Some additions to the bibliography

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Gleb J. Albert

Dec 24, 2014, 10:27:08 PM12/24/14

Dear fellow demoresearchers,

As promised, at the bottom of this mail you will find some additions to our bibliography. More are to come while I am processing my reading notes. Markku, would you be so kind to include the titles & abstracts into the bibliography page (that is, if you deem them relevant enough)?

Also, I would like to propose an overhaul of the bibliography - which is doubtlessly an amazing research tool that helps me a lot, but could be organised a bit differently to be more effecient, I think.

First of all, I am not sure whether the primary division of literature into different languages is really helpful: People rather tend to look for literature on a particular topic first, and only then they decide whether they can comprehend it or not. A primary division into subject topics would make more sense - within which, secondary subdivision into languages of publication can still be upheld if deemed necessary. I would propose the following systematisation:

1. Publications on the demoscene [incl. early cracking scene];
1.1 Scholarly publications;
1.2 Memoirs and insider accounts;
1.3 Journalistic treatments and contemporary outsider accounts;
2. Publications on related digital subcultures [such as hackers, phreakers, the ANSI scene, the modern warez scene etc.];
3. Publications on demoscene-relevant computer platforms;
4. Related publications on theory and methodology;
5. Online databases/resources on the demoscene;
6. Related video and audio documentaries.

I think this systematisation would encompass nicely all the titles we already have, plus give room for more relevant titles.

Secondly, I think we really should add a few more informational items to the bibliographic entries, such as ISBN and overall page-count for monographs and DOI numbers for digital journal articles. It would make it easier for users to access the titles and add them to their private bibliigraphic databases.

Of course, the last thing I want to do is to impose this idea on a project that is successfully running since ten years, especially given the fact that I'm rather a newcomer in this field compared to you guys. It's merely a suggestion that I'd like us to discuss about. If, however, there should be a consensus that such an overhaul is desireable, I will be happy to volunteer carrying it out. Compiling bibliographies (a.o., for the journals "International Newsletter of Communist Studies" and "East European Jewish Affairs") has been part of my professional activities for years, and I admittedly do enjoy conducting such work.

I hope you all have a relaxed and peaceful holiday season, and a good start into 2015!



Horx, Matthias (1984): Chip-Generation. Ein Trip durch die Computerszene. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt.

German journalist Matthias Horx's treatment of the "chip-generation" was most likely the first German book-length essay dealing with the new phenomenon of homecomputer subcultures. In contrast to the rather technosceptical attitudes within German post-1968 alternative political circles, Horx - himself part of the left-alternative milieu - tries to make sense of seemingly apolitical "computer kids" and to rehabilitate them before his peers as potentially progressive and subvesive social agents. He dedicates a whole chapter ("Frisch geknackt und gut gedealt", pp. 93-113) to software pirates, covering commercial piracy as well as the very beginnings of the C64 cracking scene. It is most likely here that C64 crackers like Antiram and Oleander are being mentioned in a printed publication for the very first time.

Marisca, Eduardo (2013): “The Networks Are Out There: Building Cultural and Economic Resilience Through Informal Communities of Practice.” Paper presented at the Collaborative Innovation Networks COINs13, Santiago de Chile, 13 August 2013.

This paper presents the story of Twin Eagles Group, a C64 cracking/demo group from Lima, Peru, as an example of informal social and economic networks in the context of developing economies. Analysing the group's cracking/importing ventures in the late 1980s and early 1990s and its successful branching out into game development up to the early 2000s, Marisca sees the group as a "'prototyping space' for innovation" that presents a countercurrent to the "race to the bottom" developing economies usually have to undertake in the course of their integration into the world market. The social practices and the economic impact of such networks, however, prove hard to get hold of, due to its practices taking place "outside the radar of economic production".

Stöcker, Christian (2011): Nerd Attack! Eine Geschichte der digitalen Welt vom C64 bis zu Twitter und Facebook. Munich: DVA.

Renowned German journalist Christian Stöcker, head of the IT-news department of SPIEGEL ONLINE, presents a history of the "digital world" from the 1980s until today, interweaving it with an autobiographical narrative. As a proud teenage Commodore 64 user in the 1980s, Stöcker had several encounters with the cracking scene, to which he dedicates a whole chapter ("Kopierer und Künstler", pp. 23-52). For Stöcker, crackers and their social practices were crucial in the formation of the "Generation C64", which, in turn, together with hackers and other cuberculture activists, is incorporated by him into a success-story narrative of the "digital world".

Švelch, Jaroslav (2010): Selling Games by the Kilo. Using Oral History to Reconstruct Informal Economies of Computer Game Distribution in the Post-Communist Environment. In Swertz, Christian; Wagner, Michael (eds.): GAME//PLAY//SOCIETY. Contributions to Contemporary Computer Game Studies, Munich: kopaed, 2010, pp. 265-276.

Based on oral history interviews, Švelch analyses the practices of importing, cracking and distributing games (mostly for the ZX Spectrum) in late-1980s and early-1990s Czechoslovakia. Even though there are no direct references to the international cracking- and/or demoscene, the practices and structures described in the article reveal many parallels. Švelch describes the Czechoslovak games-circulation scene as a (mostly) gift-economy (with the borders between enthusiasts and small-scale commercial pirates often being vague), functioning in the peculiar context of late-socialist and early post-socialist society.

Anders Carlsson

Dec 27, 2014, 12:10:27 PM12/27/14

I don't really have a say in the matter, but I think this sounds like a good idea.
I'd be willing to help with what I can.


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