In english, as it should be when dealing with demoscene party reports.
Last easter, sceners from all over the world did a great thing. They spent the closing ceremony at Breakpoint 2009 clapping their hands numb to get the organizers to create the worlds biggest demoscene only party one more year. And they managed.
Because of that, it was clear quite early that this would be the last Breakpoint. Because of that, of course, a lot of people decided to show up. Myself, I wouldn’t miss it for the world, and thus I found myself exiting my flat in pouring rain on Thursday. Although the party starts on Friday, we’ve gone down to Germany on Thursday almost every year – both to not start the party right after travelling and to spend as much time as possible with the other attendants who show up early.
Dropping by work to get a lock for my laptop (not that I don’t trust my fellow sceners, but the laptop was brand new and paid for by work) I met up with Kusma at the main railwaystation, before we jumped on a train to the airport. Here we found Spexzter, Response, K-man, OF and Madsy, and hung around with them for a while before clearing security – meeting up with TFT, Quisten and Spookysys on the other side.
The flight was pretty fast, and became faster still as Lufthansa hands out free alcohol. Parts of our crew liked this so much that we managed to empty the whole supply of alcohol before we landed. The look on the stewardess’ face when she came carrying a box filled with glasses with a little bit of this and that, proclaiming «this is all we have left, share it» was priceless.
Back down on the ground we spent an hour or so at the airport before heading to Bingen by train. I was fortunate enough that Orbiter and Malmat had offered me a bed in their hotel room the first night, so I quickly went there after arriving. I met up with Krill on the way, and we spent a bit over an hour in the room (waiting for the swedes to arrive) before heading out into the nightlife of Bingen. As tradition goes, this meant the cocktail bar. I’m really going to miss their Zombie drink (5 different types of rum, and some juice) – but maybe I can drop by Bingen every now and then to have some. The night went as nights go, some people behaved, some didn’t, some got thrown out, some got very social. All things considered, we left pretty early and headed back to the hotel room. As all the rooms were booked out by Breakpoint guests, we offered Krill a place to sleep as well, although on the floor.
The next morning I woke up pretty early, and despite the previous night, I felt fine. I even went jogging after breakfast to prove it. It was the first time I did that in Bingen, and I actually regret not doing it the other years. The weather was splendid, and you get to see the place in a whole different way. I’d recommend it, but alas – it’s too late. After the jogging, a shower and some more food it was time to hit the party place. On the way I called Gouafhg, who told me the line was several thousand kilometres long and that there was no need to hurry. Reaching the place, the line was down to only 50m long, but it still took quite some time to clear it. Luckily the line was full of friends, so it wasn’t boring. Once I got inside, the hall was even more full of friends than the line had been, so it was all good. I placed my stuff next to the other norwegians and went exploring and greeting people.
From here on, as usual, everything is a blur. I hardly remember if things happen on friday, monday morning or saturday night. I just know I talked with a lot of people, but I’ll try piecing it together. At least I know for a fact that Friday was the day when most people arrived. As such, I spent the first hours catching up with people, while more and more friends entered the hall whenever there was a shuttle bus from the airport or from downtown. At some point during the afternoon Chucky, Fred and Ramzeus from the Gang showed up, and I spent quite some time with them. Of other people I clearly remember meeting that day I think Gargaj, Loaderror, Smash, Fiver2 and Strife (with girlfriend) comes to mind the most.
Having had great success last year, I had decided that this would be my second compoetely sober Breakpoint. As such, while others were getting drunk, I was staying completely normal. One would think this would impact the socializing, but it really doesn’t after you get used to it. The only bad thing about it is that your own tolerance for other people go down once they get shitfaced and annoying. Luckily, an event such as Breakpoint hosts such an amount of people that you can easily avoid the annying ones.
The evening gave us the opening ceremony, which was both hilarious and sad at the same time. While it was obvious from the beginning that Scamp was featured in the coffin, I had not expected the bigscreen humour – especially not the fact that it was good. The BASS gig afterwards was fun, although lacking from too few ODD soundtracks. T-101 did a great job posing as Ville Valo, Lord Graga was a blast, Gargaj broke another drum stick and Sir Garbagetruck was for some reason completely hoarse. Later on I spoke with Smash, who had such an ego trip over being killed at the bigscreen that you’d want to kill him again.
The rest of the night I spent hanging out both outside and inside, before it was time to try grabbing some sleep. Of course, having placed myself next to the most drunk norwegian crew this year, it was easier said than done. I spent most of the night waking up because random norwegian demosceners kept coming to our place to tell us how drunk they were. As if that wasn’t enough, after 3-4 hours of solid sleep all in all I woke up again because the guys sitting at the other side of our table used their way too big loudspeakers to wake up the whole hall. I thought I was at Breakpoint, but right then I felt like I was at The Gathering.
The morning was spent realizing I once again couldn’t eat a thing in the food stands. As such, I went to Lidl with random Darklite members, and bought some honey and white bread together with Quisten. This proved to be a good idea since it actually got me full the first morning. After eating and watching some tv series (the joy of a slow wakeup with your computer) I once again spent my time hanging around, until it was time for a bunch of compos which I saw with Loaderror and Slummy. At that point, Frequent and Nerve showed up, and my computer place in the hall magically evaporated so that Nerve could sit next to Loaderror – to try finishing the demo.
As I couldn’t be bothered securing another spot I once again ventured across the hall to hang out with the Gang, but ended up playing a game of chinese chekers with Fred and Altruist instead. Having a small box of analogue magnetized kiddie games was actually quite cool, especially since I won. Afterwards, it was time for the Sundown quiz. Confusing to some, maybe, but I found the whole thing hilariuous. The «find a juggler» part was just straight out awesome – the type of humour only found in japanese tv shows. Perfect for me, in other words. The only problem was that the audio screwed up from time to time.
After some more chinese checkers it was time for the Scene.org Awards. As I’ve more or less completely left the team, this was both good and bad to watch on my behalf. Good, because I wasn’t stressed out over it, bad, because I noticed it might have gone better if I had helped out. As it was, once it actually started they seemed to manage without me, newbie glitches aside. Then again, that’s to be expected from a completely fresh team, something I doubt most people watching the show realized. As usual, I mostly disagreed with the jury, but I know I have a weird demoscene taste to begin with, so that’s expected too.
After the show ended, I did actually help out a bit, pouring sparkling wine for nominees and winners alike. Once done, I left my post, just hanging around, again. I missed most of Ronnys dj set, but caught the last part of it – which was good because I got to stand in the crowd singing along to Starsign. Afterwards, it was time for a bunch of compos, which I saw with Altruist. As usual, I can’t remember much of them, but obviously Blueberrys 4k was once again superb.
After the compos the other Tulou guys (Dalton, Bonkers and Todi) showed up, and proclaimed they had handed in their demo. As such, it was time for them to celebrate with beer and cigars. The event was of course not to be missed, and some party tent socializing followed. A bit after that point, the night got really cold, so I went inside again, hung out a bit more, and finally went to bed. As Loaderror had left the building, the second night of sleep went better, since he had left behind all his sleeping gear. A thicker mattress for me, then.
Despite the fact that I had a thicker mattress though, the second morning was as bad as the first. Sleeping in a crowd of people will always wake you up too early. Then again, this in fact turned out to be good, since I woke up in time to hit the girl showers – and even go jogging beforehands. For some reason, the jogging part freaked quite a lot of people out, most probably because they were still fighting the hangovers I didn’t have. On the other hand, it was harder to jog this day – mainly because finding a route in a german village is a mess. The intricate pattern of small roads was almost impossible to get through, and I almost got lost. Luckily I have a good sense of direction. After jogging and showering, I went over to the swedish table and realized Altruist had a tv with him. I had originally dragged my Super Nintendo all the way from Norway because random finnish demoscener wanted to hand in a track in the executable music compo, but the track hadn’t gotten small enough, so in the end it wasn’t delivered. Since I didn’t want to have dragged the thing with me for nothing, I asked if I could hook it up to the tv and play a bit instead, which was granted. Thus, I sat down and played F-Zero and Donkey Kong Country with Chucky.
After a while, we decided we were hungry and went to grab take-away at a chinese restaurant I had passed while jogging, making it back just in time for the very important announcement from the organizers. The very important announcement turned out to be the organizers handing out free easter candy to everyone, which must have cost a fortune. A really cool gesture, although I don’t actually eat candy at all (and as such didn’t take any).
The rest of the day passed with more gaming, more socializing, and more compos. Once again, I can’t remember much about the early evening compos – although I paid attention to them all. Later, I found myself outside talking with random people, when I heard familiar music inside and ran into the hall not to miss Ultrasounds version of the Jesus Christ Motocross soundtrack. Although the lyrics turned out to be fake, that was a blast. Seeing Reed perform with a synth right afterwards was good as well, and so were the various guest vocal acts.
At this point, the whole schedule was horribly delayed. Nevertheless I teamed up with Krill and Slummy and went up to the grandstand to watch the remaining (and most important) compos. We secured a spot right behind the whole swedish Amiga division, me being slightly happy about the fact that the rumours said there would be 11 Amiga demos. The compo itself wasn’t as good as I had hoped, but better than in many years. Personal favourites from the compo would be Ozone, Traktor/Nature and Tulou – the latter sporting the best demo soundtrack I’ve heard in ages.
After the Amiga compo, the whole swedish Amiga division left – because PC obviously still sucks. After seeing the PC compo, I can’t say I blame them, even though Todi and Esau came back for the last demo. I was lucky to have Slummy as my sidekick during the last compo, because without him it would have been horrible. As it was, all the crap and bullshit were promptly badmouthed by the two of us. Still, the compo had its gems, most notably the long awaited return of my favourite PC group: Cubicle. The Farbrausch demo was ace too, and I even liked parts of the Fairlight demo for once.
When the compo ended, it was time to vote, except of course everyone tried doing that at the same time, so the network broke. Trying to wait it out, more time was spent playing with the Super Nintendo, since I was too tired and/or messed up to go outside just then. Eventually, the system came back online, and I was generous enough to lend my computer to Altruist so that he could vote first. In the end, this had me not voting, since when he was done I was so tired I couldn’t think clear anymore. I spent some time in the party tent watching the dj set of Yoda and Ronny, but eventually admitted defeat and went to bed.
The last morning, I woke up by the same damn loud loudspeakers, this time playing ASDs demo Lifeforce on full blast. Once again skipping breakfast, the next hours were spent just waiting for the prize giving, exchanging some pictures with people, packing up, and saying good bye to a lot of people.
The prize giving and closing ceremony was pretty sad, although I didn’t get the emotional effect that a lot of people have talked about (most likely because I wasn’t sitting in front of the big screen). The final moments still made an impact, especially the standing ovation. As usual, I didn’t like most of the results, and for once I really regretted not voting. Not that I think it would have made a difference, but still. Afterwards it was time for more hugs and good byes. The end of the last Breakpoint probably means I won’t be seeing most of these people again – at least not in the same place, which is really depressing in it’s own way. 10 years of tradition is hard to get over.
Going back home, we spent a night and a full day in Frankfurt. After-party tiredness aside, it was a really nice stay, especially since the german weather decided to show itself from its best side. As such, lots of tourist behaviour was had. Getting to clean up properly and relax a bit before the flight home was nice too, at least I didn’t have to worry about what the Breakpoint smell would do to the other passengers. Finally back in Norway, the only thing to do was to get home as fast as possible, turn my computer on and start thumbing things up and down on Pouet.
All in all, the party was a blast. I seriously hope someone will pick up the legacy, because I have no clue what to do next easter. And that concludes the way too long pary report.
Skrevet 23:40 fredag 9. april 2010, under Demoscene.