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Forever 13 ZX Spectrum's Point Of View
by DJ Gruby/Oxyron

Forever is known as a multiplatform party. Even though it is not the main event of the year for us, the C64 demoscene, it is considered one of the target parties to release their best demos of the year for ZX Spectrum sceners. I was able to collect some very interesting conclusions and learn about the importance of this event for their community. My findings are shared through the following two conversations... The first one was conducted with Ellvis, who was earlier announced to quit the organising team of Forever with this year's edition.

[DJ Gruby] Thank you for agreeing to answer a couple of questions about this year's Forever party. Talking about this year in particular, it is year 2012 already, we have got 21st century, an era where modern and completely different devices rule technological world. What kind of motivation drives all your efforts to organize an 8-bit multiscene party?

[Ellvis] Well, the answer is maybe "modern and completely different devices rule technological world." Today's technology fly too fast and we have no time to build up any kind of "relationship" with it. Those old 8-bit computers (and I believe this is the same for 16-bits) had much longer lifetime. We all have been parts of scenes based on hardware (C64 users, Atari users, Speccy users) that we had for longer then just 2 or 3 years. When you look at today's technology, we stand more on software side of things (Linux users, Windows users, iOS, Android and so on), none is saying "Dell OptiPlex GX280 is a great piece of hardware, let's stick on it for the next 10 years!"

Most of us work in IT industry and having a weekend off the new technology is a way to relax and to meet others while not looking too strange. It is all about that "soul" inside of those old machines.

[DJ Gruby] Let's talk about Forever 13. Which platform had the strongest demoscene representation in terms of both people and releases at this year's edition?

[Ellvis] This year it was Spectrum in both releases and presence of people. Forever is traditionaly main event for Czech and Slovak Spectrum scene and this year they did a very strong support of the party.

[DJ Gruby] Did you have Speccy visitors from other countries besides Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland this year as well?

[Ellvis] There was Gasman from UK and LCD from Austria as far as I remember at the moment.

[DJ Gruby] Are there any other important Spectrum demo parties? If not, this would explain how does it come that Forever is considered one of the most important events in the whole Spectrum scene.

[Ellvis] Parties in ex-USSR used to be source of Spectrum releases (Chaos Constructions, CAFe, DiHalt), but lately scene there is getting really small. So, yes, Forever is main event for Spectrum scene this days.

[DJ Gruby] How was this year's Forever perceived in the Spectrum community? Were attendance and quality of new stuff satisfactory?

[Ellvis] For me yes, we had technicaly good stuff by Hooy-Program, there was newcomer's release of Nuance and traditionally good demo by Gemba Boys. Other competitions had usual high standard of works too. People were interested in the party quite a long time before it happened, so we've been very satisfied by Spectrum scene this year.

[DJ Gruby] As a person being present all those years at Forever parties, can you say whether Forever 13 releases were better than stuff released there in previous years?

[Ellvis] I think it was little bit better. We had good and bad years for releases and this year proved there is still a demand for a party and its competitions. Generally, it looks like quality and amount of releases on the Spectrum scene is slightly growing up last years.

[DJ Gruby] It is great to hear that there is such a positive trend! Would it be a legitimate claim to say that this year's Forever party was a success?

[Ellvis] For sure this year's Forever was success. It had somehow relaxed atmosphere, so we had more time to talk to people and enjoy the party itself.

[DJ Gruby] How many visitors did you have in total? CreaMD has told me you were the one collecting the entrance fees and you should know it best.

[Ellvis] Yes, I collected the entrance fee. That's why I own 2 boats and one island. :) I don't remember exact number, but it was something like 65 or 67. Together with organisers there was about 82 people during the main competitions.

[DJ Gruby] Will you have any special memories about it? What are a few moments that you remember best from the party?

[Ellvis] This Forever was special for me, because it was last one I was co-organising. So I enjoyed it all as it came, every minute of it. From next year I will be just regular visitor and will enjoy the party from the other side.

[DJ Gruby] When it had been announced that you were no longer going to take part in Forever organization, I was quite surprised, not to say astonished. What made you decide to leave the organization team after 13 years of creating and managing the Forever party brand?

[Ellvis] At the end of January I moved to Berlin/Germany. As some things are possible to organise for such a distance, some things have to be done "on the place", which became too difficult for me. I decided to leave now and not let the party sink because of me.

[DJ Gruby] That sounds like a reasonable explanation. What was your role/responsibility in the organization team and who will take over your responsibilities from now on?

[Ellvis] I was responsible for party place, this year also for accomodation, beamer and the big screen and all those things around party which are not directly connected with scenes and competitions. I was responsible for concert of AY Riders last year (and wanted to make it as a tradition - 8-bit concerts during Fridays, all scenes year after year) as well. My role will be taken by Pol/Phantasy. He was Spectrum organiser on the first three Forever parties and accidentally was main organiser of Forever in 2011 as we (me and CVM) were doing military service.

[DJ Gruby] That was my last question. Thank you for your time and good luck with your stay in Berlin! Maybe we meet again at some 8-bit party in Deutschland since I now live here as well and Hamburg is not that far from Berlin.

[Ellvis] For sure, I am not leaving the 8 bits, I am now much more focusing on demoscene itself and I hope to be back in bussiness with some releases after few years of absence. I wish all the best to all active 8-bit fans around the globe!

A couple of weeks after the party I had a pleasure to chat with second Spectrum organizer, Mike/ZeroTeam. Our entire conversation is published in the following pages of this article.

[DJ Gruby] It took a few years to provide meaning to the Forever party brand, which is now recognized and respected event in the 8-bit demo scene community. What do you think, does it require more a dedicated team to organize such a memorable event or rather visitors are the ones who create the real party spirit?

[Mike] It's definitely about visitors. You may prepare lots of competitions and events on the party program, however only visitors can create true spirit of the party. And I think we had big luck for people.

[DJ Gruby] It couldn't have been just a pure luck. What was the key to your success then? Would you have any advice, how to attract the right group of visitors to a demo party like Forever?

[Mike] My advice is don't try hard to attract people, instead do it the way you think is best. We started Forever as a party we thought had been missing here. On other parties 8-bit computers are just added value and sometimes it leads to unfair competitions. On Forever your Spectrum, Atari or Commodore is the main platform and everybody feels that this is very important. We also didn't known anything about other 8-bit platforms and we wanted to create good rivalry between scenes.

[DJ Gruby] I am afraid some people took this rivalry too seriously in the past. I remember Factor6 destroying Atari and Commodore devices on the stage. I also remember "war" demos against Atari and Commodore scenes being presented in the compo, and coming from some Speccy guest. Did you have any unpleasant incidents like those ones this year as well?

[Mike] Well, I remember Factor6 incident on the stage, but as I know it was just Atari case and it belonged to him. After the party he apologised for that not only to the Atari scene. Spectrum guys were very upset on Factor6 as well, and even MB-Maniax (group that made those "war" demos) said it had been very stupid. However, I think the best Factor6's apologies are his activities on other platforms. And as I mention MB-Maniax, they are lovely people, however their language is kind of their own fashion. After all what would you expect from a group that has word "maniax" in their name? ;) The only incident this year was broken beer bottle during competitions. I believe this year was quite peaceful.

[DJ Gruby] We had far less visitors from the Atari scene this year than in the previous editions of Forever. Was it a surprise to you or something that had been underhand expected?

[Mike] We expected that, because of Kisiel's ban on this Forever. We are quite tolerant to alcohol in the party, but only to the point when people are not offensive to others or to their properties. Kisiel crossed that line last year and one of the consequences was smaller number of Atari visitors from Poland.

[DJ Gruby] There were some Atari sceners who nevertheless decided to come and show up. Did you get any feedback regarding this year's Forever from them? Were they satisfied with the party in general?

[Mike] Feedback is not a strong part of this party, but I hope everybody was satisfied. I don't know Atari sceners opinion on this year's edition.

[DJ Gruby] Can you tell us how important is Forever party in the Atari demoscene in general?

[Mike] I'm not interested in Atari scene, but what I know in year 2000 when first Forever has happend was lack of Atari meetings and Atari scene demanded a new party. And I believe we have been quite successful in the Atari scene.

[DJ Gruby] What was the best moment of the party for you personally? Was there anything that would make you remember Forever 13 especially well?

[Mike] Well, the best moment happened probably when Bobik returned me repaired Atari 130XE that Ellvis had saved from the trash. Also I will remember this year as Forever in (again) new place that is so suitable for such action.

[DJ Gruby] Yeah, right. It was not the first time when you are forced to change the party place at almost last minute notice. Not everything always goes perfect. Did anything else there happen at the party that you personally did not like or appreciate, regarding both organization obstacles and party atmosphere?

[Mike] I was surprised how smooth this year was. The only big issue was quality of audio and video during competitions on C64 and Atari, but what exactly happend should be a question to someone else. We are using different power amplifier on Spectrum, so we didn't have any problems with sound, and projector was showing nice picture from my computer. Also I don't like Polish guys who were preparing their wild entry during other competitions and disturbing others. But this is just minor issue.

[DJ Gruby] Did preparation of this year's Forever party mean more work for you organizational-wise than usually? Or was it equally busy like every other edition?

[Mike] I think it became a kind of routine. We all know what we have to do and what we can except from others. So this year was comparable to others.

[DJ Gruby] Okay. Thank you very much for your time, for sharing your thoughts and answering a few questions about the party. If there is any message you would like to share with Attitude readers, feel free to speak now.

[Mike] I have heard many time that 8 bits are dead and it's just a waste of time. But Forever always prove me that it's not true and I would like to thank all people who keep them alive.

[DJ Gruby] Good luck to you and the whole org-team and continuing your efforts with Forever party series!

[Mike] Thank you and see you next year!

Forever is not a pure C64 party, it is a multinational multicultural 8-bit computers event gathering enthusiasts, fans and creative minds from all over the Europe. If you want to find out about all the latest developments of other 8-bit platform and meet other 8-bit freaks in person, Trencin on the third weekend of March is the best place to find them on this continent.

DJ GRUBY/OXYRON

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