Demoparty at the @party

Filed under Happenings, Software showcase;

So there's a party coming to town — a demoparty. These gatherings of hackers and crackers date back more than three decades, when they were closely tied to the pirate community. Today, demoparties seem more artistically oriented as opportunities for programmers to show off self-running demonstrations of the graphical and audio capabilities of a computer, often a retrocomputer. Though entries must be registered ahead of time, their creators need not be present, creating a global competition with personalized starting points and a common deadline.

I've never attended a demoparty but must've become aware of them as a result of following digital archivist and demoparty coordinator Jason Scott on Twitter. Several Apple II users I spoke with were unfamiliar with demoparties, but they should be familiar with its content, as the IIGS has hosted many fantastic demos of its own — most notably those of the Free Tools Association, or FTA. Modulae, Bulla, DELTA, and others showed off that which "can't be done on an Apple II".

Given this opportunity to experience an aspect of history I've previously missed, I've registered for @party. The event will be held June 18–20 in Harvard, Mass., at a retreat center run by a friend of mine (who to this day maintains the facility's Web site with Claris Home Page v1.0. Talk about retro! The last version of this WYSIWYG HTML editor, v3.0, was released in 1998). The event's coordinator, Valerie Grimm, confirmed that there will be an appropriate opportunity for me to hand out Juiced.GS sample issues and KansasFest flyers to @party attendees. That's hardly the only reason I'm going — I'll take community over commerciality anyday — but it's good to know that, even if I don't benefit from my own attendance, someone else will.

There are no guarantees there will be any Apple II computers present, but if there are, it could make for a short article for Juiced.GS. In lieu of that, my interest in retrogaming (as documented by my video game blog) should keep me entertained. As an example, the country's longest-running demoparty, Blockparty, was held last month and produced its first-ever Colecovision demo, "Waterline":

See you at the party!

  1. Hey there, I think I remember you from Delphi. See you at @party.

  2. That was a pretty sweet demo. Awesome that it was the ColecoVision's first demo too. I'd love to see more IIGS demos, but this inspires me more in the direction of 8-bit Apple II demos, which never really had much of a scene.