Better Have A Life After Christmas
Written by Doc Roole
Sure, maybe I made the same mistake again I had made the last two years. As always, short after The Party you think "no, I WON'T go there again, it will surely suck even more than this year" - and what happens? You show up there again 363 days later and get disappointed quite the same way as you got the year before.
Well, so I felt after my first few impressions of The Party 8 (which was my 8th The Party in a row and my about 20th to 30th party in total, who cares). We arrived there about two hours before the party actually opened - and the first funny thing was that we met a huge bunch of sceners already in front of the entrance, as they were reasonable enough not to pay the raised entrance fee when you arrived too early, just unlike those few hundred Quake lamers who already filled up the halls and were busy sitting in front of their computers and doing whatever they did, at least nothing of any importance.
About twenty minutes before 8AM, the organizers then showed their immense generousity and scene-friendliness (sarcasm) and let us in, so we could finally move our equipment and ourselves into the hall. Basically, the hall had the same layout as the year before, only most of the tables in hall 1 faced 90 degrees to the big screen, as there were rumours that some of the Quakers had felt annoyed by those nasty compos last year and complained. Whatever, we took our seat at our reserved tables in hall 3 and the few tables around, where most known sceners were anyway.
It was luck for me that I have one of those 100Mbps network cards in my PC, as instead of the promised 10/100M autosensing network hubs, there were only pure 100M ones in hall 3, so everyone owning only a 10Mbit card wouldn't have been able to connect to the network if there hadn't been some people (basically the Smash Designs guys) who had brought their own network hubs with 'em and supplied 10Mbit to half of the hall.
Speaking of organizers and especially lacking competence, this syndrom was truly widespread among the guys wearing those "The Party Organizer" shirts. Whatever problem you had, whatever you asked them, whether it was a problem with your TCP/IP-configuration, whether you wanted to deliver a contribution on disk instead of the online contribution system or whether you just had an idea how to do something better concerning whatever, the only "answers" you could get from them were things like "uh?", "no, we can't do that", "err, I don't know who exactly is responsible for this, come back later" or "No, alcohol isn't allow... what was your question again?".
So, all our expectations of a scenish party or organizers helping the attenders were brutally destroyed after a few hours and, like last year, we had to face that all fun and scene spirit this party would depend on ourselves once again. And so we tried:
Experiment 0x01 - ELITEGROUP tries to find sceners to be in war with mission: We scanned all halls for people doing anything scene related, such as coding, pixeling, modelling or tracking. Results: there were about 4000 people at the party place. Of these 4000 people, there were
* 2 people coding
* about 5 people using FastTracker or Impulse Tracker (half of them only listening to tunes)
* and 3 people using LightWave or 3DSMax for 3D scenes
Conclusion: As The Party is (in their own words) "The biggest scene event of the year", the days of sceners using editors, paint programs and trackers for making their demos are definitely over. Nowadays' demo creators' tools are definitely
* Windows 9x EXPLORER.EXE
* and of course Winamp
Slowly, we got that certain feeling that the only interesting people to meet at the party were the guys we had already known and who we were in good contact with, anyway - and we started to ask ourselves what the heck we wanted there except winning the Classic WiLD compo with our Sony PSX demo (which we did) and if there weren't better things to spend our time with, like preparing ourselves for better parties (like the Mekka/Symposium or Summer Encounter), caring about our girlfriends we had left at home (as there aren't any more boring places for non-scene-girls than scene parties) or just sitting around at home and watching TV...
...but hey... Aren't there things like competitions and such at a scene party? Why didn't we see ONE of them so far? What's up?
Looking at the timetable, we had then to find out that some of the compos had already been held without the slightest urge of the organizers to actually NOTIFY someone not watching the big screen all the time. What kind of so-called "scene event" is it when the people behind it don't even care that everyone is able to see the most important thing there is at a scene party, namely the competitions? I would say, none at all.
Well, in a certain way, the organizers even announced the compos, at least for the people in hall 1: They had some totally useless lighting equipment at the stage and did a sort of "light show" right before the compos... did I say "right before"? No, it was sadly NOT right before the compos, but kind of 15 minutes before the compo and five minutes long - so the compos didn't start right after the light show but ten to thirty minutes to give everyone time to go back to their seats, as this time, the Quake kids seem to have complained about the crowd of people standing around and making noise everytime a compo starts. I mean, imagine YOU are a Quake player and have paid 400DK to kill a before unseen amount of "friends"... wouldn't you feel very offended if there were a bunch of people around you having fun that conventional, peaceful way right before your eyes? I definitely would... I think.
Speaking of compos, let's talk a bit about them. For example, this year there were no 4K intro compos, which was kind of a shock for the scene, but, viewed from my current point, nothing but pure wisdom of the omniscient organization team, as they had surely already known that almost no coder capable of this rare discipline would show up there (and they were quite right, don't you agree?). The compo PC was changed from a Pentium MMX/233 to first a P2/233 and then a full P2/300 in the last few hours, which of course has improved the quality of the compos, but was a kick into the back of all groups who had designed their effects to run smooth on the compo machine instead of following nowadays' "buy a faster computer" way of coding things. Anyway, the overall compo quality was VERY mediocre for such a BIG "scene" event. Some few good demos (Bomb, Blasphemy+Purple), some few good intros (Halcyon, Fudge), the usual good graphics and, to put it short, that was it. The music compos consisted to 99% of pure techno (neglecting the fact that the multichannel compo took place on the last morning, so almost no one was listening to it) without any really known name in the attenders list - and the wild compos showed the usual videos and bad renderings, I can say without arrogance that our Playstation demo (SCHLEUDERTRAUMA) was the only entry worth watching there. So, even the compos were far too disappointing to make The Party anything like "The scene event of the year" or a good scene event at all.
So, when will the organizers finally realize that the legend is over and The Party has become nothing more than a big Danish Quake meeting with some sceners who haven't realized this sad fact yet? Never, I guess. The horrendous entrance fees make the event pay off too well for them to just stop - and sceners will also still be attracted, be it by the fame from past days, be it by the compo prizes, which make the party still worth attending if you have a winner production in your backpack. But to all others, I can only recommend not even to think about spending your life after christmas in Aars when you want to go to a scene party, as The Party ISN'T. Not anymore.
- The Artist Formerly Known As Doc Roole
ELITEGROUP - .we piss on you.