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Forever 2010 Report
by DJ Gruby/Oxyron

This year's Forever party has been held for the 11th time in a row, and that is amazing that after all those years CreaMD, Wotnau, and the rest of the team still gathers our small 8-bit community together, giving an opportunity to meet over and over again in the beautiful country of Slovakia. Since the year 2000 the party has always been held in the town of Trencin, which was changed this year. And it was really an unexpected change. We were quite surprised, or even shocked, when we arrived at the declared party place, which was terribly quiet, the doors were locked. I did even wonder for a while if I really remembered the last year's place correctly. A couple of seconds passed... Illmenit, who arrived together with me, was interrogatively staring at me, and I was throwing up my hands helplessly because I didn't know how to explain my confusion. Luckily, it was not even more than 60 seconds when I got a phone call from Sudi. He quickly explained that party has been moved a village called Horna Suca (okay, at first I could not believe that was true, and thought this was a joke - because I was not quite sure why would he tell me to make for "horny bitch"). We packed our stuff into the car and left for the railway station where we were supposed to meet Sudi. He was waiting at the so called Rotunda restaurant. An Atari scener called Vasco and his wife were also there, waiting for their meal order to be delivered. We were extremely happy to join them as we were starving after five and a half hours of travelling by car from Krakow to Trencin. Tidy part of this time was wasted trying to cut through the traffic within Krakow. As soon as we got out, the road was getting emptier with every hour of our driving. Since both of us, me and Illmenit, are living and working in Krakow, it was the starting point of our trip. I left my workplace at 14:00, and I managed to get in front of the building of Illmenit's office at 15:00 o'clock. Finally we met and our Forever 2010 adventure began.

On our way to the party place located at the Polish-Slovakian border we met two hitchhikers. They were travelling to the south to Istanbul. We gave them a lift to the city of Zilina, where they hoped to get help from someone else. After having our late-time dinner eaten, we decided to go shopping to our well-known and every year visited Hypernova supermarket. Unfortunately it closed at 21:00. Since we arrived there a little bit too late we could not buy all the necessary supplies (yet). We were still at the parking lot in front of the supermarket when another car arrived. Booker and Sebaloz stepped off, we said hello and agreed driving to Tesco supermarket, which I guess was the only place there to be still opened at such a late hour. It took a while before we finally moved onto the way planned, as Booker and Sudi first travelled to a hotel in order to check into a room he had reserved before (not everyone likes spending the night at the party place in a sleeping bag, having your own bed is surely more comfortable). They said to be right back, as checking in should not take any longer than two minutes. They were actually back in twenty minutes. What was the most joyless for Sebaloz, as it much later turned out, was that guys had left his bag in a room, so at the party place he could not drink/hand round a vodka he brought with himself from Poland.

Sebaloz seemed so lost when Booker and Sudi were leaving. He was not quite sure whether he should go with them or stay with us. His hesitation resulted in staying at the parking lot, waiting together with us for Vasco's arrival (as he promised to show us the way to the new party place). It was about 22:00 or maybe a little later when all of us were discussing further movements together. We took our way to the Tesco, where all the necessary supplies like beer and vodka have been provided (and also a bit of food).

There was only one road to Horna Suca. The village is located in the middle of nowhere and when we arrived there we already noticed it was the end of the world. Most of the visitors were already at the party place which was really a big one comparing to the last year's small room. Despite being very capacious,the party place did not seem empty at all. Many people were there. I am not sure about the exact number of visitors on Friday evening but I bet there were no less than 80 who had already arrived.

Many guys were already heavily drunk. ;) I thought I could not be worse but before I opened my first beer, I went around the whole party place to say hello to every single visitor. I was really glad to my Atari friends being so happy to meet their C64 comrades once again. Lewis, a guy from the Atari scene, was chasing me with Jameson whisky and I had to keep promising him that I would join his drinking as soon as I had all my own beer bottles emptied. From the unknown our beloved Hungarian fellows Leon and Poison appeared at the party place (they were not there when we first entered). We had a nice chit-chat session, and the only thing I missed was that the party had not been held in Trencin, in which case we could have rambled our usual sightseeing/boozing around local pubs. Leon showed me his compo entry, a real masterpiece as usual from him (I honestly admit it was the one I enjoyed the most during the compo, although Poison being the winner of the compo was not notably worser in my opinion).

A short opening ceremony took place, which I attentively followed with Leon and Poison. Wotnau greeted all of the party visitors in his specially designed costume: a spacesuit. That unusual outfit was made by Wotnau's friend, who got long experience with preparing costumes for children's camp games. So when Wotnau asked "Do you think you could help me to prepare a spacesuit?", she just said "Sure thing." The main theme of the 11th Forever was announced, or rather reminded. In case you are not aware, it was the 8-bit odyssey. Wotnau informed the crowd that beginning at 11:00 on Saturday the party programme will start with some presentations. Competitions were planned for 15:00, dinner break at 18:00, and crazy compos at 20:00. It turned out that organizers could not keep the promised hours for events taking place at all. Everything was delayed about or over 2 hours. And that was too bad! After releasing "Attitude" for about 10 years now I realize how important it is sticking to deadlines, times and dates. Forever organizers do also have 10 years of experience in organizing demo parties, so I hope that it is going to be sooner than later for them to realize the same.

I think it was about 2 or 3 in the night when I went to sleep. I unpacked my sleeping bag and a pillow, laid down on the ground and was soon asleep. The party place was not too warm, so I slept well. For the first time in the history of Forever the party place was definitely quiet in the night. I remember people having long all-night discussions ending on the morning of the next day (well, I know because I participated them myself). I remember loud Atari tunes being played by someone to prevent others from staying relaxed. This year most of us did just sleep during the night. That was perhaps the main reason why Saturday started so early for most of the visitors. I guess some people were already wide awake at 7:00, at 8:00 the party place was full of people walking around, and at 9:00 I got up myself as one of the very last sleepyheads.

It took a while before I fully recovered from Friday's drinking night. One funny thing from the previous day had been recalled then. There was a music by Dane playing on some C64. Lewis, an Atari scener who was the organizer of C64 and Atari demo party in Podkowa Lesna in the late 90s, approached me with (this is how he called it :)) "the official apology for the C64 scene for calling Dane a disco-polo music maker back in the late 90s", and he explained that at present he was just adoring all of his soundtracks. I could not quite understand, why was he directing his words to me (maybe because I am the main editor of "Attitude"? ;)), but as he did so I thought I need to share them with my diskmag's readers. Oh, and in case you are not aware of what calling someone a disco-polo music maker could mean, this is a phrase used in Poland to describe a total duffer when it comes to composing music. Hey Dane, apology accepted? :)

The second day of the party went by presentations and competitions. Two new games have been introduced first. There was one C64 title presented by JTR, and a very promising Atari preview programmed by Illmenit, with graphics by Powrooz and music by Jakub Husak. The audience received the game with a thunderous applause. I took the opportunity to have some interesting conversations with different party people, I cannot recall all of them by now though. There was a pizza delivery organized by Sudi. But since we were in a small village, it got delayed - they were not prepared for accepting such an extensive order (and even caused the local pizzeria to run out of some important ingredients like cheese by the late evening).

Now the main competitions caught the attention of all the visitors. Beginning with the wild compo, progressing with music, graphics and 1kbyte intro, it ended up with the demo competition. 10 musics were played (with one cover entry which was later disqualified), 10 pictures shown, 2 intros presented, and only 1 demo released. Each one compo entry received its well-deserved applause, no matter whether it was C64, Atari or Spectrum production. Personally I really enjoyed what was presented from the Atari scene, especially their pictures and 1kbyte intros (impressive work). Although the competitions were not imposing, they were actually very enjoyable, and it was especially nice to see most of the compo's participants being present at the party place. This would be very nice thing to see at future Forever editions if it would become a requirement for releasing anything in the compo to be present at the party place. But I am afraid it will never happen although this would be more fun...

The last point of the shedule were crazy compos. The first one was targetted to the sceners familiar with Atari games. It was about guessing game titles based on a partially revealed screenshot from popular Atari games. And the winner was, no surprises here, an Atari scener called Illmenit. Two other crazy compos had only one winner, who was Factor6 (funny pronounced by Wotnau during prize giving ceremony as "Faktor Sest"). There was a compo where you were supposed to guess where the sidtune came from. The tricky thing was that the soundtrack had been previously filtered to make guessing difficult. Filtering consisted in slowing down the tempo, or removing certain track frequencies. Even though some of the tracks were known too me, I would never guess anyone of them while being played with all those strange filters applied. The very last crazy compo was the 8-bit quiz, whose winner received the title of "Walking Encyclopedia of 8-bit Gaming". All the compos were pure fun, and kept plenty of people both busy and interested for about two hours.

Amongst many other talks, I remember having a very interesting conversation with Visac. It started about the church and his astonishment I was not a real church-fan. Fortunately, I believe it was not only me, but most of the party people did have nothing in common with the infamous catholic church in Poland. And I guess you would find more Satan's followers than God's ones there. ;) What was the most important was that Visac inspired me to write another IDE64 tutorial, this time about setting up IDE64 in VICE emulator. This is very good to have people like Visac, who have got interesting ideas in their minds, and they like to share them with others. Of course as the result of Visac's idea, you are able to learn (if you have not got yet) how to configure your VICE to fully enjoy all the features of IDE64 device by simply emulating it on your PC.

Another remarkable point of my visit to Forever took place, when Yerzmyey presented his collection of Commodore computers, which he brought with him to the party, to me. His impressive collection included such rare models like Commodore 16, Commodore VIC-20, and the coolest one Commodore 116. It was a really pleasant experience to have the possibility to see those computers with my own eyes. Just amazing!

When the main programme for Saturday was exhausted, some kind of a circle had been formed below the main scene by a dozen visitors or so. Miscellaneous beverages were being passed from hand to hand, including vodka, beherovka and God knows what else. What was the time when the circle began to decay? That is not an easy question, but I guess it was about 2:00 or 3:00 o'clock when I went to sleep, but still there were people around continuing the game.

Sunday's prize giving ceremony was opened by Wotnau in his cosmic spacesuit. Every person ending up in any compo on 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, received a stylish diploma, an applause from the crowd, and a couple of photos for his/her triumph during being at the stage.

Moving the party place from Trencin to Horna Suca turned out to be generally a very good decision. Nearness of a big town was the only missing factor. All the rest, including the big room arranged as the party place, was really great. People did not disappointed the organizers, and attended Forever in a respected number of 98 visitors. Forever 2010 was a huge success, and there is no doubt that 2011's edition is going to be as good, or even better!

I must send a big thank you very much to all Forever organizers for their continuous effort bringing the 8-bit computer scene together in a friendly and nice atmosphere. Same thanks must go to the visitors from all around the Europe for their time spend in Slovakia. Each third weekend in March is already reserved in the calendars for this event by many of you. Please keep it that way. Let us support one of the best (if not the best one!) central European demo scene events with all our hearts. I hope to see you all again at Forever in 2011!

DJ GRUBY/OXYRON

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