Demo Review: Strange Days by Venture (Amiga) (1996)

Strange Days by Venture (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Strange Days by Venture (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

Review of Strange Days by Venture for the Amiga 1200/4000

Introduction

Back in the year of 1996, a demo party called Intel Outside 3 (catchy name!) was arranged in Warsaw, Poland. The gathering was organized by a group called Union and roughly 800 people attended the event. Quite a good turn-out if you ask me! It’s worth mentioning that this was the first time PC users were welcome to participate at an Intel Outside party, as earlier editions were Amiga orientated.

The demo we’re going to look at today is called Strange Days. It was developed by Venture, a Polish demo group, and released at the party mentioned above. The winner of the competition was Muscles (legendary demo!) by Impulse, with Embraced by Floppy trailing just behind. Strange Days captured the third place.

I actually wrote a review of this demo for another website many years ago. Thought I’d watch the demo again and write a new review.

The credits for this demo is as follows:

  • Noster (programming)
  • Pippen (programming)
  • Korbatz (graphics)
  • Majkel (graphics)
  • Wierza (music)

Requirements

This demo requires an Amiga 1200 or 4000 with at least 4MB of Fast-RAM and a hard drive.

Strange Days

One thing I like about Venture is that their demos have a unique and special style. Often they had an opinion about a subject that they wanted to share with the viewers. This could for example be about politics, war or drugs. This made them stand out from the crowd. Strange Days is no exception, as it contains an anti-war message. They shed light on all the cruelty and the devastating conflicts that are taking place on our planet. Another example is Fallen Angels, which (if I remember correctly), is about the dangers of drug-abuse.

The first part of the demo contains a home-made black and white video by Venture that shows people fighting. Viewer discretion is advised. First you’ll see a car arriving at a desolated area and two guys jumping out of the vehicle. They open the trunk and pull out a poor guy that gets his ass kicked. He then tries to run, but they catch him and.. I will not write more about it, but it’s not fun to watch and fortunately it is just acting. It just seems more real with regular people and the black and white footage.

Screenshot from the video, but it is unfortunately of a bit low quality (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Screenshot from the video showing a guy lifeless on the ground (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

After the video is finished, the main part of the demo starts. It contains many texture-mapped 3D effects with various shadings applied. Some of these are a bit slow on a 68030 CPU, so a better CPU (or WinUAE) might be in order to get the most out of the presentation. You’ll also see images that characterizes the evil in our world.

(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
(screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

The music in the background is rough and heavy and fits the design and idea of the demo. It works well with what is being shown on the screen. Everything you’ll see is synced with the music, which makes watching Strange Days a smooth ride. It is clear, when you watch it for the first time, that a lot of work, effort and thought have gone into this production. It is clear, though, that this isn’t a demo to run if you’re looking for something to cheer you up. It’s a demo that reminds you of how our world is and how cruel humans can be to each other.

Summary

In my opinion, there is nothing really wrong about this demo. It has an interesting theme, contains many cool effects and provides you with good music. The effects could be optimized to run better on slower CPU’s, but that is of course easy to say so many years after. After all, many people claimed that the Amiga couldn’t handle such kind of effects to begin with.. πŸ˜‰

Strange Days is not your average demo, but it is an interesting one. definitely worth watching!

Download

http://aminet.net/pub/aminet/demo/aga/vnt-sd.lha

 

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9 comments

    • Hi mate,

      I haven’t found a video of the demo yet, but I’ll have a look around. If I can’t find it, I can do a recording of it running and post it on Vimeo if you want. πŸ™‚ That would be fun!

      Like

  1. I was there πŸ™‚ It was a great party. I don’t remember many details, just because I was too excited, but the scale and quality of productions impressed me. I was lying in a sleeping bag in a 3rd or 4th row in front of the big screen and watched everything with total awe. Good times. Too bad it was so long ago πŸ™‚

    I couldn’t find a video for that demo either, however found a report from the party. I believe I must label it with “Parental advisory – explicit content” πŸ˜‰ A robot translation is not something I find particularly pleasant, but this could be a great occasion to move back in time… How a teenager sees things… :]

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fksiegaparties.ppa.pl%2F1996%2F96-inteloutside3-excess1.html&act=url

    Like

    • Hi mate,

      Thanks for your comment. πŸ™‚

      Interesting to read that you visited the party. Must have been great fun. πŸ™‚ I must ask.. which group were you in and what was your handle? I’ve been to one party in Poland myself, but that is a long time ago now. Used to mailtrade a lot back then and met several contacts there.

      Many thanks for the party report. A great read! I recognized quite a few names of old-timers there. Poland rocked the scene in the last half of the 90’s.. so many active sceners and many parties, productions..

      Like

  2. Speaking of group and handle… I was in two groups actually, but there is no chance you could heard of any πŸ™‚ Same for handle/nick. Most of the time, like during two Intel Outside I’ve been to, I used Grave as the nick. And most of the time I was “independent” πŸ˜‰ One of the most popular groups of all time. I did two small intros only my close friends saw, and few utils when I switched to C and system programming. Story like hundreds alike. But it was awesome to me anyway.

    Yes, the scene in Poland was quite strong. Maybe not exceptionally innovative, but there were several awesome guys and groups for sure. Unfortunately late 90’s brought silly fights and a schism within the community. You know, all the true vs. not true, real vs. fake… blah blah blah.

    Like

    • You might be surprised! I’ve swapped with many people from lesser gruops, also many in Poland. Try me! πŸ˜‰

      I remember the term “Indy”. When I first started exploring the Scene seriously, I actually thought that “Indy” was a group and not independent Sceners. πŸ˜€

      Oh yes, Poland had a lot of interesting groups. Those I remember best from the last half of the 90’s are Appendix, Floppy, Nah-Kolor (many Poles in that group), Phase Truce, Amnesty, Freezers, Anadune (their productions rocked!!), Venture, Union and Przyjaciele Stefana B. (they made crazy demos). Also remember small crews like Agravedict and Whelpz and even a group called Garbage.

      One of my best contacts in PL was Blaze/Floppy.. he was a mega-swapper with probably 150-200 contacts or something..

      That infighting is not that known to me. Was there any specific wars between groups? I seem to remember a long time ago something about Phase Truce being in conflict with someone, but I might be wrong.

      Like

  3. I tell you, there is no way you heard about them πŸ™‚ The first was Escape, the second Anzio. We did not release anything what could be called “a production”. Few small things that could be intros at some point in time, only if we were more skilled and motivated πŸ™‚ I remember that Escape (actually myself and my cousin) released a disk mag written in (ehm…) Amos πŸ™‚ Few articles, but we were proud of it anyway. You see, a history like many others πŸ™‚ And we did not swap much.

    By the “wars” in Polish Amiga community I meant the overall situation. Stupid conflicts and stories in paper magazines and disk zines, modern users vs. A500 folks, gamers vs. so called serious users… But maybe I was too sensitive and touchy. At the end people are just people, with various fears and beliefs.
    I cannot recall anything related to Phase Truce, but conflicts and “fucks” are as old as the demoscene itself. Isn’t it? πŸ˜‰

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