Code notes – Bog Standard Demos (part 4)

Here we are again dear reader, with our fourth Code Notes delve into the expansive world of “bog standard” demos on the C64! As with the three previous posts, we’re only covering releases with all original pictures and music. And, as with previous posts, we have a theme for this edition which is computer and video games.

Real Sky-Runner (C64)So how about Scoop’s Real Sky-Runner which was released in 1987 for a starting point? It was inspired by the artwork for Cascade’s game Sky Runner which it accompanies with an original piece of music. The demo itself isn’t particularly complicated even by “bog standard”… erm, standards; there are thirteen hardware sprites in play on this screen with five in the upper border spelling out “Scoop” and, probably not surprisingly by this point, eight in the lower for the scroller.

Dragon's Lair Demo (C64)The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse were apparently fans of the Laserdisc powered coin-op Dragon’s Lair, because they released a tribute in the form of The Dragon’s Lair Demo in 1986; the picture has been based on the cartoon art of the original arcade game whilst the music is a slightly quirky cover of So Far Away by Dire Straits.

Official Warhawk (C64)But, as with Stoat & Tim’s W.A.R which we’ve looked at previously, there were also some demos that used assets from games which were released with the publisher’s blessing, for example Official Warhawk by The Commandos which features the Rob Hubbard in-game music and the loading screen which was created by Commandos member SIR for the Firebird budget title from 1986. Only three hardware sprites are employed to handle the scrolling message this time, but there’s also a three sprite group logo in the lower border alongside them

Sanxion Demo (C64)Finally, we have the Sanxion Demo which was another official title, this time from games publishers Thalamus themselves in 1986; it was released to promote their first release, the horizontally scrolling shoot ‘em up Sanxion. The loading music for the game which is used here is, in your correspondent’s opinion at least, amongst the very best produced by maestro Rob Hubbard and the picture was created by Borderzone Dezign Team member Mat. Once more there are seven sprites in the lower border but, rather than redefining the graphics, they are instead in constant motion with whichever sprite definition isn’t visible being rewritten to add new characters; this is actually a surprisingly complicated way to deal with what is usually a relatively simple task!

So there we have it dear reader, and to end this post we’ll apply the usual C64CD slant to proceedings by pointing out that all of these demos were written by people who both started learning at approximately the same time of the author suffered his abject failure; in fact the games being promoted by both Sanxion Demo and Official Warhawk were produced by people who started out in exactly the same boat as the author as regards available documentation and tools as well so, whilst he may end up complaining bitterly about this post, it once more debunks some of his bogus “arguments”.

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