Datastorm 2011 Party report

This article was written in July 2011 by Taper for Attitude#12

Friday the 4:th of February marked the start of Datastorm 2011, so I joined the TRIAD wagon departing from Helsingborg and heading for the partyplace in Gothenburg. Bepp was behind the wheels and iopop, Itch and I (Taper) were riding along.

After a quick stop for burgers and coke on the way, we soon approached the partyplace, located in the same venue as the previous year. It’s a perfect place for sceneparties, with a manned snackbar open around the clock, plenty of space, old computermags spread around and decently clean toilettes! What else could you ask for?

Upon entering, Sixx/G*P greeted us from behind the counter and swiftly freed our wallets of 200 Swedish crowns, a bargain considering two breakfasts and one dinner was included in the price. We arrived quite early, so the place wasn’t exactly bustling with activity, but the guys from Scenesat who broadcasted live from the party was there, Spot/TRIAD, Magervalp/G*P and some other organizers ran around fixing last minute stuff and a small bunch of other early attendees were present.

One advantage of arriving early is that you can choose the best tables available, and so we occupied a table close to the bar and far from the door (wise from last years mistake of sitting too close to the backdoor when it’s freezing cold outside). Soon, more and more people started to appear, including Ne7 and Cash from TRIAD. Within some hours, the place was filled with sceners. A lot of Norwegians showed up this year, it seems like the scene in Norway is going through one hell of a revival at the moment!

The dudes in Hack’n’Trade had managed to get a hold of the old Swedish tv-series “Bit for Bit”, a show about computers which featured interviews with demosceners and let people call in and play computer games via their touchtone telephones. Many of us Swedes had faint memories of this show, but it was a blast to revive the memories and watch all the episodes again in all their cheesiness.

When darkness fell, it was time for Jucke to host the event of the evening, his experimental SID DJ-set. As music poured from the loudspeakers, the already good vibe at the venue increased tenfold! A few hours later I occupied a couch and got some well deserved sleep.

Waking up Saturday morning I ate an excellent Datastorm breakfast at the bar while discussing Super Nintendo backup units and flashcarts with Alfatech and some others. More and more people were slowly waking up, and soon the partyplace was filled with noise and life again. A lot of people were coding and composing on their c64’s or amigas. Many tried to finish their contributions for the compos (some succeeded better than others, hehe).

The compo actually started as scheduled, but then things didn’t really go as planned. There were several delays in between the different compo categories which made people a bit restless. Also, there was a problem with the compo amiga so the Spaceballs demo crashed a few times before the hardware was switched with another machine. However, as anyone who has been running democompos at parties themselves know, problems in the middle of the show is really stressful, and the organizers did their very best to resolve the situation as swiftly as possible.

One thing that surprised me was the lack of contributions for the c64 graphics competition. Only two contributions, a bit discouraging really. Then again, Archmage and Hedning provided two fine pictures, so not everything was lost.

Ten tunes competed in the SID compo, and FairLight’s newest recruit, a youngster called Wiklund really showed what he’s made of by blowing the socks of the audience with his tune. Also RadiantX and Rambones had really memorable songs in the compo.

The highlight for most of us was of course the c64 demo compo. Ten demos competed, but not all were serious entries. Lash by FairLight was the worthy winner (including “Ika i rutan” was a genius move!), but the real surprise was Flexxible by Fatzone. Scoring second place, they took their work to a whole new level. Mahoney came in third with a technically very advanced and slow paced demo called “Princess in the Kingdom of Subpixels” that might not have been a crowd-pleasing bigscreen demo, but at least made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As for TRIAD, we contributed with a short production, “Fly Bird Fly” that ended up on seventh place. I urge people to watch it at home with the extra goodies on the disk, as it’s more suited for a home environment than on the bigscreen.

Also worth mentioning was the comeback demo from Spaceballs on the amiga, which was really neat once they got it running.

Once the compos were over, it was time for the voting. Just as last year, the idea was to have people hook up their laptops and phones to the wlan and cast your votes directly on a webpage. Besides disliking the idea of having to use a modern platform to vote on an oldschool party, once again the voting procedure didn’t really work in practice either. People couldn’t connect, and many didn’t bother to vote because of the technical problems. Please bring back Magervalp’s c64-based votingsystem, or even papervotes next time! Pretty please!

As expected, the party mellowed out after the compo with people falling asleep or leaving the place. I went to hypersleep myself and when I woke up Sunday morning about half of the visitors seemed gone, but I had breakfast with some of the remaining warriors before the TRIAD mobile departed and we headed back home again.

All in all, Datastorm 2011 was a fine event which I enjoyed greatly. If only the waiting time during the compo and the voting mess had been sorted, I wouldn’t have a single complaint!


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