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Married to the Scene
by Epec of Brainstorm

Download the pdf here

So – I had never even heard the word demoscene until about 4 years ago. The word is not a large part of the American culture and it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Fishguy876 that I even heard the word.

"I thought 'What the hell is he listening to?'"

When I met Fish, he was as he is today – pulled up in his car, demo tunes blaring on the MP3 player and honestly I thought “What the hell is he listening to?” So – I asked. For the first year or so we were together, I “tolerated” the sound but would turn it down as the time went on, or put on my own music. Then, Fish started working on the Nectarine site and came up with the idea for coding a similar site and CVGM was born – which allows for not just demoscene music – but also a wide variety of music created on over 50 other platforms most of which I have never even heard of.

What drew me to the scene and what keeps me here are the people. As I would visit CVGM’s oneliner, I began to realize that a whole community existed on the basis of the scene. That a group of people – simply for the love of computers, graphics, music, and so much more come together from across the globe and unite over the demoscene. Where else in today’s society to you see that? What these men (and yes – some women) create is remarkable. I can remember my first request on CVGM – It was Close Your Eyes by Crazy Man. Then I found another that I liked – Nightflight (Pro trekker Edit) by BitArts – then Jump Aboard (Evoke 2006 Invitation) by Pale Rider. With the help of some of the guys from Brainstorm (BRS) who pointed me in some very helpful directions, I found tracks like Safari Bombers (Hansee) and multiple tracks by Virt and Reed. I haven’t stopped listening since. From there, I began to associate tracks with demos and Fish directed me to Pouet. I started to ask him how I could help as I wanted so badly to become a member of this “group” (the scene). To familiarize myself with artists and coders alike, I began to assist FishGuy with uploading songs and applicable info to CVGM. I learned so much, and was exposed to so many new tracks and demos.

Once Fish was recruited to BRS I began to watch a demo form, which was Lucifer (Compo Entry for Breakpoint 2010). As I began to watch, Fish and some others on the oneliner would suggest demos for me to watch like “Debris” and more tracks to listen to. Fish would hold “Scene 101” classes before bed, where he would show me a demo and ask what I thought. We would discuss them for hours. As I continued on the oneliner, I began to form friendships with some of the sceners and began to realize that there was room in the scene for even me! Now – I have no musical talent, no coding skills, have never done graphics work, nor do I even draw well. How could I possibly help??

As I entered this journey, Fish really took the time to explain things, to let me into his world. As I began to participate others did too – not all, but some. Some sceners are still resistant, wondering what I can possibly offer, or if I am “serious” about the scene. Some of the oldskool sceners, are less receptive to the changes I feel need to be incorporated in order for the scene to survive and evolve. A big part is to hold on to the ways of the old systems, but to also allow and be accepting of new technology that is out there. The ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64 were new in their time so why not allow new systems to be utilized to create – push them to their limits, entice a new generation of musicians, graphics artists, coders, to gain interest and create – that is how we move forward.

My point is – get involved – even if you think that there is nothing to do – ask! I started out just trying to help organize some things, keep people in the know as far as BRS goes. Keeping track of who is working on what, when etc. Now I help by proofreading and editing articles for Zine, coordinating meetings/phone calls/ Skype chats among members – anything I can do – I do, and though I may not be a coder, I think it helps. Everyday, I continue to look for new ways to stay involved.

"When I took the time to find out why he loves the scene, it didn’t take me long to see it."

Many sceners have told me that I am the exception rather than the rule when it comes to “wives/girlfriends” in the scene. Being a coder’s wife isn’t always glamorous. Many nights I find myself going to bed alone – or washing dishes in a silent kitchen late at night after the kids have settled in for bed. Sometimes I get irritated that I seem to “do it all” while my coder husband is lost in his demoscene world. But each time that happens, I go and sit and watch him – I take a second to sit and take in what this means to him – and it makes it all worth it. This is the man I fell in love with and without his passion for the scene and coding – who would he be – surely not the same man. Now – don’t get me wrong – there are days where we put the scene aside and concentrate on each other, on the family, the housework – we dedicate the majority of our time to our family – our 5 children – but this thing – this coding – makes him whole, and without it, I would lose a big part of this man. A part that I am not willing to give up. So, I guess what I am saying is because I love him, I need for him to be able to be passionate about his life and could never ask him to sacrifice something that is so obviously a part of him – so if you can’t beat them, join them - RIGHT?

If I want to spend more time with him – why not be involved in something he likes to do – I mean, I expect the same from him, so why should there be a double standard. I thought, let’s see why he loves it so much – and when I took the time to find out, it didn’t take me long to see it.

It’s hard at times – as I watched him rebuild Zine from the ground up, I was unnerved by his frustration. Again, he took nothing and created something. He took an older version and recreated it with his own engine (from scratch) trying to stay as close to the appearance of the previous editions as possible, all the while maximizing the code for better performance and ease of production. Again trying to raise the bar! His nights spent stomping around or mulling over code at 2am were long nights, but to see him now with his sense of accomplishment is so rewarding. His intentions for this project are immense. As future issues are released you can anticipate a boatload of new features that will enhance your Zine experience.

From what I can tell, the scene is a great group of people who do what they do for the pure love of what they do! So many in society today have lost that – the people of the scene derive from across the world, speak different languages, have different lives, but they all come together to create – not because they get paid to, but because they love the challenge and they love the idea that they create something, and most of all because they are a part of something much larger – a community that exists at their fingertips. I will soon be attending my first demo part in Cologne Germany – Evoke 2010. I can’t wait to meet the people I already consider friends!

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