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German C-64 Scene
by Zeitgeist/Civitas

So now Cactus got me. He asked me to write an article on German C-64 scene and that's why I'm sitting here in my self-chosen Swedish exile, listening to the pouring rain outside and starting on my notebook's keyboard.

What IS the German scene? Is it any specific compared to other countries' scenes? And if so, why is that? As I'm about to become a historian, I guess there's no way around starting it all off from history: the C-64 struck Germany in 1981 and became pretty popular virtually over night. When I grew up, C-64 was still the non-plus-ultra concerning home computer, but it already had become affordable here. 6 out of 10 of my classmates owned a sixtyfour, the few Amiga owners were envied silently. Still "scene" wasn't anything we thought of even the faintest. I've heard from groupmates like Chico or Taxim, or other fellow I've talked to during my time in scene, that trading was pretty popular on the early 80s' schoolyards, but not on my school actually. Probably I just missed the burning years by few. Still you could buy cracks second hand and on flee markets. But specifically "Public Domain" seems to have been far more popular down here than in other European countries, a field of free C-64 production that was totally independent from any kind of "scene". Think of people like Peter Diehm, who created all these awful BASIC adventures. We loved them. :) And there were a lof of PD-sellers, like Matting or DataHouse. Even BOEDER, who was a big number in commercial production had its own PD-series selling. But the idea of "Public Domain" died out in the later 90s when there was hardly anyone producing software that wasn't in any way scene-related. Not to talk of commercial productions of course - we all know how it ended up.

roups? Well, time to come up with some ill chauvinism, hm? Poland can be proud of their great number of outstanding coders and graphicians (mainly). Sweden and Norway might do, too. And so might Germany. Of course this is pretty bold simplification. There isn't any relation between one's nationality and his or her abilities in coding, painting or making music - why should it? If one wants to think of an explanation, we might conclude that the specific economic situations of wider parts of a country's population might be an important factor for that (still the commie was pretty cheap compared to other computer-systems). But this is truely pretty incohaerent and simplified argument, especially speaking of pretty well-off nations like the Scandinavian's. So let's leave all sorts of that thoughts aside and concentrate on simply naming a few well-known groups which came from Germany. Maybe we'll find at least a little part of what refers to this article's title. First of all we probably should name CREST. And whatever one might think about the PC-inspired demos of SMASH DESIGN - still they had quite some impact on the scene due to their indoubtably high techniqual level. Not to forget the dinosaurs of the early days: GENESIS*PROJECT or the MASTER DESIGN GROUP for example, and COSMOS DESIGN, or the middle-field players like CREAM. And still there's one (compared to the previously named) rather young group that hadn't been too active lately, but which have a very special attempt towards demos: the dynamic duo Flip and Quasar of CENTRIC. But let's cut it here before we'll drift into simple name-dropping (regarding that we hadn't done so already).

There is one thing which I suspect is a bit specific for the German scene - at least I haven't heard of it when talking to my contacts from other European countries. It's the devision between a "real scene" and a "lamer scene". Of course these terms go way back to the glorious 80s, but still they've got a more vital meaning here, though they are surely pretty arrogant: there is a great amount of people - there are good arguments for calling that a whole own "scene" - which don't have any connection to the producing groups or anything. Probably one should just find nicer terms for it, something like "producing-" and "hobbyists-scene", but for obvious reasons this doesn't really fit either. After all, there are also groups and individuals on the edge, let's say the dusk-zone between both these kinds of scenes. I'm thinking of groups like the TIGERCREW etc. - and also our own group CIVITAS came out of that area somehow.

Well, nothing more to tell about, I'm afraid. Maybe I was the wrong guy to write this article, who knows? The only thing I can conclude from my roughly 10 years at the scene is that German scene has got a lot less important speaking of the C-64 scene as a whole. The quality of work has decreased, everyone has to admit that (with a few exclusions of course). And I'm not that much an optimist that I can honestly say I see a good chance for re-improving. But well, I'll be happy to be proven wrong.

With some good wishes for all of you...

ZEITGEIST/CIVITAS

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