14 Mar - 16 Mar 2014
Organizer(s): CreaMD, Jak T Rip, Reekol, Wotnau
Factor6, MaV, MikeZT, Pulkomandy
Written by Bonefish for Push'n'Pop
Short notice: I decided not to write this yesterday evening, when I've just landed, as it would probably be too emotional. So, if it still seems so, please take note that I'm actually trying to control myself on that field. ;))
To begin with, I just need to say out loud that I already can't wait for another one (the next year's FOReVER party), and I've just got back!!
First, I want to say big thanks to my trip companions: MaV, PulkoMandy and LCD!! MaV was a brilliant host throughout the whole time (not only in Vienna), and great conversation company 24/7. I blame him for not being able to do some party coding ;)). LCD, I've just met him, but really can't find any downside for this guy! Hands down to our "Chauffeur" that helped all of us being the trip from Vienna to Horna Suca slightly less painful. Pulko, well... it's a Pulko. I would just like to point out that he was able to make my trip home (2.5 hours drive from Slovakia to Vienna's airport + 5 hours airport wait) pass in a second (and it was a "second" filled with laugh).
And the party was... well... brilliantly perfect!!!! It is a demoscene event, but it is also a place to present the latest hardware, new magazines (way to go Ellvis!!!), or just have a party. Friendly atmosphere (e.g. no one did trash those guys that decided to play some games on their old computers), controlled lightning (dark during the compos and slight light rest of the time - so that you're not bumping to the people and tripping over the chairs and wires - as it is on other parties), reasonable PA (not too loud so that you don't hear each other, not that quiet that it looks like a party in a nursing home). Just perfect! And please note that it's not a small party with 10-20 attendees, where this kind of atmosphere is normal.
Even glitches gave it a warm feel, e.g. trying to order pizza by yourself after CreamD gave you the wrong country code, then ordering with the girl on the other side of the phone that doesn't speak english, or Wotnau putting the mic on the speaker SEVERAL TIMES (!!) causing quite loud noise that made half of the visitors deaf for the next few hours, etc...
Also, the location... well... at first, I was a little bit concerned and was wondering why someone would pick this particular location, which was hard to reach (without a car), but after spending 48 hours there, I get it! It's a perfect location for the party!! It's close to everything (if you have a car), and still far enough so that you don't have any problems even if boozed out guys start sleeping in the middle of a parking lot. But, you don't need to leave the party (and at the same time not spend a fortune like on other self-contained parties). Not to forget the accommodations (5 eur/night = cheaper than a pizza), that is just upstairs of the party. Soooooo convenient!!! As we're not getting any younger, having a quiet place where you can take an instant shower to refresh yourself, or even take a quick nap between compos... Having accommodation like that was a cream on top of everything for me. True, it's a cheap accommodation = nothing fancy, but I felt like a royalty because of the fact that I have this luxury.
Last and most important - people. Maybe I was too lucky, so I've already had a great company to start with (mentioned at the beginning of this report), but the rest of the people were also quite friendly.
1. perfect (ZX&C64) organisers that weren't too nervous, and were always open to communication and more than eager to help (Mike, Ellvis, Jtr, CreamD and Wotnau)
2. 95% of the ZX Spectrum sceners (especially to Busy that gave me a correct country code and saved me, MaV and LCD from starving, Dizzy that showed me Pavel's wireless interface for ZX, Pavel that offered me some sweet deal regarding that same wireless interface, Gasman, ...)
3. 95% of the C64 sceners (Brainstorm for being always cheerful and having the best t-shirt at the party, ...)
4. those guys (most of them from Gemba Boys) who were "coding" a realtime "presentation" for the C64 music compo. They already won the raster award for that, but it would be unfair not to mention that again
5. always cheerful neighbours - hungarians from Singular Crew
... and all the others that were left to be met on the next party. Because of all those friendly people, for me, it was like a reunion with a long lost family (with a 100+ members!). I would like to end with a message to all those that were thinking to come, but were not able to - believe me guys, you're missing out big time. I went to some parties (both recently and in 90ties), will definitely go to some more, but if you're about to visit only one party - this is the one!!! And if you're 8-bit computer fan, visiting FOReVER is a requirement. Can't wait for the next one! Big thanks to you all!!
Written by Pulkomandy for Push'n'Pop
This is the 4th time I attend the Forever party. In the previous years I went there by bus, which is very cheap, but also takes a long time. This year I decided to go by plane instead.
The flight to Vienna went without much problems (only a slight delay). There, I met with LCD (ZX Scener), MaV (CPC) and Bonefish (multiplatform: Amiga, CPC, Playstation, and maybe more). Bonefish had landed in the airport, coming from Croatia, earlier that day.
LCD drove us to the party place, which is about 2 hours and a half away from Vienna. As it was Friday afternoon, we got trapped in Bratislava traffic jam and it took more like 3 hours. This was the first Forever party for Bonefish, so we warned him about what to expect there. Well, we didn't have time to get much bored during this trip.
We got to the party place at 5 PM. Although the party officially opens at noon, there was still not much people there at that time. The organizers had booked a table for us, so we could set up our hardware. The table next to us was for Atari guys, only one of them was there and told us that the others had a problem with the car: "They're eating pizza while they wait for it to be fixed". Well, they joined us a bit later, as well as other people from all of Europe. On the other side of our table were the hungarian sceners, with C64 and some strange "VideoTON" hardware. As usual, the party was mostly for ZX Spectrum, C64 and Atari, but you could spot some PMD-85, two Sam Coupés, and of course one Thomson.
At Forever, friday is a quiet day and we had time to unpack and setup our computers, meet with everyone, and run to the store to get some food for the party. In the evening, there was of course the opening ceremony. This year Wotnau and JTR were running it again. We learnt that Elvis Presley is alive and installed on the planet Mars, but he forgot to come to the Forever Party in 2013. Well, to apologize for this, he came this year instead. We also learnt that Wotnau was so busy with his new work (and enjoying the 'unusually cold winter' (only 30°!) in Kuweit, he didn't see time pass, and missed last year Forever, and also almost missed this one. Well, he managed to run to the party in time, fortunately! Friday night was the usual demoshow, which is a good way to catch up on all releases done througout the year on various 8-bit machines.
This year we had booked a room with MaV and Bonefish, so I could get some sleep there instead of on the ground at the party place. Still, I went to bed quite late and woke up early, because I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the party. But at least my back doesn't hurt like in previous years, and our room even had a private bathroom. Super deluxe demoparty! :)
On saturday, Mike (the ZX Spectrum and CPC organizer) arrived in the morning. I was waiting for him because he came with the new RGB to S-Video converter we wanted to use to plug the RGB machines to the video projector. This worked well with the CPC and TO8, and unfortunately not as well with the Sam Coupé. Having checked this, I went back to work on finishing that Wizball picture I had started some time ago.
This year there was no internet connection, so I had to work only from whatever I had on my hard disk. I had to fix some issues in my PNG to Thomson converter again, and try to remember the BASIC commands to change the screen border color and palette. Well, I managed to get my picture ready and submitted before the deadline (saturday at noon).
After the deadline is the mandatory pizza break. The Forever party place is in a small village, and you can only buy sandwiches there, or go to the other side of the village and order pizzas. Well, everyone had time to eat his pizza or sandwich before the compos started.
We first had a quick introduction to a C64 MIDI interface of a new kind. It plugs into the C64 keyboard port and allows you to use the C64 keyboard as a MIDI keyboard, and/or use the C64 itself as a midi synthetizer. You can also use it to remote control the C64 from a PC using a MIDI interface, and a few other fun things. After this presentation, the first compo was the Wild one. We had one game for C64 with a new 8-joystick adapter, and an 1K intro for Spectrum finally making possible what 1980s ads for the Spectrum showed (overscan 3D graph with orange background). This was followed by the wild compos, with only 2 entries this year, and I think not very good ones. It seems the theme wasn't too inspiring this year...
The next compo is the music one. We had some interesting events this year, with the ZX compomachine having some memory corruption, leading to a completely broken screen, but still managed to play all entries without crashing. While both the Atari and ZX compos have a nice on-screen display (with music runtime, title and entry number), the C64 has none of this. But this year, the ZX guys plugged a spectrum to the video beamer and live-coded something in BASIC as the music was playing. I was fun to see the guys add a few different tricks to use big text, do some rasterlines in the border, and so on. Finally, there was one Amstrad CPC entry in the music compo.
After the music compo was finished, it was the night, which made it possible to start the graphics compo. There were some great graphics on ZX and C64 this year, and as usual, also a few "fun" entries which didn't manage to steal the first places.
In the 1K category, we got a big surprise on ZX, with one intro showing no less than 11 different effects. This was an obvious winner. No CPC entries this year, but there were 4 Thomson 1K which were well received. Finally, the last compo was the demo one, with few entries this year, and no mindblowing release (well, that's what I felt, at least).
With the compos over, the saturday night was a good time to talk with people about the releases and other stuff, while the organizers were counting the points on the votesheets. Despite some confusion about the "Amstrad CPC" compo actually having only Thomson prods, there was less mixup than the previous year, as Wotnau is quite good at telling people what compo is running and where to vote. This year we had new votesheets, adding a space for taking personal notes besides the final rating.
After this, the party was not over. In the evening it's time for the Crazy Compos. This year we had some winter olympics games, which I'm not sure how to describe (but it was fun!). Then there were the usual quizzes, this year showing a series of picture, and people had to guess which game it was referencing. The choice of pictures made this quite fun.
Meanwhile, I was explaining the Thomson TO8 features to Ellvis. I also discussed this with some other people. I had planned to do a talk about this, but I couldn't finish the slides in time. I'll keep that idea for next year. As I was quite tired after this long day, I went to sleep as the nightly demoshow started.
On sunday morning was the prizegiving ceremony. This year again, I didn't win anything. Well, maybe next time. After the prizegiving, everyone quickly packed up and left the party place. We did the same, to make sure we wouldn't miss my flight in Wien. But the trip went well, and MaV and LCD left us (Bonefish and me) at the airport 4 hours before my flight. So we had plenty of time to sit there and discuss about the scene and our respective projects, and a few other things.
I then boarded the plane to fly back home. The flight went without too much problems, but my luggage didn't make it. I'm still waiting for it now... Well, for me this was the only bad experience today and they told me it would be delivered today. I'm waiting for it. That's all, see you next year!