If Demo 1 and Powerline give you a nostalgia hit, read on for our thoughts about demo discs and why they deserve to make a comeback...
Demos used to be known as the kind that you would get either through the postbox, or attached to a magazine. The demo disc could be a glorious thing.
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With PC discs, they would usually be games as ‘shareware’, so you could play a few levels and then pay for the whole thing, or just applications to defrag your hard drive on Sunday evening as a treat.
But when 1994 arrived with the PlayStation, demos became something of an introduction to most players. Once you put the disc into your shiny new console, you would be brought to a choice of games, videos, and tech demos.
Let’s see just what this contained, alongside another demo disc...
When you brought home your original PlayStation, you would unwrap the controller, the console, the power cable, the VGA lead, and then, a CD would be there. The title of ‘DEMO 1’ would appear on the screen once it would load up, and you would be brought to a multitude of choices.
The video above is the disc that I had back in 1997, featuring games such as Tekken 2, Crash Bandicoot, Descent, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, and lots more. It opened up an idea into just what you could play on the console, to tempt you into buying at least one of these games, while wondering what else could be coming out in the coming months.
The tech demos were also something to behold, with a walking Tyrannosaurus Rex, or a Manta Ray, where you could control the camera to any angle or zoom-point you wanted. Revolutionary at the time, and made you wonder what else was possible on the console.
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The ‘demo’ in 2020 has become a variety of things; from being an open beta of a multiplayer mode to a game, to a trial, and even a concept such as ‘Early Access’ on Steam.
Demo discs would be a staple of the PlayStation 1 and 2 era, with discs coming out to ‘Official PlayStation’ magazines up until the launch of the PlayStation 3. These would also contain games created by other users, through Sony’s ‘Net Yaroze’ platform.
To have these come back as a PlayStation 5 offering when bought with every console, could be a fantastic throwback, while also giving people a taste of other games, or maybe even, remasters of past demos, such as Ridge Racer and Tekken 2, and the T-Rex tech demo, all on this PS5 Demo disc. It could be a great way of bridging that gap between an owner who’s been there since the PS1 days, and someone who had the PS3 as their first console.
But for now, think back to a time when open beta tests and the internet wasn’t as easily accessible, and all we had each month, was a new demo disc to show us just what Soul Reaver and Crash Bandicoot 3 could play like.