font - and finally I hope we can keep up bringing you an inspired NSR. The intro (originally meant for the last issue, #5) is a tribute to the now dead (?) magazine Scene World. That magazine kept beeing a clear beacon of warning throughout its too long lifespan. As a magazine editor, you don't always know how to do things, but on the other hand - you could always take a look at Scene World, just to find out what you shouldn't do. The nice logo in the middle of the intro was ripped from JSL, and the nice tune was made by Yogibear. None with the intention of beeing presented in this intro. [Puterman] So what's up with the stupid choice of releasing this mag the same weekend that Breakpoint takes place, so that you have to wait two months to read the reviews of the demos released there? Well, we have a release schedule, and we try to stick with it. If we start getting soft and not release the mag until it's "complete", we'd turn into one of those 3 diskside mags and PEOPLE WOULD START DYING IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS. Now let's never talk about this again. Credits Text by Twoflower, Nightlord and Puterman Music by Linus
Demos Shudder 2 by Singular [Twoflower] One of the few demoreleases from Forever 7 was "Shudder 2" from Singular, and it was about what you could expect. Small demo, kind of standard effects on black background, complete with a cryptical theme which I don't know if I shall connect to Alice in Wonderland or to Jefferson Airplane? Hmm, perhaps both? The texts in the demo are mainly used to promote Arok Party, Singular at Breakpoint and to claim that Jailbird sucks at boozing; in other words, texts promoting quite noble causes. Furthermore, the demo contains an original picture by Leon featuring two watercreatures with too short arms. I like the fact that he dares to take a stand for the neurosedyn-disabled. The stretching of Jennifer Aniston did also contain some nice, hidden symbolism. The nicest part of the demo was probably Scorpy's hiresblobs with vertical lines. They would probably have looked nicer if they have been done slightly different, but they are quite nice as they are right now. To sum it up: if some standard stuff with a white rabbit does it for you, this is what you are looking for. [Puterman] My thumbs always point towards the sky when I'm watching this kind of late nineties trackmos. This one has most of the components we were spoiled with back then, although not as nicely implemented as in the really good demos. The picture, the logo, the effects, the music, everything is pretty mediocre, but who cares, this demo isn't about making history. [Nightlord] Some demos definitely grow on you when you watch them a couple of times. When I first watched this I was completely unimpressed by everything in the demo except for the plasma. After transfering and watching a couple of times on the correct platform I am more entertained by the demo. I find the picture by Leon to be his worst among all the ones I have seen from him. I am not a graphician and it probably is not my place to comment on this but oh my god the form of those creatures and the overall emptiness of the composition... About the soundtrack I must add that I especially enjoyed the end tune. Very classical type of SID but nice I think. Spirits and Vamosabailar by Jumalauta [Twoflower] Jumalauta keep on bugging the scene with their releases. Two, this time. Somehow I can't help feeling that stuff like Jumalauta's is needed to set some kind of lower standard of the somewhat serious scene. Falcon Soft and JML are top notch in setting such standards, pushing out totally pointless releases which you really know aren't worth checking. They're taking nothing and adding nothing. But their brand is still a nice one. And now I mean the logo, not the group. [Nightlord] I do not know how much Jumalauta serves as a low standard. I doubt if anyone looks at their productions and say "hmm we need to be better than this". It seems there is no boundary in lowness these guys can reach, so if we were to name them the low standard then that would mean our low standards would continually move down. I have to admit that even the thought scares me. Mortalis Arisen by 64Ever [Twoflower] The biggest release featured in this issue is no doubt the doublesided demo from 64Ever, "Mortalis Arisen". As you might have guessed, this demo is pretty connected to Ravens "Insomnia", released a couple of years ago. Kind of wicked to see the same kind of strange narration again, especially considering that the narrative was the really weak part of "Insomnia". But if "Insomnia" was strange in its somewhat coherent story, "Mortalis Arisen" is downright confusing. Cybernator has tried hard, and he isn't that far out in certain areas. Mostly the demo has a nice flow without too much black screens and waiting, the effects are kind of nice looking and the music really fits this kind of demo like a glove. But then suddenly things just get too much. I get AEG vibes. It might be the crude graphics, it might be the threats of a sequel, I don't know. Perhaps I just get overloaded by too much black background or some kind of twisted, abstract story hidden within the demoplot? I have a hard time reading this demo. And the scenepoetry doesn't really help it out. What I really liked in this demo is the beautiful shaded vectorpart they call 9-11 in the note. Eventhough it's possibly an animation, i'm fond of the aesthethics. I really think this part should have been a demo on its own, with a nice presentation. Somehow I end up thinking about the amigademo "Mobile: Destination Unknown". To sum the bad parts up, there are two things I really like to stress: 1) The demo contains a horrible misuse of several different fonts. 2) From now on blueshaded bumpmap screens and 4x4 resolution Commodore logos are added to the list of things which will get an automatic thumb down. Now, this demo is a good attempt, and I respect that, but it isn't a really good demo. Things are just too confused and incoherent in style, I can't really give you a clearer explanation, and neither can the demo. [Puterman] I think it's easier to just treat this demo as a collection of effects, because that's what it is. The "story" is so superficial that's it's better to just ignore it (and the story is just one of the many things in this demo that makes me think of AEG). As a collection of effects, it's pretty disappointing, not because the parts are bad, but because I seriously believed that when Cybernator finally delivered something else than forum postings, it would be good. At least technically. I had expected to see a collection of unoriginal but well-implemented effects, and what we got was a collection of unoriginal and not too well-implemented effects. But to be fair, some coders can only dream of making effects as good as these, and some of them are actually pretty good. That fact makes me wonder why some of the crappier ones were included at all. I would have preferred one diskside with the best parts, because the others just look out of place. Still, it's nice with an ambitious demo by a new competent coder, and I'm sure Cybernator's next demo will be better. [Nightlord] Since you guys mostly covered what I have to say about the demo in general, maybe I can elaborete a bit more on the effects. First of all I have to start by saying I am completely OK with a coder trying his hands on some unoriginal effects. Whether it is for self assurance or learning, it does have a use to redo some of these effects. I personally think, there needs to be an urge to add at least a tiny personal touch to the effect (that is if you are not breaking a record or beating all the previous implementations in any way). I have to say that I missed this urge in most effects in Mortalis Arisen. My favorite parts are the Booze style x-y stretch, x-ray, sand watch and the end part. I think the fire and landscape parts are really slow. I have to disagree with Twoflower about 9-11. I personally do not get the point of this kind of vector animation parts, unless they involve some kind of an original coding idea (such as the 'streaming' concept in Sphaeristerium). I especially dislike the odd-even lines updating trick in animations like these. About the concept thing, I can not take it as lightly as Puterman for this demo. I think there clearly is an attempt for conceptual coherency in here. Thus when they fail to achieve that I accept it as something negative. I really enjoyed the soundtrack by the way. Especially in the end part. The graphics on the other hand, I could not make up my mind. There is certainly something fresh here, and kudos for that. However the color schemes of some of the screens were a bit disturbing to me. My favorite graphics components are the sand watch and the three color booze stretch gfx. After all it is not everyday we get double sided demos. And I always respect the ability to pull off such big projects. Thus greetings to the team. What impressed me more than the demo itself is the reactions it got from some of the big coders. It seems a good way of doing public relations, is indeed asking people for help on effects. I am not saying 64ever did not deserve good reactions and yes there is nothing wrong with having good public relations, and it inevitably effects the reactions you get. I am only surprised by the supportive big brother attitude some big coders have towards Cybernator. And yes I do expect some possible flaming after this paragraph. Exit by Defiers [Puterman] "Wow, a new demo by Mahoney", I thought and envisioned something as great as his last production, the Back in Time Live demo that was released a few years ago. Unfortunately this one is nowhere near that one. I guess I was expecting too much. The actual effects are still fresh, although familiar, but the roadsign story kind of makes me want to kill myself. [Nightlord] I actually found it fresh at the first minute or so. Later it became really dull. Unnecessarily long I guess...
More demos Psyche by Panda Design [Puterman] Radiantx keeps releasing stuff at a pace that makes me think of myself when I was young and handsome a couple of years ago. It's really cool that someone actually can be bothered to throw out some releases, instead of just hanging around on IRC like everybody else. There's a lot I like about this production, which I consider to be another step in the right direction. Some of the graphics are looking pretty good, and it's obvious that he's adding new coding abilities to his bag of tricks. But what I like most about it is still the potential. With some more experience and coding skills, this guy could produce excellent demos. [Nightlord] I, too, see similarities between Radiantx's work and your early products. Not only in frequency but also in style and text. Anyway, it really is fun seeing him active like this, but this demo somehow did not entertain me much. The first screen with the eye and the Panda logo are the nicest points for me. The unlimited bobs part suffers from the stuck-in-the-first-256-coordinates problem that Radiantx's seems to be having trouble letting go. But having taken on a project with bigger linking problems, I assume he must have learned a lot and must be feeling more confident. I share your (and I guess everybody else's) enthusiasm about future Panda productions. 7D6 Invitro [Puterman] While an invitation to a party in Turkey isn't very interesting to me, it's nice to see that Skate is busy coding. The one part in this small production reminds me of something that I've neglected to mention in reviews of earlier productions that he's been involved in: that he's obviously doing some creative thinking. This guy doesn't just copy other people's effects, he uses the components to make things that look new. That's the kind of stuff I like, so thumbs up to Skate, and I hope he'll remain active. [Nightlord] I think it is a shame that not many people noticed or reacted to this invitro. Breakpoint 2006 Invitation by Metalvotze [Puterman] This is pretty ambitious for a Metalvotze production. Independent God by Civitas If all you do is move 5 sprites over the screen, you should be able to fix the bugs. Ruling in 2006 by Crypt This one refuses to start on my 128D, which is pretty rare for a onefiler. I don't have much else to say about it. Kitgum by The Dreams You never know what to expect from The Dreams. This one might not be one of their more memorable releases, but at least it's a little bit heart-warming. [Nightlord] I have to add that I especially liked the Crayon-like style in the picture where the school girl is holding out a flower to marching soldiers. Find the Lamer by [random fake group] [Puterman] I should be happy about this, because I like hate demos, but the whole Wanderer vs. Slarti and Stash thing is starting to feel really old. And who cares about who uploads the most stuff to CSDb? I sure don't. Introfx by Nofx Another small production. Thumbs up for choosing a nice (and overused) tune. I Code with my Sunglasses at Night by Speedfisters So how did Speedfisters get the idea to release a demo at a small Swedish party? I have no idea, but I suppose Data-Pata was involved in some way. [Nightlord] May I add I kind of liked this one for what it is. It is small, complete and neat. The text is funny, the music is nice. I do not know how else to explain. Gunnar sa det var ok! By Swappaz with Attitude [Puterman] Uhm... Stillout by Triad The stuff that Omar-S does might seem simple. All you have to do is to run a straight beat with a dirty kickdrum and loop a sample for ten minutes. But for some reason it works, the grooves make you move. There's something he does right. If some detail was different, it could just as well have been crap. That's if you're in the right mood. You might listen to the same tune the next day and it doesn't move you at all. After all, it's just a simple beat and a looping sample. All the magic is gone, because you've had a bad day. [Nightlord] Iopop seems to continue his search for original effects in the realm of visual perception. Stillout seems to be a rather quick job to me. As if it was implemented in one weekend per part. I am guessing Triad pulled back their forces for preparations until bigger battles at BFP and X. My favorite parts are the first and last parts, while I would have enjoyed a longer scroll text in the first part. Technology by Digital Dreams [Puterman] I don't know what's wrong with me, but I actually like this one. The picture looks absolutely amazing, the music is okay and well... It just works. Axel also managed to release another demo just before we finished up this issue, called Samurai. Again it's a small and simple demo, very much in the same style as the first one, and again I can't help liking it. This guy really shows some spirit in his productions, but I have a feeling that I'm not going to be as easily impressed by future productions. And some people actually like long scroll texts... Axis Of Evil by Fairlight [Nightlord] It is always nice to see Hollowman flexing his coding muscles as he chooses not to do it as often as he could. This collection of effects is a bit ruined for me by the same old loader screen and the samples that my new sid can not make audible. But the 3D metaballs is a first I think (correct me if I am wrong) and the squares part is an intelligent idea. Actually as I said before, I do not like the update half (or third or quarter) of the screen lines each frame tricks. But somehow it looks nice with the metaballs. Camera moves in the city part is also something that I really appreciated. Also the odd-even lines trick is applied here in an intelligent way that does not show the annoying artifacts at the vertical edges of the buildings. Probably the only part that falls behind the rest is the last part with the faces. I actually liked the color scheme there. But somehow the blocky head vector at the bottom does not seem to fit there in my eyes. Or maybe I would have prefered a little bit movement of the entire head, not just the chin. The music is nice and fitting except for the samples I think. There probably is a joke there again that I miss (a Swede thing). But anyway the three effects there are enough for me to like this work.
Collections Catollica by Samar Productions [Twoflower] I didn't really know what to expect when I was about to open the new musiccollection from Nata. The name is somewhat cryptic and might be connected to the polish scene-tradition of having an aggressive stance towards the religios authorities, but never the less, the collection is a quite nice one. In his own compositions, Nata is quite connected to the Hungarian musicians from ADSR, and you can hear clear echoes of both ADSR and Natural Beat in tunes like "Turbo" and "Red Eyes". Unfortunatly, the collection isn't solely about his own music. It's flooded with classic TV-game covers, like f.ex a remix on the Super Mario Bros calypso and tunes from Final Fantasy and Zelda. It might sound strange to you, but when I want to hear classic TV-game music, I prefer the real thing. I simply fail to grasp why people keep doing this? To learn the structures, perhaps? One classic videogametune, ok, but five or more? Graphically, the collection is more than competent with its converted hires graphics and a kind of layered touch to the outfit. I also like the vibe of the interface; that the music keeps rolling, the counter and the touch of the details. Definitly worth checking. Flashback by JSL, Tropyx As an answer to our prayers in the last issue, JSL and Tropyx deliver. After "6:th", we now get "Flashback", the third picture collection from JSL. Just as with his logos, the images themselves contain a rather naivistic language, an easy approach, few (if any) attempts towards realism and a minimum of antialiasing. If you compare his graphics to mine, he is really having sort of an opposite approach. Where I tend to focus on the composition and the colors and ignore the background, JSL really spends some time on the entire image and doesn't mind too much about the pixel perfect aesthethics that we have grown used to in this scene. That's good. More and more graphicians are heading in that direction, and I really feel that this might be good. It's about time we focused less on the craft and more on what we want with our images. Talking about images, this collection really contains a lot of them, complete with a rather halfwit menu and a lodaing screen. Visually, this collection contains 4 or 5 really horrible Boris style conversions, loads of images made for games and magazines, aswell as some really original and nice stuff, like f.ex. his Wolves composition. I really like the stuff where he just made a picture, without any intentions of it being a part of a game or in front of a magazine. I like this collection for JSL showing his own style, not for slick graphics or a good presentation, for this collection has neither. There are a lot of technicalities to complain about; the loader, the packing of the images, the outfit. But somehow it feels secondary to complain about such things, but please keep it in mind 'till next time. The will to improve is the key to success. [Puterman] I felt like I had to add something about the music here, but I don't know what to say about it. It's totally hysterical. There.
Los Magazinos Game Over(view) [Puterman] So here I am, sitting in front of the computer after a day's hard work, feeling bored, when all of a sudden another issue of Game Over(view) enlightens my sorry existence. There's nothing that can get me into the right data spirit like a good diskmag, and this one's almost always good. I think ALIH has misinterpreted our appreciation for his mag. There are plenty of sources for profanities these days (I have a 10mbit connection to the Internet), so there's obviosly something more to Game Over(view) than random websites. [Nightlord & Twoflower] We don't think ALIH meant us. [Puterman] (Any you guys are obviously wrong, as I'm always right.) Funnily enough, the editorial in this 27th issue (oh my fucking god, can you believe that, 27 fucking issues?) manages to describe pretty much why I enjoy this mag so much. No, I'm not really interested in games, although the reviews in Game Over(view) sometimes make me download a game and play it for 10 minutes. But there's something about C-64 diskmags that make my heart vibrate with metallic love. The reason for my reading and enjoying almost each issue of this mag isn't that I'm into games or get a kick out of seeing the word "fuck" used twice (or indeed 19 times) in a single sentence. It's that it's a good diskmag, and a good diskmag is always a good diskmag, just like a good demo is always a good demo (until you've watched it too many times and grown bored with it). I've suspected for a long time that everyone who posts on the Lemon forums (including me) are braindead, uncool carbon-based robots (as opposed to real, cool robots, who are mechanical warriors of steel). Well, the extended quote from Monk proved that at least some of them have some real metallic robot spirit. If I was into C-64 stuff because of nostalgia, I'd be playing Commando and posting my highscores at Lemon, not reading Game Over(view). It's all about spirit and soulful data magic, and Game Over(view) has plenty of it. [Nightlord] Really the text by Monk was well thought, well worded and gracefully inspiring. [Puterman] Super mega bonus thumbs up for giving our favorite billionaire Karl Hornell's game such a nice review too. The world is a wonderful place, where green mushrooms fill my view and speak to me in silent, slightly erotic whispers. I think I'll give in to them now. [Nightlord] Issue 28 was just out by the way. I do not have much original things to say on it other than it continues to be the best read around. However there is something that ALIH said on CSDB that I wanted to comment on. He suggests that the regularity of the release period of Game Over(view) might be shaving the surprise / treat factor of it off. I can only elaborate on my personal feelings. At the beginning of each month an expectation starts building up in me. For about 9-10 months now I have been checking any new games when they come out, just to have more fun when I read about them next month. What will ALIH write about this one? So the beginning of the month wait is slightly harder now and makes the treat factor stronger when the new issue is finally out. The disappointment of loosing the only fully reliably periodic mag there is, would be a far greater prize to pay in return of slightly more surprising release dates. It would not be worth it. So damn it ALIH! Don't scare us like that again!... We want GO(v) every month (twice a month would be even better) [Twoflower] Yes, I actually believe that ALIH have succeeded in putting back the focus on the worthless games released on this machine. I have become more keen on checking new titles out. I do adore the fact that he spends enough time on them to gain some insight in how the different titles actually work. The review of "Weird World II" in #28 was really hilarious. Releasing that magazine twice a month would be a little far-fetched in my humble opinion. Recollection #1 [Nightlord] Now this is something that I personally have been needing for a long time. Getting acquainted with the scene as late as in 94 and being quite isolated during those years until 2003, I perfectly fit the definition of a "newbie" in the sense that the Recollection authors keep mentioning. Beginning with the scene town article, reading through certain lines like "...then I created the first mag on a disk", Recollection provided many answers to the loose ends of my scene history knowledge. Sincerely thanking Jazzcat and everyone else involved is the least I can do. If you are not completely off the scene, you should have read this by now, without us encouraging you to do so. I think this really is something very different than a diskmag. This is an anthology, an e-book if you will, serving entirely different purposes. This is reference material to a person like me. Well I am sure most European and American sceners would already know about the majority of the content here, but there is seriously lots and lots of material that I learned from Recollection for the first time. My favorite articles are Scene Town, Differentiate or Die, Importing Scene and History of G*P. Especially Scene Town paints such a clear picture in multiple levels, something which I always appreciate in text that covers large scale material. I think that article forms a very important example to everyone wishing to write for diskmags. Also one thing I enjoyed very much was that the mag contained articles from both sides of the Atlantic. The complementing angles of those articles paint a more complete picture no doubt. The controversial roto-zoomer in the intro does not look good to me. I think it is not fair to call it "flickering". It is a legitimate shrinker but 8x8 is bound to look bad no matter how precise it is. I do not agree that the Arabian version looks better. Yes color frequency wise it has advantages, but I simply think the overall Roman scheme looks better. Partly because the Roman texture tiles better I think. And the music in the Roman version is also better. The menu graphic on the other hand, is a beauty to look at. It is so beautiful that I sometimes have a hard time pressing return to enter a chapter. I can not let go of that view. There is some incredible pixel work on the head of the statue, and beautiful coloring on the shadows. Kudos to Hein. Also the mag has a really nice soundtrack. One great piece after another. I was really touched by Ocean Reloaded, In Spite Of and Echoes of Storm. I usually do not even comment on mag musics. But these ones are of a really epic scale. I am looking forward to the next issue. [Twoflower] People today seem to settle for mediocrity. For democoders, graphicians and even for writers, mediocre results is enough to release something. Instead of polishing and doing your best, let's just push something out and gain some quick credits and perhaps a thread at CSDb - just take a look at the releases reviewed in this issue. This attitude has stuck to almost everything, save for the Jazzcat universe. David might be a hell of an irritating bloke at times, especially when it comes to firstreleases of games and when he's bugging you for an article (which you don't really feel like finishing off) for half a year, but he sure makes things move. This can sometimes lead to really odd results, like a magazine beeing the nicest demo released in three months. I mean, with that kind of graphics and soundtracks like Ocean Reloaded, what can possibly go wrong? Visually and sonically, this beats everything I have seen and heard since the last issue. I do adore that kind of work, but I can't possibly appreciate it. I can't help seeing that some of this great energy spent on graphics, intro and music should have been put to use elsewhere. Why? Because a magazine should focus on the texts, and texts of this calibre could (and should!) stand alone, without the eyecandy. When it comes to criticism, the only thing I would like to mention is that the texts in these arcticles shouldn't be taken as historical facts, but more as historical anecdotes. Memories do easily fail, and especially after 15 years of absence from the subject.
Further magazinations Vandalism News #46 [Nightlord] VN makes its way into our breadboxes once again. A bit of a delay, promise of Wanderer related text and the disk change request in the 3rd chapter makes me a bit uncomfortable. [Twoflower] The Wanderer stuff was the #1 lowdown subject in this mag. I had vain hopes that this crap would have drifted down to the bottom of the scene-lake by now, but obviously I was mistaken. My opinion is that as an editor, you have a responsibility to filter. Let me present a suggestion? Why not read the submitted article and answer these three questions - 1) Are there actually sceners which only reads VN and don't follow CSDb in one way or another? 2) Do this chapter contain information of any weight whatsoever? Will people enjoy reading about this (once again)? [Nightlord] First of all the lack of intro does not hit me as hard as other people. I really do not care much about the intro of a mag. VN will be a well expected mag for me and I won't need an intro to get me into VN-reading mood. [Twoflower] I don't miss the intro either. And I must say that I really like the logo this time. Just don't ask my opinion about the news-chapter... [Nightlord] The mag starts off well with a nice editorial, but unfortunately does not perform too well with the news chapters. There are some inaccuracies and missing information. I must say I am a bit disappointed about seeing news about Super CPU coding compo, but not seeing anything on Glance being founded. As if ambitious new demo groups are being founded everyday. Also the last several pages are spent on party results, which I think could be found anywhere and does not carry much news value. Well at least VN has not dropped doing the news chapter. So despite my criticism on the content of the chapter, I still value and cheer for the effort to have a news chapter. I seriously hope that VN returns to having charts again. One thing critical about the votesheets is the irregularity of release schedule. I would like to suggest setting a deadline for votesheet collection for each issue so that all of us know until when we need to fill that online votesheet. This goes for Attitude and hopefully VN someday soon. NTSC news provide uninteresting data in an interesting way. Thumbs up to Derision for the style. I also enjoy the coverage in the market chapter. A disappointing experience comes in the demo reviews though. Firstly Ed provides well written text which unfortunately slided far too much away from what I expect as demo reviews. It has become more of an opinions article about today's scene and his personal Sunday afternoon experience mentioning a few demo names here and there and not really reviewing them at all. It could have been a nice article if it was not disguised as a demo review chapter. [Puterman] I just found Ed's reviews uninspired. All I'm reading in these reviews is "I don't want to write reviews right now, please sweet lord Jesus Josephson, release me from this horrible pain by turning me into a kangaroo or some other annoying animal that jumps around and makes weird noises until it's shot by some Oz redneck and left to die in a pile of empty beer bottles". [Nightlord] Then Almighty God takes a more closer approach to my expectations, unfortunately he misses to mention lots of technical points (technical as in coding, pixeling or sound) correctly. Unfortunately the sum of four demo review chapters add up to a low value for me. Duke makes his return after a one-issue-break. You might remember I made comments about his writing style seeming a bit naive and too mid-nineties. Well I can say he has heard. I sense a very different and intelligent style this time aiming a more mature set of readers. It makes Behind the scenes a more interesting chapter as well as making Scene Show actually funny this time :). And hey actually it is a great chapter because it is dedicated to me. Think what you want, OK. Wait a minute this is some sort of bribery as well I guess. :) Puterman, I will get you out of jail buddy, if we can quickly publish like 5 more issues before X 2006. Twoflower and I are blessed not to be in Sweden now. Scene In Review is a nice idea, especially when implemented for products like Star Flake and sceners like Drax. That is people that are interesting and inspiring, talking about how their creative gear worked to produce some kick-ass quality work. That kind of thing definitely motivates me and educates me. But not everyone and every production belongs to a chapter like that. So may I humbly suggest some selective filtering on that chapter. The Interview with Alien has to be one of the most interesting interviews I ever read. Congratulations should fly to Macx for that. Thanks to that and Recollection I learned a lot of scene history this month. Meet the press performs a lot better in reviewing the mags than the demo review counterpart. There are actually some detailed reviews, spiced up with interviews, which actually works really well compared to most separate interview chapters. I think it put the interview into a context. The final two interesting chapters I would like to mention are Intensity's dream and the X2006 interviews. Intensity does a good job of wording the detached alternate reality. And if you have not read the X2006 chapter yet you better go to your 64 right now. [Puterman] I have to agree about Intensity's article. They should turn this into a series: "Wet scene dreams". I'm sure Optimus would have a lot to contribute, and maybe this could get Ed inspired to write something interesting again. As for the overall view of this issue, I'd say it's okay. Some of the articles are worth reading, and some aren't. The same criticism that I've regularly given Scene World is applicable here: bragging about how many blocks of text you have in your mag just makes you look silly if most of that text isn't worth reading. But sure, it's not like every article has to be interesting in a mag, so I follow Jazzcat's advice and skip a few chapters. [Twoflower] My opinion? Well, they have done it again. And I don't mean "they've made a brilliant VN", but rather made a 3 sided magazine with 1 diskside of content. Some quality text, some more or less cut'n paste stuff, and generally a lot of fluff. Please present this magazine in a one-sided format in the future, and please do it a bit faster next time. Last issue was presented in August 2005. I like this magazine, I really do. That's why I care. That's why I complain. [Nightlord] So overall I think this issue is a bit worse than the last mostly due to worthless chapters about Wanderer and the disappointingly ignored demo reviews. But it is still VN and you know you can not miss a VN issue. A returning charts chapter, and some more attention on the demo reviews is bound to make it a great mag again. Nordic Scene Review #6 [Puterman] Okay, normally you wouldn't review your own mag, especially not the current issue, which hasn't even been linked yet, but I thought I should do it anyway, just to prove that boring is normal. Or something. This issue is the first one to feature an intro, and a really nice one it is, including some ripped graphics and no scroller whatsoever. Thumbs up to Twoflower for producing that one, it's a good trick to make the mag feel new and fresh again, although nothing has really changed. The editorial is unusually long, and the bulk of the text is the editors' reactions to the fact that one of the comments on the last issue did not solely consist of ecstatic praise. They go through a wide range of defence mechanisms in response to this insult: regret, excuses, denied excuses and excuses that they'll come to regret later. Oh well, who reads editorials anyway? Isn't this mag supposed to contain reviews? What's the editorial doing there in the first place? The other 5 chapters do consist of reviews, some very verbose ones on other diskmags as well as some less verbose ones on demos. Some of the demos get almost no review at all (one of the reviews goes like this: "Uhm?"). Oh well, I suppose that's what you get if you try to review everything that's released. The conversational style of some of the more ambitious reviews are appreciated by some, I'm one of those who have liked this style of reviews since it was introduced a few years ago in Publication (where it was later scrapped, as no seemed to be interested in keeping it going). As usual, this mag only features one tune, in this issue it's made by Linus of Triad, and it's a pretty groovy multispeedy affair. Well worth listening to while reading. The colour scheme in this issue was designed by the graphician and not the coder, and hence it doesn't look completely fucking stupid. Actually, it's rather nice. All in all it's more of the same old Nordic Scene Review that some of us love and some... well, don't love, I suppose. Anyway, it's free, so it's probably worth the money.