Review: DemoJournal #1
Written by Adok
Month of release: August'98
RAR-packed size: 5,123 bytes
Related URL: ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/demos/incoming/info/
Editor: psychic symphony/label/the utopians
Some days ago, someone asked on IRC whether "anyone would read a demoscene journal made of only 1 txt" if he "would care to organize it". I answered, "do you mean one single text file?", and waited for his reply to discuss the thing over, but as he didn't answer after a few minutes and I had something else to do, I left.
Four days later I got a mail from an Utopian member in which he said that he was the main editor of a new "bred of information spreading" called Demojournal, which was released weekly and "relations to DemoNews" were "just a little noticeable". Well, I was curious to hear of a new magazine, and when I logged onto Hornet, I also found the first issue of this new mag.
Although it had been uploaded at the day when I got it, the inside of the mag said that it has been released on August 21st, i.e at that day when I met this person who wanted to organize the text file magazine. And I realized that it was indeed the same person!
In fact, the editor of this magazine is Psychic Symphony of Label and The Utopians from Portugal, whom I have already met a few times on IRC. He is, as he says, "pretending to be a coder". He has also participated in Wired '98 with his demo Skyscape, which has got the 11th place out of 14 possible.
The Demojournal magazine is indeed a magazine that consists of a single text file only. The size of the first issue is 10 kbyte, which is smaller than this review.
As Psychic Symphony writes in his Editorial, this magazine is supposed to be able to be viewed under Windows with a nice MOD or audio-CD of the reader's choice played in the background. Therefore he has adjusted the line length of the text file so that it fits into the window size of Notepad.
Haha, nice joke! The window size of Notepad is adjustable, and the maximum size of the Notepad window depends on the resolution which is used in Windows. In fact, the magazine can be properly viewed in Notepad only if the resolution is 800x600 or larger because of the text-lines being longer than 80 characters. I had to reformat the whole mag to be able to read it in my favourite text editor! (Which was, fortunately, easy because of the formatting capabilities of my favourite text editor. ;)
Psychic Symphony also writes that a guy called Magnesium has offered him to code a text-mode viewer for his magazine to "transform this into a multinational 'pain'". But he has rejected because of his plan I told you above and because raw text-files are smaller. However, if the majority of the readers likes to have an interface, Psychic writes, he will ask Magnesium to do one.
In the future, Demojournal is supposed to be released on every Monday.
This premier issue has a size of 10 kbyte and contains 12 so-called articles, all written by Psychic Symphony himself. That's less than 1 kbyte per "article". Here's the table of content:
1. Editorial - weekly dosage of headache! 2. Credits - who did anything on this issue 3. Demonews - news about demoscene related stuff 4. Demonewz - rumours about demoscene related stuff 5. Party on! - party schedules plus a little more in the future 6. Interview of the week - hi! what's your favourite alien type? (the usual questions) 7. Demo of the week - check this one out! 8. MOD of the week - check this one out! 9. Commercial break - memo's, information and contacts! 10. Charts - weirdest charts ever! 11. Nostalgia - remember the good old days with todays emulators! 12. END - THAT'S IT! SHOW'S OVER! BACK TO THE BORING LIFE!
In the Editorial, Psychic states that he had just been without anything to do and so the idea to make such a magazine came into his mind. As nobody on IRC flamed him, he decided really to make this magazine.
We learn that this magazine is called Demojournal until someone invents a better name. In the rest of the Editorial Psychic explains why this zine is text-only and that he wants to make it every weekend and spread it on the IRC, via e-mail and FTP on the next Monday. The Editorial ends with the wish that the readers will enjoy the rest of the mag - as usual in every diskmag or newsletter Editorial.
Next comes an one-liner! The Credits just say that Psychic Symphony is the editor of this mag and what his e-mail address is.
Section three, the Demonews, is exactly twenty times as long as its predecessor, i.e 18 lines. There are four pieces of news: First, a new demogroup has been formed. The special thing about this group is: its members, which are Psychic, idiotboy, and Shock, come from three different continents, namely Europe, America and Australia! Well, now they have to gather at least two more members to get a completly worldwide group. Or, is there a demoscene in Antarktia, too? I don't think so.
Then Psychic states that at the time when he wrote this magazine the Antiq party was being held in Hungary but he didn't know where to get the stuff. Well, you can find the results of Antiq'98 in this Hugi issue.
Thirdly, Psychic quotes GooRoo from the IRC: "i am looking for a new group to join!" And at last, we learn that The Utopians have "decided to claim back The Gathering has a true demoparty event" by taking over "all vacant places at the party before the game playing and porno swapping lamers come in". Nice aim. And how do they want to reach it with their less than 30 members?
The next section, the "Demonewz", is two lines longer than the last. This section is devoted to false rumours just for fun. It starts with a disclaimer that the people mentioned in this section shouldn't be angry, because Psychic writes "that what he writes" with "a profound admiration for what these people do".
Well, and then the non-serious stuff starts: Statix and Unreal build up a lawsuit against the Spice Girls for using their particles effect from Tribes in their latest video, Statix has decided to give up his coding career and become a clown, Echo, who is working on a prequel to his clone intros called "I'm a clone!", was asked by clonage scientists how he was able to produce that many clones in such a short period, and the other Acme and Fudge members want to name his intro "Rapping a clown!". How childish.
The fifth section of this mag, called "Party on!", features the dates and locations of five upcoming demoparties from August to October. Too bad that there are no addresses where to get new information. Moreover, Psychic asks all party organizers to send them infos to their parties and maybe even submit the results afterwards. But he himself fears the latter thing is unrealistic because they probably "just want to sleep for a couple of weeks" after organizing a party.
Then we come to an extremely exciting interview. It was made by Psychic with himself, is six-lines interview and asks only one question, namely if the rumour that Psychic is an alien is true. The answer: "Yes! I mean... No! Maybe... Why do you people always ask difficult questions?" How interesting and serious!
The "Demo of the week" is 303 by ACME with code by Statix and music by Vic. This amazingly detailed review states that nothing more is to say because if you don't know this demo, you are no demoscener. So, when the readers have finished with this journal, they shall start this demo once again and "be delighted with the ending crash". All in all this review has a length of seven lines (headline and credits part included).
The "MOD of the week" review is even one line shorter, but that's no problem because this is a music file and you can't write so much about a tune as about a demo, can you? Well, basically it says that you should get the song "shapes in motion", tokyo-54.zip, from www.tdr.scene.org. This review contains also a short personal message to Assign in which Psychic expresses his happiness to have remembered the name of the zip file, but he also tells Assign that this didn't help a lot because he had already downloaded all Tokyo Dawn Records releases. Wow. Ah yes, we also learn a bit about the song itself: It's a "nice mellow drum n bass with some vocals" from a commercial song Psychic doesn't recall the name and "very well put together". Great information! Well, now I know at least the reason why Assign posted Demojournal #1 to the TDR mailinglist.
Then the adverts section called "Commercial break" comes. Adverts that shall be published in Demojournal are limited to one line, but you can submit as many adverts as you want. This time we have two adverts, one for www.hornet.org (obviously not submitted by Hornet themselves), another one with the e-mail address of Psychic, who is "bored to life".
What follows is the actual highlight of this magazine: the "Charts". The table of content already betrays a lot about them: "weirdest charts ever!". Unlike the usual charts, you must not vote for the persons that are the best in your opinion but you have to vote for those who you think are (I quote) "kicking some ass right now with their latest production! And I mean now! Don't say Future Crew or something like that!"
That means: If you have got some nice demo by some unknown artist today, you have to vote for that unknown artist. This way "the guys who are struggling to get known are seen" in these charts. But, on the other hand: "If you have seen 'Second Reality' yesterday then I'll accept Future Crew as the best group!" Erm, is that logical?
Anyway, you have to vote for a group, a demo, a coder, a musician, and a graphician. Each gets one point. After a week, each artist/group/demo who is mentioned in the charts loses one point. If someone/-thing has 0 points, he/it will be removed from the charts.
This time only Psychic himself has voted, thus you see his favourite demos and sceners. Below the charts table he explains why he has voted for them:
"Trauma because they won Asm98, Gateways because it's the most recent kick-ass demo! Magnesium because of the help he offered me doing a reader for this! Paniq because I've been downloading lots of Tokyo Dawn Records .mod's and he has been very active lately! And Acryl because i saw his kick-ass work on Dreams2 and his nick is hardly on any charts!"
That's the way the readers are supposed to vote, too. Weird, isn't it?
Well, what comes next? In the "Nostalgia" section Psychic wants to talk about emulators and old games. In this issue he writes that he is currently struggling to finish the role-playing game "Shining in the Darkness" for the Mega Drive video game console (in the US known as Genesis). He recommends us not to play his game but rather take "Phantasy Star IV", which, as he says, "totally kicks ass". Well, I know Phantasy Star IV from the days when I was younger and spent a great deal of my time playing video games, and I have a different opinion about this game. But that doesn't suit a diskmag review, I guess, does it?
The magazine ends with the usual closing stuff: the readers are asked to send in votes and texts, and Psychic tells us about Magnesium's offer to code a text viewer before signing off with his handle and e-mail address.
Apart from the horrible text-design which I've already mentioned the mag is well readable. The English is good. Psychic uses some beautiful vocabulary that is uncommon for non-native English people. There are of course some little spelling-errors, which I'd call "Portuguese English", e.g. "has" instead of "as". In Portuguese, you don't pronoune a preceeding 'h' in the words. But in general the English is pretty good and you can read the magazine without being disturbed by nasty spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Probably you have already noticed it: the mag is partly written in quite a childish style, which is why I was surprised to see that Psychic is already studying at university - I'd thought he was much younger. As you noticed, I have also written this review in a more loose and ironical style. The mag was simply too funny to be taken seriously.
The few articles, or let's better say paragraphs, are short, not very informative and almost contain subjective points of views only. You see that the mag was created in a few hours.
However, what matters is the positive intention. Psychic has shown that he wants to create a magazine. That is something only a few people want to do nowadays. Psychic has shown that he wants to do something for the development for the whole scene actively. And we certainly need a regular, often released newsletter giving an overview about the latest happenings in the whole scene.
Come on, let's give Psychic a chance. Have you seen the first issue of DemoNews? Compared to that, this Demojournal issue is even pretty informative. And it can only get better!