A Nostalgic Rememberance
Remembering the Scene of yesteryears.
Written by 2Tall (formerly known as Alvin/Nah-Kolor)
The year was 1993, late summer. I was tired. Me eyes were aching from no sleep. My mind was muddied from lack of rest. Yet I was awake. Yet I kept pressing on, I kept glaring at the whitish blue light that emitted from my monitor, I continued to order my computer to do things through a continous torture of the well-used keyboard while at the same time I attempted to block out the pounding bass of the sound system. I saw others sleeping all around me but refused to succumb to the sleep that my body so eagerly was yearning for. After all, I was at the Assembly'93. How could I possibly take the time to sleep at such a historic event?
I kept working on some intro or another. The colors were not right, it didn't look good and it was frustrating. I wasn't a coder, assembly made little sense to me and here I was trying to get it to do what I wanted it to do. I felt like I was trying to climb Mt. Everest with a toothpick. To this day I can't remember if I ever did finish that intro or if it even ever was released.
Fast forward another 122640 hours, plus or minus a few thousand, and we find ourselves in the year 2008. It has been fifteen years since that party yet it's still very vivid in my mind although as the years go by, the memories are getting a little fuzzy along the edges. Sitting here today, I'm thinking back to that even over fifteen years ago. I recall the trip I made with two of my friends in a car loaded with computers and monitors. If I recall correctly, we actually camped in a tent the night before the party so that we would be close and arrive right on time for the event itself. I remember lugging computer equipment and setting up in a corner. I remember a lame t-shirt I made with the name of the group I was in at the time. I remember sitting there for hours, working, chatting with people, playing a game here and there and so on. I vaguely remember the demo comp and reading the results makes me realize that the Amiga demos are the only ones that even ring a bell. In fact, sitting here reading the results from that party has a profound effect on a former Scener like myself. The results are t this point fifteen years old and are in themselves a historical document by its own right. All the productions released at that event are historical in a very different way than movies released back in the early 90's.
What makes a demo from 1993 so different from a movie made in 1993? Looking back, do you even recall any movies from that timeframe? Terminator 2 came out in 1991, in case you guessed that one. No, movies from 1993 include Demolition Man, Last Action Hero, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List and so on. Do you even remember seeing those? Movies like Terminator 2 are classics and worth watching any time but even though agewise they are older than the demos from 1993, the demos you and me produced in 1993 must be categorized differently.
The advent of movies really began back in 1903 with the 10 minute long The Great Train Robbery. That was over 100 years ago. By comparison, the demo scene started not much more than 20 years ago. wikipedia states that the first demo-like productions appeared in the mid 80's and developed from there. At the time of writing, it is early 2008. We have come a long way.
The shorter timeframe that we face when looking back at the history of the Scene also must mean that demos from just fifteen and twenty years ago has a greater historical value than Terminator 2 (even though one can argue that Terminator 2 in itself is at least a historical milestone when it comes to visual effects).
Why is this important?
Because we build on our past. What we see today is the result of what happened at Assembly'93 just as what happened back then is the result of what happened in 1985. Because many of those that participated in those events (if not most) are still alive, I think it's reasonable to understand the historical importance of what happened then. Back then I don't think we thought too much about how what we did would affect the future but I don't think we can escape the fact that we did. In a way, those of use that were around back then, building the Scene, pushing out demos, articles, graphics, music and so on, we were all part of history.
Today, looking back at what the Scene was like, I don't have to look hard to find many similarities. Although demos look different and have moved on to other media, watching demos today evoke some of the same emotions as they did back then. For example, watching the Andromeda demo from Breakpoint'07 gave me the same satisfaction as some of their older generation demos such as Alpha & Omega 1 & 2. The purpose of the design, the common thread, the beginning, the end. The production built to not just showcase tech but to entertain, setting it apart from those that tend to push tech and achievement more.
I think I could go on a lot longer with my nostalgic ramblings but I won't. I think it's sufficient to say that you that read this should take a moment and consider what you are part of, where we came from and where we are going. The Scene is still very young compared even though some of us might not think so. Let's all take a moment of pause and appreciate all the work of those that went before us, those whose foundation we today build on because really, without them and their dedication, this mag might not even have existed. Without them, who knows where we would be today.
Then, let's move on, let's build a Scene that's better, greater and something history can look back on twenty years from now and celebrate new achievements.