I recently watched Moleman 2, a free movie about Demoscene. Demoscene is a form of competitive extreme programming which tries to fit complex animations and music–visual demos–into incredibly small amounts of space, typically 4-64kb (up to 256kb).


Demoscene is actually the source of a few notable elements of pop culture today. Major game developers DICE (of Battlefield fame) and Remedy (creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake) were born of Demoscene. Demoscene is also widely debated as the creator and source of what is now known as dubstep (which can be said to have emerged from downtempo but not refined until  demoscene).

At it’s core, demoscene is an insular group with purely competitive intentions. It’s not about the money (which is nonexistent), but rather about thrill of the hunt, and the pursuit of fame and glory in a small cultural subgroup. I would say that it also embodies a sense of the aesthetic. Our early reading of Eaton would likely classify it as such through the four forms of theory. The scene is deemed as aesthetic creation by its artists, the demo writers. Viewers can appreciate the output as visually pleasing in some sense, even if it appears chaotic and confusing. The object, the demos themselves, are the focus and the output of the demoscene group, which can only be fully grasped by members of that group. Finally, the context brings it meaning. The same videos would not be impressive were they created with 3D modelling tools, it’s the fact that they are forms of extreme limitation. Like Eaton claims, the art isn’t the thing, it’s the perception of the thing.

About these ads