Review: DemoJournal #13

Written by Adok

Month of release: november'98
RAR-packed size: 43,706 bytes
Language(s): english
Related URL:
Main editor: psychic symphony / evolve
Text: psychic symphony, reptile/ai, steffo/cryonics, melwyn / acid rain [and others]

General Information

Psychic Symphony asked me to review demojournal #13. Probably you have read the review of demojournal's first issue in Hugi #12. Since then the newsletter has strongly developed, which Psychic would like to have documented.

I have already pointed out some things in my article "Newsletters vs. Diskmags vs. Online-Mags". Therefore I want to concentrate of the content of demojournal #13 in this review and thus how the content has developed. Just a few introductionary words:

Demojournal #13 is the third issue that was released in November 1998 and the biggest and probably best one at the moment. It was made by Psychic Symphony, its founder. Psychic will take a short break, and Szum will make demojournal #14 and #15. In issue 16 Psychic will be the editor again.

In the meantime, demojournal has gained about 130 subscribers who get it regularly by e-mail. To subscribe, send an empty mail to


Like in the past, demojournal is ascii-only. However, it has now been better formatted so that you can actually read it without loading Notepad in 800x600 mode, and there is a demojournal ascii-logo that was drawn by Garfield.

This issue contains 130 kbyte of text. That's about the size of most Pain issues. However, Pain was made in two months, while demojournal was assembled within a week. So demojournal #13 is really big.

The table of content is as follows:

        3.Thought of the week
        4.Party on!
        5.Interview of the week
        6.Demo of the week
        7.Intro of the week
        8.MOD of the week
        9.Commercial break
        11.Quote of the week
        14.Demoscener (A-Z)
                Open Music Contests (reptile/astroidea)
                Dreamhack'98 report (steffo/cryonics)
                Dreamhack'98 report (melwyn/acid rain)
                Abort'98 invitation
                Satelite'98 results
                Demojournal compo#2

As you see demojournal is mainly composed by some regular features (1-14, 16). But every issue also contains some 'free' articles.

The Editorial starts with Psychic's usual formula, which says that this newsletter is public property and anyone is free to send articles, news and other things for posting. Then he tells us about having installed a Hotmail account for mails about demojournal, about his break and Szum's taking over, and wishes the readers to enjoy this issue.

A news section follows. It was not sorted by the groups the news items are about but by the respective news suppliers. Well, as I was so nasty in the demojournal #1 review to count the lines per section, I will do it here as well: 138 lines. Pretty much! The 'Demonewz' section which contained fake news that were supposed to be funny vanished a long time ago. Now demojournal contains only serious news. Well, almost - Psychic was unable to stop putting 16 lines of joke news in this issue that are all false except one, namely that Picard is taking part in Hugi Compo #5. :) But it's obvious that these news items are meant to entertain only; he put them in a paragraph called "Psychic 2" after the serious news in the "Psychic" paragraph.

The "Thought of the week" is usually a little sentence that went through Psychic's head when he was assembling the new demojournal issue; this time it is "Scene dying!".

A party calendar follows. This schedule is based on the party calendar of Hugi #12, but Psychic has kept it up-to-date himself since then. The layout is the same as in Hugi, which is okay as it is the best layout of a party calendar anyway. ;) (Well, one might still improve it by moving the year in front of the month - but let's not digress.)

Then there is a long interview (698 lines) with the Astroidea crew and Picard as a guest star. As you can imagine, it was conducted on IRC - and as a consequence, as it has not been edited, is quite chaotical. But it's also funny, and if Psychic had edited it the atmosphere would probably have suffered. I almost split my sides laughing when I read Psychic's question "What is the capital of Madagascar?" and the Hungarian sceners were so confused that they first answered "Helsinki?!", then "Budapest... :))". That is also what Psychic declared the "Quote of the week".

If there is a part of demojournal that has not changed much since its first issue, it's the review corner. The "Demo of the week" this time is Overdrive by Astroidea, released at Rage '97. This review mainly consists of an excerpt of the demo's info file and ends with five lines of comments by Psychic. That's not what you can call a review. But on the other hand the name of the section does not say that it is meant to be a review at all. As a short introduction of the demo, the quote from the infofile with the credits and system requirements plus Psychic's comment is fairly enough. But it would be no disadvantage if the introductions were more extensive. People love reading details.

There is no "Intro of the week" this time. As the "MOD of the week", Psychic talks about "Whisper" by Melwyn/Acid Rain from Dreamhack '98.

The "Commercial break!" section now is a real adverts section, i.e. not only with one-liners but with ASCII advertisements. The Amber archive, Fleur, Hugi, and Pain are advertising this time. There used to be more adverts in the past, but Psychic decided not to publish adverts that contained only an URL any more. Instead, he puts these URLs in the "Homepages" list.

Do you remember the weird "charts" concept of demojournal #1? Well, it is much more logical now. Every week you can vote for your favourite demo, group, coder, graphician, and musician. Each votee gets one point, and Psychic compiles the charts every week. At the moment all votees are listed. But some day, when there will be more voters, he will substract 1 point from each votee in order to keep the list smaller. Until this day comes he encourages the demojournal readers to keep their votes rolling in. Telling from the total number of points that have been given, apparently about 56 people have voted this week. The voters are not listed.

The message corner was introduced in demojournal #12, and it is based on the same concept as the message corner of most diskmags. A weekly newsletter like demojournal of course is a better medium for this way of communication than a diskmag.

"Demoscener (A-Z)" is an attempt of creating a database of active demosceners with their countries, occupations and groups. At the moment 430 people are entered, which shows that the list is far from being finished. There is also a nice statistic, generated by a program by Melwyn, which won demojournal compo #1 (the task was exactly to write a program like this). Embedded in a nice ascii graphic, it shows the number of sceners in this list from each country and the countries' procentual share of the total number of catalogued sceners. There is a "random scener of the week", the number of demosceners whose handles start with a random letter, a top-3 of the largest groups according to the database, a table with the sceners' functions (coders, musicians etc.), and the status as regards how many groups a scener belongs to.

Now the articles come. In "Open Music Contests" reptile/astroidea tells us how the idea of these competitions was found and what they are all about. Then there are two reports about Dreamhack '98. Steffo's has a length of 96 lines, while melwyn's report with the sub-title "Party of the Year" is 240 lines. Both are rather well-written and interesting. Finally there are a party invitation, a results article and the rules for demojournal compo #2 (a chiptune compo).

Psychic closes the issue with some final words, including a reminder where to submit stuff for demojournal. That's it!

Overall Impression

Demojournal is the most successful scene newsletter at the moment, and it is also the one with the largest amount of content as well as the most entertaining articles. The quality of the articles cannot always be compared with diskmags, though. But there are also some good articles, especially in this issue.

Anyway, the most important thing about demojournal is that it is fresh. And that's great! It is always a lot of fun and motivation finding the new demojournal issue in your mailbox on Monday and reading through it.

To Psychic: Keep up the good work! You can really be proud of releasing such a newsletter every week. Other people would already have despaired in your position, as preparing interviews, reviews etc. for the upcoming issues all the time is exhausting and requires much endurance. Of course also continue bringing people to notice demojournal in order to get new subscribers and the attention this newsletter deserves!

- adok^hugi