Steam, giving us 900 demos was a terrible idea

I used to be a hoarder of demo discs. When I was a bit shorter and lot less grey than I am now, I snatched up any magazine offering some slices of impending games—hardly a cheap habit, but cheaper than the full thing—and played them to exhaustion. I would have slept on them if the cases had been comfy enough. 

These demos were how I kept my enthusiasm up during those long, dry spells between birthdays and Christmases where I could only dream about new games. Now I have too many games, which I could never have imagined, but there’s still something tantalising about demos, especially collections of them. 

Demo discs are long gone, and for a time it looked like demos had been supplanted by betas and early access phases. They’re everywhere again, however, and there are even groups of devs trying to capture the magic of the old discs with oddities like Haunted PS1 Demo Disc, a digital anthology of horror games. 

I made a solid attempt to get into Everspace 2, but the 899 other demos were a bit distracting.  (Image credit: Rockfish Games)

With developers unable to use E3, Gamescom and other events to show people what they’ve been working on, more and more have been using demos as an alternative. No queues, no (or at least fewer) awkward presentations, you don’t have to go to a convention centre—clearly we should do this every year. But only if Steam chills the hell out. 

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