Datastorm 2010 Party Report

Written and photos by Magnar of TBL

This yearís first party trip went to Datastorm 2010, which was arranged by Up Rough Soundsystem, Genesis Project, Divine Stylers & SceneSat Radio. The party location was at "Truckstop Alaska", a privately owned night club in the middle of an industry complex near the city of Gothenburgís major ferry harbor at the Swedish West-coast.

After having taken multiple U-turns in search for a "small yellow building with red roofs", as it was simply called in the invitation, I was close to giving up and heading back for home. Totally frustrated after a 4-hour long drive and completely surrounded by the dark, cold and snowy winter evening with practically no understanding at all where the "end of Karlavagnsgatan" really was, I spotted a few fellows carrying heavy bags and seeming to know their directions a lot better than I did. Luckily, they were heading to the party location and were able to guide me to the correct parking lot behind a security fence.

The party welcome sign was a rather small note, glued to a garbage container and illuminated by a pitch torch just outside the entrance. On the outer door there was a similar notice, plus the night clubís own official "Truckstop Alaska, only for members" statement. With destination confirmed, I eagerly went inside.

After a short stop at Sixx as the cashier and paying the entrance fee of 200 SEK, I could move further into the bar section of the night club and finally get a well deserved cold beer! Things brightened up immediately!

The crowd in front of the bar was chatting loudly to top the background music, and I soon got greeted by many familiar faces. Too many to be listed, but during the weekend a total of 113 paying visitors came to the party out of a total 145 pre-signed visitors on the official Datastorm 2010 website. 20% drop-off from the list isnít really that bad for a small party arrangement like this.

I would say that DataStorm 2010 turned out to be a slightly different kind of party than all the others Iíve attended over the years. The socializing factor was very high because the night club provided a nice sofa and tables lounge area with a 24h open bar, and also the location itself was decorated with so many different details, textures and art, that it provided a nice surrounding for expressing creativity and showing off computer productions on the big screen for the masses.

One of the huge party events announced beforehand was the leakage of Digital Illusionís unreleased game "HardCore" for the Sega Megadrive console. The game itself was presented by two of DICEís former founders: Olof Gustafsson (Blaizer/TBL & The Silents) and Andreas Axelsson (Goofy/The Silents). Both Olof and Andreas moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg after selling their shares of DICE back in 2006. Olof founded Epos Game Studios AB, while Andreas today works for Combination AB. The game "Hardcore" was played through a Sega Megadrive emulator on X-box and shown on the big screen during Saturday evening. It is a "Turrican" look-alike action game with lots of nice puzzles, visuals and sound tracks. Sadly, because of legal disputes with Psygnosis, this game might stay unreleased even though the title would be suitable for mobile (i)phone marked or similar.

Other party events were the hand-picked Amiga module music collection being DJíd by Slash from Nectarine radio. And Uprough also played a MegaMix of 1980ís music combined with Prowlers homebrew stereo-player with LED display and equalizers on the big screen. Beat that!

The absolute major party event was the competitions. And a lot of the party visitors worked very hard to finalize their products before the deadlines on Saturday. Myself, I used most of the night between Friday to Saturday to finish my contributions in the C64 compos. This turned out to become a freezing experience! There was no real heating arrangements for the party place, so during the ice cold winter night, with less people inside as many slept over at friends' places or hotels etc., and most equipment was turned off, there was a major drop in the room temperature. Luckily, Slash let me stay over at his place between Saturday to Sunday, so for me this was just a one-night chilly experience to endure.

One of the really big pluses of the party was the food. In the ticket fee, two breakfasts consisting of sandwiches and yoghurt, and one dinner consisting of some sort of vegetarian pie were included. Besides that, it was possible to order different light meal courses / junk-food 24h from the bar. Being in mood for Thai-food instead of the ordinary junk-food, myself, Emoon/TBL and an EA DICE colleague of him decided to head to downtown Gothenburg to check the options. The car GPS navigator led us to Thai garden restaurant, which I can highly recommend.

One of the highlights for me was of course to meet again all the TBL members present at the party. And particular fun that Louie/TBL & Fairlight contributed in winning the 1st place in the C64 demo compo. Myself, I managed to get a surprising 2nd place in the C64 graphics compo as well as a 5th spot in the C64 music compo.

As it was a very small party, with low budget in arrangement and little given income from ticket sales to the organizers, the compo prizes were just symbolic ones. Retro hardware, working or not, was given away as souvenirs to the compo winners being announced.

As a small round-up on the economic part, the total income of ticket sales was 22900 SEK. From this amount of money, the rent of the party location and the 24h staff from "Truckstop Alaska" managing the bar sales, delivery of breakfasts and dinners, cleaning WCs, removing trash etc, cost 15825 SEK. This left the organizers with 7080 SEK. Expenses for the tables and chairs, AV, power cables and multi-sockets etc. ended up in a total of 7182 SEK. Meaning, the organizers actually had a negative result of 102 SEK.

As a summary on organizing, there were apparently hectic hours in front of the launch of the party to get the power distribution sorted out to the tables. That issue got sorted out with help from a friendly electrician. The audio mixer was half broken. Luckily only a few channels were needed for the audio mixing, so it worked out OK. The voting system had a few flaws in it, but votes got registered and also counted and thatís what matters. On positive side worth mentioning was that the time schedule was kept executed very close to original plans. And the arrangement of the compos went really smoothly. Negative down-side was that the audio levels were annoyingly high at times, especially on Friday. Content wise, there could also have been more in-between happening on the big screen. It was not used that frequently at all on Friday.

Those of you who think organizing computer parties makes one rich for a very little efforts put into it, need to rethink.

For me as an attendant, DataStorm 2010 turned out to be a really nice party. It had a great crowd of participants. There were friendly and helpful staff and organizers. And a real bonus was those unexpected comeback releases from groups like Dual Crew, Fairlight etc.

See you all again soon at a different party!


Magnar of TBL - The Black Lotus

More pictures from the Party can be found here:

Links related to this article

Datastorm 2010 Results