Summer of Digital Love: MEGADEMO!

Summer of Digital Love: MEGADEMO!

This post is part of our Summer of Digital Love series, where we chill by the pool while chatting about our favourite hardware, magazines, websites, creative assets and digital esoteria!

Pop the term MEGADEMO into a web image search and this is what you’ll get back….

This is the recognisable aesthetic of a genre of digital creativity that was (literally) breaking the borders back in the late nineteen eighties and early nineties. It’s the…

This term has been variously applied over the years, but for the Amiga/Atari ST generation of home computers it commonly refered to the creative combination of a chiptune or tracker tune, massive animated scroller (dissing the competition!) and geometric shapeshifting that should not have been possible with the limited processing power of the time.

We became aware of the MEGADEMO scene while browsing printed shareware catalogs for the Atari ST (including Page 6, where many ST shareware disks have been made available for download), but the term was coined years before, with earlier generations of computer including the C64 playing host to their own compilations. Arguably the biggest demo scene was (and still is) built around the Commodore Amiga, which offered high-quality sampled sound and hardware-driven sprites to throw into the creative mix!

ADVISORY: Megademos can include NSFW content. We’ve ensured the embedded videos below are fine, but links on this page may take you to examples from demo crews that are NSFW.

A tour of our must-see demos!

Join us for a tour of some of our personal favourites! Let’s start with four of the biggest and best Atari ST megademos from three of the most revered crews: The Carebears, The Lost Boys and ULM:

‘Ooh crikey wot a scorcher’ from The Lost Boys

The Cuddly Demos from The Carebears
‘The Mindbomb Demo’ from The Lost Boys
‘Dark side of the spoon’ from ULM

Next, we move to one of the most creative AMIGA demos, complete with animated sequences and 16 bit sampled sound:

Megademo from Budbrain

Digital music sampling was a thing in itself in the late eighties, leading to numerous ‘remix’ demos of contemporary songs. Here’s the 1988 MICROMIX demo for the Atari ST:

Micromix on the ST

…and the ‘ACIEEED’ remix, again from the Atari ST:

Aciiiiied on the ST

Some music demos even allowed you to remix samples on the fly. Here’s ‘Technomix’ (1991) from the STD Crew, which lets you record and play back a live mix and incorporates speed rampings and reverse playback!


Loading sound files in the background while playing them out allowed creators to ‘stream’ many minutes of music long before the arrival of MP3, and all from a couple of 1.4MB floppy disks! This Def Leppard ‘Switch 625’ demo uses the popular ‘colour cycling’ graphics technique and lasts a full three minutes. (We’ve reproduced the first minute below):

Def Leppard Switch 625 from STD CREW

Emulate this!

Why not download and enjoy the above demos? Emulators let you run original disk files on your PC or mobile device. Get started using the links below, noting that of course all downloads are at your own risk 🙂

Howtoretro’s guide to the best Atari ST emulators

Howtoretro’s guide to the best Amiga emulators

Get your demo files from Demozoo

Your essential viewing and reading list

DEMOZOO is THE place to go for the best (and worst!) demos for all platforms, as well as to check out the latest demos on the scene:

Atari Mania will see you right for all your Atari shareware and megademo download needs!

Atari Mania

If you’re ready to geek out with a history of the most popular demo effects and take a peek behind the techie curtain, have a look at Starting to dream in code

Dream in code!

Finallyfor now, if your gaming den is in need of high quality gaming love, MICROZEIT sells a range of beautifully illustrated and bound books, including ‘Breakin’ the borders’ which celebrates the explosive creativity of the Atari ST demo scene:



This post is part of our Summer of Digital Love series. Watch for more as we raid our archives (and attics) to celebrate the best in digital creativity, past and present!

We include links to external sites and resources in good faith. You are responsible for any files / apps downloaded from other sites. You should always run up to date antivirus software.