Four kilo bytes demos (or 4Kb if you prefer) could be called your « everyday » demo, indeed the only difference lies in the fact that they cannot exceed Four kilo bytes ! If you are green at measures in computing I won’t bore you with a lesson but have a look at the following picture to see what I mean. 🙂

Are you reading this right ?

Did you get the message correctly ? YES, the productions I am going to write about weigh the third (the THIRD !) of that picture ! How can you fit anything in such a tiny space ? Even to me that remains a complete mystery !

As a matter of fact there are not so many 4Kb demos on Atari ST while there tons of them on PC since its raw power allows a lot of things, yet these few attempts are very impressive. Indeed the first 4Kb appeared in the 90s and even though we should be grateful to the pioneers of that time, I also need to say that they don’t show a lot and are devoid of any sound…

In 1997-98 we witnessed a lot of changes and improvements with two 4Kb brought to us by democrew tSCc : time for modern effects now  ! (even though there is only one screen to be enjoyed and still without sound.) First there was Bugblatterbeast, the very first bumpmapping on Atari ST  soon followed by Babelfish, another premiere in environment mapping this time.

Still no sound but very technical and never seen before effect ! See it move here.

At the beginning of the new millennium, I really cannot say why or how, in 2003 more precisely 4Kb went through a true revolution : not only did they feature several effects but also music ! Can you believe it ? It’s a feat inside a feat!Pewlow of T.O.Y.S. kindly let me know that in 1995 his Power of 8Mhz was the first 4Kb featuring several screens, yet without music. Pretty cool intro though !

First 4Kb showing more than a single screen ! Here we have a scroller, wireframe logo and fire effect !

Revolution happened in 2003 thanks to the coder of demo crew Checkpoint, and I’m sure that the name of Defjam, sounds familiar to you as the guy is known for breaking limits ! That’s what he did with 4ster being the first 4Kb demo showing so many different mind blowing parts (AND music) as you can see below.

A distorter, some bumpmapping, a tunnel, textures merging together and the rotozoom  is missing here !

Now that the path was explored a few other coders dare walked that path offering us sometimes a single screen, sometimes true jewels. Let’s have a quick look at some of these small wonders :

An overscan show of fractals with a dot flag. Taken from the Coast II Coast demo by Sector One (2010).


Burning candles for a friend’s birthday in 30 candles by Paradox (2004).


Some fractals taken from The Sierpinski Overdose by Küa Software Productions  (2000).

Let’s spend more time on some demos that really made the difference such as the amazing (though very green :)) 4getful demo by gwEm. It shows a lot of fast and smooth effects and his music really kicks asses ! (2006)

A lot to be seen to the beat of a blasting tune. Don’t miss the video at the bottom of this article.

With One Trick Pony (2013) democrew Rave Network Overscan offered us a very nice looking show, maybe not as technical as the previous example but so stylish ! Too bad this crew codes so little on our beloved Atari ST...

A twister, a lavalamp effect, rasters  and something looking like a plasma ! Check the video here.

Democrew Live! brought us their vision of 4Kb demos with Skit (2012),a small production with a lot of style and colors. Not so many effects as in the other demo but definitely nice looking !

With Live! you know that both technique and styles will be polished. Short video here.

Our (almost) latest example is once again coded by Checkpoint and bears the mysterious name of  Nebenprodukt (2014). No need to say more about it right now, better watch the video to see what it is made of. I am only providing you a single picture as a clue. 🙂

Before showing you some videos I would like to say once again that even 15 years after watching the first of them I am still impressed by 4Kb demos. Managing anything in such a tiny size is so amazing ! Can you realize that every screenshot shown above is BIGGER than the prod it comes from ? Let’s hope coders will not give up such crazy tradition and will bring us more of these demos !

In the meantime let’s enjoy some videos, first with 4ster, the first 4Kb that pushed the genre into a new generation!

Now let’s go on with 4getful which came as one hell of a striking surprise !

Now sit back and see what Nebenprodukt is made of :

Last minute addition : on March 10th 2018, Tat of Falcon fame democrew Avena surprisingly released a very original and pleasant 4Kb called 44. It was such a great surprise and an even greater production that I wrote a coup de coeur about it ! Go and read it !