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Overview

Shareware was essentially an expanded version of the idea of a demo or trial version of a game, allowing players to experience a significant portion of the game for free. For example, the original retail version of Doom consists of three episodes, and the first episode, "Knee-Deep in the Dead", was made available for free as the shareware version of Doom. Playing this version would be identical to playing the full version, with all the weapons, enemies, levels, and secrets intact, though completing the episode or quitting the game would bring up brief advertisements for the full version as well as explaining how you would order it, should you so desire. As online connectivity became more and more prevalent, shareware was eventually phased out in favour of the simpler demo, which would consist of a level or two at most, sometimes not even directly lifted from the full product, but designed specifically to show off the best parts of the gameplay in a short time.

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