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The demoscene is an interesting computer sub-culture that came to prominence during the rise of the 16 bit micros (the Atari ST and the Amiga), but demos first appeared during the 8-bit era on computers such as C64 and ZX Spectrum.

Demos began as software cracker's 'signatures'. When a cracked program was started, the cracker or his team would take credit via an impressive-looking graphical introduction or intro. The first time this appeared was on the Apple II computers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Later, these intros became so involved that they evolved into their own subculture independent of cracking software. These were not initially called demos but rather letter, message etc.

The main aim of demos was to show off the abilities of the writer's machines and were often deployed in the "Platform Wars."

Table of contents
1 Concept
2 Partys
3 Groups
4 Demos
5 External links


Demo writers went to great lengths to get every last ounce of performance out of their target machine. Where games/application writers were concerned with stability/functionality of their software, the demo writer was typically interested in how many CPU cycles a routine would consume and how best to squeeze as much effects and activity onto the screen or into as short a program as possible.

Nowadays, as the computers have got faster and usually have some kind of hardware 3D acceleration, the bias in making demos has moved from squeezing as much out of the computer as possible to making stylish, beautiful and well-designed real time artwork - a fact that lots of so-called "oldschool demosceners" seem to disapprove of. The old tradition still lives though - old computers and mobile devices like handheld phones with their limits are a real challenge for talented coders, musicians and graphicians.



Most demos were written by groups with interesting names, usually including at least a coder, a graphics artist, and a musician. Some demoscene groups include:


For a list of demos, see ZX Spectrum Demos, Commodore 64 Demos, Amiga Demos and Atari Demos. The demoscene still exists on the PC, C64, ZX Spectrum and Amiga, although the large variety of hardware makes it harder to compare demos. Several of the 3D benchmark programs also have a demo or showcase mode, which also derives its roots from the days of the 16 bit platforms.

External links