In January 2021 the scene was hit by a huge surprise. After more than 12 years of silence Jurassic Pack issue 18 was released.
Jurassic Pack, the dinosaur was not extinct after all, nor seems the Amiga scene to be dead, only different.
It all started with the legendary Cracker Journal, and soon an armada of diskmags arrived. There were so many great mags in the past; RAW, ROM, Upstream, ZINE, ICE, The EuroChart, D.I.S.C. and SeenPoint to mention a few. Ok, I may be a bit subjective when it comes to a few of these mags above. Anyway, so many great mags with different styles and different audience, and suddenly they were all gone. The scene was naturally a lot bigger in the past, so more mags could receive the required support to survive. Suddenly „real-life“ got in the way for many sceners.
However, the kiss of death to the mag scene was that the main purpose of a mag (provide fresh news, info about new productions etc.) was obsolete when all of the scene internet sites arrived. Internet simply killed the remaining legendary mags as all news were old news when a diskmag finally got released.
The Last Dino?
The name Jurassic Pack is a bit misleading as the mag was never intended to be a packmag. There were a few great packmags out there like NeverMind, Speed, A Pack Of Fun etc., which were created long before JP saw the light of day but JP was decided to be a diskmag only. You know, a mag on a floppy disk.
It started back in 1994 or so when Sixpack wanted to create a mag, and I think actually a few versions were released with AMOS code done by Killjoy or Sixpack. This was done under Tonic or IRIS labels if I recall correctly. However, the first „real“ JP pre-issue was coded by Zytrox / Gods (the coder that also did the code for D.I.S.C. 9 and 10, and quite many other productions) and it was released under the Gods label at the GASP party in August 1995.
In January 1996 the first official issue was released and then a flow of issues followed in a short period of time. This was mainly done by Ghandy, but I and many others also supported the mag back then. JP 3 is my favourite, hehe. JP 7 was the last issue under the Gods label I think, before Ghandy continued to release it under lots of labels. He has always been a pure writing machine. It’s impressive that Ghandy has managed to write so many high-quality articles during a period of almost 30 years! In the last issue of D.I.S.C. already back in 2003, Ghandy received the D.I.S.C. award for all his efforts. While all the other legendary mags are long gone, Jurassic Pack is still going strong.
I was totally blown away when I got my hands on JP 18. Diskmags have always been very special to me and they have been a source for so many hours of fun. JP 18 was a trip back 20-30 years in time.
It was a feeling of both nostalgia and also a source of new joy and information. It was a great mix of articles of all kind. Just perfect and how a mag should be. It also gave me a new feeling of inspiration and motivation to check even more productions that I missed and sceners I’ve lost contact with, and now I’ve even started writing on my first article for 15 years or so. Perhaps it was a coincident, or perhaps not that I met Ghandy last summer in the old Danish town Ribe? This was for the first time I met Ghandy since those early Breakpoint parties. What now? Will Jurrassic Pack continue to be released on a somewhat regular basis?
I really hope so, because we need mags despite of the internet. Why? Well, there are lots of inet sites where it is possible to watch / download all of the latest productions, but I cannot find all the interesting stories at these sites; the reviews, the making of productions, the interviews, the party-reports, the behind-the-scene articles, the fact-based stories/information based stories, the opinion based articles and so forth, all in a great package. The scene is still an amazing place and still we get fantastic releases. We need the diskmags to report all of this in-depth. JP is not the only mag left, but there are certainly not many left. I guess Versus is the one with the most frequent releases.
You’ve witnessed another miracle now as you’re reading Jurassic Pack 19. The biggest surprise the latest time was however that Andromeda, yes, THAT legendary group, actually made a comeback on the Amiga last July with the release of Rule 30 demo. Again I was absolutely stunned. I have watched some of these PC demos from Hyde & Co, but I never expected Andromeda to return to the roots. The demo is very stylish and has some cool effects and visuals, but above all… an Amiga release from Andromeda in 2021. Awesome! When Andromeda first released a new Amiga demo, I expected it to look more like Point of No Return as described in D.I.S.C. 11, hehe.
The trend of returning to basic, back to the oldskool OSC/ESC releases is really great. There have been some utterly fantastic releases the latest years. I especially have to mention the demo Hologon by The Electronic Knights. I don’t only love the demo, but also the idea that it was spread via snailmail. Cheesy Listening is another great release. I’ve always liked the music by Virgill, but the total package was superb. Naturally there have been some great AGA releases too, like the awesome The Martini Effect demo by Flex. The Dual Panoply intro from Software Failure is cool too. There have of course been lots of other releases; like packs, tools, games etc. There are still a few parties around also, and Revision is definitely a party providing a lot of amiga releases.
The Old Are Still The Best?
When watching most of these amiga productions from the latest years, the only somewhat sad thing is that about all releases are done by sceners that have been around for ages. Hopefully newcomers should find interest in this scene as well. It’s not sad that the old sceners are still around, but it would be cool that not only people in the 40s/50s are making something. I would imagine the productions would be even more creative/different if they were done by younger sceners.
However, how cool is it that groups like Alcatraz, TRSI, Rebels, Andromeda, The Electronic Knights, Spreadpoint, Scoopex, Spaceballs, Melon Dezign, Offence, Vectors, Desire, Lemon, Oxygene, Insane, Nah-Kolor etc. etc. are still making productions? It’s simply fantastic that there are still many dinosaurs left! I hope to read a lot more about these groups, the productions and people in a diskmag coming my way.
I’m just watching The Hunt for 7th October again or actually listening to the great music by Walkman while finishing this article. So many layers of greatness in that module. Sweet memories. Yes, the scene is still fun after all these years and there are lots of past releases to check out again and present as well. We’ll see what the future brings. The scene spirit lives on! Greetings to all sceners. Keep using those real amigas. I know you got some.
A question at the end. Will there again be arranged a major demo party? What about a gigantic reunion for us old and senile in the year of 2025? Of course the party place must be walkers and wheelchairs accessible! :-)