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The Finnish scene from a Byterapers perspective

Those days on early C-64 scene were very special in my life. It was time of founding one's inner self, of creating something new that nobody had no previous experince, of creating SCENE.

I think myself as 2nd generation Scene-dude. Generation 0 was those dudes on Apple II, for whom I feel utmost respect, who invented it. When C-64 was released, the idea of groups was adapted and the Generation 1 followed the Generation Zero idea of founding groups. Generation 1 also invented, THE DEMO. They were people with ideas, the pathfinders. FCS, later as FCS/Finnish Gold, 1001 Crew and so on, from 1982 forward, are the Heroes. Back then they were everything in existence, but they gave us the example. Generation 2, my Generation, started coming into existence during 1985, when some basics had been set. We didn't really invent anything, since we already had seen examples, but our generation pushed the idea forward. Naturally, we didnt know it, but it just happened.

Please let me tell about the early Finnish scene, since I think I'm one of the few ones still around to tell about it. There ARE others, Gallstone / Finnish Gold and April7 / Digitize Design Group, but dammit its my keyboard so I speak now :-)

After founding Byterapers, we started creating (B) productions. Those were, cracks and intros. Kasper was the Coder himself, the great and Oh So Talented One. I was the pusher, making him to do things. Kasper was so lazy tho. (I even bribed him, once with booze, once with chocolade, to code :) During first months we for example translated the older Kasper Systems (non-byterapers, before (B)) intros to Byterapers intros. And I so happily o so happily spread them :-)

Finnish scene? Was there one? Well, one kind of. But very small. Let's say that during 1987, with our lousy intros and some cracks we quite fast managed to get ourselves into Scene. We werent many, nobody was really good, but Byterapers managed to show some talent and got into the circles since we really had something to show about ourselves. I remember when I contacted the bunch of guys later known as Z-Circle (if it doesnt say anything, poor ya, Z-Circle was one of the dominant groups in Finnish scene 1987-1988, and was even well known by their time), one of them, Euku The Maker, wondered why they had never heard of us since we had made "so good intros". Heh :-) Ok, intros were maybe surprising good in their time :-)

Early Finnish scene. HOW small it was? It was SO small that it all fit into one house.

Really! Really! I was there! And so were everybody else! It was the Jezebels Union copyparty, arranged by Finnish Gold. In those good days of Jezebels, the Union that was combining all good groups into one big organization. Jezebels. A dream that didnt last long.

First about the party. It happened in Vaajakoski, near Jyväskylä, and there were maybe 40 people. EVERYONE was there. 29-31.12.1987, plus minus one day. Practically nobody had seen each other before. That that weekend forged the basics for Finnish scene. The Real Scene. The Scene where groups knew each other, where members knew other group's member at least by name. Time when Scene was so small you KNEW everybody, personally. That weekend, dreams were forged, friendships were made to last, and the cornerstone for Finnish Scene Legends was laid.

Friendships? I don't feel ashamed when telling that I miss that weekend, that time. It was a big cornerstone in my life too. Many of those people I met then are dug into my most inner soul, as people who have shared this Experience of EARLY scene with me. Most are gone, from most I don't know anything anymore, but there are some who ARE alive. Ahh, and let me say that FCS/Finnish Gold still lives, not in scene, but his LITTLE BROTHER is a seeming figure in today's Finnish PC-scene :-) Lemming/Orange.

Dreams? During that weekend we were flying high. We met those people we had only known from letters, phonecalls and the SO FEW AND SCARCE intros/demos. Finnish Gold were still a member of The Austrian Union, and released a demo there. Finnish Gold released their first Amiga demo, which was the first ever FINNISH AMIGA DEMO. Digitize Design Group showed their new digimixes, and paved their way into the high grounds of DIGIMUSICS. The X-Men, this legendary group on Amiga, the 1st famour Finnish Amiga-group, came and demonstrated their releases. Byterapers released their new intro, that was to dominate our cracks during next 4 months - and get us more contact letters than any other product ever, relatively. And we made friends.

Cornerstone? During that weekend we made friends, we proved each other that we could really do things, we created atmosphere that gave every group a feeling of competition, rivalry. We created atmosphere where we tried to best each other, make things more and better than others. And because we had made friends, it was friendly competition. There were harsh words later, and Byterapers vs Finnish Gold hard competed and claimed the no:1 place of Finnish groups. Which was afterwards looking pointless, but it felt important back then. FIG were great at demos, (B) was great at cracking. We were in different league, but anyway tried to best each other. Oh well. FIG challenged us to demo-competition, in their demo "The Challenge". Idea? Well, FCS/FIG was best Finnish coder. Kasper/(B) was recognized 2nd best. So we were supposed to make demo and compete them. It never really happened, but I'm sad to say, Kasper/(B) was in fact CODING the competition-demo to challenge FIG - and we had a chance! Unfortunately, Kasper never finished his demo, as happened to most of his works during his career. I still have faint memories what it looked like, and in my o so faint memories the demo looked o so beautiful, so wonderful, so special. It it had been finished, I think it would still be one of the most legendary releases ever in scene-history. Unfortunately... it wasnt.

Cornerstone? Uhm, I got a bit carried away. Feel sorry for old (sceneterm :-)) man who gets lost in his memories.

Cornerstone? Oh yep. During that weekend we created the real basics for Finnish scene. Which was: STAY DRUNK!

:-) Hell, there wasnt that many sober guys in that party. Gallstone/Finnish GOld was like a train, every 15 minutes he crawled to toilet, puked and crawled back. I even watched from my watch. He had a puke schedule :-) Kasper/(B) was found passed out in very same toilet. Sardon/(B) was thrown out of window. Etc. I even have pictures of whole party. ALl of them :-) Except dammit me as I took the pics. :-(

During 1988 the idea of scene was spread much further, and for example in DDG's Digiparty'88 (spring) were people I didnt anymore know. But still it was very small. Two rooms :-) With whole Amiga-scene there as well :-) :-)

July/88 in First Byterapers' party we had first Finnish democompetitions ever. The C64-results disk was spread quite well I think. And it was a whole big house with about 100 visitors. And we didnt anymore have whole scene there. All who mattered, yes, but that party was invitation only since there were already pretty much people in Scene.

And that was time when people started to alienate from each other. 1987 and first half of 1988 were mostly quite happy time, since Scene was so small you could remember faces and even remember handles from almost all people there existed. I claim it was time of Friendship. It wasnt all happy, some small wars flamed, but OVERALL it was so good.

Bacchus said "teenage computer culture." This was it. This time is the legendary iron-age of scene. Those who were there, can be nowadays proud as they were creating the nowadays Scene.

Some say current Scene is lame, no friendship, pure business and so on. I don't think so. Nowadays scene is so large. I go to a party, a familiar face in the crowd is oddity. And I am surely one of the more active partygoers here. That is very different from those earlier parties. But it's not so bad after all. It's just that there are more people to get friends with. More people to meet, more people to chat. While I don't anymore see many old familiar faces, I do see many new familiar faces. There's world filled with great people, who share same enthusiasm for demos, and you just have to meet them first.

Once I was very very troubled with the development of Finnish scene, since those new people flowing into scene seemed to be much much lesser quality than the 2nd/3rd Generation people already there. With 3rd Generation I mean people new in scene around 1988-1990. 4th Gen, 90-92 were somehow much less interested in the foundation of Scene, how it was born and seemed to care more only of themselves. I managed to stir Finnish scene quite a bit by writing to Maggy about these things, and while I must say I used much harsher words I really thought, it caused a lot of attention. I even managed to gain shithead-status among those younger people, since they took everything I said literally. But that was very typical to that period. Everything was taken literally, old scene-traditions were forgotten and the New Blood flowing to Scene was, in some strange unexplainable way, much DIFFERENT than previous folks.

So back then I was very worried about the Future of Scene, but lately I've been very _happy_ because development has been into much better. There's now another generation of Scened00ds, the 5th Generation maybe, who are suddenly keeping the traditions up. It's not that they look backwards, but there's a lot of great spirit around. There are so much new great people, making parties fun again and overall following the old rules of having fun and getting stoned again. :-)

Overall feelings are much better than some years ago. It's much more fun now. The cold-blooded professionalism and business-like trends of early 90s are gone, and people have realized what Scene should be. It's more than a plain hobby, not way-of-life for everyone, but it creates a underground culture with strange feelings of union and shared brotherhood. I guess that is much because the Finnish party culture has been forcefully reborn lately.

Written by: Grendel of Byterapers Inc.
Source: In Medias Res

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