THE PAL DEMOSCENE IN REVIEW 1997
Written by T.M.R of Cosine
It's been a bit of an odd year, a lot of new material has appeared and for the first part of 1997, sadly, the standards were not as high as we're used to, with dodgy disksystems, glitches and general problems in execution on a fair few releases. In fact, things looked a little bleak until a rather unusual compaign was started, the intention of which was to bring back the classic demo styles.
The first hint that most of us got of what was happening was the article The Dark Judge/Focus wrote for Driven 21 after the X97 party, bemoaning the general drop in standards and targeting the 4x4 chunky mode effects that every demo seemed to have and the way that most of the latest released were targeted at a PC party audience in particular. And he wasn't the only person who felt this way, Graffity's very nice "Higher Love" was the first demo to yell a big 'NO!' at the 4x4 mode (didn't i predict what they did in a Driven article?!) but T.D.J. was the first to let people know how he felt in such a public forum.
And thus the backlash began. Well, okay, so that's a little melodramatic, but there were Crest's two "Krestage" demos, styled and linked in the traditional 'load a part, show some text and run it' manner and others beginning to follow their lead. And, most importantly, The Dark Judge was willing to put his money where his mouth was with the release of "Yesterdays", containing the announcement that he was returning to the scene and that all of the Focus team were coming with him.
The latter part of 1997 saw a general rise in standards with another interesting Crest release in the form of "Krestory" (more a 'multimedia experience' than a demo!) assorted good trackmos and to round the year off, not only a large batch of very solid productions from the Party 7 but "Dark Tales" by Focus, Smash Designs' "Desert Dots II" and a very nice interpretation of "Second Reality" on the C64 and the truly superb "Oneder" from Oxyron. Is it me or can Graham do no wrong?
So, what's to come? Well, I hate to try predicting these things but judging by what happened in the last twelve months I'd like to think we are seeing the beginnings of a true resurrection of the 'classic' demo. The return of crews like Focus to active duty and the continuing efforts of, amongst others, Oxyron, Graffity and Crest is a very promising (and welcome) sign of things to come for the next year. I doubt there will be any less trackmos, some coders prefer working on them and a well executed trackmo is a very nice thing indeed, but by the look of it we can expect to see them being released side by side with some more old-styled fare.
This article originally appeared in issue 26 of Driven.