Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Datastorm is back - Part 2 - the Amiga compos

Staying on topic of the recent Datastorm party I want to share my opinions about the Amiga releases presented in Gothenburg. First of all there was plenty of them with most being high quality demos, and almost no compo-fillers. Only one thing that I didn’t like was AGA compo with only one release. Come on guys, wouldn’t it be better to throw this single AGA demo into the Wild compo ? Alright, enough braggin’, let’s get into AAAMIIIIGAAAAAHHH demos !

Amiga 40k Intro Compo:
1 - Copperstorm/Insane - 40k intro made entirely of horizontal copperbars and one logo, with very good music and synchro. Nice little enjoyable prod.

2 – Valejjo Amplifier / The Electronic Knights & Rabenauge - A three picture intro with one effect, and a decent chiptune. As the title clearly states the pixels are based on Boris Valejjo’s graphics.

AGA Demo Compo:
Storm Rider/Focus Design - Good AGA demo, with great streaming soundtrack involving rapped vocals with lyrics about demo creators H0ffman, Booster and Malmix. GFX effects are maybe nothing groundbreaking on the AGA scene, but are very well executed. Demo could be a bit longer though, and would benefit from some more pixelled graphics. A thumb up, but too bad there wasn’t any competition.

Bootblock intro:
1-Fluid Fire/Loonies and Unstable Label - An Impressive 1kb AGA bootblock intro based on a caleidoscope effect coded by Blueberry, and a pleasant chiptune by H0ffman. How did they manage to squeeze all that in 1 kb ?

2-It's a sin/Planet Jazz - Another bootblock intro, with one boring effect, and a really annoying repetitive sound. Not much to see or hear here :)

Amiga 500 Demo Compo:
1-Makt/Spaceballs – Yet another demo by one of the greatest Amiga legends, kept alive by Slummy and Lug00ber, who deliver top quality stuff every time they get to code and compose. Makt is something I would call a next part of their previous prods like Straff, Emperor of The North Pole, and Vold, but this time involving forms created from dots, rather than for example shaded polygons. Of course the everpresent dynamic soundtrack is there, perfectly synchronised with the glitchy, dark visuals. Over a past couple of years the duo behind this demo has developed a distinctive, recognizable style of their own, which suits me very much. But hey – they are Spaceballs, you are not :) Great demo!

2-Monomateria/Pacific – A well deserved second place, a very polished oldschool style prod, in the mood of the early nineties demos. What really stands out are high quality pixeled graphics by Malmix from Nature , which really made this release a serious demo. Music by Wasp is equally cool, with a surprise guitar riff from Lenny Kravitz. Synchro and effect are also strong, with yellow glitching and exploding vector cube being my highlight. I think that Monomateria might be the most mature production by the guys from Pacific, who released their first prod only in 2013 and are getting better with each demo and intro.

3-Dandelion/The Electronic Knights – A four minute nuschool trip into effects usually seen only in AGA productions. A surprisingly well paced and polished production by a group coming back to Amiga after an 18 year long break. The effects are nothing new on the Amiga scene, but they are very well executed, things like plasmas and blue tunnel with purple “neons” are a joy to watch. On the other hand the effect with vector power lines against a copper sky should be done with a better framerate. Dandelion also features some nice pixeled graphics, especially the picture near the end. Unfortunately the soundtrack is a bit too repetitive for me, and the demo would benefit from a bit more synchro. Overall a very good production, with more smoothness maybe would it have been 2nd.

4 – Ideograph/Five Finger Punch and Insane – A demo for Amigas with only 512 kb memory, featuring a kick-ass soundtrack and some nice effects like a rotozoom, and a vector net interacting with a balloon. Nice little production, that will probably be a highlight of my next Amiga 1000 demo pack ;)

5 – Coco/Unique – This is a demo that I would personally like to see at least one place higher in the compo. I enjoyed Unique’s two previous prods, Interparalactic and Subside very much, and Coco is just more of the same good nu-style stuff. The effects are very smooth and fresh, but I especially liked the soundtrack, which kinda reminded me of a summer beach party with a little touch of drugs ;)

6 – Revision Invitation/Insane – A kind of a two screen invitro by the very productive Insane, with some decent effects and the usual invitation motivating stuff. Maybe nothing groundbreaking, but enjoyable nevertheless.

7 – RetrokompLoaderror Invitation/Wanted Team & Resistance – Well , the last place at the compo was taken by an invitation to a party that I’m kinda coorganizing ;) Sachy was finishing it at the party, and some of the gfx were provided last-minute by Slayer of Ghostown, and Jok of Dreamweb. The Invitro features quite a few effects, and a cool soundtrack by Mccnex and Nainain. Definitely not a compo filler !


You can get the prods here :


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Datastorm is back - Part 1 - the Commodore 64 demo compo

This weekend, after a 3 year long hiatus, the Datastorm 2017 party was held in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was the first party of 2017 to feature both c64 and Amiga demo compos, and bringing the people from under the C= sign a great bunch of releases.

I just saw all 7 C64 Demo releases, and apart from some usual compofillers, there are two demos that clearly stand out from the rest. The winners of the compo were the scene legends from TRIAD, with their Neon demo, and the 2nd place was taken by Shape with a prod called The Shores of Reflection. The latter of the two is my personal favorite.

Neon by TRIAD is a demo based on a concept of returning to the 80’s aesthetics, highlighted by neon lights, shiny logos and Knightrider like cars. The pixels in this demo are great, with C64’s palette perfectly fitting the 1987-style, and the music is almost perfect. Of course the effects are also there, but don’t expect anything jaw-dropping, as the main strength of this demo is it’s atmosphere. Neon is certainly a good demo, but my personal opinion is that in that particular compo it was more of a second placer. Well a vote is a vote...

The Shores Of Reflection combines great oniric visuals , with equally good music, and some cool effects with the scene of flying over cubes filled landsape being the demos highlight. After watching it three times I'm still amazed by the design, and wondering how the hell Shape didn't end up winning the compo... Anyway, I always look forward to seeing a next demo from Shape, as their previous big production, Disco Apocalypso is probably one of my top 3 C64 demos.

After seeing these two big productions, I’ve watched the rest of the stuff. The 3rd place was taken by Atlantis, with their short, but sweet Carrie Fisher tribute demo, called The Last Hope. The effects were nothing new, but it’s always nice to see pixeled Leia in her bikini from The Return Of The Jedi, with some good old Star Wars the music.

The last prod that I think is worth mentioning is the compos 6th place, a n intro by Elysium, called Surdataströmming 95%. It is only a one-logo and one-effect prod, but it’s nice to see a comeback, or maybe a prelude to a comeback by a group that released their last big demo back in 2002. Ah, and the music is great :)

The rest of the prods and results can be found at the usual places like Pouet or CSDB.

Oh and keep watching this space, because I will cover the Amiga releases soon :)