ASCII by Jason Scott

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MindCandy: The Last Bright Star Before the Media Dims —


The MindCandy series got me started on this whole “get it down in a movie” trip.

Created with a love of the demoscene, a dedication to capturing the demos as accurately as possible, and most importantly explaining the entire process from beginning to end, MindCandy was a refreshing breath of air. DVDs, which were still relatively new in 2002, had a few weird examples of using the features in the format but few had the dedication to making the most of the format as MindCandy did.

As I began work on the BBS Documentary, it was MindCandy’s inspiration (and their staff) which gave me the push I needed to make the final DVD as nice as it could be.

MindCandy Volume 1: PC Demos was followed up a few years later by MindCandy Volume 2: Amiga Demos. It was in every way as good as the first. They sold pretty well – they made back the cost but they’ll never make back the time spent to make them.

Then, finally, they released MindCandy Volume 3. MindCandy was a Blu-Ray/DVD combo, and it did its best to use all the insane measures of Blu-Ray and bring the high-resolution captures of PC Demos to the next generation of media equipment. It is truly an exquisite package, of a near and dear quality.

But of course, times had changed.

vol3xThe trick of moving from CDs to DVDs, and from DVDs to Blu-Ray, has turned out to be a cul-de-sac in the journey of access to material. I saw this in 2010, and released GET LAMP with a gold coin because I knew it was going to be difficult to get people to buy physical media. By 2010, people were asking “Why can’t I download this”? And by 2011, people were asking “Why do I have to download this? Can’t I just stream it? Everywhere?” This world changed very fast.

Yes, there are still people who prefer the physical media. They want a nice package, a sense of an experience when they get the show in their mail. They are a shrinking group, and while they should be catered to, they are out of the realm of the majority of people. Some even think they’re part of this group and they seriously are not. Not really.

It’s pretty obvious where the world is heading, and so this graphical treat by Hornet (who designed the DVD and software to do amazing captures that are still used by the Demoscene) is the bright brilliant sunset of a spectacular triptych of works.

The model these guys should have gone with should have been Patreon (make top-quality exports and contextual interviews about demos, and release a set for money each month), but they didn’t have Patreon until recently, so here we are. A missed boat.

MindCandy 1 and MindCandy 2 sold out of their DVD media years ago. In response, MindCandy has released both of these products as Creative Commons-licensed downloads. You can grab them both from the site.


And now the last volume has been given a viking funeral, with the remaining stock being dropped to $12. I’m sure they’re taking a bath on this. The announcement said they made 2,500 copies and this was the last 700. Since this came out three years ago (2011), that’s slow sales and I’m sure this was a huge expense.

So, my learned advice to you is this: buy this artifact, this excellent work and package as it rounds out a short but sweet arc of physical media meant to be the next generation.

Oh, and it’s top-notch.


Categorised as: computer history | demoscene

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  1. xander says:

    …and now there should only be 699 left to find good homes! 🙂

  2. I love the MindCandy series. I’ll have to pick up one of the remainders of Volume 3 when I get a chance!

  3. Alan Ralph says:

    I have a copy of MindCandy Vol. 1 on my shelf here, bought in 2003(?) – sat next to my copies of BBS Documentary and GET LAMP, of course. 🙂

    I used to work for a company that did CD/DVD duplication, up until a few years ago. They were still getting business, and at volume, but the margins had become really tight by the time I left (voluntary redundancy – the company went into insolvency that summer after one of their big customers did likewise, tipping them over the edge). They’d started investigating Blu-Ray duplication, but the quality of the recordable media left a lot to be desired. Same with USB flash media devices – I would regularly tally up loads of defective or unresponsive units, plus others that had been recycled and still had data on them.

    In hindsight, I was lucky to get a 2011 iMac, and not the model that followed and duly ditched the built-in SuperDrive. At least I still have a means of ripping the remainder of my music collection. Or rather, that portion of my music collection that I can’t (and most likely never will) stream via Spotify. How times change…

  4. phuzz says:

    There’s another reason to thank the Mindcandy people:
    to whit; for continuing flame wars about Amiga vs PC for many, many years after they should have died out.


  5. Josh Miller says:

    Just picked up all three. Between ebay, amazon and the $12 deal, I’m out $27. Totally worth it.

  6. ChrisG says:

    I clearly remember the first time I played an 8-track music cartridge (Beatles – Hey Jude) which was on my very first stereo. 8 track has to be one of the clunkiest forms of media ever devised, and it even felt almost obsolete from the onset, yet I still totally associate it with the magic of that moment.

  7. Dan Wright says:

    Thanks for the review. One of the challenges with doing a Blu-ray was finding a replicator that could do BD-50. That was out of reach for most manufactures at the time. The only way in was via a third party. Only replicators that could do this were Technicolor, U-Tech (Taiwan), Sony DADC, and Cinram. We went with Cinram even though they have had some challenges. The cheapest would of been U-Tech out of Taiwan. There is a downside with Blu-ray and that is the requirement of having to put AACS protection which adds in another $1k or so (at the time). It is now 3 years later so I’m sure things have changed and prices have gotten better.