How Dead Is The Ascii Scene?
by Dipswitch/DCS^DTR^1oo%

In last JP, Zito wrote a very interesting article about the creeping death of the ascii scene. It had very clever and very true thoughts and it's great to see someone else who takes the whole ascii thing serious, but imho it had also some weak points, to which I am going to respond now.

First of all, Zito is getting upset about the fact that many groups or individuals use logos from vintage artists. I just suggest, slip into the role of someone who has the luck to have a logo from someone who's really classic, like Metalbasher or GEM or Exocet, artists where you have abolutely no chance to get a logo from them anymore. Isn't it just natural that you are proud to use their logos? I, for example, have a very nice namelogo from Mess/Contra, an artist who did influence me very much and with whom I had the luck to be in the same group (DKB) back in 1998. Though it's 4 years old now, it's still one of the logos I would not hesitate to use in a collection, because it means very much to me and it's a logo like you won't get it nowadays. Or let's take Digiman, since years he is using the same picture from H2o for his Acid Slam add. But there are two very reasonable explanations why he does so and why he has full rights to do so. First, it was made exclusively for the BBS, and this ascii face picture was a hell of a work I guess, so it's something really personal. Second, of course it's good for a BBS (or a group) to show that they were there back in the past. And what's the best way to show it than using old school logos did by old school artists back in these days? It's the same reason why Paradox uses their old Metalbasher file_id.diz since over a decade. Everyone can get a logo from a recent artist nowadays, but who can get a Metalbasher logo?

Another thing is, before we start mourning about old ascii artists who are still present through their work and do not leave space for us, let's ask ourselves, are we really worth replacing them? For myself, I do think that I reached several goals in my ascii "career", but if a requester has the choice between my logo and a logo by H2o, and choose the second, I am absolutely confortable with it.

Clipart From JP#1o By Browallia/Nukleus Another thing is, of course, the problem that some group leaders or siteops are simply too lazy to get some proper ascii art. They have perhaps some crappy logos they did themselves 12491274 years ago, or, as sysops, just use the logos which were delivered with the bbs system, and just don't give a damn, though they can get really good logos even nowadays. And that for free, just for an email's sake. Especially it is disappointing to see groups which grew up in the atmosphere of the BBS scene and nowadays even don't bother to put a file_id.diz in their productions at all, whether it has a logo included or not. I have seen a positive change in the past years though, and the new positive trend comes surprisingly out of the PC demoscene. Since late 2000, Kolor is using asii art regularely while packaging their productions. And Haujobb (yes, I know, Haujobb is officially dead, but that's another topic), Black Maiden and many others do aswell. Haujobb went even further and used ascii logos as demo effects, like in the DHTML demo some years ago and in their "Fuckwit Daddy" sequel at last Mekka.

I am sure many groups will follow this positive trend, but that doesn't work without education from the ascii scener's side. Especially for someone who has not experienced the old BBS days it's hard to understand the beauty of textmode art. So, in such cases, we ascii artists have to do the first step and introduce today's scene people to textmode art.

How can such an education process work? First of all, artists have to hold on eye what happens on every scene. If an artist just has his focus on one scene, or even worse, on the ascii scene only, he can change nothing. An ascii artist must have an eye for the recent needs of the single scenes. If, for example, he sees a new group using a crappy logo or no logo at all, the best way is to get in contact with the leader and offer him a new one. An abstract "crying for requests" is contraproductive and won't do it at all. He has to get active himself for his artform's sake. And that's just the start, a very important start though. The next level would be to do some wider promotion for the own artform, like writing articles about it in diskmags, for example. A nice idea would be also to organize a kind of ascii-request-point on big demoparties, an ascii sceners' table where demosceners can requerst logos for their partyreleases from several artists. There are many forms of promoting his own artform - be creative!

And, a last note, this is in no way a counteraction or something for Zito's article. I respect Zito very much as a hard-working scener who takes things serious (which is not that usual nowadays) aswell as a very nice person (finally met him at Mekka). I'm just adding my point of view to this scene-death discussion. And I hope that it motivates some of you.