For our second Code Notes look into the world of “bog standard” demos on the C64 we’re going to pick a couple of titles out which have a musical theme to them. Please note dear reader that we’re only covering releases that adhere to the general bitmap, ROL scroller and music template so something like We Music 7 (which is a lovely cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven) isn’t relevant here purely because it lacks a scrolling message!
So first up from 1986 is XESS 1 – Rendezvous which was the first demo released by the group XESS and features both a rendition of the Jean Michel Jarre track Fourth Rendez-Vous and a version of the cover art where the mouth has been animated. The “tilted” scrolling message in the lower border uses the same technique as the other sprite-based ROL scrollers we’ve covered already, except with each sprite at a slightly different height and only seven are needed so the eighth sprite is the animated lips which are silently but repeatedly mouthing “rendez-vous”.
Next we leave the United Kingdom temporarily to offer up the 1001 Crew’s 1987 production Suburbia,which features a cover of the Pet Shop Boys’ track bearing said title, a bitmapped screen which is, according to Honey’s scroll text, based on a scene from the music video and sixteen hardware sprites in use, eight for the logo in the upper border and another eight for the relatively simple scrolling message in the lower.
Back to the UK again and 1986 saw the release of We Music 6 from We Music, which is also referred to as Rolling Stoned since it’s a cover of Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. This one offers a slightly different slant on the established template because, rather than having the sprite-driven scrolling message pushed into one of the borders, it is instead overlaid onto the less than flattering caricature. There are just five hardware sprites in use for said scroller this time, and the principles behind updating it by redefining the sprite definitions remains the same.
Looking at these demos from C64CD’s angle once more, We Music were already doing game development by the point their demo above was released but still started as bedroom programmers with releases to their name such as Loco in the same year that the author purchased a C64, demonstrating once more that his claims about documentation are “misleading” if we’re being very charitable with our descriptions. The other people involved also started as amateurs because everybody did in those days and it’s a reasonable assumption that most of them were finding their feet with the C64 around the same time that the author failed to and, in the case of XESS member El Stocko, this is confirmed in a C64.com interview where he mentions that he “was coding in BASIC from about 1985”).