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The Demoscene is a interesting computer sub-culture that came to prominence during the rise of the 16 bit micros (the Atari ST and the Amiga), but demos first appeared during the 8 bit[?] era on computers such as C64 and ZX Spectrum.

Demos began as software cracker's "signatures"; when a cracked program was started, the cracker or his team would credit themselves with an impressive-looking graphical introduction or intro[?]. Later, these intros became so involved that they evolved into their own subculture independent of cracking software. The main aim of demos was to show off the abilities of the writer's machines and were often deployed in the "Platform Wars."

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Demo writers went to great lengths to get every last ounce of performance out of their target machine. Where games/application writers were concerned with stability/functionality of their software, the demo writer was typically interested in how many CPU cycles a routine would consume and how best to squeeze as much effects and activity onto the screen or into as short a program as possible.


Most demos were written by groups with interesting names, usually including at least a coder, a graphics artist, and a musician. Some demoscene groups include:


For a list of demos, see ZX Spectrum Demos, Amiga Demos and Atari Demos. The demoscene still exists on the PC, C64, ZX Spectrum and Amiga, although the large variety of hardware makes it harder to compare demos. Several of the 3D benchmark programs also have a demo or showcase mode, which also derives its roots from the days of the 16 bit platforms.

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