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Classic Demos
Unreal, by Future Crew, 1992. The Demo, in my case, that started it all. Soon after I discovered FTP, I watched this demo (as did everyone on my freshman hall, whether they wanted to or not! ). The demo was unreal at the time. Now, it is a popular relic of the early PC Demo years. It's totally antiquated, and I love it.
Second Reality, by Future Crew, 1993. Future Crew's last demo (Soppa? What? Who?). Some people still feel this is the world's best PC demo. At one time, they were probably right. It was groundbreaking when it came out and hence defined demo "design" for most of the PC Scene. It is in the truest sense a classic demo.
Crystal Dreams 2, by Triton, 1993. This demo was released around the same time as Second Reality. At the time, this was considered the "coder's demo", while SR had design. Which demo you favored depended on what you appreciated more-- tight code or fluid design. Keep in mind this demo runs smoothly on a high-end 386.
House Party, by Witan, 1992. I don't know how many people would include this in a classics list, but I must. It was originally the ending "techno part" to a longer (and, well, crummy) demo. However, this finale is totally original-- to an extent that nothing has been made quite like it since. The music is performed with only 4 channels-- and it's fantastic! REQUIRES GUS.

My Current Favorites
Updated June 17, 1998
The Fulcrum (6.1MB), by Matrix, 1998. This emotion-evoking technical showcase includes real-time shadows, high-polygon scenes, atmospheric light, morphing particles, bumpmapped textures, dripping metal, graphics by Made and Nero, and true style. The downside is a game-like duel between wizards which could have been omitted, but the jaw-dropping rest makes it all worth while.
Tribes (5 Meg), by Pulse, 1997. This is an unprecidented, ambitious project on Pulse's part. A deeply symbolic narritive is complimented by a moving symphonic score, thoughtful transitions, and careful cimematography. I'd like to hear anyone's opinion on the story this demo tells. It won The Party in December, 1997.
Sunflower (2.7 Meg), by Pulse, 1997. Some very cool particles and absolutely breathtaking still art combine with happy music and fantastic 3D nature scenes to make this a demo I can't seem to exhaust watching.
Paper (64k), by Psychic Link, 1996. In my mind, this represents the direction in which Statix is hoping to nudge the scene. If you like demos, you will be satisfied by this one, which includes paper airplanes that fly different paths each time the demo is run. If you want music, own a GUS. Otherwise you can watch it with no sound.
Luminati (496k), by Tran, 1996. Tran makes unique demos in that they never end . For the newbies, Tran is something of a living myth in the demo scene. This demo speaks for his brilliance as it uses a highly tweaked video mode, producing 21 bit graphics. In this demo, Tran has included imagery of the passage of time and death approaching. Don't watch too long!
Forward (2.5mb), by Complex, 1998. A JAVA demo, and easily the most impressive one I've ever seen. This gives me hope. The effects are good, with beyond respectable framerates. Perhaps more importantly, it's the first java demo I've seen that breaks down the modular unreal design into something more thoughtful.

Other Fine Demos
Loco (5mb), by Cryonics, 1998. A must for train lovers everywhere. This one placed second at The Gathering 98. It's quite a terrific demo, albeit large. Design this thoughtful and creative is rare. It consists of multiple complex 2D effects, and the transitions are as interesting as the scenes themselves. It reportedly requires 32MB RAM and sdd52 or greater.
Clone Meets Clone (64k), by Acme & Fudge, 1998. A very stylish small one with decent music, morphing shapes, and an effect called bilinear interpolation which, for the benefit of those like me, means the textures don't get all blocky and pixelated at close range. Aparantly it's done by most 3D cards, but here you have it in software-- and in 64k.
Square (2.1 Meg), by Pulse, 1997. Statix sits in with Pulse this time to help create, as Phoenix put it, a very artistic demo. There's a lot happening on the screen at any one time, so you may need some patience to discover the appeal of this one. It's displayed in only 256 colors, but you'd never know it. It includes some interesting disolves and transitions, as well as a reference to Statix's hallmark demo, Headache.
303 (fix), by Acme, 1997. I am one of the lucky few with a system that will run this demo without crashing. Actually, on some systems it has been known to reset the bios, so do execute with caution. If you are as lucky as I, you will be pleasantly rewarded. Statix/Psychic Link did the code for this one and, as always, his artistic sensibilities make for exceptional graphics and flow. Be prepared for the first demo with lyrics!
Stars (1.1 Meg), by Nooon, 1995. If I remember correctly, this really was the first demo to replace Second Reality in the hearts of many Future Crew fans. People finally had a new favorite, and I must admit I went through a dilemma myself. The effects in this are seriously intense, as is the music. Want to see polygons do things you've never seen? Get this one.
Inside (2.1 Meg), by CNCD, 1996. A great demo, with exceptional long-term appeal. This is a rare example of an Amiga group showing their stuff on the PC platform. This has more style than most demos produced today. It has a fast paced theme, with scenes subtlly changing each time the demo is run, which make it fun to watch again and again. The music is done with only 4 CHANNELS! Remember that?
The Secret Life of Mr. Black (1.3 Meg), by Orange, 1997. As always, a very stylistic demo from Orange. A very interesting audio soundtrack here, as well as some beautiful, unique looking code. A polished demo that may not appeal to everyone. Obviously, I like it.
Boost (4.6 Meg), by Doomsday, 1997. It won Assembly 97. I think it's kind of reminiscent of Future Crew, but missing a certain epic quality. It should appeal to most old school demo fans, but is missing anything resembling the real world, which may not appeal to the new school. Some very cool code here, and some things I've never seen before.
Nature (3 Meg), by Vertigo, 1997. It supports DOS, Win95, 3dfx, and soon PowerVR and MMX. It's one continuous flowing nature scene, which I understand took about six months to build. It is the mother of all object shows. I recommend it very highly, especially if you have a 3Dfx card. Once you've seen it a few times though, you've pretty much seen it.
Gamma (64k), by MFX, 1997. Prepare yourself for some of the most impressive realtime raytracing yet. These guys are masters of their art, but you'll need a fast Pentium to appreciate it.
Drain (64k), by Vista, 1997. Beautiful colors and effects. It won 1st place in the 64k compo at Abduction '97. I'll warn you though, the text gets a little cheesy. Keep your eyes on the effects. It ends with my favorite lens flare of any demo.
Robotnik, by Rage PC, 1997. I think this is one of those coder's demos. I wasn't especially entertained by this demo until I watched it a few times and began to understand the effects. Once I realized what I was looking at, I was in awe. This one has some pretty hardcore math involved, I can promise you, and includes some cool film projector scenes.
Megablast (2.9 Meg), by Orange, 1996. Orange is constantly inventing new images for the computer screen, and always delivers them with a unique, polished style. This placed second at The Party 6, and is a graceful presentation of music and sound. It is discreet in its mix of effects, making good use of motion blur, and they always fit the music well. A beautiful demo.
Juice (848k), by Psychic Link, 1995. A friend describes it as "a tour de force of the highest magnitude!! A real show-stopper." I don't know about no bike races, but this demo rocks. Psychic Link takes a very upbeat, humorous approach to demos, and their productions are always seamless. This was their last demo produced as a group. Code, music... brilliance. It's all there.
Lithium, by Vista, 1997. There's no way around it, this is an impressive demo. Originally, I implied that it is the best 64k demo ever, but that was a rather rash reaction to seeing it the first time. It's amazing though, and you need to check it. It even supports the sound blaster.
Mental Debug, by dead:beef, 1996. A very impressive demo that, unlike most recent great demos, only supports the GUS. Don't bother if you use a sound blaster; you'll only see the 1st third, and with no sound. BUT, if you have a GUS, it's a fantastic demo, with excellent, original code and fine music.
Compost, by Orange, 1996. It came in seventh at The Party 6, has a really funky soundtrack, pretends to be 20 years old, and runs at its full framerate on my roomate's 486/50.
Headache, by Psychic Link, 1996. Statix did all the code and music himself, which really impresses me. More importantly, this demo stands for something much greater than a technial showcase. It is a wake-up call to the PC scene.
Rotaliator, by Dubius, 1996. The 32-bit color is astounding, as is the framerate. My only complaint is that this demo seems to be a bunch of awesome scenes thrown together with no design, and certainly no ending. However, I think you'll be surprised at what this code makes your computer do. Notice the shading on the wall textures. Super nice.
Lasse Reinbong, by Cubic Team & $een, 1995. This is long enough to be a two-megger, and has killer effects to boot, including a funky duck. (Actually, this version isn't 64k... but the party version was.)
Lasse Reinbong (Win95 version), by Cubic Team and $een, 1996. See what all the fuss is about! Hear the midi music! Consider the future! The world's first Windows 95 demo has arrived. And, if you want to be cool and watch it in a window, you must be in 256 color mode (you do have Quickres, don't you?).
The Real Thing, by Capacala, 1994. The effects in this one will not burn out your pentium chip, but you will be treated to some exceptional music. It has a very fast paced begining, which I happen to love, and ends with the best flag ever. There is a boring tunnel zoomer in the middle, however they do let you skip that. REQUIRES GUS.
Paimen (English fix), by COMA, 1996. This is one of the few demos in existence that tries to convey a coherent message. Believe it or not, this demo actually frightenes me, and is apocalypic in nature. It poetically proposes the notion that the computer has replaced God.
Contrast, by Qxygene, 1996. It might sound strange, but it took me awhile to realize how much I like this demo. I find it to be a very thoughtful, artistic demo, at least as far as the choice of colors and shapes. Many custom texture maps are used to simulate lighting effects that wouldn't be possible to calculate in realtime.
Toasted (Additional Fix), by Cubic Team & $een. This 'final release' of what could have been a terrific demo is more buggy, although has nicer transitions, than the party version. At least on my computer, the last coaster completely fails, even with the fix. However, each effect in this demo in and of itself is quite impressive. The first coaster is a blast to ride.
Rebel? (as perceived), by Complex. Complex is a talented group. This, one of their latest productions, features political and drug-related imagery. There's also very little 3-D, and an entirely original effect or two.
Mind Body and Soul, by Omicron. This is the only demo with an object in it I want to suck on. (Don't worry, it's just a clear phong shaded rock-like object.)
Caero, by Plant & EMF. This won The Party 5 and I like it for the lilly pad part. Cool nature scenes and no phong business!
Zweilight Zone, by Capacala. Sometimes I will put this on before bed just for the music. But this is also a demo by a group who really knows how to match the music to the visuals. (Capacala? Please make another demo?)
Solex, by Oxygene. Oxygene is back with a 287k demo. Yes, disapointingly small, but darn impressive as expected.
Fashion, by Logic Design. This is a really good demo, including a reference to Stars/NOOON, some really super still artwork, and a funky soundtrack.
Money, by Hyperopia. This is cool. I remember finding some congruent theme in this one once, but I can't remember it now. Anyway, it has a great ending.