News Bibliography Researchers About

All BibTeX entries in one file

Publications in Finnish

Faler, Matti (2001): Johdatus demosceneen. In Sihvonen, Tanja (ed.): Sähköä, Säpinää, Wapinaa: Risteilyjä teknologian kulttuurihistoriassa. Turku: Turun yliopiston historian laitoksen julkaisuja nr. 59. BibTeX
An Introduction to Demoscene. A student work for a University of Turku course whose papers got published. A clear and well argued introduction that makes a comparison between the demoscene and graffiti scene. Short extracts of demoscene peoples' speech are also analyzed. Sähköä, Säpinää, Wapinaa could be available in technologically oriented libraries Finland-wide. There is one copy at the main library of Helsinki University of Technology.
Haavisto, Maija (2001): Diskmagit haastavat lukijan. Enter 7/2001, pp. 72. BibTeX
Diskmags challenge the reader. An introduction to disk magazines. Apparently aimed for non-scene people but still contains some slang that requires previous knowledge on the culture. Available online at
Inkinen, Sam; Salmi, Markku (1996): Media aseena ja työkaluna - hakkereita, teknohippejä ja koneromantiikkaa uuden median verkoissa. In Tarkka, Minna; Hintikka, Kari A.; Mäkelä, Asko (eds.): Johdatus uuteen mediaan. Edita, pp. 90-91. BibTeX
Media as a weapon and a tool. In this article there's one-page overview of the demoscene. Demos are presented in the context of special technical subcultures.
Kauppinen, Jukka (2005): Demoskenen alakulttuurista nousee suomalaisen it:n kärki. Aamulehti 7.7.2005, pp. 20. BibTeX
The top names of Finnish IT industry rise from the demo scene subculture. Jukka O. Kauppinen is likely the most popular informant when it comes to Finnish microcomputer history research. Here he provides yet another overview of the scene. The tone of the article is quite admiring: the scene is seen as a pre-school for game companies and top positions in the IT industry -- a view that appears in numerous other articles as well.
Kurki, Riikka (2002): WE ARE! Tutkimus postmodernista identiteetistä sukupuolittuneissa yhteisöissä. Lahti: Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu (Lahti Polytechnic). BibTeX
A final thesis about postmodern identity in the gender role communities. Draws a comparative analysis between the demoscene and the decoscene, a girls' community that swaps decorative friendshipbooks. Available online at
Kurki, Visa (2008): Kräkkerikulttuurissa kunnia voittaa kahisevan. Turun ylioppilaslehti 29.2.2008. BibTeX
A short interview of researcher Jukka Vuorinen, where he talks about cracking and how it relates to modern day phenomena. Available online.
Lönnblad, Hanna (1997): Kahden tietokonedemon vertaileva analyysi. Musiikin Suunta (Musical Currents), vol. 19, nr. 2, pp. 28-34. BibTeX
A Comparative Analysis of Two Computer Demos, an article that resembles Lönnblad's (1998) final thesis. Available online at, but you can only open the file at Helsinki University.
Lönnblad, Hanna (1998): Tietokonedemot kulttuurina ja musiikin harrastuksen muotona. Helsinki: Helsingin yliopisto (University of Helsinki). BibTeX
Computer Demos as Culture and Form of Musical Hobby. A final thesis for the Department of Musicology at Helsinki University. Used to be online, but is nowadays gone; the only copy we know of resides in the library of the corresponding department.
Roininen, Tarja (1998): Demoscene: että tietyt aineettomat arvot ja tavat yhdistävät joukkoa ihmisiä. Lapin yliopisto (University of Lapland). BibTeX
Demoscene - That Certain Immaterial Values and Customs Unite a Group of People. A final thesis for the Audiovisual Media Culture programme in University of Lapland. Roininen has a peculiar starting point for her work: she is the mother of a demo scener who got interested in her son's hobby. The thesis includes a rather comprehensive overview of the scene as well as some analysis on the social side of things. All things considered, Roininen manages to make several exact observations on the scene as an "outsider" but does not get very far from the statements of the informants.
Saarikoski, Petri (2001a): Valtavirtaa vastaan - Demoscene suomalaisen kotimikroilun historiassa. Lähikuva 3/2001, pp. 54-65. BibTeX
Against the Mainstream - Demoscene in the History of Finnish Home Computing. A brief article that relates the demoscene to studies of digital art, youth culture, hacker ethics and domestification of home computers. Includes plenty of interesting references most of which we've made available here. Released in the audiovisual culture journal Lähikuva, which should be available in Finnish libraries; we found ours in the Social Science Library of Helsinki University.
Saarikoski, Petri (2001b): Pioneerien leluista kulutuselektroniikaksi. Suomalainen kotimikroharrastus tietotekniikan murroksessa 1980-luvun alusta 1990-luvun puoliväliin. Turku: Turun yliopisto (University of Turku). BibTeX
From Pioneers' Toys to Consumer Electronics, the licentiate thesis of Petri Saarikoski. Concerns the Finnish home computer hobby from the early 80's to mid 90's. Available online at, including the image appendix. This is not altogether about the scene, but section 9, "Against the mainstream" and subsection 10.2, "computer enthousiasts and sub-cultures" definitely are. Section 6, "The outlaws of the computer world" deals with crackers and thus provides additional information on the roots of the Finnish scene.
Saarikoski, Petri (2004): Koneen lumo. Mikrotietokoneharrastus Suomessa 1970-luvulta 1990-luvun puoliväliin. Turku: Turun yliopisto (University of Turku). BibTeX
The Lure of the Machine. Computer hobby in Finland from 1970's to mid 1990's. In his PhD thesis Saarikoski presents the history of Finnish computer hobbyists as well as the relevant technical and social factors. Very likely a nostalgic read for people who were involved with home computers in the eighties. In addition to several references to the demo scene there's even a whole section (21 pages) dealing with the subject. This is probably the cheapest place where you can buy the book:
Saarikoski, Petri; Suominen, Jaakko (2009): Pelinautintoja, ohjelmointiharrastusta ja liiketoimintaa. Tietokoneharrastuksen ja peliteollisuuden suhde Suomessa toisen maailmansodan jälkeen. In Suominen, Jaakko; Koskimaa, Raine; Mäyrä, Frans; Sotamaa, Olli (eds.): Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja 2009. Tampere: Tampereen yliopisto, pp. 16-33. BibTeX
Gaming pleasures, programming and business. The relationship of computer hobby and game industry in Finland after the second world war. In their article Saarikoski and Suominen take a look at the history of computer games in Finland and the demoscene, especially in relation to the national game industry. Demoscene-based success stories such as Bloodhouse, Terramarque, Remedy and Bugbear get mentioned. The overviews of hobbyism, video/computer gaming and the scene place the contents in a wider historical and international context. The article is part of a yearbook and can be downloaded here:
Tasajärvi, Lassi (2003a): Vain muutaman kilotavun tähden. AVEK 2/2003, pp. 38-40. BibTeX
For the Sake of Couple of Kilobytes is an article written for a publication of The Finnish Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK). Includes a short history of the scene, endorses the exhibition (2003) and introduces tracker software. Much resembles Tasajärvi et al (2004) and uses some similar text portions too. Available online at

Publications in English and other languages

Bader, Roland (1990): Elektronische Graffiti. In Schindler, Wolfgang (ed.): Spieglein, Spieglein, in der Hand... aej Materialien 18 BibTeX
An article connecting demos and graffiti scene. Was later published in another book: Schindler, Wolfgang (ed.) (2005): MaC* - Reloaded: Perspektiven aus der Skepsis für *Menschen am Computer. Rabenstück, pp. 182-193. The latter version is available online here:
Barbat, Nico (2005): You can't do this on Xbox! SHizZLE - rumbling with 4 MHz. SCEEN #1, aug 2005, pp. 42-44. BibTeX
An article about the demo SHizZLE for Pokémon Mini. Some background info on the device and an interview with p0p, one of the main developers behind the project.
Beck, Jürgen (2004): Lebenszeichen aus dem Untergrund: Mac-Demoscene. Mac Life 3/2004, pp. 99-100. BibTeX
A German two-page article about the status of the Mac demoscene in 2004. Goes through the groups of the time and explains some of the basics of demos and Mac as a demoplatform.
Burger, Boris; Paulovic, Ondrej; Hasan, Milos (2002): Realtime Visualization Methods in the Demoscene. In Proceedings of the Central European Seminar on Computer Graphics 2002. Budmerice, Slovakia, pp. 205-218. BibTeX
Members of the demo group Peon present the techniques behind their three demos, Dream, Expiration and Symbolic Expression. In addition they provide a brief overview of the demo scene and its development during the years. Available online:
Borzyskowski, George (1996): The Hacker Demo Scene and Its Cultural Artifacts. Curtin University of Technology. BibTeX
A study conducted for the School of Design at Curtin University of Technology, undertaken from 1992 to 1994. Probably the oldest, and since it has been available online for quite some time, the most referenced scholarly work about demoscene available. We've not discovered if this is a thesis, but it was at least presented in the Cybermind Conference 1996. Borzyskowski draws upon a heavy corpus of 765 demos, and employs these for a relatively subjective description of demos' content. You can read the work online at
Carlsson, Anders (2008): Chip Music: Low-tech Data Music Sharing. In Collins, Karen (ed.): From Pac-Man to Pop Music. Ashgate, pp. 153-162. BibTeX
An article about chip music published in a book. First there is an introduction to the scene itself and chip music and finally the writer provides some observations on the current state of the genre. Some parts of the text reach outside the mere demoscene and describe the phenomenon in relation to other underground music as an example. Like Tasajärvi Carlsson juxtaposes chip tunes and open source and while there is truth to it from a technical point-of-view one can also ask whether this openness was originally intentional or just a byproduct of the medium.
Cruz, Filipe (2005): Mobile mayhem. Demo platforms of the 21st century: cell phones. SCEEN #1, aug 2005, pp. 52-56. BibTeX
An introduction to demos on mobile phones and three interviews with people who have been involved with mobile demos. It should be noted that the article represents the situation of 2005 and before, after which the multimedia phones have seen significant changes.
Grohé, Moses (2006): Malen nach Zahlen. GEE 23/2006. BibTeX
Demoscene introduction and a brief interview with the German demo group Farbrausch. Available online: The same text was also published on Spiegel Online:,1518,442536,00.html.
Göhler, Stefan (2007): Am Anfang stand die Raubkopie. Computer-Demos: von der Cracker-Visitenkarte zur Kunstform. c't 1/2007, pp.84-89. BibTeX
An introduction to the demoscene.
Huuskonen, Juha (2004): The Art of Defining Software Culture: The Benevolent Dictators of the Read_me Festival. Framework 2/2004, FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange. BibTeX
In his article Huuskonen brings up the connection between VJ culture, demo scene and underground media art. He even dares to mention that such communities are often closed and self-sufficient: something that's overlooked in most articles written about the scene. The online-version is available here:
Knoke, Felix (2005): Demoscene. Rechenkünstler. Intro 126, 2005. BibTeX
Another brief introduction to the scene in German.
Koenig, Aaron (2004): Coole Kunst im Rechner. Die Zeit 29/2004. BibTeX
A German overview of the scene. Farbrausch seems to be involved in many of these, here too they get to comment on issues. Available online:
Molinari, Maria (2002): Si scrive demo, si legge arte. Hacker Journal 15/2002, pp. 10-13. BibTeX
A four-page article about the demo scene. Unfortunately this is in Italian only so we can't comment too deeply. Seems to be an ordinary overview of the phenomenon with some connections to hacking and cyberculture. Available online:
Nordli, Hege (2003a): The Gathering - Computer Parties as Means for Gender Inclusion. IST-2000-26329 SIGIS, Deliverable Number: D04, 2003. BibTeX
A sociological study of gender inclusion strategies, conducted at three Gathering parties. The empirical material is a combination of observation and interviews, which Nordli analyzes in mostly a descriptive style. The paper is a part of the dissertation of Nordli (2003b). Available online at after registration.
Nordli, Hege (2003b): The Net is not Enough: Searching for the Female Hacker. Norwegian University of Science and Technology. BibTeX
A doctoral dissertation for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Nordli studied the essence of female computer enthousiasts for a few years and then documented her findings in this dissertation. Not everything in it concerns demo scene, but there's a whole chapter on computer parties for example. She divides the female enthousiasts to three sub-groups: IRC-babes, professionals and geek.grrls that all have their own characteristics. Demo scene has traditionally been a male hobby and here you can find several contributing factors why it is so. On the whole Nordli's work can be seen as a continuation of older hacker studies conducted by Sherry Turkle and Steven Levy.
Pappalardo, Davide (2004): The Scene and Its Art. University of Catania. BibTeX
A part of a larger research originally conducted in Italian and then translated to English. First a short introduction to demoscene and then a collection of several influential demos annotated. The style is surprisingly subjective considering it's a scientific publication.
Polgar, Tamas (2005): Freax. The brief history of the demoscene. Volume 1. CSW Verlag. BibTeX
The large-scale scene history book by Tomcat/Madwizards. His research started already in 1996 and culminated in this book. The first volume contains the history of Commodore 64 and Amiga scenes. In the book you'll find numerous screen shots, interviews and analysis of important productions and parties. It is especially refreshing to get a glance of the East European scene since it's often been omitted in other histories. To fully comprehend the book you're required to have some prior knowledge of the demo culture already, which was the original goal as well: from sceners to sceners. From a scientific point of view there's a slight problem with the prosaic style since Polgar seldom mentions his sources -- occasionally it's hard to distinguish between actual events and scene gossip. Regardless of its minor flaws this is currently the scene book and should not be missed by anyone doing research on the subject. Volume 2 about the PC and alternative scenes is planned for 2007.
Reunanen, Markku; Silvast, Antti (2009): Demoscene Platforms: A Case Study on the Adoption of Home Computers. In Impagliazzo, John; Järvi, Timo; Paju, Petri (eds.): History of Nordic Computing 2. Springer, pp. 289-301. BibTeX
We're not in any position to comment on the quality of this publication, so let's just go through the contents. The paper deals with the processes that took place in the demoscene when it moved from a hardware/software platform to another, and the discussions surrounding the migrations. The study is based on contemporary disk magazines such as R.A.W. and Usenet newsgroups such as Perhaps the most important findings are the self-reflective nature of the community, and that the demoscene is by no means the first group of people to endorse new platforms, even if its members are otherwise proficient with new technology. Article is available through SpringerLink. A local copy can be downloaded here.
Scheib, Vincent; Engell-Nielsen, Theo; Lehtinen, Saku; Haines, Eric; Taylor, Phil (2002): The Demo Scene. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2002 Conference Abstracts and Applications. ACM Press, pp. 96-97. BibTeX
A short introduction to the demo scene published at the valued SIGGRAPH'02 conference. Mostly consisists of the bios of the authors. The article was part of the Demoscene Outreach Group activities.
Shatz, Phil (1993): Walkthroughs and Flybys CD. Waite Group Press. BibTeX
A collection of various demo-related things on one CD, accompanied by a book. The great variety of contents can be somewhat confusing: in addition to demos you'll find FLI animations and curious commercial demos. The book on the whole is very catalogue-like and there's very little analysis on any of the topics presented. Suprisingly, Walkthroughs and Flybys was a small-scale bestseller with over 50000 copies sold.
Shatz, Phil (1994): Modeling the Dream CD. Walkthroughs and Flybys II. Waite Group Press. BibTeX
A sequel to Shatz's previous book and very similar in content. This time in addition to the demos and animations there is a chapter on 3D Studio.
Scholz, Alexander (2007): Iconoclash. Opium for the masses. SCEEN#2, 2007, pp. 50-56. BibTeX
An article about the demogroup Andromeda Software Design (ASD). Presents the group, its history and some interesting background info on their best known demos.
Scholz, Alexander (2007): Teenyweenyfantastikum. A whole world in a 4 kilobyte nutshell. SCEEN#2, 2007, pp. 72-75. BibTeX
An interview with Sebastian Gerlach (Minas/Calodox), the creator of numerous 4k intros.
Shor, Shirley; Eyal, Aviv (2002): DEMOing :: A new emerging art form or just another digital craft? BibTeX
An introductionary article written by the New Yorkian artists Shirley Shor and Aviv Eyal. The authors want to show that demos are unique audio-visual virtual constructs with deep formalistic and aesthetic roots in the computer underground movement of the 80's. Similarly to many demoscene introductions, the tone of the text is very enthousiastic, and it makes a number of connections e.g. to hiphop culture. The article has been published on the Art-E-Zine You can read the work online at
Tasajärvi, Lassi (2003b): - The Exhibition. Arsis 1/2003, pp. 9. BibTeX
A brief introduction to demo culture as a phenomenon plus an advertisement of the demo exhibition held in Kiasma. Available online at:
Tasajärvi, Lassi (ed.); Stamnes, Bent; Schustin, Mikael (2004): Demoscene: the Art of Real-Time. Helsinki: Even Lake Studios & BibTeX
Declaring itself "the first book ever about the demoscene culture", this book accompanies the Tasajärvi curated exhibition (2003). Inside are an introduction to demo culture, a couple of interviews, discussion of tracker software and an article about the Gathering party. Also dubbed "the demoscene art book", the demos explained and screenshots are the same as exhibited i.e. those of the audiovisual community A description is available online at The book is now available as e-book too, you can purchase it at
Vigh, David; Polgar, Tamas (2006): Freax Art Album. CSW Verlag. BibTeX
Continuing the tradition of the original Freax this is a book from sceners to sceners. There's very little text this time -- the book mainly consists of scene art pictures ranging all the way from Commodore 64 disk covers to 24-bit PC graphics. Some knowledge on the underlying platforms and their limitations is necessary to truly comprehend the presented works. The selection of artists and images is naturally a highly delicate matter and you may find a hint of unavoidable nepotism here and there. Nevertheless, Freax Art Album is a worthy collection of images and serves as an interesting cross-section to the styles and themes of different eras.
Zelazny, Stefan (2006): Digitale Kunst und Demoscene. Von Pickelgesichtern und Raubkopien zur digitalen Kunst. computer-Postille 3/2003, pp. 3-5. Universität Dortmund (University of Dortmund). BibTeX
A german article about demos in general with several screenshots. Available online:

Related publications

Arrasvuori, Juha (1999): Tietokone soittimena - 'digitaalisen musiikin' lähtökohtia. In Järvinen, Aki & Mäyrä, Franz (eds.): Johdatus digitaaliseen kulttuuriin. Tampere: Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu (Tampere Polytechnic) & Osuuskunta Vastapaino. BibTeX
Computer as Instrument - Starting Points for Digital Music. An introduction to digital music that briefly discusses tracker software in a footnote (see p. 203).
Aune, Margrethe (1996): The computer in everyday life. Patterns of domestication of a new technology. In Lie, Merete & Sørensen, Knut (eds.): Making Technology Our Own: Domesticating Technology into Everyday Life. Scandinavian University Press. BibTeX
An article dealing with the domestication of new technology (as the name suggests).
Bagnall, Brian (2005): On the edge: the spectacular rise and fall of Commodore. Variant Press. BibTeX
This book could easily be called "Commodore Hackers" -- the style is so similar to Levy's (1994) book. Bagnall takes you through the entire history of Commodore computers ranging from PET to the last Amigas. The book is mostly based on interviews of the former employees such as Chuck Peddle, Bil Herd and R.J. Mical and partly on contemporary magazines. This is not any scientific publication so be aware that many of the opinions stated in the book may be somewhat colored. Nevertheless: the book is a good read and provides extensive insight on its subject.
Bertelsons, Boris; Rasch, Matthias; Hoffmann, Jan Erik (1995): PC Underground. Unconventional Programming Topics. Abacus. BibTeX
This book deals with various "underground programming topics" such as assembly language, VGA register tweaking and copy protection. Originally published in Germany by Data Becker and then in the USA by Abacus. Does not contain any explicit demo references but is obviously influenced by the demo and cracker programming techniques.
Borsook, Paulina (2000): Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech. New York: Public Affairs. BibTeX
A critical study about the social impacts of technology. The actual subject of this book are the techno-libertarians of USA, but maybe there's some anarcho-capitalism, social Darwinistic metaphors and excitement about the Hobbesian war of all against all to be found in the demoscene as well? See more details in
Dimmen, Pål (2003): Datamaskinell Piratvirksomhet: Fra Altair Basic til Kazaa. Bergen: Universitetet i Bergen (University of Bergen). BibTeX
A master's thesis that deals with the history of piracy and the cracking scene (which is closely related to demo culture history). Available only in Norwegian for now.
Dittbrenner, Nils (2007): Chip-Musik: Computer- und Videospielmusik von 1977-1994. Universität Osnabrück. BibTeX
A book about the history of chip music in computer and video games. Only available in German for now. Can be purchased here:
Forster, Winnie (2005): The encyclopedia of Game.Machines: Consoles, handhelds & home computers 1972-2005. Gameplan. BibTeX
An illustrated history book of game consoles and home computers from the seventies to these days. Provides useful background information to the scene researcher as well. Visually stunning and an entertaining read with numerous high-quality screenshots and photos of the devices.
Franke, Herbert W. (1971): Computer Graphics - Computer Art. London: Phaidon Press. BibTeX
An early overview of the domain of computer art, written originally in German (Computergraphik - Computerkunst). An enlightening read with many illustrations from the 1960s when computers were still out of reach of everyday people. Many of the screen captures and prints actually look a lot like demo effects. Out of print, we got our used copy from Amazon.
G.N. (1986): Die ehrenwerte Gesellschaft: Treffen der Cracker-Gilde Deutschlands. Happy Computer 10/1986. BibTeX
An old article from the German magazine Happy Computer. Deals with cracking. Unfortunately we can't find the full name of the author. Available online:
Harry, M. (1985): The Computer Underground. Loompanics Unlimited. BibTeX
A rather mixed collection of writings about phreaking, piracy and hacking among other themes. Contains even tutorials on misusing different systems.
Levy, Steven (1994): Hackers. Dell Publishing. BibTeX
A fundamental piece of work that deals with the different hackers ranging from the 50's to the 80's. Starting with the "true hackers" of MIT Levy moves to the hardware hackers of the 70's and finally the game hackers of the late 70's and early 80's. Filled with numerous lively anecdotes and characters the book is easy and entertaining to read. On the whole we warmly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to widen her picture of the computer culture and hobbyists.
Moschitto, Denis & Sen, Evrim (2000): Hackertales. Geschichten von Freund + Feind. Germany: Tropen Verlag. BibTeX
Hackertales - Tales about Friends + Enemies. A fictious book about a German phreaker. The authors are demosceners who have worked for groups such as Scoopex and Shining-8. Written in German. A description is available online at
Moschitto, Denis & Sen, Evrim (2001): Hackerland. Das Logbuch der Szene. Germany: Tropen Verlag. Third revised edition. BibTeX
Hackerland - the Logbook of the Scene. An introductory book to software piracy, phreakers and hacker culture. Scenes formed around illegal activities take a main role in the book, but there also are bits about demoscene and -parties (see pp. 110-120). The authors are demosceners who have worked for groups such as Scoopex and Shining-8. Written in German. A description is available online at
Nissen, Jörgen (1993): Pojkarna Vid Datorn: Unga Entusiaster i Datateknikens Värld. Stockholm: Symposium Graduale. BibTeX
Boys in front of computers, the young enthousiasts in the world of information technology. A sociological PhD thesis on the young Swedish computer users. We haven't found this one yet.
Nordli, Hege (1998): Fra Spice Girls til Cyber Girls. En kvalitativ analyse av datafascinerte jenter i ungdomsskolen. STS-report 35, Centre for Technology and Society, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. BibTeX
A research article written in Norwegian. Describes the attitudes of young computer enthousiast girls. Was later published in English as well (see below).
Nordli, Hege (2001): From 'Spice Girls' to Cybergirls: The Role of Multimedia in the Construction of Young Girls' Fascination for and Interest in Computers. In van Lieshout, Marc; Egyedi, Tineke; Bijker, Wiebe (eds.): Social Learning Technologies. The introduction of multimedia in education. Ashgate Publishing, pp. 110-133. BibTeX
The results of a research concerning the attitudes of young computer enthousiast girls ranging from 14 to 16 years of age. Discussion is provided on the gender roles as well as the importance of multimedia in education. An interesting finding is that not even the most enthousiastic girls want to be associated with nerds because of image reasons. Another interesting point is that big brothers tend to occupy the family computer which in turn leads to loss of interest. The study is a part of a larger trend: the Norwegian authorities were worried about the small number of women studying computer science or working in the computer industry. A bit different version of the study is available online.
Rehn, Alf (2004): The politics of contraband - The honor economies of the warez scene. Journal of Socio-Economics 33, pp. 359-374. BibTeX
An article that describes a system of modern gift economy in the software pirate (warez) scene. Rehn writes about reputation tournaments and status maintaining that are very similar to demoscene. There are also interesting accounts on how Rehn conducted the participatory ethnography for the research in the Internet. The article is available online at
Thomas, Douglas (2002): Hacker Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. BibTeX
In his book Thomas describes the attitudes, media representations and the legal position of hackers. In this context hacking and hackers refer specifically to the phone/network hackers of the 80's and 90's such as Kevin Mitnick, who is specifically presented as a case example. Hacker culture is categorized as a boy culture loaded with competition and strive for independence. Some good observations on the incorporation of subcultures, technophobia and hacker language offer insights to a demo researcher as well.
Turkle, Sherry (1984): The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. Simon & Schuster. BibTeX
An influential book that deals with the complex relationship of computers and humans. In her research project Turkle studied a large number of people ranging from kids to oldschool hackers and computer science students. The way that Turkle treats her informants is exemplary: she clearly respects their points of view and tries to understand them. An important theme that pops up throughout the book is the role of the computer as a mirror of the human spirit. Turkle's text is easy to follow and doesn't need prior knowledge on either computers or psychology to be understood. Since 1984 a lot has changed, but the main points made in the book still remain valid.
Turkle, Sherry (1995): Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Simon & Schuster. BibTeX
Another well-known book by Turkle, dealing with the challenges and possibilities the Internet, virtuality and artificial lifeforms introduce to their users. On one hand a well-written and analytical piece, but on the other hand hasn't aged too well (in 1995 MUDs were popular and the number of Internet users was still low - now we're in a completely different situation) and partially overlaps with The Second Self. The general insights on gender, power and multiple selves are probably the most useful content of this book.
Vuorinen, Jukka (2007): Ethical codes in the digital world: comparisons of the proprietary, the open/free and the cracker system. Ethics and Information Technology, vol. 9, nr. 1, pp. 27-38. BibTeX
In this sociological article Vuorinen discusses the differences between the ethical codes of crackers, the open source community and proprietary software companies, focusing particularly on how the codes have "differentiated" to become inconsummerable with one another. When Vuorinen talks about the scene it is the cracker scene he is referring to, demos are just briefly mentioned in a couple of paragraphs. Nevertheless, the practices of the cracking scene can easily be compared to those of the demo scene as well. Moreover, both demo people and crackers seem to face alike differences when put in relationship to the ethical codes of the open source community and sofware companies.
Wajcman, Judy (1991): Feminism Confronts Technology. Polity Press. BibTeX
In the book's chapter "Technology as Masculine Culture", Judy Wajcman looks how the computer has become socially constructed as a male domain. Through examples from professional and hacker worlds we see, how computers are associated with boys and men, and why girls approach the computer with less confidence than boys. These findings are in line with Sherry Turkle's (1984) ones.


8 bit core (2005): C=64 Demosampler
The Commodore 64 demo DVD project, similar in concept to for example MindCandy. Two volumes available for free online: or from
ARTE (2003): Tribal - Demoszene
A German demo documentary shown as part of the Tracks series of the art oriented tv channel ARTE. Contains an introduction to demos with some video footage. The German group Farbrausch was interviewed and appears on the clip. Available here:
Atariscene DVD Project
Similar to MindCandy this project of the active Atari group Dead Hackers Society aims to make Atari demos easily viewable in DVD format. So far three collections have been published.
Brandt, Felix: Atari ST demo history
The history of Atari ST demos from 1987 to 1999 written by Flix/Delta Force. In addition to short descriptions and screenshots you can actually download all the demos as well.
Chapman, Ian (1999-): Big Book of Amiga Hardware
The definitive collection of Amiga computer and expansion card specs.
A collection of some Amiga crack intros with screenshots and downloads.
The exhibition (2003)
The exhibition was held in Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki between 28.3-15.6.2003, curated by Lassi Tasajärvi. The demos shown were from Byterapers, Virtual Dreams, CNCD, Parallax, Maturefurk, Komplex, Tpolm, Doomsday, Orange and various permutations of members. See for more information.
Demoscene entry at Wikipedia
Quite a nice overview that seems to receive updates every now and then.
Edge Staff (2008): Inside the PS3 Demoscene.
An article about the commercial PlayStation 3 demo Linger in Shadows by the Polish demogroup Plastic. Additionally there is some discussion about the potential of game consoles as demo platforms. Read the article here:
The Eurochart online
The Eurochart has documented the Amiga scene since 1989. Competition is a fundamental part of the culture and the charts reveal the popularity of groups, individuals and productions through the years.
Green, Dave (1995): Demo or Die! Wired, Issue 3.07.
Yet another introduction to demos, written in a slightly cheapening tone -- scene people are referred to as "kids". However, connects demos to other phenomena of the time.
Gruetzmacher, Thomas (2004): PC Demoscene FAQ
Located here: Explains many of the fundamental concepts and terms used in the scene.
Hartmann, Anja (2008): Type-Demos: Die Rolle der Schrift in der Demoscene
A seminar paper written in German about the role of text/script in demos. The focus is on new productions. The paper and an interview of Hartmann can be found here:
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
IEEE journal published four times a year. Contains a wealth of information on the computer history. The abstracts of the articles are available for free but to access the full texts you need to pay (note that many universities have purchased the access to the IEEE electronic library so by chance you might have it too).
A site dedicated to the crack intros on Commodore 64. Extensive collection of intros available for download.
Järvinen, Aki (2000): Demoscene Sub or Pop?
A lecture held in Tampere University. The slides disappeared for a couple of years but the author kindly provided them for us: digital_subcultures.pdf
Knoke, Felix; Kremp, Matthias (2007): Kunst ist, was klein ist
An introduction and short descriptions of some demos. Published on Spiegel Online:,1518,496373,00.html
Kuittinen, Petri (2001): Computer Demos - The Story So Far
A quite often referenced web page containing yet another introduction to the phenomenon, several links and images plus a glossary.
Leonard, Jim (1995?-1998): PC Demos Explained
A classic site by Jim Leonard aka. Trixter of Hornet. Widely known among the sceners and an often referenced source. Nowadays out of date, but still useful if you want to know how things were seen in 1996. This is a new mirror for the page:
Linde, Ingo (2005): Medienaneignung und Medienamateure am Beispiel der so genannten >Demoszene<
A German introduction written from the point of view of animation, new media and amateur art. Available here:
Lunder, Glenn (1996-): ExoticA! Scenery Project
An enormous collection of Amiga and Commodore 64 demo group information. Includes group members, ex-members and productions.
A project producing DVDs with classic demos. A nice way of viewing hard-to-run old productions on modern hardware.
origami digital - Demos without restrictions exhibition (2002-2003)
A demoscene exhibition held in the Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt between 10.12.2002-20.2.2003. At the exhitibions website you'll find short introductionary texts to demoscene. As for the exhibition's name, the artefact of an origami serves as a comparison for demos: the japanese art of folding papers to complexe figures also underlies various restrictions. Aside from this, Digitalcraft also hosts other interesting exhibitions about the craftmanship culture of computing.
Polsson, Ken (1995-2008): Chronology of Personal Computers
An extensive timeline of the computer history from 1947 to these days. Based on contemporary magazines such as Byte and Info World. According to the website the history will be compiled into a book later on.
The most active demo scene portal of today featuring thousands of productions with screenshots and discussion.
Raymond, Eric S. (2003): The Jargon File, version 4.4.7
The definitive hacker slang dictionary which was later also published as a book called The New Hacker's Dictionary.
Simmonds, Ashton (2001): Decoding Art. A Critical Analysis of the Demo Scene.
A general article about the scene. Touches topics such as demographics, social organization and demo genres. Possibly a BA thesis, but we can't confirm it. Online (long URL).
Scheib, Vincent (2001): Introduction to Demos & The Demo Scene: How they Relate to Games, and their Appearance at SIGGRAPH. Gamasutra.
Another introduction to the scene, this time published on the game-oriented Gamasutra website. Makes connections between demos and games, as can be expected in the context. SIGGRAPH is mentioned as a possible venue for exhibiting demos (see Scheib et al. 2002).
Tasajärvi, Lasse et al (2005-): Demoscene: the art of real time
Accompanying pages for Tasajärvi's book DEMOSCENE: the art of real-time.
Topf, Mario (2005): Entwicklungstendenzen des Designprozesses in der Demoszene, betrachtet im sozio-technischen Kontext
A seminar paper written by Paralax/Speckdrumm for a course held at the Vienna University of Technology. Seems to deal with the design process of demos. Available here:
Vigh, David (2003, 2008): Pixelstorm
An annotated collection of scene pixel art with some information about the artists and their tools.
Volko, Claus-Dieter (1998-): Demoscene articles
Several writings of Claus-Dieter Volko (Adok/Hugi). Mostly from and about disk magazines -- or diskmags as they are called.
Walleij, Linus (1998): Copyright finns inte (Copyright Does Not Exist), V3.0.
An online book in Swedish by Linus Walleij, aka. Kingfisher/Triad. Contains a lot of text on different digital subcultures such as hacking, cracking, demoscene and cyberpunk. In addition to that there is a rather large bibliography on underground topics. The link: These days there is also an English translation, available here:
Warncke, Kathrin (2007): Demoszene: Kunst auf vier Kilobyte
An general article about the demoscene, written in German. Available online:
x8oi2h3_0000202 (2001): Process over Product: Generative art and the new demo
A short article from the Hugi diskmag that connects scene activities to art history. Online (long URL).
ZDF (2008): Demoszene: Hollywood in 64 Kilobyte
A German video documentary about demos. Available online: