The Art of the Demo on PS3

So far, one of my favorite things about the PS3 has been the absolutely huge number of demos available for it. This was especially useful since I had the PS3 to myself for three days before The Orange Box arrived and interrupted our honeymoon. I spent my first several hours with the PS3 just downloading and installing every demo that looked moderately interesting. And I still haven't tried all the ones I want to.

Unlike the Wii (which I still love), demo availability allows me to dip my toes into gaming waters I had previously avoided. As part of my new gaming initiative, I'm trying to play games that are "out of my element," to quote the philosophical Walter Sobchak. So I've tried out numerous shooters (loved Bioshock), Motorstorm: Pacific Rift (hated it, as expected), and even Super Rub-a-Dub (ughhh?).

But what I've really enjoyed about demos is their ability to both remind me of games I forgot about, and open my eyes to new experiences. I tested out the Ratchet and Clank demo, and was completely blown away by how much fun it is. It felt like the PS2 ones all over again. Pure joy wrapped in a colorful candy shell. And despite (or because of?) being cartoony and colorful, it looks really beautiful too. I also tried out Super Stardust HD, only knowing its reputation, and was again blown away by how fun and addicting that 5 minute demo was. I really wanted to keep playing, try to beat the first planet, and unlock a trophy. But alas, it was much too short. However, I shall buy it someday. It made the list.

Lastly, I just tried Pixeljunk Monsters. I had played Desktop Tower Defense, so I knew what the game was all about. And I feel very empathetic, because I totally get why some people would love this type of game. But it's just not for me. The continuous march of monsters is just too much pressure. I don't want to be responsible for the lives of my villagers against that constant threat of destruction. If I bought the game based on reputation (and my love of Pixeljunk Eden), I would regret it after the first level, and have to glue my hands to the controller to adequately play through it. But, and here's the important point, I understand it as a game.

There are still a dozen or so demos I want to test out, as well as an entire Half-Life 2 campaign to work on. So the PS3 is keeping me plenty busy. I'm just glad I'm able to dip my toes in the water before diving right in.

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