A Report on the Symposium '97
by Parsec

Think about it: When the normal scener looks and opens any party report, it is quite certain that he wants to read about himself.

The Party is over -- What happened there?

What do you expect to find in here? It was a party; that's it. Nothing more than the average party. Something less than the "ideal" party as we could suppose one to be. There was a wide hall, and I appreciate this. But it had also an inefficient and badly "equalized" audio diffusion system that turned this same wideness to be quite useless.

There were a lot of tables... but quite no room to sleep. There was a funny "graffiti wall" made out of white paper but there were just two brushes available and this meant that I was only able to use one (in bad condition) when the wall had turned into an obscure web of dark and illegible lines. Not to mention the many obscenities. Not that I am that kind of person that judges the icon of one of the best-loved organs as "vulgar"; it's just that, let me be clear, isn't it boring? To sign the old, obvious dick on a wall, just to maybe gain the status of a "very rebel young" is a bit boring. Haven't we seen it already? Is the need of showing our parents that we're "rebel, independent and distant from the good education that they gave us", really so strong? Not to mention that the need of drawing a big dick on a wall is a way to compensate for the scarce measures that mother nature gave to someone.

Many others seemed to like this wanna-be-vulgar style and followed the usual standards, screaming loud un-intelligent words and generally behaving like a sad standard rebel. One of those sceners liked to roll himself in the dirt because it made him feel "transgressive". As a matter of fact, there are other ways how to be different. Nietzsche said that the only way of being different is to produce our own dimension. Producing and following our own tendencies.

In the C64 demo contest, Smash Design showed up with a perfect demo; long, well synchronized and technically amazing. It was strange to watch how sceners behaved during its projection. There was a loud cheering from the crowd for every effect shown. The only effect that witnessed a deep silence was the one introduced by some writing, announcing to "prepare yourself... you asked for it, so now get ready to scream in amazement" Useless to say, the crowd was very pleased to delude AEG, the German coder of this marvellous demo.

In the C64 graphic contest I have personally voted for Rayden. His picture can make you wonder how it is possible to draw something like this on a C64, as well as make us understand where the Amiga scene has its roots.

The C64 music competition was a big chip tune happening. I personally followed with a certain interest "Staggering Home" by Rayden but every tune made it worth the attention. I noticed a certain anguishing tendency towards hard techno. "We are in Germany", someone told me with sadness. As if being German should mean total musical ignorance. Possible? In the home country of J.S. Bach?

The winner of the funny 32K game contest raised as many laughs as you can get from party people. The game consisted of many Bill Gates faces showing up from behind cardboard boxes with faked names of Microsoft products. The aim was to shoot at every face using the mouse to aim and the mouse button to shoot bullets. "Rise of the rabbits" by Abyss was a really cute Dynablaster clone that I enjoyed playing for some minutes. Weird to tell, I can't even remember what "TREXX", the game by Polka Brothers and Submissive, was about.

I'm very proud of the result that the group Deathstar had in the PC demo contest. It seems like Italy is slowly losing it's reputation of a "second hand" scene place. I was personally impressed by some design in "Zeitgest" that featured a very complex water-like warping. Too bad that a wide percentage of the PC demos were, as always, showing just complex scenery of 3D objects with no design at all.

Omniscent by Sanction, the winner of the PC 4K competition should be remembered as a masterpiece of coding. It featured an amazing Descent clone. I'm still wondering how Sanction managed to compress all the stuff in just 4k.

Artwork won the Amiga demo competition, and there is nothing strange in it. Other strange things happened though. One of the first is that "SMART" defeated "THE SIGN". The "dark age" is over but Scoopex still insist to show satanic faces and their favourite upside-down star, as if there still was someone frightened or even fascinated by "the dark side". I can understand such an exigence..... but the time is over. The old sacred vanished amongst the new generations and modern sceners hardly feel this emotion at a party. New emotions. New exigences. New experiences. That is what sceners ask for today.

During the projection of "THE SIGN", right after the title screen, in the most crucial part of the beginning, I have heard someone belch loudly.

It was a pity that this demo ended up with no cheers from the crowd. However, when one puts faith in something that doesn't exist... the results as well, can't exist.

Another consideration that springs out from this confrontation is that SMART featured a high number of 2D effects while THE SIGN consisted quite completely of a complex but cold 3D world. Sceners are bored of texture-light-environment mapped object shows.

Another amazing fact is that Interpol didn't win anything. They presented a true masterpiece that should have shut the mouth of any coder. Their "Tahiti 3" was a very complex demo showing an incredible 3d world with every kind of effect you could put in a demo. Environment mapping, light sourcing, textures and even a "foam" effect that left the party people absolutely bored. The representation was about some smiling girls having a shower... so real that you could have been saying that it was just a digitised animation. Amazing? The only thing that I still can't understand is why they competed in the Amiga demo competition instead of the wild one.

Diskobox ruled the opponents with some great effects design in their 40k intro. The overall impression was that the average Amiga 40k is heading towards a better design instead of pretending to create complex 3d effects. This was also explicitly remarked by some writings in some intro seen around the party.

I have personally found Virgill's winning tune to be a bit boring but it featured absolutely good samples and a very polymorphic structure. What I can't realize is WHO is that single voter who gave his points to Barman instead of me! I would also like to hear again Barman's tune since, as a matter of fact, I can't remember anything from it.

Amongst the many quality pictures that showed up in the graphics contest, I was impressed by "Eat more chemicals" from Pixie of Polka. There were a high number of "jokes" presented in this competition. I am referring to that kind of pictures that aren't meant to seriously compete in an event but that are however presented. It was interesting to see how they reflected personal opinions or social diseases... I would have liked to be able to read German...

Ninjaforce, the winner of the wild competition, was one of the most impressive pieces of code presented at the party. It was developed on a weird Apple II alike machine that was never released commercially! No one knows how the competitors put their hands on this little gem of technology! In the first few screens of the demo, the authors wrote a small presentation claiming it to have a 2.8Mhz main processor. Amazing.

I also appreciated "Stiftung Warentest", a funny home-made movie of an IBM case tied to a car and pulled along a country side road, then hammered by a young boy and finally exposed to the deliriant public in all its devastation. The final results were shown in the end of the movie and they correctly reported: Quality 6, fun 1.


It was a nice party. It was nice to go there, it was nice to stay, it was nice to go away.

I would like to comment to the organizers that they have put little attention when they thought about the rewards for each competition. I was third in the 4 channel contest, and I won a Party T-shirt. Someone answered a question in a small and poorly advertised surprise competition about formatting disks, and won a Party T-shirt... and some disks!