The main competition at the Alternative Party 2003 was the Alternative Demo Compo. "Alternativeness" was not explicitly defined by the rules but it did encourage participants, including myself, to attempt something unusual. I decided to go crazy in technical as well as artistic terms, which resulted in Robotic Warrior.
Robotic Warrior is a single-loading VIC-20 demo featuring a voice synthesizer and an apocalyptic story about robots turning against their creators. The technical catch, of course, was the voice synthesizer, which was used to sing out the text of the story. The sound-related code and data became quite bloated, eating up more than a kilobyte of RAM, but it still left space for some text, pictures and flashy effects which were used to illustrate the story.
The demo uses a psychological trick causing the listener hear details that are not there. There are only fifteen distinct sounds in the voice synthesizer - far from enough - but since the viewers also read the lyrics while listening, they get the illusion of hearing the words properly.
Robotic Warrior was the first VIC-20 production I made completely without emulators (using the excellent c2n232 device by Marko Mäkelä for development). It was also the first of my demos that didn't work properly with emulators. In this case, the sound emulation was not implemented correctly, which rendered the digital voice into a total mess. Further exploration of the "bug" revealed some previously unknown features of the VIC-20's sound hardware.
Robotic Warrior was a Scene.org Awards nominee for the best 4K intro in 2003. It was the first 8-bit production ever to receive such an honor.
The concept of Robotic Warrior was further refined by the sequel, Robotic Liberation.