Devotion #1 reviewed

A Transplanting Prophet of Hugi

Since 1993, Magic of Nah-kolor has been writing for Amiga diskmags, and he still has not got tired of it. Occasionally he teamed up with some staffs as a co-editor, sometimes he could even call himself one of the main editors, but his dream to be the main man behind a mag right from the beginning on has not been fulfilled. Until now. The man who takes pride in having survived all other editors and diskmags (except Eurochart) can now call himself main editor of a "new elite" diskmag, as he called it in an article already published in early 1999, but - second main editor.

The mastermind behind Devotion is his younger ex-groupmate Darkus, who recently joined Haujobb. Darkus himself has made three attempts to create a diskmag together with other people. One of the projects interestingly was named Magascene, a term which had also been used by Undercover (ST) and Cream (PC) and appeared in the subtitle of Hugi 11: "obscene scene magascene." Seems several people had had the same idea. Anyway, it was probably more obvious than I had thought, and I digress...

At the third attempt, Darkus succeeded. There had been problems getting the code, but after two years of work, the first issue of Devotion finally saw the light of the day on the last day of July 2k.

Apart from these two different and yet similar Amiga scene personalities the staff consists of three co-editors: the former Generation co-editor Alvin of Nah-kolor, the musician Teis of Spaceballs and the modgroup Moplayaz, and surprisingly enough, someone all of you know: Makke, who's decided to get back to his Amiga roots. It's really a somewhat diverse, heterogenous staff united by their interest in diskmags. Sounds pretty good - it promises an equal variety in contents.

Indeed the wall artificially built between the platforms by some Amiga sceners suffering from peeceephobia is crumbling. While Jurassic Pack 7 and Showtime 14 had separate sections for the articles written by PC sceners (from Hugi) articles from Amiga and PC writers are cheerfully mixed, in an party report the PC sceners D-lee and Fred are the main characters, Makke devoted a short text on his flamewar with ps - there appear many names that probably say nothing to 90% of Amiga sceners but are very familiar for PC sceners. That's why Devotion is certainly interesting to read for some people involved in the demoscene using a PC.

It's simple to get to run it on UAE. If you have a recent Kickstart and a Workbench that support AGA, i.e. version 3.1 of both, there should be no problem. Just don't forget to preserve the original directory structure and the long filenames, and switch into the directory in which the executable is located before starting it, otherwise the data file won't be found.

Beautiful opening GFX will await you, made by a certain Antony/ex-Dreamdealers - or Antony/ex-Pulse, if you wish, the modern Picasso with his stylish naive, chalk-like drawings. A fast, yet mellow tune from co-editor Teis starts playing in the background, although I personally prefer the two other tracks (made by Tecon & Reed). The mag is presented in an oldskool two-column layout, with control panels designed by Adam/DCS and variable-width fonts. Generally very readable, only the big font used in charts and party results looks ugly.

The articles data files make up 136 kbytes, but they are packed. Judging from the usual compression ratio I estimate that this issue contains a total of 300 kbytes of articles. The contents are 100% scene-related: much about what ideal diskmags should be like, interviews, Magic's Magical Moments corner with all kinds of gossip about sceners, and the music corner make up most of the headlines.

The most controversial article in this issue is Wade's "Poland Vs The Scene", a reaction on a text by Darkhawk with the title "Poland SUXX" - the title comes from "Poland ROXX" which apparently appeared in some Amiga productions. Wade vents his anger on the fact that the Polish Amiga sceners seem to vote only for themselves, in which way someone who never wrote an English article came second in Eurochart 40's diskmag editor charts. He calls the Polish "shameless self-promoters" for patriotic slogans as the one cited above. According to Magic this article has elicited a lot of reactions from the scene public - it certainly contributed to spreading the word about the new diskmag.

As we can guess from an article on Polish Amiga mags written by a Pole in the same issue, the mentality Wade criticises can be easily explained: English wasn't thought at Polish schools only ten years ago, so only a few speak it very well. This makes it harder to integrate into the worldwide scene that, on the Amiga platform, is yet more dominated by Western Europeans than what's the case on PC. Hence it's no surprise that most Polish diskmags are in Polish, that Poles mostly read Polish diskmags and that they vote for Polish sceners and productions. Patriotic phrases like 'Poland ROXX' are also understandable when taking the country's history of the last fifty years into account. Remember Breshnew's doctrine? De facto Poland was a Soviet colony isolated from the rest of the world, and only ten years ago became an equal member of the international community. There are still some differences in mentality which will take time to fade. The Western European scene ought not condemn them but help to assimilate, and instead of whining about unprecise charts (do charts ever reflect who's best? isn't it rather that they reflect who's known and popular?) rather become more active.

Yet Wade's point is surely okay to be published in a diskmag. What I wouldn't have published as an editor, however, is the interview Darkus made with Zinko (of TRSI and Melon): it ended up in a quarrel, and later Zinko tried to persuade him not to include it in his diskmag. In fact it's unauthorized.

Most of the other articles is what I'd call nice. Amiga sceners would probably call them fillers. Yet they are enjoyable to read. Magellan explains why he feels like an "Alien In My Homeland" having returned to the Amiga Scene after having been PC-only for two years. Similarly personal articles can be read from Makke, in exactly the same style as his text known from Hugi. Some Danish sceners wrote down their honest impressions of twenty demos while watching them drunk.

There are also charts about strange categories: Favourite Editors, Best Looking Diskmags, Best Sounding Diskmags, Best Diskmag Engines, Best Article Contents and Best Overall Diskmags. Phew! The voters gotta know a lot of mags to give appropriate ratings. But the results show that also in the Amiga scene, the mags with the best articles are most appreciated as a whole.

Adok/Hugi - 09 Aug 2000