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Games you bought (or nearly did) on the strength of a Demo or Beta (or shareware for the old)


Benny
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That Dead Rising comment reminded me that it felt like false advertising in the end. The demo was so so much more fun than the finished article.

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7 minutes ago, StoooTube said:

Hidden & Dangerous on PC. I played the hell outta that first level demo…

 

When the full game was finally released, I didn’t like the later levels nearly as much as that opening one, in the rain with the bridge.

 

I'd forgotten that demo! Add that to my list; a brilliant, atmospheric demo, absolutely sold me on the game. I rate the game as a whole, but the opening level is definitely one of its best.

 

3 minutes ago, Benny said:

That Dead Rising comment reminded me that it felt like false advertising in the end. The demo was so so much more fun than the finished article.

 

Having never played the demo (and loving the full game), what were the differences between the two?

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23 minutes ago, Timmo said:

 

You could go anywhere on the first Island, but every door led to the same two or three challenge rooms, each taken from various points a bit later in the game.

Ahh fantastic,ill see if i can find the demo online ,be brilliant to try it 

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I'm sure there was an OPSM Demo Disc with Rez and Ico on, but then I could be misremembering that they were on the same disc. However the Rez and Ico demos blew me away and had to be bought immediately. 

 

I kind of miss those demo disc days, it was always really exciting seeing what would be on the disc and finding a hidden gem. Then having to go to an actual shop and buy the game. Good Times. 

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16 minutes ago, Wiper said:

 

I'd forgotten that demo! Add that to my list; a brilliant, atmospheric demo, absolutely sold me on the game. I rate the game as a whole, but the opening level is definitely one of its best.

 

 

Having never played the demo (and loving the full game), what were the differences between the two?

 

I honestly can't remember now. I just remember loving the demo and when getting my hands on the full game being disappointed.

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20 minutes ago, Wiper said:

 

I'd forgotten that demo! Add that to my list; a brilliant, atmospheric demo, absolutely sold me on the game. I rate the game as a whole, but the opening level is definitely one of its best.

 

 

Having never played the demo (and loving the full game), what were the differences between the two?

 

3 minutes ago, Benny said:

 

I honestly can't remember now. I just remember loving the demo and when getting my hands on the full game being disappointed.


I don’t think there’s much difference at all. The demo was a 30 min limit I think and I used to really push to see how far I could get which was usually just past the first boss. 
 

Oh the days of ample free time… 

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13 minutes ago, Theholyhogg said:

Ahh fantastic,ill see if i can find the demo online ,be brilliant to try it 

 

I've just seen that the whole game is £1.11 at the minute on Steam!

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Already mentioned, but Crackdown. It wasn't in my radar at all, but the demo converted me. The accelerated growth rate was key, allowing you to test your powers in the allowed time at a much faster rate than in the final game.

 

Ironically, I couldn't care less about the Halo 3 beta included with the full game.

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Jaguar XJ220 on the Amiga had an amazing demo. When the game came out the full product was way less fun and I'm not sure why.  

 

Does anyone else remember the "The One" magazine had a dual format ST/Amiga cover disk with Gazza's Superstar Soccer on?  It showed a loading screen , then a voice went "Free kick!".  Followed by "come on ref". Followed by "Bloody Clem's!". And that's all it did.  Watched it loads of time trying to work out that last line. 

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I recall downloading a demo of the original Far Cry and being absolutely amazed that it ran on my inherited beaten up pc. It was probably running at about 15 FPS but I had lower standards back then. It was a great demo too. Gave you quite a lot to mess around with. Think I went straight out and bought it the next day.

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Wiper said:

Having never played the demo (and loving the full game), what were the differences between the two?

 

It was mainly just that the demo was timed, confined you to one specific area of the mall, and had practically no focus on time management or escort missions. There was a boss fight you could do as I recall but generally the focus was just on exploring, mucking about and trying out all the items.

 

When the actual game came out, people were sharply divided because of how pressured it could feel in comparison. The timer, the expiring quests, all the NPCs you had to save who would die at the drop of a hat...it really turned off some who were sold on the much more laid back demo.

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I bought Half Life after playing the Uplink demo around a mates, unfortunately my parents were/are a bit tech-phobic and our PC in 1998 was a third-hand Windows 3.1 machine whose entire hard drive was less than the 300MB install size.

 

They basically ended up buying a new PC, and I guess that didn't work out badly because I made a career in computing, which I probably wouldn't have without access to a decent machine.

 

Aside from that I can't think of many examples, I was mainly Nintendo and they didn't really do demos.

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29 minutes ago, Majora said:

 

It was mainly just that the demo was timed, confined you to one specific area of the mall, and had practically no focus on time management or escort missions. There was a boss fight you could do as I recall but generally the focus was just on exploring, mucking about and trying out all the items.

 

When the actual game came out, people were sharply divided because of how pressured it could feel in comparison. The timer, the expiring quests, all the NPCs you had to save who would die at the drop of a hat...it really turned off some who were sold on the much more laid back demo.

 

Ah, that makes sense. I loved the game because of its punishing, timer-based gameplay, but I can see why being given a demo with a very different approach could lead to disappointment! A shame the game never offered an alternative, 'sandbox' mode of sorts for players who wanted a more laid-back experience.

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

That Dead Rising comment reminded me that it felt like false advertising in the end. The demo was so so much more fun than the finished article.

 

Brutal Legend also suffered this fate for me. Amazing demo, but the full game felt like a massive bait-and-switch with the RTS nonsense and put me off it entirely.

 

 

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Another vote for the Skate demo doing its job.

The Sister Nancy track that played throughout the demo still pops into my head, I can't tell you much else from the soundtrack even though I played the full game a lot.

 

I hope Skate 4 is worthy of the name.

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The Skies of Arcadia demo that came with the Official Dreamcast Magazine was incredible and went on for ages. I have very little interest in JRPGs normally, but by the end of this demo there was no question I would buy the full game on release. I wasn’t disappointed and played it to completion.

 

 

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DA6C1C31-4970-44D1-88F4-CAE239625177.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Fletch said:

I'm sure there was an OPSM Demo Disc with Rez and Ico on, but then I could be misremembering that they were on the same disc. However the Rez and Ico demos blew me away and had to be bought immediately. 

 

This disc had Rez and MGS2 playable demos, and an Ico video:

 

https://wiki.pcsx2.net/Official_PlayStation_2_Magazine_Demo_17

 

My friend had that disc when it first came out, and I played it on his PS2. After playing through most of the MGS2 demo (I think I died at the door that's booby-trapped with explosives and laser tripwires), I put on the Rez demo (as I hadn't played the DC version yet) and my friend seemed a bit confused about why I was so enthusiastic about it!

 

Several years later, after I got a PS2 of my own, I bought a copy of that demo disc from a charity shop.

 

Also, the only issue of the Official PS mag I ever bought was the one that had this demo disc: https://wiki.pcsx2.net/Official_PlayStation_2_Magazine_Demo_69

I bought it primarily for the demo of Black, but the disc also had demos for both Shadow of the Colossus and Ico (plus Fahrenheit, and 24: The Game).

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1 hour ago, Opinionated Ham Scarecrow said:

I recall downloading a demo of the original Far Cry and being absolutely amazed that it ran on my inherited beaten up pc. It was probably running at about 15 FPS but I had lower standards back then. It was a great demo too. Gave you quite a lot to mess around with. Think I went straight out and bought it the next day.

 

The Crysis demo was also very extensive. The whole first mission, with the bit where you emerge from the jungle at the top of a hill, overlooking the huts and pier on the shoreline, with the patrol boat in the sea.

 

The demo also included the Sandbox level editor, so you could give yourself the portable nuke weapon and use it to blow up those huts and trees on the opposite shore!

 

 

16 minutes ago, Fierce Poodle said:

The Skies of Arcadia demo that came with the Official Dreamcast Magazine was incredible and went on for ages. I have very little interest in JRPGs normally, but by the end of this demo there was no question I would buy the full game on release. I wasn’t disappointed and played it to completion.

 

 

09B85C88-9B74-4E59-92BB-B5282979A07F.jpeg
 

DA6C1C31-4970-44D1-88F4-CAE239625177.jpeg

 

Yes! Such a generous section of the game.

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Settlers for the Amiga. One of the mags of the day - I want to say it was Amiga Format but I could be wrong - had a demo that didn’t let you save, but would keep going as long as the power stayed on.

 

My A500 did some heroic work back in those days, sometimes staying on for days at a time… or until the next guru meditation error. 

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The original GTA demo on PlayStation. I remember playing it at a sleepover at a friends house and we took it in turns to play it over and over. You only got a few minutes but as a kid playing an “open world” game like that was like a dream come true.

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Emlyn Hughes International Soccer on C64 had an amazing demo which I played for hours until I could get the game. 

 

The Wipeout demo on Demo 1 that I played in Toys R Us about a week before the console came out sold me a PS1. I begged for one before Xmas and was lucky enough to get one. 

 

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I can’t remember if I played the original Dead Rising demo but I hated the timer in the game. It made everything too stressful and left no time for messing around.

 

It’s been mentioned before but that MGS2 demo (included with Zone of the Enders) was bloody amazing at the time. It was like something from the future. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. 50fps. The weather effects. The animation. Those in screen windows showing the guards. I must have played through it more than ten times.

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Well there was the Metal Gear Solid demo (obviously), but MGS came with a demo of Silent Hill, which I'd only read a tiny bit of a preview of and it sounded vaguely a bit boring; a scary game? Pfft, unlikely!

 

Absolutely shat it when I finally got to the point that you flip into the hell dimension. I had someone not realised it was a thing. Okay, I didn't buy the game, but my mate did, and his copy of SH did the rounds at school for a year I think.

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