Why Diskmag Editors Are Such Nerds
And why diskmags are equal to demos


Even though the diskmag cultures on PC, Amiga and Atari may be a bit different, there's a phenomenon common to editors on both platforms: The longer they are in the writing business, the less they are aware of what's actually going on in the demo scene. This goes so far that a lot of Amiga diskmags deal with nothing but - diskmags and diskmag editors.

This phenomenon is not unique to diskmag editors: A more or less large part of tracking musicians and graphicians also focuses on their own art so much that they have formed their own scenes, which are only loosely connected with the demo scene. Think of United Trackers, Trax in space, Traxweekly, GFXzone, GFXartist.com: These aren't really related to the demo scene any more. Why should they? Lots of people compose music just for the music without any plans of using them in demos. Separate music competitions have been present at demo parties since the early days. The same goes for graphics. Songs and pictures are not just essential components of demos, but they are also artworks of their own. Thus it's justified to have separate competitions and even separate scenes.

But the funny thing with the "diskmag scene" is that magazines don't make sense, unless they are in a certain context such as the demo scene. What's the sense of having three magazines A, B, C which deal with nothing but each other?

Well, there is a sense. It's that diskmags are not just magazines, but also works of art. Every mag comes along with its own coded interface, its own graphics, its own music and its own overall design. Metaphorically speaking, every diskmag has its own soul. Although articles are certainly an important point of a diskmag, they're not the only thing.

Actually one has to be careful with the use of the word "content". Usually "content" is used synonymously for "articles". But the content of a diskmag is more than its articles: its total design, the look, sound and feel also belongs to its content.

Mados, the former main editor of WildMag, has even gone so far as to conclude that "it's actually totally insignificant what articles a diskmag contains". I don't fully agree with this statement, as it definitely makes a difference whether a mag contains articles with some sort of meaning or plain nonsense (e.g. randomly chosen words or perhaps even just numbers). But it's true that most of the difference between two magazines is made of what can be immediately noticed: the outward appearance. And in fact I've made the experience that a lot of people send feedback on the design of an issue, and only a few actually address the articles.

In this context, it certainly makes sense to create diskmags that mainly focus on other diskmags, even if these diskmags don't deal with anything but diskmags themselves.

But why are magazine editors so much out of the demo scene? One reason which mainly applies to Amiga and Atari, is that a lot of editors have outdated hardware and can't even watch up-to-date demos. Another is that they simply aren't interested in demos, and only remotely interested in the scene behind it. Diskmags can be equally fascinating as demos.

Let me propose you my notion of a diskmag: Diskmags are a type of art that is fully equal to Demos. Both are multimedial mixes of graphics, sound and text, embedded in a program.

It's time that this gets recognized and that diskmags get their own compos at demo parties!

Or perhaps we should organize diskmag parties?

Adok/Hugi - 21 May 2002