Ok, ok… This is not really the name of an effect but I had no demo effect starting with an « I » so… 🙂 At the same time I planned to write about a very special kind of demos that are somehow related to 4Kb.

Do you actually remember these small productions whose size should not exceed 4Kb ? I hope you do as the demos I am about to tell you about have an even smaller size ! Indeed they only weigh 128 bytes, that is to say 0.128Kb ! Yep, you can fit something within such limitations and create something that is  incredibly small !

Let’s be honest here as most of the examples you will see are not quite beautiful but think about that tiny size ! It’s already incredible to be able to code anything that size so you cannot expect the result to look awesome as well. Do you realize that these productions are 30 times smaller than 4Kb demos ?

Anyway let’s move on with some facts : first it seems that only a couple of coders dared experiment with such limited size on the Atari ST : Defjam from Checkpoint, wizcoder already mentioned here several times and gwEm, talented musician but also a skilled coder too !

Secondly, in spite of the rare examples, I have to admit that we are offered quite a nice variety of effects and attempts in only 128 bytes and I am very grateful to the coders who scratched these bytes to the bone. 🙂

From the late 90s up to now we have been given only a short dozen of tiny productions including the following :

Here this is a tunnel ! Half close your eyes and you may eventually see it. Taken from Something like a plasma tunnel by Checkpoint (1998). Video here.


A screen inspired by a movie. Who said  « The Matrix » ? Taken from 128 byte Matrix by gwEm (2004)


Here a starfield made of dots. A classic yet revisited in only 128 bytes ! Taken from Staaars by Checkpoint (1998) Video here.


And a checkerboard . In spite of the big pixels it looks impressive. Have a look at a video down this page. Taken from 128 chess by Checkpoint (2008.


This is an odd looking shape moving like crazy. Makes me think of a distorter. Did I forget to mention there is sound ? Taken from 128 Sync by Checkpoint again ! (2011)

Besides these technical feats courtesy of brilliant coder Defjam , the following examples are mostly based upon music and this time they are coded by gwEm who actually managed to create music in 128 bytes (and not simply screaming beeps !) 🙂. Here is a video showing that 128 bytes are enough to produce several minutes of chiptunes (I will someday publish an article about chiptunes, soundtracks and samples, just stay tuned !).

Let’s have a closer look at that checkerboard brought to us by Defjam in 2008 :

Last but not least I saved the best 128 byte screen for the end : it is a rotozoom using the Atari logo. Even though that cool screen called Hunt4Fuji  was coded in 1998 I still believe it’s the best of these tiny prods but of course this is a biased statement 🙂 A last word to thank Steve who kindly recorded all the videos embedded in this article for me !