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Datastorm 2017 Party Report
by MtnBuffalo/Triad


THE SWEDISH BEAR HUG

I arrived at the "Truckstop Alaska" nightclub late at night wearing my dark hoodie with the TRIAD dealer quality software logo on the back. The outside parking lot was covered in crispy snow that squeaked under my shoes as I approached the two large bearded fellas standing at the entrance. When I reached the nightclub door, they smiled friendly and greeted me to Datastorm 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. In the native language of course...

As I opened the sticker covered front door and entered the realms of the industrial complex, I was immediately dazzled. It was like leaping back to a cherished childhood memory when all that mattered were riding my plastic skateboard and playing C64 games with friends - a cozy feel-good sensation in my tummy that I thought I had forgotten decades ago.

The dimmed club facility was packed with people. Faces were only lit by the faint light of dozens of computers screens. Long tables were scattered across the entire club area and filled with oldskool computer gear - C64's, Amiga's, Commodore 1084 monitors and other gear that I have only heard tales of. Those sceners who were not deeply focused on compiling the last code changes for one of the competitions were talking to forum buddies in real life.

My trip to February chilly, but warm-hearted, Sweden had been without food for many hours so I almost instantly ordered a kebab wrap and an alcohol free beer from the bar (Sweden has a zero tolerance for DUI's!). With my mind set on raising my blood sugar level I dug into the delicious meal that the very tattooed girl in the bar had handed me with a friendly smile. While my brain processed the positive taste explosion of the kebab, a large hand was put on my shoulder... It was Bepp/TRIAD who greeted me while I feverishly tried not to choke on my dinner and drop my beverage. After a short introduction he led me to the area that our group had been assigned. After a short talk to Taper/TRIAD and after a huge bear hug by Ca$h/TRIAD (the Swedish way he said...) I instantly felt that this weekend was going to be epic!

At the opening ceremony, the stage area of the club was completely packed. After a short animation welcoming everyone, the one-man-band MaskinPop hit the stage in a cloud of heavy smoke, leather, black eyeliner, Dr. Martens boots and tight jeans. The Swedish punk-rocker lifted the roof in a perfect mix of 8-bit sounds, Swedish lyrics and a grin on his face - the perfect start for a perfect demoparty!

THE NIGHT THE MUSIC REIGNED

I usually listen to SID tunes on my old 22" Bang and Olufsen MX4000 CRT television as it has a pretty good bass. However, the sound system of the nightclub was massive! The bass was so deep that it could literally move mountains (note to self - earplugs is mandatory for any demoparty goer!). I have never heard SID tunes being played that loud before and I simply loooved it! Awesome! After listening to all the entries, Bait and Switch by Stinsen/Genesis Project won first place before DJ H0ffman got the crowd going using his custom Amiga's. Great way to start off the weekend!

SECOND COMPETITION DAY

Saturday started at noon (I guess Commodore sceners go to sleep late...) with seminars by different people from the Commodore scene. Amiga game developer Andreas Tadic enlightened us with some tales from the golden days while Spelpappan talked about his "Generation 64" book and the up-coming "Generation 500" book on the Amiga 500. After a humorous presentation by The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi on how to start a church in Sweden (The Missionary Church of Kopimism), hardware wizard Dave Haynie told some stories and amusing anecdotes from his time as a chief engineer at Commodore. The afternoon was rounded up by Prowler and his pixel art books.

I do not know how Enya got herself entangled in the Commodore demoscene, but whenever one of the competitions would start, the tunes from her song "Orinoco Flow" would fill the party area. However, the "sail away, sail away, sail away" lyrics were exchanged by a guy singing "Datastorm, Datastorm, Datastorm" with a heavy distorted Swedish accent - priceless! I had that jingle stuck in my head for days after the party - thanks Datastorm!

First up was the Commodore 64 mixed graphics competition which was won by a PETSCII piece called Gronsaksmorderen (the vegetable killer) by Fatzone showing a rabbit with its mouth full of carrots and cucumbers. The C64 graphics competition was very close among Teo+Leon/Singular, Twoflower/TRIAD and Ilesj/TRIAD. However, Ilesj's piece called Rear View, showcasing an 80's sport car and a spandex wearing girl in pastel shaded colors, won in the end. The entry from Singular was later removed from the compo (post party) as it was considered to be a remote entry.

The highlight of Saturday's competitions was the Commodore 64 demos. Especially three demos stood out from the rest. Third place was awarded to The Last Hope by Dr. Science/Atlantis with a tribute to Carrie Fisher (a.k.a. Princess Leia from Star Wars).

Second place was won by Shape with their demo entitled The Shores of Reflection. A beautiful demo in pastel shaded colors that starts out with images from below the sea surface and a man drowning. After a while he surfaces (maybe he resurrects) and ends up on a beach. The next part of the demo made the crowd go wild as white text swirled around the screen in a large loop, with the top part being outside of the screen, while the dimension of the characters changed. It all ended up with a skinny naked person hovering across something resembling the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany. Very dark! An extremely nice and well engineered demo from Shape.

First place went to TRIAD with the demo Neon and is best described as an inferno of pastel shades colors consisting of mainly purple, pink and peach! The demo comprises several 80's icons including a cityscape of a metropolis with skyscrapers, fast sports cars and girls in tight spandex clothes. My personal favorite part was the reuse of Ilesj's Rear View C64 graphics piece, but with a twist that animated the image and made it look like it needed calibration of a VHS head playing the demo! Truly mind-blowing stuff. The demo ended by stating that this was made for Datastorm 1987...

Following the competitions, the night continued with a live concert by LFT on his tiny pocket operators. These sweet looking devices provide studio quality sounds and include the flexibility to make music on the fly. Demo-scene DJ Magnar demonstrated just how great the SID chip of the C64 can sound on a real sounds system in a nightclub - pumping up that bass!

ABONDONING THE PARTY PLACE

Sunday morning was dedicated to the prize ceremony. After a long retro weekend with intense competitions, it was time to head home from Datastorm 2017. People packed up their gear, hands were shaken, hugs were given, Bepp smashed a table and then everybody headed home after an intense weekend with good friends, heaps of laughter, intense competitions and the perfect mix of retro gear and demos. Cannot wait till next time!

MTNBUFFALO/TRIAD

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