"Two blondes were walking through the woods when one looked down
and said "Oh, look at the deer tracks." The other blonde looks
and says "Those arn't deer tracks, those are wolf tracks." "No.
Those are deer tracks." They keep arguing, and arguing, and
half an hour later they were both killed by a train."
ST DEMO REVIEW: REALITY IS A LIE BY PSYCHONOMIX AND FRIENDS
by Richard Karsmakers
If "Reality is a Lie" will ever enter the all-time demo hall of
fame it will no doubt be remembered as the demo with the funny
screen names. At least I don't think I ever saw so many
distinctly odd names, and I think you'll know what I mean if you
have read all the names, below.
Psychonomics are already quite an old group, sortof a split-off
of a multi-computer group. Still, this is only their first ever
ST product, and probably their last as well as they all seem keen
on getting Falcons (and I for one can't blame them). The day
after having been to Dynamo Open Air I got an envelope containing
the disk and sat down to check it out.
Much like the issue of the "DBA Magazine" that was finished at
the Fried Bits Convention at Bremen, 10-4-1993 (or, rather, the
day after), "Reality is a Lie" was finished there too. It comes
on one disk which is quite excellent what with it containing 14
(officially 16) screens and the main menu. None of them them are
too big and contain no digi music, so I suppose that really cuts
down on storage space needed.
It starts off with a personal (editable) screen after which the
graphic name presentation follows. Everything looks smoothly
designed, quite promising.
The Main Menu
This one is actually quite original. It's a full-screen thing
(no upper border though) with various appearing texts on the left
and a gigantic hamburger in the centre and right. You scroll up
and down through the various hamburger layers, where you'll find
the screen names between the lettuce, cheese and other bits you
would expect to find on a hamburger that's several screens high.
Scrolling's done with the arrow keys, selecting with the long
This is one of the very few (if not the only) screen that
betrays something of itself by its name. Principally it's sortof
a plasma screen but I think it's no plasma screen as such and
there are only 2 colours of plasma. It's sortof original (I
haven't seen something like it I believe). Especially the last
bits look pretty psychedelic, pretty much to my liking.
The scroll text says that this is "another old screen" (just
like too many screen in the "Ventura" demo). I wonder whether
they're proud of their old screens or whether it's just an excuse
for mediocre coding. Where are the times of people like TCB who
simply refused to release a demo screen if someone had done
another screen that even vaguely resembled theirs? Coders of
today seem to take little pride in what they do. What a shame.
This screen has side borders and the graphics artist seems to be
a fan of Sepultura. That's about the only good thing about it,
This is a nice screen with upper and lower border, a disting
background screen, some scroll on top of it and a lower border
scroll that is even beyond the range of my monitor (which is a
Grundig PM015 RGB that has no problems with borders normally),
let alone that of an Atari SC1224.
The names of the screen are getting ever crazier...
This basically consists of two screens: A pattern generator and
a fractal thing. The first of the two is basically a screen
interference exercise. They start off stunningly simply but in
the end they get quite OK, unlike any other of these screens I've
seen. I really liked the way the in-between texts were put in the
screen, like they were pressed out of the screen. You have to see
it. The second part of this screen is much more boring. I never
did like screens that simply put fractals on the screen with some
vaguely definable parameters. It's simply not the kind of thing
any demo viewer would be interested in, at least not after
they've even done fractal things in bootsectors.
Didn't I tell you? The names are getting crazier and crazier. I
guess they must be some typically German thing, but even though
I've lived there for 18 months I've never heard any more German
things than "stuhl gebaut" and "fressen, pennen, BURK".
But that's beside the point.
This demo is sortof a rough plasma screen. I don't quite know
how to classify or describe it. You can define some parameters,
anyway, and the music is quite different from that in the rest of
the demo (I seem to recall is having been ripped off NEXT instead
of Mad Max or Big Alec).
Finally a screen of which the name seems to bear relevance to
what it does. Not that it matters, for it works only on an STE
and I don't have one.
Yo. Another STE one, so no show for me.
Craziest of names. STE only. Too bad.
Guest Screen by White Status
Another screen that's more or less rather totally superfluous
because of lack of coding capability as well as originality.
First you get some tracking sprites (one plane), the a rough
sinussing scroll (either one plane or rasters) and then sortof a
double-sinusoid scroll that transforms into sortof a bulging,
waving thing. Very boring indeed.
On the screen you get a square with one corner pointed to you.
On it lie a lot of dots that can be made to move in set patterns,
either symetrically or not. They jump up and down in a way that
would no doubt provoke droolings from any maths freak - but not
from the average demo viewer, because it's not staggeringly
Named after an old Pantera song, I had high hopes for this
screen. It wasn't STE only so I guessed I was in for a treat.
A short message tells the viewer that the screen wasn't finished
in time and therefore not included. Back to the main menu then.
Guest Screen by TPN
This is certainly the largest screen. Lots of loading time and
decompression, probably due to the fact that it uses rather a
large and exotic font. This screen is easthetically certainly the
best in the demo, with some nice flame-like fading effects of the
largest font. The actual demo consists of a horizontal scroller
with disting effects above and below it. It also contains one of
the better Mad Max compositions, a tune from "Enchanted Land"
that has a distinct Pink Floyd quality about it.
Especially easthetically this is a totally cool screen.
At around this time I really started to doubt the sanity of the
screen names. Even reversed they're cod's wallop.
Anyway, I can be quite short about this screen by saying that
it's sort of a puzzle game that is much too intelligent for me. I
couldn't really be bothered to find out how it works. "Syntax
Terror" fans will maybe like this.
This is an overscan 3D dot screen that can handle up to 845 dots
per frame. I don't know if this is any good, but it sounds OK. It
consists of a sequence of 3D shapes made up of dots, depth being
simulated by gradual darkening of the dots. They are all static,
i.e. they turn around and that sort of thing but don't change
shape dynamically. One of them was rather nice, where a large
globe rolled towards you.
See Heresy, above (unfortunately).
Yeah, there's a reset screen. It's a film-like credit scroll,
overscan except top border. The font they use is very stylish.
The 'thanks' list is quite pretentious, what with The Devil and
Stephen Hawking being mentioned and all. At the end of the
credits you get explained what you have to do to get an
alternative main menu.
All in all "Reality is a Lie" is a decent demo with little
language abuse, a good atmosphere, nice fading in and out (though
not always, and particularly not where the music is concerned)
and OK demo screens even though they sometimes lack either in the
originality or the coding excellence department. All musical
pieces are ripped, mostly off Mad Max (they once call him
'Maiden Max', which I found exceedingly funny!) and Big Alec.
Perhaps they should start looking for a music man soon.
Especially with sound editors being readily available nowadays it
can't be that difficult to do your own music surely?
Thanks to Florian Kriehn for sending me the demo. Cheers, mate!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.