My first coding-party was the Snork. And with it came the pleasant certainty to now formally belong to “the elite”. Being invited to a coding-party felt like a validation, a solid proof that our work was good enough, evidence that in one way or another we were now recognized as peers by people we considered our models so far. This was a unique event, not to be missed.
The Snork took place in 1991, in the so-called Pressoirs d’Epernon, near Paris. I will never forget it. I could not sleep the night before. Too excited. All the stuff I saw there left a deep mark in my mind. The place, first. The Pressoirs, the presses, looked like a crypt. Or grottos. I remember a large dark room with no windows, something between a cellar and a cave, creating the perfect atmosphere for sorcerer’s apprentices… A crypt for vampire-coders, that fits. And then there was the chaos. A coding-party is a coding-party. Tables, chairs, screens, keyboards, speakers, cables, hundreds of Coke bottles… And then there were the people. The people! Our idols were all there, flesh and bones, at our fingertips! Human beings like everyone else, I suppose. Except few human beings “like everyone else” code for fun in Assembly, especially things like rasters, plasmas, mega-scrollers or even 3D on TT!
Oh the 3D! This is the day I saw 3D stuff for the first time in my life – if I ignore commendable yet unimpressive early efforts in wireframe, e.g. Relief Action on the CPC or StarGlider on the ST. I’m talking real smooth filled 3D here, on the Atari TT, created by the most alien coder in History: Zarathustra. That Japanese-looking crazy guy seemed straight out of Akira to me, with his long, thin fingers that seemed to stretch much more than humanly possible on the keyboard. This pianist-coder, Pascal de France, was the stuff of legend. How could I forget that? In the aftermath, it was also the first time I discovered Amiga demos… In other words, a huge slap in the face. Vector Exterminator and Elysium, no less.
In short, after the Snork, I was nothing more than a disconnected, completely wasted zombie - but I felt great. I had gone in a very short time through a wide range of emotions that only strengthened my initial beliefs: this world was beautiful, this world was healthy, I was part of it, and I would fight to the death to contribute something!
Which we did in 1992.