"The demoscene will die." If …

“The demoscene will die.”
If I had a penny for everytime I’ve heard that said.. The demoscene on the C64 is still going strong, 18 or so years after the machine was introduced! Yet people say it’s dead.. The Amiga scene is of course still alive, and the new Amiga offerings due next year are going to be sooo cool!
But the PC demo scene is dying is it?
This rant has been prompted by a letter posted to The PC Demo FanClub. I only read the start of it, but that’s all I needed to read to grow sick of it. People don’t like change and even young people don’t like change, never mind older people who usually complain about it. The changing face of home-computing brings about changes that computer fanatics have to face up to and live with. This usually affects younger people. People in their teens or twenties see their favourite computer system shot down by critics and marketing people who don’t realise the way-of-life the computer was for many.
I didn’t like it when people said the C64 was dying. Every month it seemed that “the last demo” from group X or from scene-coder Y arrived in my mail from my friends in Europe (Hi Martin, Dan and others if you’re reading!!). Even long time C64 fans turned traitor and proclaimed, “the C64 was rubbish!”
And now, in 1998, there are still demos being made. I haven’t seen many C64 demos for a few years now, but those I have seen have 2 things in common which I detest.
Intros and demos now call each part a “page” as if they were part of a web site or something. Why was “This part was coded by… blah blah” replaced by “This page was coded by… blah blah”?
Then of course are those demos which tried to emulate things done on the PC or Amiga at higher resolution. The effects were copied and I have to admire the C64 coders who made a 1Mhz machine do what a 8Mhz (Amiga) or 33Mhz (386/486) did, but it looked ugly a lot of the time!
To my original point, the PC demo-scene will never die. Intel and co. are going to keep the PC going for a long time, whatever kind of chip will be running in it. Even if the PC did falter (I hope it does, I want a better architecture!), there will always be _a_ demoscene.
One thing though. I can guarantee you wouldn’t recognise the demo-scene in 4 years if you left it today.
*Sigh* I’m growing old. I don’t like change as much as the next person.

Anyone read the article on Slashdot about Linux as a GameOS? The idea was that Linux could be booted off a CD or maybe booted from DOS/Windows to run a specific game. The idea is nice but impratical in reality. One thing I did like was preparing a Linux boot disk with Quake or Quake2 on it and running it on a friends’ machine. With Mesa and svgalib installed on a second boot disk it would run nicely on a 3DFX. The one idea that I think could really succeed is the arcade machine OS market. The hardware is standard. The OS is capable and robust and can be burned onto ROM and arcade vendors wouldn’t have to plaster a Windows logo onto either their cabinets or screens 😉

As for the lack of games available for Linux. Check out all the emulators available. Only last night I had a mad game of Amiga Speedball 2 on my P133. Cool.

Any comments to the usual address at the bottom of the page.

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

4 thoughts on “"The demoscene will die." If …”

  1. Hello!

    Where did you hear the phrase “This page was coded by…”? I haven’t noticed this trend you say and if someone would confuse part with page I would be confused. Was it mentioned in a demo I haven’t watched? Sounds strange..

  2. Just to add something interesting I just read in Freax, the demoscene history book. It has an interview from an american C64 scener in 1996, speaking about the beginings of the american C64 scene. In some place he uses the word ‘page’ to describe what we call the part of a demo. And then the author of the book adds: “Hobbit uses the word ‘page’ as in the American scene slang, instead of the word ‘part’ we use in Europe”. Wow. I didn’t even know such difference existed between the two demo cultures. I have watched demos from USA but never occured to me..

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