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Hello and welcome to a special party-report about a special party.
Special in quite few senses. First, it had a special name:
UnConventional is not really a conventional name for a party,
even if the Convention itself was indeed quite conventional
after all.
Second, it had the task to combine both Atari 8-bit scene and
the Atari 16/32-bit scene, which is not really conventional as
well. And finally, it featured the more or less inofficial
Millipede World-Championship.

MC Laser and i decided to go there together, to save fuel, to
have a bit company and to make the greatest detour possible for
MC Laser. He was in bad luck and had to wait in traffic jams
roughly for about 1 1/2 hours already on his way to my place, so
we took a break before starting, ate something, packed my equipment
into his car and started ... To wait in traffic jams another hour
or so. Additionally the weather was really bad and the final part
of the trip mainly consistes of going over cross-country roads in
bad shape, in the worst thunderstorm i could imagine, behind two
slow-driving and definetly impassable trucks.
So MC Laser was in a quite foul mood when we finally arrived,
after a tour de force of roughly 7 hours. Fortunately, his mood
began to improve the minute we entered the hall. It was quite
a nice building (in the middle of nowhere), with a large mainhall,
a little helpless looking Mad Butscher at the entrance and
nicely divided 8- and 16/32-bit sections. The 8-bit-fanatics
were seated in a row to the left hand while the 16/32-bit-freaks
were positioned on the right hand side.
Mad Butscher told us instantly to place ourselves somewhere in the
middle to close the gap between the two different groups, but since
we already met ST Survivor on the outside and wanted to sit close
to the infamous Feske-Bros., No of Escape and 505 of
Checkpoint, we decided to continue the tradition of seperating
ourselves from the 8-bit groups. No pun intended though.
ST Survivor helped me gather some tables and chairs so MC Laser
and i could put our equipment together. The place between 505 and
me was taken, but currently unmanned, i was happy to see that it was
taken by Thothy of SDT the next morning, he's a very cool, friendly
and helpful chap and i was happy to get to know him a little better
this way.
Anyway, at around 3 o'clock (we arrived at roughly 1 o'clock) AM,
MC Laser decided to roll himself up in the sleeping-room, i continued
to chat a bit longer with No and STS and to code a little - after
all, i was about to present my first Falcon030-demo - my first project
in assembly language after all.
Nothing very special happened on this friday evening, except for the
fact that Mr.XY was dealing ... Atari 2600 cartridges and that No
gave me a quick introduction into the DSP 56001 of the Falcon.
At around 5 o'clock, i decided i'd be dropping dead if i couldn't get
some sleep this instant so i went to the sleeping chamber, too.

As usual with those parties, you just don't get much sleep. The sleeping
chamber was quite some kind of a snoring chamber and after roughly 4 hours
of intense attempts to ignore the rising level of snoring and probably 3
hours of sleep, i got up, feeling more refreshed than i expected.
After cleaning myself up a little, i met MC Laser again, who was
preparing coffe and Thothy has shown up by now, too. Some other tables
have been placed next to ours so it looked like people were still
gathering. I started to code, wind MC Laser up a bit about his SID-
sound tunes or his ASCII-graphics ;-), talk to ST Survivor and Mad
Butscher a little until roughly 10:30 AM.
This was when the harddisk-throwing contest was starting.
This was one of the main attractions of the UnConventional and also
something pretty unconventional to do: Throw a harddisk into a field
and the one who throws the largest distance wins.
Since the ABBUC, Germany's largest Atari 8-Bit-User club, sponsored
the whole event, the emassador of the ABBUC volunteered as judge and
we decided that the distance of the harddisk where it stops moving
counts and not the point where it hit the ground.
Everyone had two attempts, luckily the harddisk turned out to be more
stable than expected and it really survived all turns without larger
deformations or even losing pieces.

After this funky kind of sport - i demand it will become an olympic
discipline this instant - Pizza was ordered, breakfast and Lunch was
prepared and everyone got back to being productive.
I started to feel a little sorry for ST Survivor, who went roughly
800 km to a party in Germany, a little to avoid going to a party where
only french people are, the aRTS, just to find out that hardly anyone
spoke english at the UnConventional. At least among the 16-bit
fanatics, german was more or less the only language.
However, i had my own demo to finish so i was a bit short in time as
well and had to hope Seb would not feel bored to death until i had
my projects finished.

In the afteroon, the Millipede World Championship was about to be
held. In case you don't know Millipede, it's the sequel to
Centipede, (C) 1982 Atari and this is a famous one.
Funny enough, the best conversion of Millipede is the Atari 2600
conversion. The Atari XL-version is a bit too easy, the Atari ST
far too easy.
Millipede  on the Atari 2600 however tends to get fast quite fast
and it stays in high-pace and action-packed all the time without
being unfair one single fragment of a second.
In case you didn't realize: I love Millipede.
There are two shoot'em ups i adore for their pure, clean, direct way
of pushing a lot of adrenaline into my veins: That's Tempest 2000 on
the Jaguar and that's Millipede on the 2600.
To be honest with you - if i hadn't advertised Millipede to Mad
Butscher roughly 3 years ago i don't really know if he had ever
organized a Millipede World Championship. ;-)
(Nevertheless i hadn't played it in quite a while and was hoping for
maybe a good 3rd place, after all, Mr.XY is pretty good in a lot of
video games and i was sure he had been training ever since the
Milliways 3).
The system was quite easy: In the first round, 3 players play 2 games
each, but only to find a ranking of who has to play against who next
round. After then, a K.O.-system is being used to find the real
It's no lie to say everyone participated.
3 Atari 2600 of the small ones, often also called Atari 2600 jr. (even
though this has never been the official name of this cute little device),
along with 3 "deluxe" joysticks and very authentic colour TV sets - very
low picture quality - have been built up for the contestants to play.
The party carried on during the competition when Moondog and mOd
appeared, organized themselves a table and started copying filer with MC 
Laser. Moondog and are myself are well known for endless debates so we
started more or less rightaway, only interrupted by ordering Pizza and
playing Millipede of course.
In the meantime, one of the organisers and some of the ABBUC have started
a barbeque on the outside - very nice.
Later that night, MC Laser prepared two turning tables and a few big
speakers to do some good scratching and play some records "in the mix". It
slowly got dark outside, Joe Cool of Checkpoint also appeared and he and
505 tried to dodge the high volume that MC Laser produced and do some
more tracking for the competitions and also one of the co-organisers,
Helmut, considered the volume too high and left, giving up on the
Millipede competition.
Which, by the way, was slowly nearing completition. Guest star of the day
was Bob, who suffers from a very limited vision and still kept playing
very very well, while the favourite, Mr. XY, in lack of beer switching
over to a deadly mixture of liquor with Coke, slowly got drunk. Another
favourite, Mad Butscher, had a bad round, too, and that left only Bob
and me to compete against Mr. XY. Bob was unlucky but so was Mr. XY
and this odd way, i got Millipede champion, even though i did neither the
highest score of this day nor the best series. I didn't even get close to my
own record of roughly 157.000 points (lately topped by Mad Butscher with
something over 200.000 points), nevertheless, i am very happy about the way
this championship went.

Time for competitions, don't you think ?
The organizers didn't think so, though. MC Laser finished his excellent
work of DJing with some really well chosen records, i finished my compo-
picture, Joe Cool and 505 returned to the main hall as well, even mOd
has stopped moaning about the Atari scene in general for a change, so we all
waited for the competitions to start in anticipation.
But they didn't.
They kept doing that for roughly 1 1/2 hours more.
At about 3 o'clock in the night, about 3 hours after the time i wanted to
get to bed to get at least some sleep this night, the competitions were
almost starting.
But when they were finally starting, we were about to see and hear some nice
entries, some minor details about them following:
- The real music competition as Mad Butscher called it, was of course the
  chipmusic competition, a mixed competition of YM2149 tunes and Pokey
  music, 8-bit and 16/32-bit happily combined.
  In memory of the rather monotone chipmusic at the PMP (oh boy, another
  SSD-tune), this competition featured a lot of different styles, first
  because Pokey and YM2149 were both being allowed, second because
  with Milhouse and Luebke, 2 rather new contestants appeared and
  after all, Luebke is not using SSD.
- The modmusic compo featured 2 outsiders this time, Shiuming Lai from
  the UK, well known for his excellent work for the Atari Computing
  magazine, System Solutions in the UK and his enthusiasm for Centek
  products, and a very eccentric rave-tune named "Walltek" entered along
  with a FlexTrax-tune by 505, a rather classical tune by Milhouse
  and a chipmusic-tune by MC Laser.
- Next were Graphics - all formats allowed. Dominated by 16-colour GFX
  by ST Survivor, Moondog and myself, 1 Atari XL entry and one
  true-colour and one B/W-graphic looked pretty good on the big screen.
- Mad Butscher wanted to have 1 demo-compo, mixing 8- and 16-bit again.
  I personally considered this a little unfair since i, as a 16-bit user,
  personally don't really know how to judge an 8-bit demo and i also
  consider that most of the 8-bitters have problems judging a 16/32-bit
  demo just as well.
  But Mad B was open for reason, so he decided to have 2 compos.
  One of the XL-demo entries was a TurboBasic production which featured
  a nice looking effect, the other was a real demo with VU-meters in the
  form of Rasterbars, scrollers, logos and a slideshow in the end - only
  the music was a bit ... terrible ...
  The ST entry was the long-awaited GFA-demo by LouD!, Thyrex and
ST Survivor and it had a stunning set of effects, especially for
  GFA-Basic. The other entry was the first assembly-demo by Paranoia
  ever, running on the Falcon.

After about 1 1/2 hours of competitions, i tried to crawl to my sleeping
bag and rest a few hours, but constant snoring from various directions kept
distracting me, so i only got sleep for another 3 hours again.
During my absence, Mr. XY must have gotten drunk so well that he even
started to insult No of Escape, luckily No seemed to be the
impersonated patience, so things stayed relatively peaceful on the party
while Mad Butscher and a few others kept counting votes.

At around 8.30, i got up, tried to find out where i am by talking to the
sink for about half an hour, then someone was brave enough to fill some
Pepsi into my throat which got me awake enough to find the way to the
partyplace myself and drop dead on my chair.
The results were being published in the form of pinned up paper-sheets.
I personally was quite happy with the result and so we all simply waited for
the pricing-ceremony to start.
But it didn't.
Why start early with the pricing ceremony if the competitions have already
started about 2 hours too late ?
But i could understand Mad Butscher, he simply didn't want to start
anything with so many people to be awarded that were still asleep.
A few hours later, he simply got outside and woke the dutch fellows, the
only ones still missing, up, so we could finally start.
The prices were really not bad, sponsored by MuCS Sascha Roth, by the
ABBUC of course, by Kaisersoft and by Classic Atari magazine, the most
suitable and valuable prices were being awarded.
Mad Butscher made no secret out of his jealousy that i had won the
Millipede competition, but otherwise, for being awake for roughly 28 hours
by now, he did his job well.

And after that, we shook hands of most people, said good-bye to everyone,
entered our car and left, tired, but in a good mood.

The UnConventional was not as unconventional as the name might suggest. It
was a nice party, geographically a bit off, but the very nice location
really made up for that - at least a little. The harddisk-throwing was nice
for a change but would get boring quickly if held on too many parties and
the Millipede championship was a nice idea as well, especially since i
personally love this game, but i assume, the others had a little fun in
giving it a go, too.
The competitions were pretty good in my eyes, especially as there weren't
too many people on this party. But the musics and graphics were nice and the
demos, especially the GFA-demo by LouD!, definetly good ones. Also, the
people on this party were very nice - i simply like the usual Atari party
atmoshpere. Usually, there is no fighting, there are no heaps of junk, it
usually stays clean enough to feel comfortable, no nasty noise by oversized
audio-equipment and of course no Quake-players.
And i simply felt home for these 2 days.

I doubt there will be an UnConventional 2001 with an Error in Line 2001
being discussed right now since the partyplaces would be relatively close
together - which limits chances that people would go to both parties.
But if i had the time, i would surely go to a second UnConventional for

The Paranoid
                    The Lunatic Asylum
                                      Think you can handle it ?!

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