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The Webmaster's Top 10 Favourite Amiga Demo's of all time

Looking back to the mid 1980's, groups of programmers would often crack commercial software, by removing copy protections such as cassette turboloader routines, or protection systems from copy protected diskettes. They would also proudly annouce their efforts via a simple intro to accompany their latest cracked game.

This method of programming intro's so each cracking group could annouce their latest "cracked" piece of software resulted in the birth of the demo scene. Teams of programmers, musicians and graphic artists would get together to produce a eye candy extravaganza to show off their talents to the masses. This so called "demo" scene began on the Commodore 64, and then appeared later on the Sinclair Spectrum.

It was not however until the Amiga arrived that the demo scene took off, mainly due to the Public Domain sector of freely distrubutable software, which introduced a way whereby you could obtain disks for a nominal disk copying fee via Public Domain libraries through the post that the demo scene really took off, together with the mail and modemtrading scene of the era. Ahhh, those were the days...

That was my brief introduction to the demo scene.

I now hereby present my top 10 Amiga scene demo's of all time....

All demo's I have reviewed here are freely distributable public domain software, which I have made available for download as a gzip compressed ADF (Amiga disk file), which you can load directly into WinUAE ! They may be downloaded by clicking the hyperlink for each review writeup.

All disk images have been virus checked by myself with the latest Amiga xvs.library [v33.42] anti virus library and virus checkers and are certified virus free.

Psychotic Megademo

Released by: Budbrain Productions
Number of disks: 2
Programmed by: Psycho
Music By: Diablo
Graphics By: Diablo / Splatman / Crom
Released At: The Silents Red Sector Amiga Conference 1990
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Psychotic MegademoThe first Amiga demo I ever saw on the A500. A real corker. Part one of the demo is fairly bland just a few spinning circular shapes on screen and some average music. The highlights of the demo are the burglar who smashes a window and breaks into an Amiga users house to try and nick his warez collection, only rather than stealing his Amiga, loads up the "psychotic megademo disk" into an Amiga 500. The burglar is later greeted by the awoken angry houseowner who proceeds to blow his head off with a 12 bore shotgun. Hey! he only wanted to swap disks dude! Funny enough the intruder wears the T-Shirt "Swap or Die!", only he ended up dying instead !

The "squeeze" part of the demo brings some classy humour and will make you chuckle. Some chap attempts to have a shit. He later farts and the gasses from his flatuence later ignite to produce rocket propellant and the toilet flies off with him on it.

The third part of the demo's sees Psycho and Diablo's programming and musical talents mixed into a great techno remix of 90's band Technotronic which is accompanied with good use of visuals throughout, which includes spinning vectors, and some cartoon animation of some teddy boy rocker stomping his feet in time of the beat. This is the most catching part of the demo due to the way the music is perfectly sycronized to the onscreen visuals that accompany the music. Great stuff!

The section named "Birdie Nam Nam" of the Psychotic demo brings with it some more humour. Some cartoon duck lays some eggs, which looks as if it has smoked too much weed. The eggs later hatch, to the surprise the newborn chicks have the instant ability to perform human beatbox! Again, I award extra points for humour for this section of the demo.

Other sections of this two disk extravaganza include some great cartoons drawn by Splatman. He was inpsired by the cartoon strips seen in Hustler magazine. This section of the demo may cause offence to some people, but I guarantee you are likely to laugh your ass off at this part of the demo.

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Budbrain: Megademo 2

Released by: Budbrain Productions
Number of disks: 1
Programmed by: Psycho
Music By: Diablo
Graphics By: Diablo / Crom
Released At: The Dexion Copy Party, December 1990
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Budbrain Megademo 2The Budbrain dudes are back with another fine classic called 'Budbrain Megademo II". This is the sequel to their Psychotic Megademo. This single disk demo brings with it a cartoon of a 1980's blonde "material girl" Madonna, who is taking a shower. A knife wielding madman (could it be the coder, since he is named Psycho?) attempts to knife her to death, muchlike a scene from the film Psycho. This section of the demo Psycho and Diablo added to take the piss out of some graphics artist who went by the name of "Madonna Freak" who was a graphics artist from the Crionics demogroup, who was indeed crazy about his favourite pop idol. Madonna freak himself also produced the graphics for the Crionics Neverwhere demo, which also happens to be my third favourite Amiga demo of all time, which is listed elsewhere as part of my favourite top ten all time Amiga demos.

Other memorable sections of Budbrain Megademo 2 include the Africa demo. I assume this was the "Buds" attempt at bringing AIDS awareness, which has taken many millions of lives in Africa and other third world countries. This section of the demo introduces some techno music, which I assume is based on the early club scene when I assume most people went to acid house raves and took referee whistles to the dance venue to annoy people with. To summarise, this section of the demo also uses VU meters and animation which are well syncronized to the soundtrack for some great eyecandy. Not quite as much humour in their second demo, but still a timeless classic nonetheless.

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Crionics: Neverwhere

Released By: Crionics
Number of disks: 1
Programmed by: Murphy, Deftronic, The Spy, Grumble, Saxs
Font: Deftronic, Merlin
Logo: Zycho
Music by: Blazer, SLL
Graphics by: Madonna Freak
Released At: The Horsens Copyparty 1990
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Crionics NeverwhereThe first masterpiece by Crionics I ever saw in 1990, and the third demo I ever witnessed. This was the masterpiece that prompted me to buy my first Amiga ! Great filled 3D vector routines, bobs, and a flyby animation over Horsens with some protracker music I strangely recognize from the Kefrens Jukebox demo.

Cheers to Smurf of Cryptic and The Spider, who I met in 1990 on some computer training course who introduced me to the Amiga and to some fine Amiga demo's, and if they read this now, I wonder if they know who I am, hmmm, that was sixteen years ago, so probably not...

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Crionics: Megademo

Released by Crionics
Number of disks: 1
Programmed by: Murphy, Grumble, Saxs
Font: Deftronic
Logo: Zycho
Music by: Blazer
Graphics by: Madonna Freak
Released At: The Silents / Red Sector Copyparty on 26/6/90
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Crionics MegademoCrionics are back with another fine masterpiece. Originally released on 26 June 1990 at the Silents / Red Sector Copyparty, this production squeezes three demo's onto one disk. Your probably now thinking "Yeah, but if they squeezed three demo's on one disk, surely this demo is probably quantity rather than quality?". You'd be wrong. Remember, most of these old Amiga demo's used non OS friendly trackdisk loaders which allowed them to squeeze a hell of alot of code, gfx and music onto a single 880K DSDD disk, combined with the fact that most of the data was crunched. These very routines were responsible for making your Amiga 500's disk drive sound like it was grinding the disk heads to shit as appossed to actually quietly loading the disk via system friendly trackdisk.device ROM routines...

Anyhow, onto my review of this fine demo. Part one of this production is put together by Deftronic and The Spy which begins with a scrolling chequered floor with the crionics logo and some funky music, but later accelerates into rotating bobs together with some great filled 3D vectors, and good use of light sourcing to create shadows with some of the filled 3D vector routines.

Part two of the demo is not so great as the first, but it does include some funky tunes and includes some neat spinning scroll text using their own filled vector scoller routines, all performed to a stary galaxy backdrop. The space ship in the background then eventually zooms off. This section is not "fantastic", but I like the music in this section of the demo.

Part three is the highlight of this demo and the most memorable when I first saw this demo way back in 1990. It features an impressive cartoon of Madonna strutting along the New York Subway which was coded by Saxs with graphics and animation put together by Crionics' graphics artist. Fine work dudes!

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Vision: Megademo IV

Released by: Vision
Number of disks 1:
Programmed by: Crackerjack
Font: Facet
Logo: Facet
Music By: BLO
Graphics by: Facet
Released At: Unknown
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Vision Megademo IVAnother memorable masterpiece this time by vision. Released way back in 1990.

Each demo is split into seperate sections. Each section can be skipped by pressing the 'left mouse' button. Their is some hanging around due to loading and decrunching whilst each section is loaded, but this does not distract you since you have some music jingling way whilst everything is loading.

I recall the most amusing part of this demo, when I first saw it, was the section of this demo which plays some house music remix whereby one of the programmers can be seen mimicing a VU meter for each of the four Amiga'a audio channels. Depending on the volume level of the music he pulls various contortional facial expressions whist the music is playing. By the time the music gets to the DJ deck scratching in the track, he looks as if he is in severe pain or just has a bad case of haemoroids.

The demo contains some good graphics and logo's drawn by Facet, text scrollers that will make your eyes go funny (particularly the wrap around one that rotates as a funnel). There is nothing revolutionary about this demo now, but when it was first released way back in 1990, it must of certainly surprised alot of Amiga owners as to what their machines could do. I remember after upgrading from my old Sinclair Spectrum and seeing this demo on a friends Amiga how surprised I was by not only the Amiga's superb sound capabilities, but also it's revolutionary graphics.

This demo is up their with the other Amiga demo classics for all eternity. Well done to demo group Vision on this masterpiece.

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Crionics: Hardwired

Released by Crionics
Number of disks: 2
Programmed by: The Spy, Deftronic, Murphy, Saxs, Guzzler
Music by: Jesper Kyd
Graphics by: Mikael Balle, Sionic, Zycho
Released At: Unknown? in 1991
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Crionics HardwiredThis demo sees the Silents and Crionics demo groups joining forces to work on this production titled 'Hard Wired', which was released in the year 1991.

The demo begins on a spacecraft somewhere in the depths of time and space. The ships captain is awoken by the ships onboard computer which alerts him of a possible intruder. Then... the alien reveals itself from the shadows.

Some nice routines in this demo include Shaded Bobs (I call them plasma bobs), Bouncing B-Splines, Glenz Vectors which morph into different shapes, Elastic Vector Spines, Raytraced toilets, Twist Scrollers, and some Sin Dot animations.

Other routines are Crionics' "Box to logo" routine which is a spinning 3D dimentional cube which spills and emits single pixels to form a logo elsewhere on the screen. This routine is reminisent of Crionics 'Pictrans' routine which first appeard in the Crionics Megademo. The Pictrans routine later sees the logo morphing into some 3D vectors of a Cube, Spacecraft, Spiky star thingie, and more weird and wonderful shapes.

The bouncing 3D dimensional bobs which bounce upon a "sagged" chessboard are most interesting. It demonstrates the use of gravity and interia. The screen is then cleared for the next section of the demo by a robotic hand who gives the screen a clean.

I think it is best if I do not describe the demo in any more detail, since it does not do it the justice it deserves. You should definitely check out this masterpiece for yourself for a great introduction to how Amiga coders where pushing the Amiga architecture to it's uptmost limits in the year 1991...

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Silents: Sound of Silents

Released by: The Silents
Number of disks: 1
Programmed by: The Crux
Music by: Jesper Kyd
Graphics by: Mikael Balle
Released At: The Bounty Copyparty, Horsens, 1990
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Sound of SilentsAnother one of my favourites. This disk is somewhat out of place in my favourite top ten selection of Amiga demos, since it is a music disk, and not a "real" scene demo as such. However, given the quality of Jesper Kyd's compositions on the disk, it is why I include it. This music disk features a menu called the "music" selector which is coded by 'The Crux" and has been drawn by Mikael Balle, which allows you to select your favourite composition to listen to, with a "sound to light" pattern that nicely animates in time of the music, together with some nice VU meters.

Their are a total of seven songs which are named "Apocalypse', "Next Decade", "China Girl", "Highlands", "Slide", "Spirit", and finally the last track which is called "Space Song". My favourite piece on this disk is Apocalypse (a nice atmospheric piece). The "Space Song" piece is a nice boppy uptempo composition which will soon get you in the mood for "getting on down" (a James Brown expression - need I say no more?). The rest of the music on this disk is superbly composed, and is great considering the age of this music disk which was released way back in 1990 !

A view notes on Jesper Kyd who wrote and composed the music for this music disk:

Jesper Kyd who wrote the music for this fine music disk is now writing music for Playstation and PC games. In fact he has written the music recently for the PC version of "Hitman Contracts" (either that or someone else shares the exact same name!).

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Spaceballs: State of The Art

Released by: Spaceballs
Number of disks: 1
Programmers, Muscians and Artists : Lone Starr, Major Asshole, Travolta, TMB Designs
Music by:
Graphics by:
Released At:
Requirements: Amiga 500+, 1 Megabyte Chip RAM

State of The Art by SpaceballsThis demo is in a similar mold to Spaceball's "9 Fingers demo" (see below) The main highlights of this demo include the colour copper fade routines courtesy of the Amiga's blitter with lots of Silouttes of dancing females in the foreground, which best reminds me of the scary introduction of the 1980's British television soap "Tales of the Unexpected", although not quite as frightening for someone who could remember that very television soap. This demo features a techno soundtrack (not that this is my type of my music) and some quite clever morphing routines whereby the dancers in the demo change into various shapes and objects. Nonetheless, lots of pretty silouttes of ladies dancing to some techno tunes, on top of an ever changing background, and some colour copper fades courtesy of the Amiga's blitter are abound in this demo. I fondly remember modifying my JP7A jumper on my A500 to give me one meg chip RAM just so I could watch this demo, after reading the reviews this demo received in the various Amiga mags when it was first launched. Fantastic eyecandy all squeezed onto one 880KB disk!

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Spaceballs: 9 Fingers

Released by: Spaceballs
Number of disks: 2
Produced By: Paul Endresen, Sverre Rekvin, Tore Blystad, Rune Svensen, Rune Winsevik, Andre Johansen, Jannicke S. Olsen
Anne L. Glomsrød, Princeps Posse, Kristian Blystad, Christian Hansen, Trude Hansen, Andreas T. Larsen, Geir Arne Hasle
Released At: Unknown ?
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 1 meg slow RAM.

9 Fingers by Spaceballs9 Fingers is a two disk production that provides some techno music perfectly syncronized to the on screen visuals, including some pretty dancing ladies wearing somewhat clad clothing. Most of the graphics on the demo are indeed digitized at low resolution so the coder of this demo has been able to squeeze not only full video and entertaining visuals but a great soundtrack. Looking at the extensive list of people listed in this demo, I only assume Spaceballs filmed some of their own footage and combined it with other material before everything was digitized to low resolution and sliced together.

This scene production is an all time classic.

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Alcatraz: Odyssey

Released by: Alkatraz
Number of disks: 5
Programmed by: Hornet
Music by: Greg
Graphics by: PGCS
SFX: Soltar
Released At: The Party 1991
Requirements: Amiga 500, ECS Chipset, 512k chip, 512k slow RAM.

Odyssey by AlkatrazOriginally released on December 28, 1991, at 'The Party 91', this is a five disk epic. The quality of this production is quite outstanding when you look at the age of this demo. It provides a full scripted storyboard, which tells the story of the almighty Zork as he sets out to save the universe.

The story is that System Century V is the 3rd System of the galaxy. For 300 years many ships were travelling freely in the different systems of the galaxy. Their were no limits on anybody and people were free to travel as they pleased. That later changes when the Kryllion decide to carry out a full attack on the rebels planet, and many are captured or killed. Zork the hero is hired to undertake a secret mission to free the people of the Kryllion by destroying the enemy base. All does not go to plan, however, and is later captured. By sheer luck Zork manages to escape and makes a desperate run to his spacecraft to try and escape from the enemy base. His escape is followed in quick pursuit by his captives in which a thrilling dogfight scene much like a scene from George Lucas' Starwars shortly follows with some great music by Greg's that accompanies the production which also helps to create an atmosphere of suspense as with any hollywood blockbuster. I shall not spoil the storyline and tell you what happens at the end, only to give you the clue that Zork the hero succeeds in his mission. Then again, you should know the hero always succeeds in his mission and everybody then lives happily ever after....

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