Assembly '02 party report

I arrived at Hartwall Arena 11.30, the doors were supposed to open at 12. I decided to settle for the main entrance because I was only carrying a laptop and two bags. Asmtv wanted to interview me, I must have sounded really lame (nothing new). My choice of entrance turned out to be wise: I got in almost immediately after the doors had opened and was the very first person in the oldskool area. It was a nice place, there were many extra chairs unlike in the main hall and some couches too. After some difficulties with Windows I plugged in the network cable and in two seconds I had a working LAN connection. Couldn't believe it.

Soon I saw a lot of people I knew, phoenix recognized me and came to say hi, Dreamdust and Pyrmiö people sat at the same table. A journalist from a Finnish political magazine wanted to have a chat with me, he even seemed to know something about Assembly. Later, when the Oldskool area started to fill up I met a huge amount of people I know like guys from Unique and LTV and the joke group Details, and of course ld0d. Rmn and some other guys amazed me with two demos on Game Boy Advance. I really had no idea how cool that little device is. Also saw glimpses of the new intro, which ld0d had been coding and which was supposed to be ours, but was released as Details. it wasn't even that bad, even though there were imaginary groups greeted and other nonsense.

Friends were literally everywhere, a lot more than on the previous years. Many people greeted me without me recognizing them. I recruited a friend of mine as the sixth coder of Numedia Cyclops. She wondered whether she should bring a computer with her to parties since she doesn't really own any PC's, only SPARCs. Sigh.

The opening ceremony was quite bland. A video that was trying to be moving, Abyss holding the usual speech about how this party would rock the world etc. After the ceremony ld0d started to act really weird and aggressive again and I feared he'd be a danger like he sometimes is. Met some more friends, some of whom had had awful computer disasters. Fizzie's VT-510 had literally burnt and Lindi had broken the floppy that held the key to his encrypted harddisk. Oh well.

Before the party some people had complained about the lack of sauna. Turned out there was plenty of sauna area, the whole oldskool was sweaty as um... hell and the main hall wasn't very cold either. I felt like I had to refill my water bottle at least once an hour. The main hall however felt a lot more quiet than in the previous years, even though there were more computers.

They had a rave at night, but I didn't participate because I felt quite ill. I didn't really watch Asm TV earlier on Friday, but at night they had a show with some oldskool demos, which was interesting. The gamedev compo was a bit boring, the games were played very long. TAAt's Porrasturvat was weird, a game about falling down the stairs and getting hurt as much as possible. I didn't find it as hilarious as other people, but the sound effects were quite fitting. Mr. Pixel was a really fast-paced oldskool platformer with great music and very simple graphics.

I met MegaMies and we had a long chat with him and Nanaste about different kinds of dreams. The Pyrmiö people besides me played with logo (the "coding" language) on their Mac for a long time, they seemed amused. Then there started a new demoshow on the screen. Sts turned up, very drunk and amused us with his "amazing" language skills. He and rjv spread some stories about Boozembly. Apparently some people had been quite drunk - does that surprise somebody? We had a long chat with MegaMies, fizzie and Nanaste. Jobbana was looking for his glasses and shoes, but fortunately found them.

Pretty uneventless morning. I heard there was some kind of a fight on Thursday night and two people ended up in hospital. Scary. I tried to sleep on some chairs, but no success, hadn't even taken any caffeine. I also tried to enquire about Altzone's competition for hours without getting any sensible replies. There was supposedly a Nethack server running, but no one bothered to tell me its address. Finally I got the IP and started playing. Some guy spread around sheets of paper in the Oldskool area, he was doing a questionnaire about Assembly and using computers.

The outdoor compos started at 15.00. I went out shortly after that, my unfinished analogue ASCII art entry with me, but it was really windy and chilly and I couldn't even draw. The cd throwing compo was hopeless with the wind blasting vigorously. A meeting of a Finnish IRC gallery site was beginning in the same area, but I simply had to go back to Hartwall and get my long-sleever. My friend pinkertin called that she was at the Arena and we decided to go back to the IRC meeting. There were a lot of people there, mostly boozing.

We went to the partyplace and pinkertin was really surprised, she had thought that Assembly was "something awful and boring" but found it actually quite nice. Met klmth, that surprised me a little. He disappeared shortly after. There were the fast music compo and oldskool music - nothing special in either of them and the oldskool graphics compo, which surprisingly didn't have a single pair of tits and not much chicks either, only a girl couple kissing. There was a teddy bear that was so well drawn it got almost as much applause as the tits and some other great pieces. After the compo lostchild and I walked pinkertin to the bus stop - she was scared of Boozembly, which we didn't even really see. The gallery meeting had got quite wild, there were both an ambulance and a police car. We missed the oldskool demo compo and I must admit it's a bit embarassing.

Louhikarmes and some other Dreamdust guys were playing Porrasturvat when I came back and ladylion - who plays CS etc herself - was watching in disgust. But when she tried the game, she got addicted almost instantly and even got great scores. We left for the concert on the third floor 20 minutes too late. First it was a bit boring and the volume wasn't loud enough, but Crankshaft was good and almost made people dance. When Tero started his gig I first moved forward and sat with ld0d, shodow, Paladiini, Megamies, Hot, klmth and some other people. Abyss and K-statik couldn't watch people sit still and motioned that we should get up and so we did. Some of us started dancing and clapping hands, it was really cool. Tero played some encores, because people wouldn't have let him go. Somebody yelled "Play Paranoid!"

After Tero it was time for Machinae Supremacy, who play metal versions of old game tunes. First Abyss held a speech about how the corridor should be kept free because of safety regulations. He ended the speech by shouting "Let's fucking yeah!" Usually I don't like that genre of music, but the gig was great. People in the front were really moshing and bouncing. Someone even surfed on people's hands. As the last song they played a version of Bomfunk MC's hit Frestyler. People wanted more and expressed it quite clearly, but the Machinae guys said that they couldn't play any longer. Instead, they stagedived into the audience and the security guys didn't even care. Something you don't see every year at Assembly, a metal band diving into a hysteric crowd.

When the concert ended I felt great despite having stayed awake for 42 hours and not having eaten for half that time. I didn't felt at all sleepy, but decided that I had better to try to sleep. Only took 2 hours to finally succeed even though my friend supplied me with a sleeping bag. When I woke up I felt quite dizzy. Got some bad news on IRC: Lostchild's glasses had broken while he was sleeping. Ouch. We went to a grocery store and came back to catch the demoshow. Someone asked me if I was DiamonDie, he was Florent and was wearing a nice cylinder-shaped hat with Casper the friendly ghost pictures.

I played Nethack on the Altparty server even though no one had bothered to fix it. Also wrote a weird little piece titled "Älä katso neonvaloja" (Don't watch the neon lights) for the short story compo. Then the compos really began, hardly any breaks.

Analogue graphics compo was interesting, some nice pictures made with pencils, felt-tip pens and oil paint. Instrumental music compo had one controversial song, IMO the human sounds they used were more like vocals than voice samples. Some good tunes. Hard to choose which one to vote. Raytrace compo had the usual monster, robot and many pictures with everyday objects plus a very nice butterfly. Adam & Eve wasn't as explicite as its name might suggest. The next pic was mostly about showing tits. Flash compo was cool, the quality was better than usually. Many prods had really nice music and usually the visuals were well done, too.

The graphics compo wasn't as good as usually. There were some not that good pics included and Visualice and Marvel didn't qualify. Three pairs of tits, but many jokes and caricatures. Realism seems to be out of style in scene. Some Noice guys insulted some of the pictures out loud in Swedish. Vocal music compo started with a really lame song with naughty rap lyrics. But in the end most of the songs had female vocals. Metal, soft ballads etc. The last one had a really good singer, sounded like a professional opera diva. But overall I expected a bit better from the compo.

AltZone presented us the live music compo with six or seven participants. Only acoustic instruments and human voice were allowed and maximum length for the show was five minutes. Instruments used included a guitar, a violin, a battery-powered fan etc. Taat didn't use any, they just sang "tatatatataa-taa-tatatatataat" etc. According to the schedule Rob Hubbard would have been hanging with people at the same time, but I missed him. Damn.

Combined 4k had some really lame ones, but wow did the Amiga intros _rock_. Humus 3 had a kickass music and great visuals, better than many 64ks and the other ones weren't bad either. One of the Linux ones had a decent soundtrack too, but looked ugly. The 64k had some great ones like Future visions by Potion and Squish by AND. After the 64k compo I went to catch the rest of Proteus's set which was hardhouse or hard nrg or something. There weren't many people, less than 100 I think, but it was really mind-blowing. I tried to take pictures but there was so much smoke that hardly anything could be seen.

The first prize-giving ceremony - this year there were two due to the huge amount of compos - started at a bit over 10 pm. Prizes were awarded for all the graphic and music compos, oldskool compos and 4k. I won't talk about the results a lot, because they're in scene.org. Several guys picked up more than one trophy. Rob Hubbard handed one of the prizes.

Yessa, driimi and I went to visit the AltZone. Ravel stamped glossy AMD stickers on our foreheads. The short stories and ASCII papers were hung on a wall and you could vote on them and the live music compo. There were about 10-12 ASCII pics and 8 stories, of which one was actually a poem and one wasn't handwritten and was nearly disqualified because of that.

The mobile demo compo was a lot cooler than I had expected. There were entries for a lot of different platforms including Game Boy Advance, TI-82, some Nokia and Siemens cell phones, Ipac etc. Excess did a really good show on a two-color Siemens screen, but Doomsday's and Byterapers' demo for Ipac was a sure winner, it was really cool.

Wild compo sucked mostly as usual, but there weren't as much really crappy stuff. Way out was a video with a great idea which was also carried out well, it mixed demo effects with real people. There was a nice Spectrum demo there as well, but some people commented on it along the lines of "these things don't belong in the wild compo".

Between the wild compo at 00.30 and Animation compo at 08.00 there were no compos scheduled. The intros and demos that didn't make it to the compos were shown on the bigscreen starting from 02. I'd like to have watched them too, heard some of them were quite good, but I had an other way to spend my time however: DJ Orkidea started his set at 02 and it was supposed to last until 05. It was gorgeous, there were maybe 100 of us dancing and he played something like four encores so the rave lasted until almost 6 am. At one time my sleep deprivation almost won, I couldn't think straight and my muscles refused to obey fully, but I just continued and after a while it went away.

After four hours of bouncing around I was quite tired. I resumed playing Nethack until the animation compo. I could remember hardly anything from it, there was a nice entry by Melwyn and Visualice and a funny one with wine glasses talking, but some were quite crap.

The demo compo started at 9.15. It was good as usual, but I've seen better. There was nothing really outstanding. The Haujobb demo was good and it was quite clear it'd win, but it didn't appeal to me and I didn't vote for it. Halla by Moppi was cool and I among some other people liked Clone, although many thought its soundtrack sucked. TAAt had gone numedia, which wasn't a good choice in my opinion. Armada's Fable was was its name implied - a fable. The best thing about it was the really silly narrator. Like you probably already know, both MFX and Halcyon were excluded from the compo. Especially nosfe was quite angry about that, apparently their entry wasn't shown among the disqualified ones either.

I had to finish my Nethack compo game fast, since it was already Sunday morning. Unfortunately it got finished sooner than I had expected by a nasty monster called SEGFAULT. Oh shit. Fortunately Nethack has a recover function for situations like this. Unfortunately the Altparty guys couldn't bother it and there goes DiamonDie the Valkyrie with her Mojo and a good score... Sigh.

There was again a longish break after the democompo and before the second prize ceremony. Many people were already packing their things and leaving. Altzone held their own prize ceremony and even though I didn't win the Nethack compo like I'd have deserved I picked up the third place of the short story compo and the second place of the analogue ASCII, which was a bit surprising. Got two cans of Red Bull, some NVidia stickers and two monitor cleaning towels. A girl I've known for many years, catsie, won the short story compo with her poem, I can't remember who came second. Viznut and some other guy ranked third in ASCII, Blizzi was awarded as the winner. Live music compo winner was of course tAAt who performed a small little song again. Second was Texas Playboys and third Kaita, if my memory serves correctly.

The real prize ceremony was funny. Of course Abyss first talked about how Assembly is a great party and this year was better than ever - he always says something like that, but this year really was great, the best or the second best of the five Assemblies I've been to. There were some surprises, like the fact that they gave out four prizes instead of three plus a Nokia special prize in the mobile demo compo and the first place was doubled from 2500 to 5000 euros - sorry, "fifty-thousand fucking euros", like Abyss would express it. Byterapers&Doomsday of course won it. 4k was naturally won by Humus 3, sad that Exploder wasn't present, it was the third year in row that he won the 4k. 64k's winner Squish wasn't a surprise either, the guy who had done it all by himself was so moved when he picked up the trophy that he almost started to cry.

This year all the winners seemed to have two words to say to the audience. Quake and Return to Castle Wolfenstein winners said "CS rules", dodke or rmn of Unique said "I'm scared", someone said "Bukkake owns" etc. TAAt didn't get to say "tAAt hallitsee" because this year they didn't win a single prize in the second ceremony. Haujobb also won only one compared to the years when they've got five or more, but it was the biggest compo, combined demo compo. Wild compo was won by the best entry The way out and the third place really surprised me - our musician _LUKE_ and our coder fizzie received it for The Fellow Chip, which was a LOTR parody and crap if you ask me (later the second placer was excluded so actually they placed #2).

When all the prizes had been given out - or given up, as Abyss says it - Abyss of course continued the praising, made us applaud for the organizers, sent out greetings to his wife (or was it gf) and Abyss's girl and baby or dog or something. Then the party was over. Party network was closed just before Nanaste, devastor and I made it back to our places. It was a bit sad to pack our things and leave the arena, but fortunately I know I'll be back and next year we'll probably win some prizes too with foobug or Numedia Cyclops.

I'm lacking the energy to choose and edit some pictures to illustrate this story, but there's a bunch (almost 100) of pictures I took at Assembly here.