charts_demos%20copy.jpg[In the latest of an occasional series of demoscene-related posts on GameSetWatch before, AteBit's Paul 'EvilPaul' Grenfell presents a multi-part retrospective on 2009's best demos - starting out with the top ten real-time PC demos of the year.]

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be taking a look back at what the still vibrant demoscene gave us in 2009. I've searched through the hundreds of productions relased last year and rounded up my favourites into six categories: Demo, 64k, 4k, Oldschool, Wild and Console.

As Wikipedia notes of the history of the demo, these are "non-interactive audio-visual presentations that run in real-time... The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills."

Everything you see in these charts (apart from a few of the Wild entries) runs in real-time on a computer - don't forget this when you watch the video captures. In fact, for the true experience you should definitely downloading the executable versions and run them on your own hardware.

Also, whilst you may have seen some of these works on the pages of GameSetWatch before, I hope there'll be something here to surprise all but the keenest followers of the demoscene. And we're starting with 'Top 10 demos'. Almost any demoscene productions could be called a "demo", but this term is often reserved for larger works - smaller demos (such as those written to fit inside a 64k executable file) are usually called "intros".

In this first chart, I've limited myself to demos that run on a PC. This section of the demoscene is usually considered to be the most prestigious, with the various parties and competitions being dominated by the best groups who utilise the finest art, technology, music and direction to produce works that are bound by very few limits - as long as it runs in real-time, it's in. Here we go:

1st: Frameranger by Fairlight & Orange & Carillon & Cyberiad

The technical powerhouse demo of the year with a blistering soundtrack to match. Fairlight gave us a demo in two halves here: a story driven opening, and then, just in case you missed the incredible effects, a second half harking back to the old-school tradition of simply showing off your tech.

2nd: Rupture by ASD

A high octane escape run from a dystopian world, rendered in a beautiful post-Tron style.

3rd: The golden path by United Force & Digital Dynamite

This demo may be heavily influenced by the video for Cassius' "The Sound of violence" but it's still an entertaining and well-rendered journey.

4th: Chameleon by ASD

If ASD's previous entry in this chart was an action scene from a Bond movie, then this is the title sequence. Great direction and camerawork seal the deal again.

5th: Syntax Party 2009 Invite by Disaster Area

Another epic journey. This time we see a demoscener hurridly finishing his demo and then rushing to present it at Syntax Party 2009. And it's all rendered in a wonderful lo-res style.

6th: Assembly 2009 Invitation by Andromeda & Excess & Nooon

Back to a much more modern rendering style for another demoparty invitation, this time for Assembly 2009.

7th: Blunderbuss by Fairlight

Almost the complete opposite of Frameranger, Fairlight's second entry in this chart is beautifully understated - the tech behind it is no less advanced though.

8th: Everything is Under Control - The Breakpoint 2009 Invitation by MFX

Yet more invites! This time MFX try to tempt us to visit Breakpoint 2009. The party almost didn't take place this year, after the main sponsor pulled out for economic reasons. Thanks to the donations of sceners themselves and the hard work undertaken by the Breakpoint organising team to cut budgets and find new sponsors, the party still went ahead.

9th: Ballad of a Cluster Bomb - Director's Cut by Kooma

Originally released at Breakpoint back in April and placing 14th in the demo competition there, Ballad of a Culster Bomb didn't exactly catch many people's imagination. But the director's cut, released in September, sported a new look that lifted the demo to greater heights.

10th: Extatique by Adinpsz

And finally, an epic psychedelic trip from Adinpsz.