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CiH sounds a cautionary note over certain aspects of the STNICC 2000.


There has been some heated debate over the nature of the forthcoming ST News
International Coding Convention 10th anniversary party (STNICC). Many people
on the current Atari scene are suspicious, thinking it is just a celebration
of past glories,  and the organisers aren't clued up about the current scene
at all.

However,   it  does  seem  to  be  the  case,  that  Richard  Karsmakers  is
sufficiently  aware of,  and impressed by the current Atari scene,  to allow
demo competitions for them after all.  This is encouraging news, if taken by
itself,  and will encourage more current scene people to turn up, than would
have otherwise been the case.

However,  there  was  one chance remark made,  which sent a chill through my

"Great  news,  Stephan  Posthuma  is attending STNICC,  and will  be  talent
scouting for Electronic Arts Canada!"

So why the apparent ingratitude from me, for what would seem to be the offer
of a lifetime?

Well firstly, I'm not against anyone going to work for EA Canada, if that is
what  they  have set out as their heart's desire.  If someone is a  talented
individual,  and  wants  the career that properly reflects and rewards  that
talent, then fair enough. None of my following arguments should stop you!

It's just that if you think that your Atari scene related stuff can carry on
as normal, then you might be somewhat disappointed.

So, we're on to the main part of the article, which goes something like,

The Entertainment Software Industry isn't good for the demo scene because..

1. Time is a killer!

One  of  the major issues for the 21st Century,  at least in the  prosperous
developed world,  is going to be quality vs quantity of life. At the moment,
things seem to be out of balance,  with an individuals personal, private and
family  needs  being  swept aside by the all-demanding  corporate  god.  The
entertainment  software industry is an extreme worst case example  of  this.
The earnings potential is brilliant,  the image is glamourous, but the hours

There  are ex-scene people in the 'industry' who are still keen  to  support
their old dust-choked Atari's.  The sad fact is,  THEY DON'T GET THE TIME! I
get  the impression that the games industry is miffed by the fact there  are
only  24 hours in any one day,  and that puny humans eventually have to stop
working through sheer exhaustion!

The really ironic thing is,  that some of the people that Rich K most dearly
wanted to come to STNICC, many of the original scene veterans, are unable to
make it this time. They are, quite possibly, "Too busy!"

2. What have they done for the demo scene, apart from take from it?

The relationship between the demo scene,  and the games industry is one way,
parasitic  in nature,  and slewed entirely in favour of the games  industry!
This point is developed further under the next heading.

3. The games industry is rife with short-termist thinking!

There  doesn't  seem to be any long term plan to  develop  the  intellectual
resources that the (European at least) games industry needs,  to be a world-
class player. They have been over-reliant on 'slash and burn' recruitment of
the existing talent, that has sprung into being, by accident, and by its own
efforts.  With  the  current  generation of 'Konsole  Kidz'  coming  through
lacking any coding skills, Stephan Postuma's visit to the STNICC in December
would seem to be the tail-end of that process?

What  happens  when  the current ex-scener generation  is  fat,  burnt  out,
married  with  kids,  and in managerial jobs?  Where are the next generation
coming from?

(Answer  - India,  or whichever third world country gets those old  hand-me-
down  Commodore 64's!  I don't think you can ever get TOO cynical about  the
games industry, no matter how hard you try!)

4. Things 'aint wot they used to be!

A personal point really,  how much empathy can someone like Stephan, who was
last  in touch with the scene ten years ago,  have with us?  Things are very
different  now from then.  People's motivation to take part in a demo  scene
relates a lot more to the 'fun' part than the 'reward' part these days. Back
then,  a  clearly marked path to a job in the games industry seemed to be  a
lot more of a feature of the 'old' scene.

5. Foremost in the queue of rats leaving the sinking ship!

How  soon you all forget!  These are the same people who dropped support for
the ST as soon as they could!  These are the people who sniffed disdainfully
at the STe,  and wrote the Falcon off as a no-hoper.  Now in cold commercial
business  logic  terms,  they may have been right,  but thinking really hard
about it,  how much warmth and loyalty and goodwill to the mainstream,  does
that inspire in you?

Not a lot? Thought so!

6. Waiting for 3-D GoDots!

This  is  a bit of a rerun of the 'Time is a killer' argument.  So just  how
many of the legions of ex-scene people,  have managed to continue with their
scene  activities,  once they are sealed within the plush coding dungeons of
the  games  industry?  Some deluded people with more faith than is good  for
them (the authors of this diskzine included!) remain hopeful that  SOMETHING
will emerge from the other end of the tunnel, one day, maybe.....

This  wishful  thinking  does not take into account factors  such  as  human
lifespans only being finite?

Still, if someone can prove me wrong here...


I'm  sorry to sound so negative about Stephan's kind offer of a better  life
overseas, it's just that if he was too successful, it really would be a case
of  "Would  the  last person to leave the Atari Scene please  turn  out  the

If you want to go to work for EA Canada,  then go right ahead, don't let any
of this stop you.  But you had better take a good look around you at all the
other  people at STNICC,  it may be the last that you see of them for a long
long time!

I look forward to seeing most of you at Error in Line Part 2 next year?

  CiH for Alive Diskzine, Sept 2000.

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