Do you believe in C64 after death?

Written by Jazzcat/Onslaught

A youngling received a present that Christmas, just like another, a friend perhaps, received a present for his birthday also. In both cases, the present was of rectangular shape, weighing approximately 5 kilograms. Scrambling young fingers tore at the paper in excitement. There was a moment of sheer terror and doubt when the paper came off swiftly followed by a sigh of relief and joyous triumph. Things were never ever to be the same again...

It is hard to believe that the C64 scene is still climbing with leaps and bounds to new technical heights, its scene being dragged around behind these soaring achievements like the owner of a giant dog who just wanted to go for a quiet walk.

It is 2012.

What IS the state of affairs in the most developed computer underground of all time?

It is best split into multiple sections, as there are many scenes with the whole.

i. Cracking
ii. Game Development
iii. Disk Magazines
iv. Demos

I will start with cracking scene... cracks on C64 still? I hear you say? Yes indeed. There still exists two main factors; first releasing new and unreleased games, which is handled mainly by Onslaught, Genesis*Project, Triad and Laxity; and releasing the best ever versions of old games, which is handled mainly by Nostalgia and Hokuto Force. The latter of the two has recently seen the departure of one of the lead participating groups called Remember. One of the main members, Jack Alien, apparently even sold all his equipment... Will the remaining members merge into Nostalgia? Time will tell. The "oldie" scene, as it is known, is still alive and well. Nostalgia and to a lesser degree Hokuto Force have been pumping out classic games with mega trainers, bug fixing, translations, you name it. This has been buoyed further by the popularity of the EasyFlash cartridge (cheap, easily available, 1 MByte Flash EPROM card that can be flashed from software). Nostalgia in particular has embraced this cart but also Onslaught has shown some interest too. Cracks available on cartridge means no loading time, which as you would expect is quite important when running software on ancient real hardware.

Some prime examples from these gold-version crackers are:

Cinemaware Collection EasyFlash by Nostalgia, includes Defender of the Crown, Rocket Ranger and Sinbad all on a single cartridge with trainers and NTSC/PAL fixing!

Project Firestart +6 EasyFlash by Nostalgia. Tom-Cat/Nostalgia: "Project Firestart is one of the games that deserved a cartridge version for a long time now. We thought it is a perfect fit for EasyFlash - fits nicely on the cartridge almost uncompressed, there is enough space for all 5 Save game slots on the cartridge and what is most important - no more disk changing and slow loading times. We hope you enjoy this ultimate version of one of the best and C64 exclusive games of all time. Enjoy!"

Elvira - Mistress of the Dark +9DF EasyFlash by Nostalgia. Elvira's boobs have never been better than in this version! What you may noticed is that C64 cracking is still an art, unlike other scenes, everything is done for the user, intro sequence to show penis-size, trainer menu, cracking etc... the way it should be done!

Zak McKracken + Maniac Mansion (+1D)² by Onslaught. This was one of the first big cracks to come alive on the EasyFlash and containing the only bug-free versions of two classics.

In summary, the "oldie scene" and classy way to do cracks is still very much alive and well, a beacon of light for any cracking scene of any platform to look up to with youthful eyes! Now that the old days are over, the time pressure of pushing out first releases quickly is gone, thus groups can spend a lot of time on fixing bugs, providing manuals, supporting exotic hardware and doing things with a renewed purpose. Modern systems such as the PC are used as a slave for the work of the C64 through command-line tools, emulation and code libraries, the result of exhaustive effort is then extensively tested on real hardware and given to you, the waiting audience. Respect these guys!

Also causing some stir is the "first release" cracking scene. Another part of the C64 that has refused to die, the reason being is that there is not only new games STILL coming out there is also old games that are un-cracked or unfinished and unreleased titles that lay on old disks gathering dust. The pirates of the seven seas sail their ships and bring out a fistful of new releases with spunk intros attached, is the public happy?

The two main perpetrators of tradition this year are without a doubt Laxity and Genesis Project. Chatting to different people, the audience seems divided on releases from both groups. Laxity have been cracking games that have been released on CSDb almost exclusively and also releasing some old low quality wares that have never been released. Genesis Project have ignored CSDb and gone on the hunt via the cover disks of magazines such as Compute! and Loadstar, again low quality stuff (however with some nice exceptions such as Guderian (c) 1986 Avalon Hill). Some people applaud the activity levels other people turn their heads in disgust at the low game standards. To be honest, it is hard to get beyond the crack intro of the majority of both groups' wares and I do question the direction they are heading in, particularly when there are bigger games out there that are unreleased and are of greater quality (e.g. Crazy News and Metal Dust). The other thing I notice is that 99% of these titles are single file, which is fine but what about some multi-file stuff; there are plenty of them to be done. Either way, the activity from an "intro" point of view is admirable and a sign of enthusiasm is obvious and I am happy both of them are around to stir the pot and cause some action despite some negative opinions/CSDb forum stirs floating around. I had a chat with Sixx/Genesis Project recently: "We're in it for the fun and keeping the fucking tradition alive. Be glad we're back so you got something to rage about."

Next up is Onslaught, the main releaser of 2011 but slowing down this year with a focus on NEW games only and quality games as opposed to searching public channels for unreleased wares. So far their announcement of "dining on fine food and if crumbs and unwanted pieces fall to the floor for dogs to feed on, then so be it" is being fulfilled. Triad are still lurking and showed renewed activity this year, a very nice new website, followed by some first releases (again questionable originals like GP and Laxity). That old pirate ship has fired their cannons more than any other group, I am hoping it continues and finds fine form! From the United States there exist two groups still doing first releases, these being Armageddon led by Moloch and Avatar led by The Shadow. Whilst they do not release that much, their releases are generally of high quality in terms of game as well as crack.

It is a strange land indeed, many people question the relevance of "first releasing" on the C64 in 2012, the commercial scene having been dead for almost 20 years. Yet it still lingers, a handful of enthusiasts make it possible. To find out more in this small part of the scene, venture to

Some of the nice titles coming out in the world of first releases have been:

Prince of Persia +9 EasyFlash by Nostalgia &emp; Onslaught. More about this exciting game in the next section of this article!

Fairy Well +5MD by Onslaught. Great trainers once again by Slator providing the best version around and a first release no less!

The Adventures of Jim Slim in Dragonland +8HP by Success &emp; The Ruling Company. A nice game that no one dared to crack for sometime until the longest running cooperation in SCS&emp;TRC did this fine release, courtesy of Burglar and Count Zero.

Blok Copy DTV +3D by Onslaught was the first ever scene crack on the C64DTV (The C64 Direct-to-TV computer-in-a-joystick unit).

C64anabalt +D (Sales Version) by Onslaught. There are two versions of C64anabalt available; one with a SID chip conversion of Danny B.'s original score by Mikkel Hastrup (Encore), and an alternative build featuring music from the PC indie game ThrustBurst by Andreas Slotte (Ghormak). Unfortunately it wasn't possible to fit them both into a single 16KB ROM so Onslaught put them together in memory and released a rather nifty first release!

Summary: what I do know is to expect more releases from both Laxity and Genesis Project, a lot more; the other groups are less predictable but still present. And that leads me into the next section of this article, I have my finger on the pulse of the scene and there has been a fluctuation in one aspect; the commercial scene.

C64 Game renaissance - RGCD and Psytronik leading the way.

First software released on the C64 was in 1982, the last software ever released on the C64? Will it ever happen?

It appears time itself seems to be defied, in an age where people have distractions of modern gizmos and gear; the constant pressure to fit into society's norms by owning and playing with what the neighbour has. Why is it that people still produce games on the C64? Do they seek the challenge of a smaller platform? Are they just stuck in the past? No one knows the answer, as there is not single reply, what we do know is that there has been a boost in quality from the handful of persistent enthusiasts that still abound this ancient machine and at the vanguard of this joy are two leading distributors, RGCD and Psytronik.

I recently posed three brief questions to the owner of RGCD, Mr. James 'Heavy Stylus' Monkman, what a better way to tell you what's going on in the commercial world of C64 than from someone at ground zero.

Can you sense a renaissance in the last 12 months, an increased interest in game production?

The C64 game-dev scene continues to be one of the most active out of all the 8 and 16-bit platforms, second only in output to the hugely prolific ZX Spectrum. This and the equally excellent demo, SID music, graphics and modern cracking scene results in new releases being added to CSDB almost every single day - which in turn makes the C64 a very attractive prospect for the retro enthusiast.

I don't think that there's been an increased interest in game production - over the past few years new and old developers have come and gone, and the number of releases year upon year has remained pretty constant. However, I do believe that there has been an increase in quality - and I think that the RGCD competition and the activities of new publishers for the machine have had a part to play in this.

In brief, what has happened since the RGCD compo?

The RGCD game development competition resulted in some amazing games, and I'll definitely be organising another one this year. Out of the eleven entries submitted, we plan to publish eight on cartridge-some of which have already been done(and work is still ongoing with a couple of last year's entries,Space Lords and Get 'Em).

It's been an exciting few months for us; we've employed a resident artist for our game box designs and been involved in the development of a new 64KB cartridge PCB. Also, going forward in 2012 we'll be acting as a proper publishing business instead of a hobby label - not because there's a huge amount of money to be made in selling new C64 games, but rather because running things properly makes it necessary for us to run our accounts and ensure that any profit made goes directly to the developer.

In addition, this 'commercialisation' of the game-dev scene won't force gamers to pay for new releases. Wherever possible, we'll endeavour to make our games free to download (although that decision is up to the developer). RGCD will only accept payments for physical products, not downloads.

It's a lot of effort to get each release out there. In addition to the work that the developers put into each game, the cartridges are then assembled, programmed and tested by Tim Harris in the UK (and NTSC checked by Ray/Warlock of Arkanix Labs), then shipped to me for packaging. Every box sticker, manual and label is printed, cut out and put together on my kitchen table - it's a frustratingly slow process but every effort is made to ensure that the final product looks as professional as possible.

What games are coming in the future and how will they be presented?

Looking to the future, we've started working with Psytronik Software and will be releasing our first collaboration project between us, Trevor 'Smila' Storey and Georg 'Endurion' Rottensteiner in the next few weeks. Soulless will be the first C64 game to come out on simultaneously on cartridge, disk and tape since the 1990's - and the package of extras that Pystronik's Kenz has arranged is nothing short of spectacular. This is a sign of things to come.

There are a lot of other projects in the pipeline, such as another TOP SECRET and authorised indie/retro scene remake from C64anabalt's Paul Koller, the Bubble-Bobble inspired 'Catnipped' by Smila and Endurion, a long-awaited new game from Enthusi and Ptoing, and new stuff from Wide Pixel Games, the Mojon Twins as well as from independents like Achim Volkers. We're also hoping (fingers crossed) to get permission from the Vectrex guys to publish TRSi's excellent C64 conversions of Spike, Minestorm and Fortress of Narzod.

The other distributor that is also based in the UK is Psytronik. They have had a very healthy library of software for quite a long time now, offering titles such as Knight 'n' Grail, Wanted: The Wild Bunch, Sheepoid and most recently the nice puzzler Oracle III. They have a big title coming called 'Soulless' but have also secured the rights to another big title that some may have heard of before, 'Hawkeye 2' shown briefly at X-2010. I wanted to capture the words directly from the man himself on what is the latest and greatest from planet Psytronik, please welcome Mr. Jason 'Kenz' Mackenzie.

"It looks like 2012 is going to be a very exciting year for Psytronik - and a year of collaboration with other distributors. This year will see releases from Psytronik in association with RGCD - starting with the stunning SOULLESS from Trevor Storey &emp; Georg Rottensteiner, which will be followed by Catnipped, a fantastic looking Bubble Bobble style game. It's great to be working with RGCD as they provide an outlet for new Psytronik releases on cartridge format, and Psytronik can provide an outlet for RGCD releases on tape and disk format - so some nice symbiosis there. I will also be working with my friends at Protovision in Germany and will be providing a UK outlet for some of their games that at the moment are only available in Germany.

As well as offering new releases for retro systems Psytronik also distributes previously unreleased C64 games. An example of this is the recently released Oracle III puzzle game by Tufan 'SoNiC' Uysal. Although the game was pretty much complete when we received it, Tufan decided to produce all-new ambient soundtracks for the Psytronik release, which was a great addition to an already slick production. Another game to look out for us Outrage, a game from 1993 from the respected team Cosmos Designs. This is being worked on at the moment to finally finish it off ready for release on the Psytronik label.

Other releases to look out for from Psytronik include Zytron 2 - an incredible new shoot 'em up for the PC that took 2 years to produce. It features dazzling retro style neon-glow graphics, support for up to four players simultaneously and storming soundtracks. Also there's some incredible projects being worked on for the Amstrad CPC, although I can't
give any details at the moment as I don't want to put any pressure on the programmer. Let's just say one of them will cause quite a stir in the CPC world when it's released! There's also a potentially amazing C16 / Plus4 release on the way as well - so keep an eye on for information about these great releases for all your favourite retro computers!"

C64 sceners have been involved with PC game development too, quite natural considering the skill of some of the guys in our scene, working on such a limited platform that pushes everything beyond the limits only sharpens the blade for other possibilities. A nice example of this is the guys in Dice, working for Electronic Arts on Battlefield 3. Some people may not know but a lot of sceners from both the C64 and Amiga were involved in creating the game. Rubberduc/TBL, Kalms/TBL, Louie/TBL/Fairlight, Chevron/The Silents, Antitrack/Defjam, Pantaloon/Fairlight, the whole group Subspace (Amiga), Danko/Censor, Alfatech/Censor, Zyrax/Obscure and many more. Rumour also says that a certain Fairlight member autographed some copies saying "Fairlight #1, Fuck Reloaded!"

Pantaloon/Fairlight (spot the tee!), Alfatech/Censor and Zyrax/Obscure.

The other big news in the C64 community was Prince of Persia C64, yes you read right, the game was converted to C64 EasyFlash cartridge format by Mr. Sid with the help of Conrad, STE'86 and Twoflower. This conversion is based on the code of the original Apple II version, with graphics inspired by the PC/Amiga/Amstrad/Mac versions! The game was met with very favourable reception indeed, at the last Syntax Party in Melbourne, Australia, I had the pleasure of setting it up on the big-screen for people to play; we had a ball. The mammoth project of reverse engineering 128K of code and data from the Apple II version released in 1989 began in May 2009, full game completion and final release was in October 2011! The EasyFlash certainly helped, as the program is 505KB in size and having that much data on C64 disks coupled with loading time would not have made the achievement possible. The game itself is great to play, fluid controls with great sprite animations, preserved playability from the other platforms, faithful pixel conversion and you can download it for free and play it in an emulator such as WinVICE or by ordering an EasyFlash cartridge for action on the real hardware! Check it out...

The game scene on the C64 is alive and well, full price games, cartridge originals, multi-disk triumphs (Ultimate Newcomer) and a return to the home of premier distribution in the UK via RGCD and Psytronik. The prospects are bright; the challenge to bring entertainment within a restrictive environment is ever enticing and seemingly without age!

The World of Disk Magazines.

Together with swapping, the world of disk magazines is perhaps the slowest movement within the world of C64 scene. But, there is a but... what is released is generally of a very high standard and has been for quite a few years. Still riding high is the Vandalism News magazine done by Wrath Designs and Onslaught. The mag is approaching its diamond 60th issue and it hopes to have a new menu system after their current system is put into retirement (after service since May 1996). The other big magazine that is cherished by the scene is Oxyron and Triad's Attitude. Following the fashion of Vandalism, they have a winning combination of demo scene experience (Oxyron) and cracking scene experience (Triad), this allows a lot to be brought to the table which results in the magazine being accepted by a wide audience. We have not seen an issue of Attitude since last year but Taper/Triad informs me "we're working on the next issue of Attitude, delayed as always, but in progress at least :D"

Apart from these two the pickings are very slim. There is two other scene disk mags that I should mention, the first being Recollection, presented to the masses by yours truly. Currently issue four is in production, with a Mayan menu theme (issue 1: Roman, issue 2: Egyptian, issue 3: Asian) and will hopefully be out, packed with goodness, sometime this year. The most recent mag to be released is Scene World from People of Liberty. The latest edition had some nice segments such as an interview with legendary phreaker Captain Crunch as well as Jack Tramiel's assistant Michael Tomczyk. The only thing I really dislike about this magazine is the lack of current news, really out of date stuff, if they lift their game in that category a lot more credibility would be achieved.

The days of every group having one or two disk magazines are over and out, the concept itself is still very much in favour - as a scene service, as an offline resource, as a preferable way to convey and preserve information on a subject by the subject for the subject!

Breadbox Demo Scene.

The C64 ninjas in the world of demos continue to challenge and inspire at almost every turn. The question I raise, have we set the bar too high? Is it a turn off to the newcomers or oldies returning to our beloved platform? Maybe, but in the C64 demo scene you have to have a few ingredients to be successful, balls of steel to challenge the standards, a hint of hunger to strive for better, some headache tablets to dismiss the restrictive environment (less is more, less is more, repeat) and the outcome, what you get out of all of this should be fun! (It also is a demonstration of the size of one's digital penis - 8-bit style).

The past few months have seemed to be a quiet period, with most groups working towards productions for X-2012 in October. Despite this gap, there have been some worthy productions that should be mentioned and most importantly, you as the reader should visit or revisit! There is so many releases appearing at an almost daily rate, it is hard to showcase all of them here in this small article, however there is a few for whatever reason that I would like to mention:

Algorithm has been busy with several productions and right now works on something big together with his new group Onslaught. Catching my attention were two demos of his. Algotecher and VQ-Mania. Algorithm: "VQ-Mania was of course a tech demo to demonstrate the audio. Algotecher was the first attempt at a typical demo style trackloader. I like to include things that have not been done before. E.g. innovative code/ideas etc, audio/video compression, new graphic modes etc" Further to this, I quizzed Algorithm on what his next production would be like, what the future holds. Gazing into the proverbial crystal ball did not reveal much, but this is what he did say: "limits... What limits? hehehe"

Earning the number one place at the Silesia 5 party in Poland, Apparatus ended up being the final cooperation production between Miracles and Lepsi De, after the demo was released Miracles died as the old demo group Elysium found some activity again. The demo has the right combination of theme, effects, pixels and a solid soundtrack. It hit the right chord with me and I now look forward to what Elysium will bring to the screen (particularly if their coder Brush returns), possibly, hopefully and more than likely (as a little bird whispers in my ear) at X2012 later this year!

Now you look at this picture above and probably think, "Man, there is a lot of pixel there!" You are damn right! PAL created like 60-70 koala images as well as a ton of animation for 2011 - A Press Space Odyssey. The result was an epic demo journey like no other on the C64, ideally for the comfort of home viewing rather than the big screen, it is the biggest demo in terms of size and running time ever produced on an 8-bit machine, do check this one out! I caught up with the main man in Offence to give me some words on the tears, pain and joy of this demo. PAL: "We wanted to create a small demo on the C64 for the LCP party, but then it grew... like a demon weed it really grew and it left us all in the dark alone at the hotel room at the LCP party, delaying the demo competition by several hours, at 3 hours before the deadline we thought we were going to make it as a final demo, but it took us like 4-5 months more... we were all fucked up and lamers in our mindset and we did create disturbance in the force and we are not proud of doing that, but we are proud of the demo as it truly is a massive effort. We also do not really understand the code porn aspect that some people are telling us that we do not possess, as some of the parts are really hard to code... this has been something people are telling us after the demos we do create, and we cannot understand it really as some of the parts are code porn but people do not get it, maybe because the parts are so nice looking, at least our theory! We want to entertain and deliver a massive effort when we do demos, not just an effect and then another one... we want to tell stories and make people feel different moods."

Dream Travel 100% is the 18th birthday celebration of Polish C64 demo group Samar Productions and what a lovely way to celebrate too by giving the world a present of entertainment. It shows a great style absolutely overflowing with colour, their next demo is to be expected at X2012, what will they bring us this time? They are not the only group celebrating their birthday either. Oxyron turned 20, Fairlight 25, Triad 25, Booze Design 20... are we feeling old now? (Or very young?)

The Norwegian part of the scene is really alive these days, not only do we have Offence bringing us 8-bit wonders but we also have seen the recent return of the old group Hoaxers to the world of demos. Their most recent digital pornography was executed nicely through Naked Grinder, which gained 4th position in the Kindergarden 2011 Mixed Competition. I wanted to see what PAL's opinion would be, as they are his neighbours: "From the legendary Abnormal and Hoaxers they gather once again and release something as unusual as a C64 demo... The story of their return started with BHF getting interested in the C64 scene all over again (like so many do!); maybe it had something to do with his friends in Offence doing demos for real in a big way? The demo starts of with an interesting image created by Joe (above), really cool colour pixeled patterns and also a great framing... with scrollers and sprites together and some moody music. Transition and music fades and another part emerges... it is a super music score of old school videos and nice graphics and then a twister sprite scroller that is cool but could have been executed in a better way as it the scrolling is so fast, still very nice! It almost resembles Maduplec of Nato's type of screen but with graphics too, I like it. Then we are presented by an old effect we think, but really it is more than just DYCPs... it holds some weird colour and pattern fillings that must be real-time as they are different on all letters, and that is not a pixeled filler, it is done on the fly with colours. Scrolling logos on top and bottom makes it a cool demo part that could have been a winner back in the day. We see some weird out of proportion baby resembling a church window type of art, it is interesting. Then we get the last part, it is some type of graffiti looking art with some characters that could have been a children's TV cartoon show if they were animated, great... and there is cool music and to compliment the whole with a simple scroller holding scene love text. A blast from the past, may there be more! We want hurricanes!"

Some background on the group, for those C64 sceners and outsiders that came in too late: Abnormal were active in the late 1980s and then later some of them moved on into Hoaxers and also held parallel memberships in both groups... Hoaxers came originally from Trondheim, where they did most of their demos in the early 1990s, but now they mostly live in Oslo. They currently share not only group membership together, but a huge past and solid friendship. We wait with eager eyes on what the next production is going to be!

Zeros &emp; Ones was a very different journey into the interactive demo concept disguised as a well-coded graphic collection. It really struck some different chords in the scene; some people just went absolutely mental about it, whilst it just did not sit right with others (a bit like the current first release scene as mentioned earlier). Some parts feature interlaced graphics, so the whole thing is best viewed and experimented with on real hardware. Great design from Wile Coyote and a team-work I never thought to see with Crossbow (Crest) and HCL (Booze Design) joining forces. PAL writes: "The demo holds some truly cool and moody screens, it is different in the way it is presented and it is quite simple but also difficult as the graphics do splendor here... I think this demo is a good reminder to all shouting out for coder porn constantly that demos can be more or less than that... this is a mood-setter and it successful in that way. It is just what it is and some of the screens are far above normal quality, like the flip the disc part with the mountains and forest ridges, simply one of the best screens put together ever. The demo holds many good graphics in different formats and also possesses great music. There is a menu in the demo where one has to select different items in the cafe image, some do not like this but again they made it this way, so why argue? Create the perfect thing you want yourself then? They did this and it is solid."

The demo scene links together into the events that have been organised around it. I do like demos that appear outside of the parties, makes it easier to pause and rewind and it has a certain honesty that the 'demos made for the big screen' find difficult to hide from. However, scene parties are gold; there is no denying the fuel of the current scene, the atmosphere whilst watching a production for the first time on the big screen is kind of breathtaking. Two main events come to mind, the Revision 2012 Party in Germany (hey, you might be there reading this right now!) and X-2012 in Holland later in the year. I have little birds flying around in the scene everywhere, I am the C64's foremost spymaster and intelligence agent, indeed the storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling - yet, finding information on scene parties and the demos that will be released there is hard. Understandably Booze Design declined to comment what they are working on for the upcoming X-2012; Fairlight would be interested to know as they hope to best them (who they lovingly refer to as Boobs Design). In fact Fairlight have just finished up with their 25th birthday celebration, a cruise from Sweden to Finland and back with over 25 members (past and present) and special guests attending. It is quite well known the Camelot is working on something for X-2012 also, with the return of legends such as Glasnost and Slammer, anything is possible and the doorway to the room holding the treasure of victory is open for all attending. Jeff of Camelot informs: "Concerning the CML demo... members participating: myself, VIC, BizKid, Glasnost, Rex, Cruzer, Slammer, Raz.... with a bit of luck also Duck LaRock &emp; Metal, but let's see." Is it any wonder there is so much hype in this particular 'X-year' when the LCP party not taking place? All of those lovely Swedish people should be hell bent on the Dutch party instead! Some other groups likely to compete will be Offence, Samar, Onslaught and Dekadence.

More relevant to right now is the Revision Party in Saarbrücken. Will TRSI be there on the big screen? Only if I could share some brew with StreeTuff, surely I could make him spill the beans before he spills his guts. I do know that some Amiga demos are coming, Dekadence will be performing along with whispers that Elude and Ghostown will do the same.

Closer to my home here in Australia, the next big party due is Flashback in Sydney. This event takes place in June and should be one of the biggest scene events to happen down under in quite a while. Mick Rippon of Maniacs of Noise will be doing a live chip-tune performance with the assistance of a guitarist, hopefully I can convince Ctrix to bring his gAtari along and do a performance also. The party will be providing an avenue for all platforms to compete in oldschool and nuschool competition. Not only that, I will be providing some killer prizes and doing some nice 2 day demo DJ on the big-screen with non-stop classics from C64, Amiga and PC. Onslaught should be competing at the party this time and we expect the hosts in Defame to entertain as usual and perhaps their southern rivals Disaster Area will try give them a run for their money? Let's wait and see...

There are other parties, other demos, other things that have been missed here; however my goal in this news-style article is to give you an overview on the current state of the scene. As you can see, there is a lot of life in this old beast yet, people just will not let it go... and be careful if you are an outsider... it is like a broken glass, you get cut before you see it, so open up your eyes...

I would like to give special thanks to PAL/Offence for his collage and text, Heavy Stylus/RGCD and Kenz/Psytronik for their quick interrogation sessions with me via email. If you want credits for any of the included screenshots, simply click their respective hyperlinks and find out the right way.

Until next time,