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The Art Of The Demo


Harrisown
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I was just thinking of classic game demos. Not presentations but actual playable demos of games.

There are some classic demos that instantly spring to mind because they instantly sold the game to me and from the moment of completion I wanted to do it all over again while waiting for the game to release.

Sometimes these demos feel like enough, like the perfect package, sometimes the demos are better than the full game.

 

Quake 3 Arena (PC)

Battlefield 1942 Wake Island (PC)

Enslaved Journey To The West (XBOX360)

Ninja Blade (XBOX360)

Mirrors Edge (XBOX360)

Crackdown (XBOX360)

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Blunted said:

Skate's demo absolutely blew me away. Played countless hours of it.

This absolutely has to be the best demo ever, I spent far too many hours playing it and bought the full game as soon as it was released.

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Brutal Legend definitely sold me on the game, primarily because it features none of the RTS segments that made the full game absolute wank. Dead Rising had a similar situation because it had none of the time management stuff and was just pratting around in the mall, but I'm sure that was still good ultimately.

 

On a more positive note, me and friends played the snot out of the Tekken 3 demo when it had it's own disk for Official Playstation Magazine. Same with Resident Evil 2 and the first Tony Hawk game.

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Fahrenheit  springs to mind. 

 

Literally the demo was all you needed for the game - it had all the best bits of David Cage's addled mind and it was genuinely interesting to play. 

 

The rest of the game was fucking awful, which- as I've now become accustomed to- is basically the entirety of his gaming career. Although I've not played Detroit and I'm led to believe that Cage had some sort of brain transplant between the release of Two Souls and that game, as it's supposed to be quite good?

 

That man has got to do a whole lot more before I ever think of him as anything other than a terrible terrible hack.

 

Also: possible pervert.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake demo totally sold me that they were going to make a full modern remake if the original. It all changes shortly after that though, and nothing comes close to that opening. 
 

Virtua Tennis on the DC was superb, play full exhibition matches!

 

Arkham Asylum blew my mind. I presumed it was just another shitty licensed superhero game, but I think I pre-ordered it straight after the demo was over. 

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Metal Gear Solid 2.

 

 

The Skies of Arcadia demo was extremely generous.

Not quite as generous as Sega Saturn Magazine giving away the entire first disc of Panzer Dragoon Saga, though! (Hmm, come to think of it, does that PDS free disc even count as a demo? Or is it closer to shareware?)

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RE4 - demo came on a GC disc with a magazine a couple of months before release. Remember thinking that the over the shoulder view was perfect but I had no idea of how good the finished game would be. I think I still have that disc in storage somewhere.

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Not strictly a demo, but Metal Gear 5 Ground Zeroes was a fantastic little sandbox game that seemed to be more like a teaser than a full game in and of itself.  That said, whilst Phantom Pain is one of the all time best games ever made, there's a hell of a lot to love in Ground Zeroes.  The map is tiny and that means you can learn every little nook and cranny, make up your own challenges, speedruns and so on.  In a number of ways it feels more accessible, more fun, more pick-up-and-play than the full game.  

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Gitaroo Man


wouldn’t have even glanced at this game if it wasn’t for the demo. It was of one of the best levels in the game and introduced the weird mechanics perfectly. I play it over and over and over again to the point where it would have been mad if I hadn’t bought the full thing. 
 

I did and wasn’t disappoint.

 

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The Outrun 2 demo disc given away when you pre-ordered at Game was epic. Just the first three easy stages, but I played the hell outta that!

 

Going back further, the Hidden and Dangerous demo for PC, came out months before the actual game, the entire first mission (railway bridge, pouring rain) was so atmospheric I spent hours replaying it countless times.

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Sega's water supply was definitely spiked with something in the Dreamcast era. This Shenmue demo never got released in the UK, but it sounds wonderful.

 

Quote

What's Shenmue? was a special premier disc in Japan given to those who pre-ordered Shenmue, additionally another edition of the disc was given away in Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine. Due to a delay in releasing Shenmue in Japan, anyone who pre-ordered it was given this on the date it was intended to be released on.

 

Ryo is looking for Mr. Yukawa. He asks people around Dobuita such as Tom Johnson and Nozomi Harasaki. He also encounters Enoki and has a QTE battle with him. He eventually finds Yukawa and chases him. They eventually end up at You Arcade. Ryo saves Yukawa from a attacker that wanted a "disk". After that, Ryo and Yukawa talk for a bit then Yukawa wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. His desk is surrounded with Dreamcast boxes. He looks up to see a poster of Shenmue on the wall and then makes a big effort to help sell the Dreamcast console.

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On 15/12/2021 at 07:30, Azrael said:

I played the Skate and Crackdown demos so much, I never even bought either game when they were released :lol:

 

That's funny - I bought Crackdown so I could play the Halo 3 beta. I thought Halo was pants and proceeded to absolutely rinse Crackdown, a game I had had no interest in actually playing.

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I might be misremembering things, or going completely mad, but I'm sure we had a PC demo of a Midtown Madness game (possibly MM2) that you could do all sorts of things with if you fucked around in directories and ini files. Things like disabling demo barriers in Cruise mode and opening up the city, or downloading new vehicles from mod websites and dragging them into the demo's directory. Probably not what the developer or publisher wants to hear :D but I think we eventually picked the full game up in the end...

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I remember the Just Cause demo being brilliant. Saying that, it was a bit misleading as on reflection it would have been impossible to make the whole game like that as there was so much fun stuff packed into such a short space of time. The final thing was a big let down by comparison, and really it was only indicative of the setting and graphics rather than how it was structured. 

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There was a demo I've been disturbed by for years.  It was one of the ones where there were ST and Amiga demos on the same floppy disk. One mag, one disk. The demo was Gazza Super Soccer.  The demo displayed a logo, a picture of Gazza and then a sound sample played, "Free kick!  Come on ref.  Bloody clemms!".  And that's all it did, and try as I might I never worked out what "bloody clemms" was supposed to mean.

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