I am not sure I can say why but I feel drawn to fractals, I just love them, their colors, eerie shapes and cryptic patterns ! But should I first tell you what a fractal is ? 🙂 They are shapes generated by mathematical formulas that repeat endlessly, especially when you zoom in. There are fractals all around us in natural elements such as leaves, flowers, grass, snowflakes and many others.

A classic fractal. I just love these shapes !

Have a closer look at the shape right above and you may notice that every « branch » ends with the same pattern. In other words if he had a magnifying glass we could see that the same pattern repeats only smaller and we could zoom in again and again… These patterns are named after the people who discovered them or created them (but I’m not a fractal expert you know). Among the most famous fractals I can name mandelbrot, julia or sierpinski

Excerpt from the 1999 Nostalgic-O demo by Oxygene. These endless shapes are so lovely, don’t you think ?

The only real drawback with fractals is that they require calculation time, hence some (more or long) delay before being displayed on screen and with such limited computer as the Atari ST it truly makes a difference and somehow becomes a challenge. Not to mention that too many fractals can end up being boring to death. Yet if you find the right balance between delay and time spent on screen I believe that fractals can still be enjoyable even today. 🙂

Maybe I am just mesmerized by these colorful shapes ?

Fractals met a peak of fame and glory in the 90s but today they are seldom seen any more. Maybe we have seen all that could be done with that effect. They could return but under another approach and to be honest I have no clue about that form. Hard to think about crazy ideas featuring fractals because of the calculation implied or else we would be presented with a « precaculated effect » or even an animation (see my article on that topic).

These shapes and colors find me in love ! Taken from 1993 Armada is dead demo by Aggression


In some demos like this one called Mathématica by Aura (1992) you can play around with the  fractals parameters. Funny for a while even tho it breaks up the demo’s pace.


A different viewpoint on this fractal that adds depth. Taken from the  Oh no more froggies demo by Sector One. (1993)

All that could be said about fractals has been said : mysterious patterns repeating endlessly letting us dive into another realm… Maybe not worth a full poem so let’s show you some videos instead 🙂

We start with the Coast demo by Black Monolith Team. This screen is a small part of the 1991 Punish Your Machine megademo, a collaboration of several demo crews. You will note the calculation time I mentioned earlier before another fractal is displayed.

We go on with 1993 Armada is dead demo by Aggression a demo fully dedicated to fractals. Luckily enough design is present all along the show and waiting times are very short.

Kudos to Oxygene who managed in more than a way to amaze us with their 2015 awesome demo We Were @ showing that even in 2015 you can see impressive fractals ! Enjoy that deeeeeeeeep zoom !

And now we end with a very special video as it shows a demo… that has never been released ! You can guess that I was stunned when I found that video of the 1993 Final demo by Extream ! The zoom effect on the fractal is really impressive as well as the rotating 3D fractal (even tho we can clearly see this is only an animation :)).