So. It's the late '80s / early '90s. What are people playing games on?
Friday, 24 June 2016
Thursday, 23 June 2016
So on April Fool's Day, 1993, Fox aired So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show (9F17) in their 4th season. In addition to numerous other gags, it included a montage sequence compiling a wide and varied selection of Homer Simpson's "D'oh" exclamations from the second and third season -- no fewer than 32 of them. At this liminal moment on the technological frontier, some genius digitized the audio track of the sequence, and it merrily circulated in a most postmodern fashion, bereft of any context or, indeed, meaning. For kicks, I assigned it as my family's Windows 3.11 shutdown sound -- slowing down the process considerably -- and for my troubles, I found the computer bedecked with a Printshop tractor feed dot matrix printer banner proclaiming my computer access temporarily revoked due to pranksterism.
Sami "PrOtoCol" Tammilehto of ACiD spent a little longer considering what was to be done before coming up with quite a more compelling application for these annoyed grunts. It was a painfully true cliche that audio samples from movies and TV were the tail that wagged the dog of lousy tracker music, like the medieval practice of masking the flavour of rotting food with inappropriate superdoses of strong spices, but their gratuitous overuse didn't necessarily apply 100% of the time... you can consider this track the virtuous 1 percent that broke through the cliche. The striking composition travels through several movements in a well-considered fashion, and would be compelling even in the absence of its raison d'etre (though that might make its closing drum roll somewhat perplexing.) The highest praise I can extend it is that it survives a detour through a tropical steel-drum mini-arrangement of Bobby McFerrin's 1988 mega-hit Don't Worry Be Happy. Because PrOtoCol was a fellow member (represent!) of ACiD (I, uh, should assume that everyone will appreciate the significance there: first major group of the PC underground artscene, first major ANSI art group, remained to a certain extent pre-eminent over everything that followed until the scene as a whole largely dried up by the end of the century) he also figured out a way to use silent samples to provide an animated textmode signature appear in the song's introduction when played in a music tracker program. Truly every aspect of this creation is polished precisely as far as it can be without running the risk of feeling baroque or ostentatious. I dare say people will still be enjoying the D'oh Boys Choir after they have long since forgotten ＳＩＭＰＳＯＮＷＡＶＥ. So now, without further ado, I present... the song!
And its sample messages:
--------------------------- homah simpson -and- da doh-boyz choir --------------------------- /c/ 8/1995 PrOtoCoL (ACiD) samples are borrowed from who knows. "don't worry, be happy" music by bobby mcferrin. all da rest by PrOtoCoL. play at risk to your own sanity. composed on screamtracker v3.21 by sami tammilehto. by the way, homer really says 32 consecutive "dohs" in the end. orders 1-12: homer's theme orders 13-19: homer sings the blues orders 20-25: homah & da boyz quartet orders 26-28: homer's 32-doh solo ___________________________ you may not be able to see the intro animation ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ███████████████████████████ ██▄ █▀▌ █▀▄ ▐▌ ;) █▐▌ █ ▐▌ ▐▌ ██▀ █ █ ▄ █ ▄ █ █ ▄▌█▐▌▄█▀▐▀▌█ ▄▌▌▀▌ █ ▄▄ █ █ ▐█ █ ▐▄▌▐█▀ ▐▄▌ ▀█▀ ░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░▒▒ ░░░░░░░░▒▒▒▒▓▓██ ░░░░▒▒▒▓▓██ ░▒▒▓▓██ █
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
This is not as bad as the time I put down my Philip Jose Gardner Riverworld novel in the back of the car, tooling around somewhere in rural southern Italy, and asked them what "orgasm" meant. But I digress. All I can say is that I always kept the alt.sex FAQ in my home directory after that to avoid any repeats of that awkward conversation!
in Telemate to keep a text editor on the go while the other half of the screen displayed my online session) but things can get really busy, fast! The piece credits itself as an adaptation of Riggs' album artwork for "Stranger In A Strange Land". Kingpin remarks: " I painted Eddie at the end of last year. I was working on my masterpiece in 1993 which was the inside sleeve from 7th Son of a 7th Son, the crystal ball Eddie. I had the ball done and the rest sketched out but I lost it when my PC broke. :(" -- a scene I believe The Necromancer attempted above.
And now, as a special bonus -- some C64 graphics!
So, what have we learned here? Well, one: METAL RULZ DOOD. And two: you don't need to have a mass movement in order to make something appear ubiquitous -- the lion's share of the art in this post (though this is just what was easy to find with queries; I'm certain there's quite a bit more of it burbling out there in the shadows) was created by just two artists over an intense, condensed period of time (turns out that perhaps 1992 was "peak Maiden.") Maybe Eddie the Head didn't have the staying power of a Spawn, but there's no way he was going to wind up just overlooked in the mix. BONUS! Antti kindly pointed out that there existed some body of further Iron Maiden fanart in the demoscene. And how! I don't have browser-viewable multimedia presentations of most of them for your accessible enjoyment, but here's one piece presented for your enjoyment in its fullness -- 1992's Amberstar by The Dream Team, also celebrating The Trooper:
And here for your further enjoyment is a selection of screenshots (thanks to Pouet.net!) from ... quite a few more Eddie-themed intros and demos from the C64, Amiga, and Atari ST, circa the late '80s-early '90s. Until I get caught up, full attribution of the files is indicated in their filenames.:
you can also find it on the cover of a ZX Spectrum shoot-'em-up, Bedlam!) (That was my own original research! I'm really enriching the corpus with all this, uhh, data.) Ed Hunter or Iron Maiden: Speed of Light from last year!
Congratulations, folks, in appreciation of your devotion and persistence to this niche subject, the long tail has delivered us an ANSI art coup de grace by Soul Assassin:
Monday, 13 June 2016
I'm guessing that I encountered the file shortly after being given a Sound Blaster Pro by my uncle -- perusing the previously waste-of-time "multimedia" file bases on local BBSes, there it was:
BART SIMPSON'S TONGUE IN A BLENDER by SLICK FLICK PRODUCTIONS.-This is an interesting demo. (FILE NAME: BARTBLND.ZIP/ND16).Yeah, it's the mid-'90s, heyday of Spike 'n Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation: sure, I'll spend an hour downloading that:
OK, truth in advertising! Delivers exactly what it promises. Dating to late November / early December 1990, one L. Tipton, presumably of Sick Flick Productions (which I can find no further trace of), made this animated loop of Bart Simpson with his tongue caught in an electric mixer, reproducing an event from some eight-ish months prior aired in The Simpsons episode "Life on the Fast Lane", season 1 episode 9, on March 18, 1990:
The animation itself is vestigial at best, boasting maybe a kingly sum of three frames, but between the hypnotic strobing of Bart's throbbing pupils and the increasingly desperate quality to his gargled shrieks of pain, the presentation sustains itself over its long runtime. (Imagining the recording session of the soundtrack always puts a smile on my face.) I'm guessing that the functionality of the programs are such that the visual loop would simply repeat until the audio cues were exhausted.
The file types used here are interesting (well, maybe to some): .VOC lost out to .WAV in the long run, and the .FLI animation format -- dominant enough that I formally learned to use it in my final year of high school (sadly, my "Fire in the Sky"-inspired term project is forever lost to the ages: in a nutshell, a sleeping schlub in bed (represented as a blanket with two ugly feet poking out the end) experiences, in a first person perspective, the approach of a UFO, his house's being bathed in a tractor beam, nearby trees (and then the planet Earth, and then the local star cluster) receding, a long, long drill being deployed for probing, then everything apparently returned to normal. Except that... his four-toed feet have been altered by the abductors and now boast a horrifying, inhuman total of five toes per foot. FIVE TOES!) -- was technically supported by the SAUCE computer art metadata injector application (which admittedly breaks many formats that it is claimed to support)... but I never encountered a single .FLI or .FLC in the wild in all my artpack explorations. A mega query on the Dark Domains DVD could perhaps put to rest once and for all the question of whether any artgroups ever released any animations in that format, but my guess is that the answer is "no".
This bit of memory fluff was stirred up sometime over the past few years by my being reminded of it after reading something on a demoparty results announcement -- suggesting, in my mind, that it was in some way a product of the demoscene -- which would easily make it fair game for this blog! (Given its kludgey and inefficient nature, I know that's hard to believe, but having once won a wild compo myself at Crash '97 by hitting people with foam covered PVP piping, I know that anything is possible.) But now that I have this myth of peculiar provenance in my head, I can't dig up a primary document to support it. Well, this tfile comes close, which lists it, but seems upon closer review to simply be a BBS' file section listing:
Without locating L. Tipton, we may never know the full truth behind this curious piece of MS-DOS multimedia (including the single most pressing matter: figuring out why the animation's tongue bends at precisely the opposite angle as Bart's tongue in the original cartoon. Why?!) But on the bright side: there's very little hanging in the balance.
THE EUROPEAN DEMO LIST
SPY, XSE, AND EURODEMO FREAKS
It is 1994. European Demos are getting popular. Techno, House, Rave music is getting popular. EMF & KLF are popular. European Demos, you ask? What are they? Let's put it this way....Computer graphic music videos. How bout dat. Well, what this is, is a listing of pretty cool European demos from the best from Europe and a few from our mainland (the few; although we'd like to see more from the U.S.A.)