3.01.2019 - 5.01.2019 Academic lectures, Events, New Media, News, Video Games, Visual Arts, Workshops


January 3-5

201 Waterfront Street | National Harbor, Maryland 20745 USA

The MAGFest Demoparty, taking place at the Music and Gaming Festival (MAGFest) January 3-5, 2019, is an exciting stage event presenting the digital artform known as the “demo”, and will include lectures, live real-time coding workshops, and a final presentation of brand-new demos with live voting and prizes. Demos are self-contained computer programs that demonstrate the skills of digital artists, musicians, and programmers, working together to create a multimedia masterpiece. Headlining the main Demoparty stage event will be three specialists from Poland: Grzegorz Juraszek (a.k.a. Fei) — the main organizer of Riverwash, the largest demoscene event in Poland; Michał Lipiecki (a.k.a. Borys) — a specialist in broadcasting and TV production; and Jakub Argasiński (a.k.a. Argasek) — a music composer and front-end developer. They will be joined by MAGFest organizer Brendan Becker (a.k.a. Inverse Phase), and organizers from two other leading US Demoparties, Demosplash and @party.

The Demoscene emerged in the 1980s as an informal movement of digital content creators who produce graphics, music and software. Some would release their work independently, but many joined forces to create non-interactive 2D and 3D presentations along the lines of movie or video game effects. These are called demos and are run on hardware in real time, computed on-the-fly. Demos (as well as their smaller, byte-sized counterparts, “intros”) were once distributed free of charge on pre-internet online systems as well as floppy disks with other software. In the early online era, demosceners wanted a place to meet, since sometimes they had not even met their collaborators. The Demoparty was born.

©Demo still. Courtesy of Jakub “AceMan” Szeląg 2019

Demoparties have been running since the early nineties. They quickly became known for debut screenings of new demos and competitions for prizes. Since the European scene is much larger, the MAGFest Demoparty aims to grow the American demoscene by building links between the gaming and demoscene communities and introducing newcomers to the scene. The MAGFest Demopary will run from Thursday, January 3rd to Saturday, January 5th, 24 hours a day. Attendees can watch, compete, and vote in competitions for demos/intros, music, graphics, and animation. The presentations will be projected on a large screen with powerful audio, and livestreamed online.

MAGFest is an annual festival promoting video game culture and video game music since 2002, including exploring gaming trends. The event is held outside Washington, D.C. often the weekend after New Year’s Day. It offers a wealth of programming, including gaming industry talks, Q&As with celebrity guest speakers, live video game and chiptune concerts, vendors, and gaming of all types including live video games, consoles, arcades, computer gaming, tabletop games, and much more.

MAGFest Demoparty 2019: Schedule Highlights

Thursday, January 3rd

  • 10:00 AM – Doors open
  • 3:00 – 4:30 PM – Brendan “Inverse Phase” Becker – How Software Piracy Birthed an Underground Art Scene (presentation, 120 minutes):

    Have you ever played a pirated game with an “extra” introduction from the folks who broke the copy protection? Or perhaps used a key generator with some rockin’ chiptunes? There’s a whole community of individuals who evolved from software hacks to making art under extreme limitations, whether it be 3D graphics on an 8-bit Atari, CD-quality music playback on a Commodore 64, or music videos stored entirely in only kilobytes of space. This presentation will get you up to speed so you can enjoy all of the cool demos we’ll be watching over the course of the weekend in the Demoscene room.
  • 5:30 PM – Jakub “Argasek” Argasinski: Demoscene Effects Basics (presentation, 120 minutes):

    A panel on the history, categorization, and basic concepts/math behind the effects.
  • 7:30 PM: Demoshow part 1: A presentation of the best Demoscene productions, selected by Demoparty organizers)

Friday, January 4th

  • 6:00 PM: Grzegorz “Fei” Juraszek: From Riverwash to Washington (presentation, 60 minutes):

    Organizing a mid-sized social event (Demoscene oriented… or not!)
  • 7:00 PM: Jakub “Argasek” Argasinski: Demoscene Effects Basics (workshop, 180 minutes):

    Javascript-based workshops explaining simple algorithms and teaching to implement some simple 2D-based effects
  • 9:00 PM – Demoshow part 2 (A presentation of the best Demoscene productions, selected by the Demoparty organizers)

Saturday, January 5th

  • 2:00 PM – Atilla “Maugli” Szabo – The Newbie (presentation, 60 minutes):

    How to go from no one to the heart of the Hungarian Demoscene community in five years.
  • 4:00 – 6:00 PM – Competition screenings and voting (open to all attendees)
  • 6:30 PM – Prizegiving

Register for MAGFest Demoscene HERE

For the full schedule click HERE

Demoparty is presented and organized in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York and supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C.

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