Intro to Mac Demos

What do you think of when you hear the word "demos"? In the context of computer software, many of you may think "demos, short for demonstrations of commercial software". Well, sure, that's one intepretation...

First, some history... back in the early days of computers (early-mid 80s), there was a lot of software piracy. In those days, almost all software came copy-protected. Someone growing up today might find that an odd concept, as today, most software is protected by Serial Numbers that you are required to enter when installing your software.


Copy protection was just the general method for preventing unauthorized duplication of software. Over time, however, it became a continuing race - as more intricate copy protection schemes developed, the hackers/crackers would circumvent them. Now, these crackers weren't a modest bunch, and loved to get credit for cracking the latest and greatest software. "Cracked" software often sported a credit screen where the cracker said some hellos and took credit for his work. Eventually, crackers took a little more time with the crack screen, added a little music, a little animation, some more greets... until a funny thing happened...


Eventually, independant works emerged. Now, I don't claim to know the exact history of the progression... but somewhere along the line, the graphical/musical works themselves became the whole point.

"Demos" and an entire demo-scene emerged. These demos were an intricate blend of art, music, math, and programming. Early demos included simple effects including scrollbars, scroll texts, and simple vector graphics... but eventually the demo coders tried to push the hardware as far as it could go. New demos tried to "one-up" previous demos by pushing more graphics and doing more intricate calcuations. If you don't recall the hardware at the time, the peak of the demo scene probably occured with the Amiga computer, an 8mhz 68000 based computer with a few custom chips. Speed was everything - so assembly language was really the only way to program demos.


Demo groups formed, and often included coders, artists, and musicians. Annual competitions emerged as well, where demo groups would compete with their latest creations. Demos eventually did move onto the PC, especially as it became clear the Amiga wasn't going to have much of a future. But oddly, the demo scene never came in full force on the Mac.


A small demo scene has emerged on the Mac, with some activity and new demos arising recently. With all due respect to the coders for the time they've put in, these demos generally don't compare to the full-blown demos of the Amiga. They are still very exciting to watch and enjoy.


For more information, including an archive of practically all know Mac demos, see Mac Demos HQ.


Related Links


Chaosmint Demo - short mac demo

MacProphecy - Mac port of Voodoo 3dfx Demo (requires 3dfx card)

Mac Demos HQ

PC Demos Explained

- Examples of Real Time Effects

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...