The Enterprise 64/128 was an unknown machine to most during the golden years
of the oldschool demo scene. You might think that nothing happened with this
machine, but as with the other topics I discussed previously you might be
wrong! The Enty had a smallish but active demoscene in parallel with the
better known C64, Amiga and Atari scenes. I get the impression it modelled
itself closely on the Amiga scene. Like most other things made for the
Enterprise after 1986, it seems to be almost exclusively Hungarian-grown.
This local scene was most active in the oldschool golden years from 1988 to
1994. With the rise of the PeeCee compatibles in the period after, there
have been very few productions since.
Anyway, here is a representative random selection that I grabbed.
I started with the 'Coca Cola' demo. This presented a big red screen,
complete with Coca Cola logo, and a large (english) scrolltext. Pressing
space stops the scroller for a while. Not a lot else happens and I was
confused, but pressing the spacebar may trigger a digisound sample which was
not heard on the emulator?
The 'Eye' demolooked more promising. The screengrab I saw promised a
monochrome eye on a colourful raster background, which looks good in that
screenshot, but when it came to run that demo, nothing happened. It also
presented me with a 'file not found' message on the second attempt, so there
may have been a problem with that piece of data?
I was overdue some success, so I tried the 'Jarre Demo'next. This started
with a wobbly derogatory scroller, "Welcome Lamer boy!" and gives some
credits. I then press the emulated F1 function key to load the next bit,
which uses a speed type depacker, then the scrolly resumes, so I'm guessing
it is a sample demo with missing sound again.
The 'Mad-Ork demo'was next, this featured another scrolly going through a
raster bar, with a chequerboard which was depth-cued. There were some static
bars at the front of the screen casting a shadow. In the background a static
television screen was showing a street scene. There were some sound effects
at the beginning, but no apparent music. Then you press space and this
little demo comes alive, and one of the buildings explodes and a tune
starts, the static bars are sound channel indicator bars, and a tune plays
as the flames flicker onscreen. This intro shows off mixed screen modes on
Next, a prosaically titled 'Music'demo from Alphingwood.This was one of
the very few non-Hungarian demos. It was also one of the very early ones
made whilst Enterprise were still in business. It featured extremely basic
presentation and sound. I saw this for myself at one of the PCW shows where
Enterprise was represented. It starts with a plain text menu, and you select
from three popular tunes, Eleanor Rigby, Liberation (by Wham!) and Only You
from Yazoo. The eighties bias is apparent here, but this is fair enough as
this was when this early demo was made! The demo is extremely "basic", as
the group name draws itself onto the screen, line by line like an early ZX
Basic demo. The tune is early soundchip, with no special features used. You
have also got to remember this was made pretty much before the word
"Demoscene" had even been thought of!
I selected a few 'Nasa Guy'demos. He was very prolific author. 'Nasa Guy 2'
features a complex wireframe object, actually a spinning and probably pre-
rendered animation. This is very quick and impressive, the tune is a cut
above the mundane too, and recognisable from early ST days as one of the ST
Sample disk tunes.
Nasa Guy 7,went a bit further, with a raytraced animation of green bubbles
in a Newton cradle using the Enty lo-res 256 colour mode. There is also a
short repeating sampled extract from Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene. A short
but impressive screen.
Nasa Guy 9, throws in some 16-bit looking solid 3-D polygons, these are pre-
rendered again, you can even see them load in frame by frame. It is very
similar to the '2' and '7' demos. There is another short repeating digi-
sample. These little demos are cheating a little bit, but they are very nice
to look at.
It's time for some bigger multipart productions now, and first off is the
'Bamsoft Big demo'. It started up with a hi- res greenscale picture of a big
cat. After a couple of false starts, I discover you need to press 'esc' to
go on. The first full screen is made of sineous dots like an old Omega demo,
which are user-controllable, there is also a bottom bouncing colour cycling
scroller. The second part features an explosion in a raster bar factory!
There are lots and lots of colour onscreen, a traditional scroller, and very
Part 3 shows off a bouncing yellowchrome hi-res male interest picture, and a
bottom screen scroller, nothing too exciting there, so time to move on. The
next part has more rasters and scrolling. After that are three different
sideways scrolltexts with different fonts and speeds, and a distorting 'BIG'
logo in the top part of the screen. A nice looking screen, even if I was
waiting for more to happen.
Following on is a static screen, a hi-res alien head is shown, and a short
repeating drum pattern that describes itself as "4 channel Amiga music!!!",
which is a bit of a disappointment, or maybe a couple of sound channels got
lost? To maintain the audiophile interest, there is a slightly ho-hum music
box screen, with a low-spec animated tape deck, and a selection of two
We're at the end part now, a slow 3-D wireframe animation of a computer and
monitor screen floating around a blue screen. This is not a depiction of an
Enterprise, as the curved lines might be a bit beyond this 3-D engine?
Instead, we see something boxier, like an Acorn Electron. The whole is held
up by better than average soundchip music.
The 'Ork Megademo 2'is next. From static screengrabs, it looks like it has
a style of its own, with beautiful hand-drawn graphics being shown off.
There is a nice little 256 colour splash screen to start, then a window with
inevitable scrolly text, then loads of weird abstract colour cycling stuff
in the window, some raster-like effects, and a reasonable tune to go with
it. The second part kicks off with a strange animation of a chattering skull
which crumbles to dust, then a plant grows out of it, then the screen proper
starts, which is a blue looking heavily oldschool 'computer art' screen,
with another Hungarian scrolly.
Part 3 features a heavily 256 colour based piece of work. The top part has
raster bars, and a neat logo which has a water ripple going through it. The
bottom half is made up of more raster bars, almost a colourshock screen. All
screens in this demo have their own soundchip music.
Part 4 goes a bit further on from the last screen, as you now get a full
screen rippler which does its stuff over a fantasy 256 colour piccy, there
is a bouncing bottom raster bar for a small text. Pressing the 'Enter' key
gets you another equally impressive picture, created with the 'Paintbox'
program, this part of the demo is a showcase for that. The picture 'tears'
off the screen when the next one is selected.
Part 5 is a quietly impressive screen, It starts as a very large single
sprite demo, a bouncing ball. This starts by bouncing in one place, this
going around the screen, which changes colour as it goes. Patterns and
raster bars appear in the previously blank background. Eventually these
start to move, back and forth, this is an impressive slow building screen.
Part 6, is effectively a re-run of part 4. There are another couple of
beautiful and abstract pictures, one of a fantasy bird in flight. The ripple
effect is fullscreen once again, there is a little bouncing bar, with a bit
of a barrel-scroll effect on it for the info-text. There is also a choice of
a second picture from the 'enter' key.
Part 7, looks a bit like a title screen for a platform game. There is the
small issue of a triple vertical scrolltext, with a bit of a wobble, merging
into a central point near the bottom of the screen, into the dimple of an
apple! Exiting this, you get a digisound crashing sample.
Part 8 features a Union demo style parallax scroller with a large infotext
appearing at the top. There is an Orksoft logo and graphics in the bottom of
the screen. Pressing space clears everything except the scroller, and a box
draws around the screen. Then increasing numbers of coloured dots bounce
around inside the box. The effect is a little bit reminscent of a Jeff
Minter colourspace style. The box area is redrawn and there are different
patterns of the dots.
There's still more to come. Here's a music selector box, and it is using
digisound. What you hear is not quite a modfile, but a selection of samples
and tune patterns, where you can mix and choose from the samples available.
The end is here to this epic! There are various credits and infotexts, with
contact info and greetings. This was a high quality effort, from the people
who made some of the best games for the Enterprise.
It's time to ease the pace, for a nice calming slideshow, and we get this
with the 'PD Demo'. This starts with a jerky sounding "welcome to the PD
demo" sample. The jerkiness may be due to the not quite 100 percent speed of
my old PeeCee running the Enterprise 128 emulation. This first part reveals
that 'PD demo' actually stands for "Physical Destruction Demo", as the title
picture, bouncing around the screen shows. There is an Enterprise version of
a well known C64 tune playing, which I can't put my finger on what it is,
but it sounds like Hubbard. Hitting space gets a four option menu, which is
also bouncing around the screen. This part is smart and well done, like the
So you get;
1. Picture mix:- A mixture of fantasy themes, heavy emphasis on monochrome
or silhoutted graphics against a colour graduated sky
2. Horrow Show:- A trio of monochrome monsters, the weakest gallery.
3. Comic Show 1:- Shows off various famous cartoon characters against a
graduated coloured sky. These are much more colourful and of a higher
standard than before.
4. Comic Show 2:- Using a combination of hi-res mono techniques and more
graduated background colours. This secton is notable for some neat Garfield
picturess, and a stunning 'Batman in London' screen.
There is an endpart, with a starfield and vector triangle at the top, and
vertically progressing big scroller with some demo information.
The 'Small Demo'is most ironically named, as at 648k, it needed a disk all
It starts with a smart text menu to select various parts. they all have
their own titles too! Every time a section is completed, you return to that
1. 'Preface', is an oldschool building-up screen of many parts. A small
scrolltext going right around the borders, there are raster bars equal to
anything done on a 16 bit machine. There is a moving central 'Small demo'
logo, and distorting credits text at the bottom.
2. 'Bounce!'You get a bouncing Amiga style chequered ball, two scrolltexts
at different speeds at the bottom of the screen, but only a plain black
background. Then press space for the second part, which is colourshock
madness and a bouncing big font scroller. A Rob Hubbard tune is nicked for
3. 'Mushroom'.'Mushroom' logo, text appears and disappears, as a sampled
song "I'm a mushroom" plays on.
4. 'Functions', There is some more digi-music, with buggerall showing
onscreen. But this is only the appetiser to the second part, which is more
visually impressive. Various 3-D wireframe patterns draw onscreen, there is
a top of screen multi-layered raster bar with more scrolltexts on it.
5. 'Mirage'. Features another sample loop, then a spinning Mirage wireframe
logo and credits. There is a starfield with further credits and information.
Then we're into the main part. A smart 'Nihil Software' logo sits atop a
screen window, where all the vector line based action is taking place.
Vector patterns collide into each other, in a mysterious tron-ballet. The
Next bit is a proper 3-D demo, with a huge sixties-looking chrome 'Mirage'
logo in the midscreen, but some very nice vector line 3-D objects and
transformations going on above it. To close this multi-parted 'demo within a
demo', there is a Chequerboard rolling towards the viewer from the endless
horizon, and bouncing 3-D doc balls coming towards you in an infinite
stream, until you press space.
6. 'Sight and sound vol 1'. This is the first of a trio of nice screens.
This first effort shows off a combination of digi-sound, with mad coloured
indicator bar going across the screen in time with the sound. There is a
back and forth moving logo at the top, the inevitable scrolly at the bottom,
and a neat fantasy themed pic of many colours in the middle.
7. 'Sight and sound vol 2'. This is an impressive screen indeed. You see two
spinning filled cubes at the top, a side-to-side scrolling logo in the
middle, a very sci-fi based picture below it, which looks like it is using
some kind of super-ZX Spectrum attribute graphics mode. There is even a
decent looking english language scroller at the bottom, and what sounds like
a modfile player playing one of the Amegas tunes made famous from the Tex
Amiga demo! And it is the complete tune too!
8. 'Sight and sound vol 3'. This is a large scale soundchip selector screen,
where up to 48 tunes can be selected off different keys on the keyboard,
(just don't press space!) There is a choice of three very smart
illustrations borrowed from game title screens like Cauldron. There are
coloured indicator bars at the bottom, and a sineous scrolltext.
9. 'The End'. A little bit off the pace from the high standards of the rest
of the demo. A decidedly home-drawn spaceship piccy, scrolls up and down,
there is a very elaborately fonted scrolltext at the bottom of the screen.
Then a final farewell plaintext vertical scroller which goes on until you
reset the machine.
We're getting near to the end of this randomly selected view into the world
of Enterprise demos. A relative latecomer of a production was the 'Visions
There is a strong cartoon theme here too. As we see Muttley, of Wacky Races
fame in the intro, followed by a picture of the mighty z80 chip. Following
hard on is first the proper effect, showing spinning wireframe cube and huge
'fascination' logo above it. This demo looks a lot more like the second wave
of Amiga demos, where people stepped back from the rasters and bright
colours and thought in terms of something easier on the eye. Various other
3-D wireframe objects follow on, including sledgehammers, floppy disks,
space craft etc, all doing their spinny thing onscreen. There is also a
colour banding effect apparent, which makes the objects look a lot more
attractive than a simple mono wireframe might. The running speed is good as
well, there are many different objects, and you can cycle through these with
Pressing 'Esc' to leave, then there is a second part very similar to what
came before, but with some filled polygons! There are a smaller selection of
objects. The coder uses a stipple-fill technique similar to that used on
other 8-bit machines.
Part 3, is the 'Tank Engine'screen, which has an animated train and a
moving background. There are also some good looking top and bottom large
sineous scrollers and bouncing raster bars, the scroller is english. The
train speeds up and slows down in time with the music.
Here's another animation with 'The Wacky Race'. Dick Dastardly is in his
car going quickly, as the moving background shows. A digi guitar playing
then it speeds up, finally crashes. Muttley is shown sniggering, and this is
digi-sampled as well.
The endpart, gives a sparse but sophisticated screen, with a large vertical
scroller in a gothic font, and neat little bouncing earth doing its thing as
I enjoyed the selection of Enterprise 128 demos, and it seems that although
most of what they were doing was imitating the Amiga scene, there were
plenty of attempts to do as much as possible with the specific hardware at
their disposal. Of course there hasn't been much recent activity in this
area, and it might be worth asking the question why there was no further
continued development after 1994, the odd slideshow aside, and why there was
no venture into newschool effects, as other coders managed with the Atari
800. I think the Enterprise 128 would have been more than capable of putting
up a good show with a newschool demo.
CiH, for Alive Mag,Dec '06.