During my earlier gaming years there were a number of occasions that have seen me rushing to a local video games store on a particular console’s launch day, my impressionable younger self guilty of succumbing to months of advertising and associated hype. On one such occasion back in 1995, Sony and its first foray into mainstream gaming – the PlayStation, entered the market. After reading at least a years worth of gaming magazine hype, I knew I had to own one and set out early on launch day to take my place in the enevitable queue at the now non-existent (at least in the UK) Electronics Boutique (remember them?) at my local shopping centre.
I remember there being quite long queue but nothing too scary and the wait wasn’t too bad. I soon emerged clutching my latest purchase complete with its bundled demo disc. I didn’t have enough money for another game so this would have to do for now.
This wasn’t any old demo disc though, at least not for me. This one was more of a gaming epiphany as I will enlarge upon in a moment. Simply entitled Demo 1, the black compact disc in its minimalist card packaging was about to blow this particular gamer’s mind.
So, fully laden with backpack on my back, I sped home as fast as my Vespa would take me (lucky the PlayStation is quite small eh?) and commandeered the living room TV for a session on my new technological marvel. A few minutes later and I’m ready to pop Demo 1 in the PlayStation. Game on.
What’s on this disc then?
I understand that there were 5 or more versions of the Demo 1 disc released between 1995 and 1997, all with games and demos contemporary with each date of release. My disc came with the release day PlayStation – therefore the first ever version. As such, this disc mainly contains release title demos and games close to release.
After booting my shiny… erm no, matt new console and watching the amazing PlayStation intro sequence for the first time (amazing enough in itself!), I insert Demo 1.
A short but exciting video ensues with games, tech specs and top games publishers flashing up on screen in time to a techno soundtrack, whetting our appetites for all the great things to come.
I’m pretty certain I went straight for the games demos, bypassing the games videos and tech demos for now. The disc contained playable demos of Destruction Derby, Battle Arena Toshinden, Wipeout, Loaded and Total NBA but the one I had been particularly looking forward after seeing it previewed in various gaming magazines was Destruction Derby. It transpired that I spent my first few weeks of PlayStation gaming playing this endlessly.
But there was something on the disc that seems to be remembered above all else and I must admit it blew me away back then and still impresses me now. That something being the Dinosaur option in the ‘Tech’ menu. Once chosen, a Tyrannosaurus Rex looms into view, beautifully rendered and in a constant walking animation showing off just how many polygons Sony’s new wonder could display. Using the controller you can spin Rex to view him from any angle, move it around the screen, make it swing its head from side to side, snarl and even open its jaws. It all sounds very unimpressive nowadays but back then this level of detail had never been seen on a home console and to have this on a demo disc was Sony’s way of showing the true power of it’s new console.
The demo was a stroke of genius on Sony’s part and once it had convinced me that I had made a great choice, I turned PlayStation evangelist. That is the effect this one disc had on me. I stuck with Sony for the PS2 then diverged and went down the Xbox path, and have not strayed since. I will never forget that demo disc though and the excitement and anticipation for the future of disc based gaming that it engendered.
Do you remember Demo One? Share your memories of it in the comments section below.