Times of Change in the Demoscene: A Creative Community and Its Relationship with Technology

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The demoscene is a form of digital culture that emerged in the mid-1980s after home computers started becoming commonplace. Throughout its approximately thirty years of existence it has changed in a number of ways, due to both external and internal factors. The most evident external driver has been the considerable technological development of the period, which has forced the community to react in its own particular ways. A modest body of research on the demoscene already exists, even though several topics still remain unstudied. In this thesis I approach the scene from three different angles: community, artefacts and relationship with technology. The most important frames of reference are subcultural studies, history of computing, game studies, domestication of technology and software studies. The research material is equally diverse, consisting of texts, creative works and interviews. The study paints an uncommon picture of the scene as a meritocracy that actively and even aggressively debates technological change. Technical prowess does not imply embracing new gadgets uncritically, in particular because their perceived ease is in dire contrast with the shared ethic that emphasises individuals’ skill. Practices, interests and relationships to other communities – gamers in particular – are still subject to constant change and, therefore, we should not consider the demoscene as a frozen monoculture, but rather as a group of phenomena that are linked to different periods of time, locations and computing platforms.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • University of Turku
Place of PublicationTurku
Print ISBNs978-951-29-6716-2
Electronic ISBNs978-951-29-6717-9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • demoscene
  • digital culture
  • computer hobby
  • domestication
  • home computers

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