A Strange World Called Scene

Written by Adok

The scene has one little problem facing it today: It develops slowly. Things that have been discussed a hundred times before still come up as the main topics in scene newsgroups. Diskmags all too often contain articles dealing with the same subjects over and over again.

This article is something different. It deals with the scene as a whole. Yes. It describes what the scene really is and why young people get fascinated by it. It is to put an end to the incessant old discussions about mailswapping, scene versus commerce, the lameness of ripping, elitism and friendship and computer systems.

The Scene. What is it? An article in the last Hugi issue already tried to describe it; it tried to explain why we are doing 'it.' But a real definition of this strange world called scene has yet to be made.

For many people, computers are fascinating machines. Using their creative spirit and intelligence, they try to use them to create something new. That is nothing special. It is not only the case with computers but with every technology. Each new discovery in science or every new machine finds devotees as soon as it gains enough popularity. The term scene does not necessarily relate to the demo scene. It does not even refer the computer scene in general - there are many scenes.

A scene means all the people who are involved in a certain area - be it actively or passively. Scientists and people who are especially interested in science can form a scene - even snowboarders or computer freaks can have their own scene. All scenes are in some respect underground. This does not mean that they are fully isolated from the outer world. Nor are they stricly organized communities; one cannot tell who exactly belongs to a scene and who does not. However, the world outside does not necessarily have much insight into a scene apart from what it releases to the public. Therefore a scene composed of scientists is just as underground as the demo scene. From this point of view, the demo scene is not unique at all. It is one of many different scenish communities all over the world.

Demo sceners are mainly creative people. Most came in the scene through their fascination with computers. Computers allow them to express their ideas with little expense, and, in turn, the demo scene allows them to spread their productions and exchange ideas with other people sharing their interests.

It is not only the technical and creative aspect which draw people to the scene, however. There is also a social aspect to it. Many sceners are rather shy, introverted persons. Some find it difficult to find friends in the real world, perhaps because they have other interests than the people in their surroundings. In the scene, they can find people with the same interests, from their own countries as well as from all over the world. Lots of people find it easier to make friends with people from other countries, speaking different languages, but having the same hobbies. It can happen that sceners consider someone whom they have only communicated with by e-mail one of their best friends. In this way, however, they soon also learn to more easily communicate and make friends in the real world.

The demo scene is entirely different world with its own unique peculiarities and values. Some people who are unsuccessful in the real world view the scene as a means to becoming famous in order to satisfy their ego; they live a second identity.

However, that does not mean the demo scene consists only of 'losers'. Not at all! On the contrary, it is the special atmosphere of the scene that makes so many creative people join it, even if they are not that fascinated by the demos alone. Most demo sceners are young people. They are full of ideals and energy. Young people are more easily attracted than older ones, as they do not have to care about money, family and the other problems that adults face. They are more willing to sacrifice their time for things which do not seem to be profitable at first glance. The scene, as a huge open international community composed of mainly other youngsters, is a very interesting affair. By being active in the scene, you show that you and many others your age can reach something, create something wonderful and new. You compete with others and see how skilled you really are. You show that you are able to contribute to the building and sustaining of a little society all your own. You dedicate yourself to the values of the scene, such as the non-commercial spirit and friendship, and try to live them. You think how one could improve the atmosphere in the scene and the quality of demos, and try to get your notions realized. It is no surprise that some demo sceners even regard the scene as a kind of religion.

At least that is how it has been the past and remains today with the younger sceners. In time, however, demo sceners get older and gradually lose their interest in the demo scene as real life begins to play a much larger role in their lives. Sooner or later, they start regarding the scene as not much more than a hobby. Earning money often becomes important. As a consequence, they begin doubting all that stuff about doing hard work just for fun which scene values teach. They begin to pay less attention to the discussions that repeat over and over in the scene. However, that does not mean they have finally departed from the scene. Many people remain sceners throughout their whole lives (as far as we can tell at least, as there are hardly any sceners who are older than 30 years yet). A lot of coders turn to studying computer science. Some of them, including graphicians and musicians, already work in the software industry. The scene has helped them to gain the knowledge and experience needed for this work. The scene has given their lives a direction. They can finally turn their hobby into gold.

From time to time, former sceners return to their hobby and take a look what is new with the world where they spent so much time in the past. And maybe they will be fascinated again and release some demo or freeware game for the pleasure of all the new people who have taken their places.

The scene itself does not cease to exist. There have always been new, younger people who have been fascinated for the same reasons and experienced a similar development as the old masters. Of course, the same questions arise from time to time, and people re-invent already known ideas. But every generation also brings new ideas along with it. That is why the scene keeps developing - slowly, but steadily.

- adok^hugi

"i know, my scent is lurid"