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Alive 13

Atari at Pouet!

                 Reflections on Atari in the Wider Demoscene...

We're back with another issue of Alive, the lucky 13th, and I'm writing this
article  with the awareness that we're likely to get a wider  audience  than
the usual favourable Atariscne crowd.

So what's prompting this sudden excursion into stage-fright then, CiH?

Well,  there are a lot more people taking an interest in our comfortable and
enclosed little world.  If you care to take a look at the 'Prods' section of  for  any  recent issue of Alive mag,  you might find  that  we've
picked up quite a few interested people who we don't recall being  long-term
Atarians! Or at least they didn't tell us yet?

There has been an Atari presence on for a long time now of course,
but  you  tended to get the sense that it ran in a parallel fashion  to  the
mainstream,  being  there,  but  not  really touching the rest of the  Pouet
asylum in an intimate fashion,  so to speak (ooh err missus!) This reflected
how  we and the mainstream demo scene had diverged  historically.  Episodes,
such  as the Mekka Symposium '02 party seemed to confirm this distance,  but
in the last twelve months or so, something amazing has happened, something I
didn't ever expect.

The barriers between the Atari scene and the rest have disappeared!

So how did this happen?

There has been a possibly belated recognition that the Atari demoscene has a
valid  place  in the history and heritage of the demoscene as a  whole.  The
early  part of 2005 saw the crusty but still great 'Cuddly Demo's'  suddenly
pick  up a lot of favourable feedback on Pouet from all kinds of people.  It
had  made  the  coveted 'Coup De Cour',  which is bloody good  going  for  a
minority  platform.  It  seems,  at last,  the cries of "Atari is the Lamer!"
back  from  the olden days of Amiga scene rivalry,  and which  had  coloured
people's perspectives since, were finally dying down.

But  this  process didn't happen on its own,  it needed some help along  the
way.  There  are  certain dedicated individuals who did a lot to reduce  the
distance,  being  happily  involved  in both the Atari and  mainstream  demo
scenes. One such person is Havoc. I remember staying with him at the time of
the Mekka 2002 debacle, and he was of the opinion even then, that there were
plenty  of cool and worthwhile people in the mainstream scene.  He persisted
in  this view,  establishing himself as a prominent figure on the mainstream
side,  but  still  finding the time for us,  to organise such goodies as the
Outline parties.

This culminated,  of course,  in the recent Outline '06 party, which managed
to  combine the Atari and mainstream demo scenes in one venue,  and  without
bitter  tears and recriminations on either side!  You could say this  latest
edition  of  Outline  was  a roaring success,  and it  looks  likely  to  be
repeated.  Apart from Havoc, we also have the rest of the combined organiser
team, such as Earx, Tinker, Skrebbel, Shifter, Okkie, and anyone else I left
out  here  to  thank for helping it all run nicely.  As for the party  as  a
whole, apart from long-established pre-existing friendships, there was a bit
of clannishness,  as each scene tended to stick to the people they knew, but
there  were  a lot of new contacts made,  (Hi Gina!) And this will get  much
easier with future parties.

It's  not  just a people thing though,  as many Atari productions have  been
getting  a  wider audience as well.  I think the breakthrough came with  the
release  of  the 'Beams' demo in March of last year,  which attracted a  lot
more  attention than there were active Atarians lurking on Pouet!  A lot  of
people were motivated to check it out, who I suspect had never set eyes on a
Falcon prod before...

I  come to my next hero,  in the never-ending mission to bring a better  and
closer understanding between the different parts of the scene. That is, Evil
of  DHS,  who  made  Beams,  and  many other Atari  prods  more  universally
available,  in  the  form of an uploaded video grab.  This made it easy  for
people  without a Falcon to finally see what we've been on about  all  these
years!  In  this  way too,  the first fruits of the CT60 demoscene have been
made more easily accessible to the majority of people who haven't got a CT60
to run them on.

The next prod to really make a big impression,  was Ray of tSCc's release of
'Wolfenstein  3D' for the Atari ST.  This fulfilled a very long term Atarian
dream,  to  have this Doom grandaddy Peecee game working on the ST.  It also
attracted a huge wave of positive feedback from all sorts of people, not all
of them intimately connected to the Atariscene either. And for this, we have
the  miracle  of decent emulation of the ST,  as this is a game,  and simply
watching a video won't do!

Of  course,  there are some people who managed to raise the profile of Atari
in the wider scene, but not in the way we would really want! Ironic applause
is extended to 'TBC' or The Beasts Crew,  whose stubbornly oldskool approach
to intro making tested everyone's sense of humour in 2005!

But to make up for this,  we had a couple of cool prods which attracted some
audience  comment  from other parts of the scene at the end  of  that  year,
namely the delayed from Outline '05 'Pacemaker' demo (STe) from Paradox, and
the megmighty 20 year anniversary combined megademo,  which managed to blast
from  the past,  but seem strangely up to date and contemporary in places as

After a short intermission,  we're coming up to date now.  There was a spate
of  recent  Falcon  and  CT60  productions,   such  as  'Supernatural'  from
Evolution, the DHS 2006 Outline invitro, the Chosneck Supplement, with added
'Menace' demo!  Not so mention some decent Outline '06 entries as well.  The
non-Atarian's who happened by, were impressed by these as well.

And  I  hate  to  come over all egotistical,  so we'll keep this  bit  to  a
minimum.  From  recent Prod listings featuring the Alive mag,  we seem to be
getting our share of happy vibes from the wider scene as well! Thanks guys!

I wonder if there will be scope for more creatively combined efforts? I hear
mutterings  of some people considering extending their creative  talents  in
our direction. For example, Kalms of TBL takes an interest in the happenings
of the CT60 demo scene, which is closely related to the Amiga '060 scene. On
a  less exalted level,  I've been known to lend the odd typing finger in the
direction  of  the Hugi Diskmag.  It would be great to see some fresh  blood
coming  in to our scene,  or even some Atari ports of killer prods would  be

In  conclusion,  the seemingly impossible has happened,  the Atari scene has
come back closer to the mainstream,  after a decade-long diverging trend! It
could get closer still, there's nothing to lose, and a lot to gain!

CiH, for Alive Mag, June '06..

Alive 13