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This gives demo-groups a lot more artistic freedom, but can frustrate some of the old-schoolers for lack of a programming challenge. Demo parties have competitions with varying limitations in program size or platform (different series are called compos).

The demoscene is mainly a European phenomenon, and is predominantly male.

This created a competitive environment in which demoscene groups would try to outperform each other in creating outstanding effects, and often to demonstrate why they felt one machine was better than another (for example Commodore 64 or Amiga versus Atari 800 or ST).

Demo writers went to great lengths to get every last bit of performance out of their target machine.

It is a competition-oriented subculture, with groups and individual artists competing against each other in technical and artistic excellence.

Those who achieve excellence are dubbed "elite", while those who do not follow the demoscene's implicit rules are called "lamers"; such rules emphasize creativity over "ripping" (or else licensing) the works of others, having good contacts within the scene, and showing effort rather than asking for help.

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