The demoscene is an internet subculture that has managed to stay cool for decades. And as the winning entry in a recent demo competition in Tokyo proves, the demos just keep getting better.
If you're not familiar with the term, "demos" refer to algorithms written by a programmer or group of programmers to generate graphics and music. The idea is to use the smallest bit of code – often just hundreds of bytes – to create the most beautiful intro. It's an art form that emerged in the 1990s as programmers working to crack video games would insert a little personalised intro at the beginning of their cracked file, like a signature or flourish.
Today, the demoscene is more about competing to see who can do the most with the least programming, often at competitions, like the Tokyo Demo Fest, which wrapped up this weekend. The winner of the combined demo category for 4K demos — 4K as in 4096 bytes — was this brain-boggling piece Optical Circuit, created by 0x4015. Check it out (in sadly compressed form) above.