Demo Timers

A few days ago I finally decided to go ahead and delete the 4 gigs of Psychonauts off my 360's 20 gig harddrive and decided to take the opportunity to download a bunch of demos, specifically Just Cause 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Skate 3. I've played the first two before when they went up, but I decided I might as well give them another go. First time I thought they were nothing special, very much video games and not so much the perfect freeform combat simulators that had been pitched at me. Going in, expectations back to manageable levels, I think that Splinter Cell is too hard to control and not satisfying in the least, but on the other hand Just Cause 2 is pretty fun outside of the times where you die or run out of ammo. It's basically the Red Faction: Gorilla problem (as observed from its demo) of while having these great sandbox hooks, also having enemies that aren't fun to fight and don't take kindly to people tearing into all their shit. I also played some Skate 3 which is, well, bad. I don't think there's anything good about that demo. The tutorial is short and covers only moving forward and ollieing, and the rest is just mashing on the sticks and holding down random buttons for the 20 minutes the demo allows you to have. 
   
It's safe to say that no single player game has ever been improved by the addition of a time limit, but then that's not why demos feel it necessary to throw one in. It's a matter of depriving the player of a complete experience as to not hurt sales of the full version. In Just Cause 2's case, I think one could easily spend 5 hours fucking around in the limited stretch of Panau the demo provides without feeling the need to run out and buy the full version if it didn't do something about it, but I think timers aren't the way to do it. I like a demo I can sink my teeth into, one that I can play for far longer than any business man would be comfortable with. Blur's beta is a good example of this, as I've played around 8 hours of it and will probably pick it up as a result. I don't think I can say this for any of the other demos. L4D2's demo was like that too, though I had preordered that one. 
  
With a longer demo I'm able to get past the phase where I'm struggling to get around corners, shoot dudes, and pull off stunts, and into the phase were I'm having fun. As such, I can be a lot more generous about my appraisal of the game. In Skate 3's part I sorta understand that the game probably doesn't get good until you spend an hour learning the controls, but as it only gave me 20 minutes I was never able to get there. Plus, when it told me I only had 3 minutes or so left, I decided that I had seen enough of the game and quit out. Going in I thought that the 20 minutes would be too few, but as I went in I shifted my expectations of the game such that 20 minutes were too much, and that's not the impression EA should want me to come out with.

Start the Conversation
1 Comments
Posted by TheMasterDS

A few days ago I finally decided to go ahead and delete the 4 gigs of Psychonauts off my 360's 20 gig harddrive and decided to take the opportunity to download a bunch of demos, specifically Just Cause 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Skate 3. I've played the first two before when they went up, but I decided I might as well give them another go. First time I thought they were nothing special, very much video games and not so much the perfect freeform combat simulators that had been pitched at me. Going in, expectations back to manageable levels, I think that Splinter Cell is too hard to control and not satisfying in the least, but on the other hand Just Cause 2 is pretty fun outside of the times where you die or run out of ammo. It's basically the Red Faction: Gorilla problem (as observed from its demo) of while having these great sandbox hooks, also having enemies that aren't fun to fight and don't take kindly to people tearing into all their shit. I also played some Skate 3 which is, well, bad. I don't think there's anything good about that demo. The tutorial is short and covers only moving forward and ollieing, and the rest is just mashing on the sticks and holding down random buttons for the 20 minutes the demo allows you to have. 
   
It's safe to say that no single player game has ever been improved by the addition of a time limit, but then that's not why demos feel it necessary to throw one in. It's a matter of depriving the player of a complete experience as to not hurt sales of the full version. In Just Cause 2's case, I think one could easily spend 5 hours fucking around in the limited stretch of Panau the demo provides without feeling the need to run out and buy the full version if it didn't do something about it, but I think timers aren't the way to do it. I like a demo I can sink my teeth into, one that I can play for far longer than any business man would be comfortable with. Blur's beta is a good example of this, as I've played around 8 hours of it and will probably pick it up as a result. I don't think I can say this for any of the other demos. L4D2's demo was like that too, though I had preordered that one. 
  
With a longer demo I'm able to get past the phase where I'm struggling to get around corners, shoot dudes, and pull off stunts, and into the phase were I'm having fun. As such, I can be a lot more generous about my appraisal of the game. In Skate 3's part I sorta understand that the game probably doesn't get good until you spend an hour learning the controls, but as it only gave me 20 minutes I was never able to get there. Plus, when it told me I only had 3 minutes or so left, I decided that I had seen enough of the game and quit out. Going in I thought that the 20 minutes would be too few, but as I went in I shifted my expectations of the game such that 20 minutes were too much, and that's not the impression EA should want me to come out with.