Written by Adok
If you take a glance at the current development in the international PC-diskmagscene, most of the demodiskmagscene, that means diskmags by demosceners about the demoscene, you will spot some interesting trends, and since nobody has summarized them in an article yet, I'll do that now!
All in all the development of the demodiskmagscene is pleasant. Lately lots of mags were released, the most outstanding ones are in my opinion Fleur, Insight, Restless and Defcon. Of course there was a lot of crap as well, but that is inevitable. Definitely the average text amount of diskmags has sunken since the last issue of Imphobia - which means: summer 1996 - alot. The new diskmag geneneration, if one can already speak of a generation, consists of smaller, usually about 300 kbytes text containing mags. That isn't surprising because firstly they are new mags with a small number of released issues so far, which still have to build up their images, secondly the interest in diskmags in the scene has diminished generally, by which it naturally is harder to get supporters, about which I want to talk later on. Another interesting feature of the international scenemags of today are pronounced local elements. Every mag, of course, has a certain set of regular readers / regular writers, a set to which the editors keep a more intensive contact than to the rest, and this set often concentrates to a country or a region, usually that region from which the editors come. For example Insight is in many senses still a Dutch mag, its editors live in the Netherlands and also most of its supporters, they report mostly about the NL-scene, they also have the best contact with the NL-scene. One must not forget that Insight is the only Dutch mag with international audience, in some way it therefore has to represent Holland and its scene activities. The same goes for Fleur, it's a mirror of the Hungarian and the Polish scene, the majority of the voters and supporters come from these countries, also most news comes only from Hungary. With Defcon it's even more extreme because the French articles form a majority at the moment.
Isn't this local character in contrast to the current political and social development? Globalisation, the Internet, and the European Union reconcile borders and make it possible to choose your friends from people all over the world, there are also people who have more contact to overseas than to their neighbours, the organisation of international scenegroups works way better, utilizising IRC you can communicate with people from Australia and the USA as well as Europeans without noticing any delay. Those are just a few examples. The increasing local element in international diskmags just does not logically follow.
There are also local diskmags. That's natural, I think you'll agree, since a platform has to exist where the people can communicate in their own language and discuss internal problems, which are often not of much interest to the rest of the world. Outsiders don't often see much of these local diskmags, which is plausible too. Just consider: What would a Spaniard do with a diskmag in Finnish language? Assuming, of course, he is not a Finnish language student. So, local diskmags are spread mostly locally, some exceptions are e.g. the Polish Budyn or the English-language Pain, which are jolly well known also in the rest of the world. You realize the true number of local diskmags only when you look around yourself a bit. For instance Poland and Hungary have a still very active local diskmagscene, in Poland mags with more than two megs of articles aren't unusual, dimensions which are incredible for other countries. But I also found Russian, Finnish, Slovak, Norwegian, and even Spanish and South American and of course German language diskmags. Diskmags, of sorts, exist all over the world with great regional differences, interesting features that aren't familar to the rest of the world, an amazing number of topics, writing styles, interfaces, et cetera. Diskmags still have important roles locally, but there are of course, like everywhere else, regional differences. The four year old Swiss diskmag, Pain, is an institution, it has a great representative role since it is almost the only thing that the world knows from the ch-scene. The Spanish focus on recruiting coders and offer lots of sources, similar to the Slovaks who lack sceners generally. The Hungarians cannot stop talking about everything under the sun, and in the German-speaking world, where a great variety of magazines existed some years ago, the diskmagscene goes in the direction of the demoscene again. Russia, finally, is another of those diskmag-countries that focusses on introducing newbies to the scene.
You see that diskmags are spread most of all in the former East Bloc, just like the whole oldschool-mentality moves to the east, by the way. A possible reason is, on the one hand, the relatively low spread of the Internet, which is why other ways of communications, most of all mailswapping, are still very active in Poland, but on the other hand also the bad knowledge of foreign languages, which can be attributed to the eastern school system. The scene in the east hasn't existed for a long time - you all know that in most of those countries Communism was replaced by a Democratic system only in 1989-1991, which slowly opened to the west. In Poland for example there has been a demoscene on the PC only since 1993/94.
You must not forget either, that a fair number of sceners are, for some reason, only locally active and do not want to sacrifice any time for the international scene. For this type of scener, participating in an international diskmag doesn't make a lot of sense, even though mags like Pain, Insight or Fleur would give them the possibility of presenting themselves to the world. Of course a kind of 'big family atmosphere' can exist in local scenes, an atmosphere that does not necessarily exist on an international level.
At this point, we have arrived at the central question, as to why there is a lack of interest in international diskmags, from sceners. As we've just seen, there is plenty of interest in local diskmags, so why not global ones? This is a central, and essential question, because the further development of the diskmagscene might depend on it.