Masterpieces in 4096 bytes: the Demoscene

September 10, 2010

Nathan Taylor

In the early 1980s, crackers began “tagging” software they had broken the copy protection of by embedding graphical screens sending out greetings to fellow members of the piracy community. These so-called “intros” grew in sophistication as rival groups used every ounce of programming prowess to demonstrate to the world their real-time graphics and computer music skills. Within a few years, the scene had developed into a legitimate art form that blends coding wizardry with genuine artistic beauty. We’ll walk through some of my favourite demos and chat a bit about how they were able to obtain such incredible effects with such limited hardware. Not just for graphics nerds, I promise!