Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nostalgia Sunday Special: Demo Discs

Todays Nostalgia Sunday is a special one. I'm going to talk about what once was a key factor to buying games:
Demo Discs

This envelope used to hold all my PS2 demo discs.

Once upon a time, many, many, many years ago, publishers of video games would make a demo version of their game and put it on a so called "demo disc". This demo disc was mostly part of a magazine, which promoted a certain console (e.g. OPM). Some demo discs were only available through certain stores, or promotional stuff. This would ensure a hunt for certain demo discs, even though you could still buy and play the real game. Some demo discs are even worth hundreds of dollars today.
In this post, I will only talk about Playstation 1 and Playstation 2 demo discs, because that just were my consoles. I'll try to point out some games, that catched my attention and were good as a demo alone.

Playstation 1:
The first demo disc that comes to mind, when talking about the PS1, is the disc, which was included with the PS1 itself. Every country and every version of the PSX/PS1 had a different one. It was the only PSX/PS1 demo disc I had. I don't remember exactly what was on mine, but I remember one game:

WWF SmackDown!:
When we got the PSX at Christmas, the only games we had were Spyro 2 (Check out that Nostalgia Sunday) and the demo disc. It had several games and trailers, but this demo stood out. We weren't really into wrestling, but we knew it existed and this demo was fun as hell. The roster on the demo was awesome, as far as I remember it had The Rock, Kane, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Goldberg and Kurt Angle. Getting out of the ring and walking through the crowd was awesome too, because we never saw something like that and we found it by accident. The surprise was big as you can imagine. The gameplay itself was fun and even when I already had my PS2 with the SmackDown! vs Raw games, I still got back and played this demo.

Playstation 2:
The whole thing started with the PS2 demo discs. My aunt worked, and still works in a store, which sold those Official Playstation Magazines. When a copy of the magazine wasn't sold, we'd always get the demo disc. Fortunatly that was the case with almost every OPM. So we collected alot of these demo discs, with alot of game demos. Here are some, that were really good:

Red Faction (1 or 2, I really don't know anymore):
This demo literally blew my mind. At first, it looked like a normal FPS. Shooting people, doing objectives, getting to the end of the level. But then you throw a grenade or shoot a rocket launcher for the first time and BAM! Destroyable enviroment! In my mind this was so revolutionary, I hadn't seen anything like this before. Most of the time, I wasn't doing the objectives, but rather shoot a wall, to see what happens. It's too bad, I never bought the game, because I think it would be really fun. In Germany it even got on the index (you can't sell or promote the game publically), which meant, I would forget about it for a long time.

This game was a rhythm game, something I have never played or seen before. You play the different instrumenttracks and hit the "notes" the intrument plays. You can make combos and such. It had two songs, Cherry Lips by Garbage and Quarashi's Baseline, which both were really fun to play. You could only play singleplayer, but that doesn't really matter. I really wanted to buy this game. I don't know why I didn't. It's weird, because my brother and me had arguments to our mother like "Finally we want to buy a game, that isn't a shooter or rated for a mature audience". Seems like it didn't work though. What this game achieved though, was that I noticed rhythm games. My favorite game right now and for the past four years is Rock Band (made by the same people at Harmonix as Amplitude) and it's sequels. I invested so much money in it, but it made me play real instruments like the guitar, bass and drums. I owe so much to it.

Timesplitters 2:
This game was litteraly a shock for me. Till then, I didn't play any horror games and Timesplitters 2 isn't a horror game by any means, but the demo scared the hell out of me. You start of in a "GoldenEye" like setting, where you have to infiltrate a base in snowy mountains. Everythings cool, till you have to activate something in the base (excuse my non knowledge of something I played ten years ago). Alarms go off, red lights surround the room and then: Zombies. I was scared as hell. I didn't expect anything like that, because at first it looked like a normal shooter. I was eleven years old or so too. I even tried to scare my friends with it and told them to play the demo. It wouldn't work on them though haha. I heard the game is really good and funny, so I might try it out, once I'll be able to emulate games for the PS2.

That's three demos now, that had an impact on me. There were more, but I think those three took the spot. I might do another Nostalgia Sunday based on this, if there's enough people, who want it.

Game Demos Today:
Today, there aren't demo discs anymore. Everything works through the internet. Consoles offer marketplaces, where you can download the newest demos, without buying a magazine. I think demos lost its charme. Back in the day, you couldn't get all those demos and it was something special. Today, it's always there for everyone. 
I already talked about this subject, so you might want to check out my blogpost about something I miss.

I hope you enjoyed this little special Nostalgia Sunday. Leave a comment, if you have any suggestions for new Nostalgia Sundays. I need to have played the games though, because otherwise it wouldn't be nostalgia ;).


  1. Yea, I kind of miss those too, got loads of them from the ps2.

  2. OMGah!! I have that PS1 demo still.

  3. I remember the Metal Gear demo. It was dope dude!

  4. yeah those were good. I have box-loads of that stuff in storage

  5. Oh man, I used to get these too, and my fav where demos for the PC in magazines. Good times!

  6. man demo discs!!!! /swooooon smashed the Tony Hawk pro skater 2 demo over a summer with my pals. It was only marseille level but we had a rotation of like 15 of us trying to be the first to grind the whole time limit or first to get over 1 million xD

  7. Woah, played more the Tombi demo disc than the full game. NOSTALGIA!

  8. I still have stacks and stack of original xbox demo discs... still bring them out and play with them occasionally!

    1. The gold old days with my PS1 :)

  9. Bit hard to nostalgia here because I had an N64, not a PS. :P

  10. please how i find PS2 demo disk

    1. You'll propably have to look for them on Ebay, they aren't made anymore.

  11. can sum1 pliz help me wit PS2 demos? Any body wiling can send them as an image to my email ad Thanx and nice list.