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Madwizards robbed of Victory?
by Wade/Haujobb [issue 11/2002]

Every year Amiga owners from all over the world converge and compete at what has become the most prestigious scene event of the year: The Mekka Symposium. Praised for its atmosphere and organizing, this German party has played host to some of the most memorable occasions and finest releases in recent times.

This year, hoping to offer their support to the waning Amiga presence, a large group of Poland's most dedicated sceners decided to make the trip to Fallingbostel with the intention of presenting their latest releases. Among them were Potion, with their outstanding 64k intro, Planet Potion, and Madwizards with their two demos, Heavy Traffic and New Dawn Fades. Although these releases were written specifically for PPC systems with enhanced graphics support, this was permitted and encouraged by the Mekka Symposium organizers.

After months of preparation and hard work, the time had come for them to sit back, revel in the applause and reap their due rewards. Indeed, this is exactly what happened for Potion, as their intro stunned all observing attendees and secured first place in the Amiga 64k competition. For Mad Wizards, however, their hopes did not unfold as they had anticipated.
As Heavy Traffic reached the big screen it was apparent that something was severely amiss. The demo they had spent many hours creating and fine-tuning for this moment had been stripped of all graphics, such as credits, cliparts and design; the synchronization missed its timing, and only 70% of the screen could be seen by the audience. They watched helplessly as their bastardised labours continued to roll, only to find that the second part of the demo never even appeared. As for New Dawn Fades, for some reason, it was completely left out of the competition.

As expected, the Madwizards team were quick to confront the organizers about this. After all, they had not only been cheated out of a possible victory, but their pride and creative reputation was at stake. In such circumstances one can accept that mistakes are made, software has been wrongly configured or that files have picked up errors. And with so little support and documentation available, PPC releases are perhaps more susceptible to such setbacks than most. Mad Wizards organizer, Flapjack, speculates that "It could have missed some important system files, I am not sure, but the fact is that both of our demos worked great on every single PPC system we tried on Mekka and believe me we tried a couple of them."

Yet, the reaction they received from the organizers was quite patronizing, as they tried to pass the blame onto the coder, while making cheap jokes at their expense:

"Well, they commented on what happened in extremely malicious way, making jokes of Polish people. Sort of ''s Polish and that's why it is not working properly...'" he recalls. "We CAN understand orgaz are just humans and something may not go the way it was supposed to, but everybody deserves respect and fair treatment."

The Poles had paid ticket expenses and had funded their travel expenses to be present at this party. Moreover, they came with something to contribute to the competition; a factor that is sure to increase attendance figures, profits and prizes in the upcoming years. Surely then, Mad Wizards's participation should have been appreciated, not ridiculed, as Flapjack alleges.

Nevertheless, the Mad Wizards guys refused to give up and spent the next several hours seeking a solution:

"We even tried to bring Mavey's/Potion AmigaPPC up there, to the orgaz room, but due to some reasons (power failure or something) it got fucked up and was then fixed up by some German fellow scener, who came up from nowhere with soldering iron..." he explains. "Later on, when they played the demo using Critikill's AmigaPPC, they displayed some kind of a 'we-fucked-it-up' statement on the bigscreen, but as it was nearly 5am, most of the people were asleep."

In spite of these obstacles, Heavy Traffic still managed to take 4th place in the competition - just short of winning a prize. Whether or not Mad Wizards could have taken the number one spot from TBL had it not been for the difficulties they encountered, is something we will never know.

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