Another annual eurokitsch compo yesterday, this time in Finland at the very same location as the Assembly demoparty. Surprisingly, one of the video clips ("postcards") shown between the performances actually was about Assembly, mostly including some teenage nerds playing games and chatting on IRC. There's also an MPEG video file of this clip available. (16 MB) UPDATE: It's in YouTube too.
Because of this Eurovision excuse, as well as the fact that newly announced Assembly computer place locations also caused some stir yesterday, I think it might be a good time for me to summarize some of my opinions about Assembly.
On one hand:
On the other hand:
There's a common misconception, however, that the majority of the visitors are "gamers". I would rather say that the visitors are a mix of generic young computer enthusiasts who follow dozens of different more-or-less computing-related subcultures. Some of them are hard-core gamers, yes, but there are also more creative communities present, including non-demosceners who can actually appreaciate demo art.
I generally think it is a good thing to have an event that combines a wide variety of computing-related subcultures. However, since almost everyone uses computers these days, the diversity among computer hobbyists is much higher than, say, ten years ago. This is why I think there's a need for some minor rethinking of how the event is profiled.
Earlier this year, Assembly Organizing introduced an additional gaming-oriented event called "Assembly Winter". I liked this idea quite a lot because of the possible impact to the summer event. You know, this would give the chance for the summer Assembly to gradually rebrand itself towards the opposite direction, towards creative rather than consumer-whorish use of computers. Also, the big gaming compos wouldn't steal the publicity if they were held in winter.
The reputation of Assembly as a no-life nerd party or a gaming LAN may also have been scaring some potentially interested audience away - especially those of the more creative and talented kind. So, I think a slight rebranding of the summer event wouldn't diminish the audience at all but would rather change its composition towards the better.
So, are they going to do this? It doesn't seem so, at least yet. Once again, the organizers are suggesting that the "oldskool" (demoscene) area would be moved into the main hall, while they still keep a separate non-stop gaming room for hard-core gamers despite the existence of the new gaming-oriented winter event. To me, it therefore seems that there's going to be even more non-creative activity at the summer party despite all the dreams of the opposite. Hope I'm wrong.