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Movers & Shakers
by Axel of Brainstorm

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We have to admit, this article was originally planned for ZINE 12, but when we ran out of time at the end, we thought this would be too rushed instead of giving it the dedication we wanted to give. So we decided to postpone it - to this very issue.

So what is Movers & Shakers all about? When we worked on ZINE 12, the idea came up to have some sort of charts, like the Eurochart back in the old days. At the same time, when we looked at the efforts other scene mags made but still didn't get enough votes for their charts, the outlook for some "ZINE Charts" were rather dim.

We decided that if the input probably couldn't be expected to come from the public, we'd have to come up with something on our own. Basically, Movers & Shakers is about highlighting groups, people or productions that have stood out from the rest of the pack between one ZINE issue to the next. In other words, we've taken a look at who did what between the end of August 2007 and now (end of February 2008). ZINE doesn't expect you to share our opinion, but if you do, all the better. If you don't, then let us know at zine(at)bitfellas(dot)org. Like with the Scene.org Awards, a bit of controversy is to be expected.

UK Scene Allstars, for Route 1066

We don't know why, but we have the impression that this demo is still very underrated. It seems ironic that every Fairlight demo is spawning a controversial discussion about style, while everyone praises Route 1066 even though it was programmed by the same person. Is it because Route 1066 was indeed better than Fairlight's recent efforts to make their "big one", or is it because it was maybe less forced? Either way, it's probably Smash's best demo in a long while, and feels complete and well crafted. Secondly, it is a breakthrough release for composer Keito, who's been around for a long time but only now had a chance to demonstrate what he's really capable of. And Route 1066 won't be the last top class demo he's made the music for.

TBC, for Minidisk and Tracie

Mentor's addiction to tight code in 4 kilobytes is common knowledge, but what he pulled off with Minidisk came unexpected nevertheless. Mentor and his team continue to break limits and to set the bar higher after every release. The double whammy with both Tracie and Minidisk was probably a shock to many other 4k programmers, but at the same time everybody remains challenged to push the limits even further. And it seems TBC has found a couple of worthy rivals already.

Minidisk by TBC

rgba, for Kindernoiser

Hot on the heels of TBC's Tracie comes rgba's Kindernoiser, an equally captivating production created in 4 kilobytes. If there was a way to physically taste this production, it would taste like hot chocolate. Sweet, soft, energetic. The team around programmer iq continues to surprise.

Kindernoiser by rgba

Still, for Ferner and Malewitsch

Still has been a hot topic ever since the group won the Intel Competition in 2007 with ISO-how-can-you-possibly-remember-that-number. With Malewitsch and the most recent demo Ferner, they continue their success story. Three productions released, three times first place in competitions at parties throughout Europe. Even though some argue that Ferner is overrated, one simply cannot argue that Still has made an impact and continues to do so. Big time.

Ferner by Still

PeonyGarden, for Connie and Blossom

It doesn't happen often that productions are made in non-European countries with the exception of the US and Australia. PeonyGarden is the first group from China to participate in the demoscene, although it isn't really a group, since it pretty much only consists of programmer Mr.Tony. His productions Connie and Blossom are a decent start. Furthermore they are enriching the scene with design ideas from the Far East. Welcome to the scene, PeonyGarden.

Ed. note: Apparently PeonyGarden is not the first real demogroup from China. Sorry

Sqny, for Chromosphere

It doesn't really matter that old, well-known sceners stand behind this new (one-off?) group name. Fact is that Chromosphere was the big surprise of the Steam 2007 party. With its hypnotic music and impressive effects, Chromosphere stood out as a production that was enormously well executed.

Chromosphere by Sqny

Excess, for Scyphozoa

After the highly successful Xbox360-demo Evoid Droid comes a new production from Excess. Where it truly shines is in the synchronization of music and visuals. The main effect is nice, but wouldn't have been as entertaining if it wasn't for the sync. One thing's for sure though: Excess can still kick it.

Scyphozoa by Excess

Orb, for Orb Megademo

This one probably caught everyone by surprise. The fairly fresh Orb gang released a megademo, something not seen since the early '90s. Even more surprising was seeing this on the Spectrum and seeing that 4-Mat coded this. We have a slight feeling that Orb will surprise us all again very soon.

Orb Megademo by Orb

Digimind, for Pixel Town

As demos become more and more complex on various levels such as coding and design, more and more programmers try to really excel in limited program sizes. Maybe this is a reason why productions such as 4 kilobyte intros have been so immensely popular recently. Digimind focuses on such limited productions, and releases Pixel Town as his third production in the 256 bytes category. Digimind shows that innovative ideas can indeed look pretty in 256 bytes. Another rock solid performance.

Black Maiden, for Exospect

Black Maiden have repeatedly shown their talents, but they hadn't delved into the realms of design this stubbornly until now. The result named Exospect is an impressive production, which partly reminds us of Fairlight's and TBL's productions. Some nice overlays add a lot to the stylish atmosphere of the production. Black Maiden will be one of the groups that we should keep our eyes on over the next few months, as those guys will most likely push their skills even further.

Exospect by Black Maiden

Rrrola, for Symetrie

After a number of really impressive productions within 32, 64 and 128 bytes, Rrrola has finally had his biggest breakthrough release with Symetrie, created in 256 bytes. A beautiful effect with even more beautiful colours. He certainly is one of the guys who can push this genre further, and ZINE fully expects that Rrrola will continue to impress.

Mercury, for Lazor

Mercury has a clear affinity for all things 4k. Ever since December 2006 the group manages to outperform itself with its new releases. The 4 kilobyte intro Lazor is further proof of that. A nice variety of effects coupled with great music makes us think that the genre should be called 4K demos instead of 4k intros.

Lazor by Mercury

PlayPsyCo, for Revolver

Revolver can surely be regarded as PlayPsyCo's breakthrough production to date. Elegant scenes combined with some nice 3d modeling makes for a nice mix. The absolute highlight is the soundtrack, written by Kaktusen. Phenomenal use of vocals, atmospheric orchestral passages and modern beats give the demo a unique feel. The team could have improved on the synchronizing a bit more, because a lot of opportunities offered by the song go by unnoticed, for example in the greetings part. But overall, Revolver stands out as one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Revolver by PlayPsyCo

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