Gaming’s Guilty Pleasures: Demo whoring

[Editor’s note: I’ve never heard of demo whoring before until topgeargorilla just brought this subject up. It’s hard to imagine someone not getting the full experience of BioShock with just the small taste of Rapture from the demo. In any case, here is tgg’s Gaming’s Guilty Pleasure as part of April’s Monthly Musings. — CTZ]

It’s an interesting issue. With the PS3, the Wii, and the 360, gamers now have at their fingertips really fantastic games at the push of a button. Instead of having to schlep ourselves out and about to pick up games, we can just keep sitting on our asses and have new gameplay experiences at any time. It’s great.

However, I have discovered an interesting, and slightly subversive, situation brewing. I guess you could call it demo whoring. With the 360 and the PS3, all arcade games, and many retail games, have relatively small files that allow gamers to get a taste of the gaming experience. Most people would use this as a time to test out the game, like it-or-hate-it, then make a buying decision. Like cocaine. The first time it’s free, after that it’s gonna cost you. 

More after the jump. 

Except, it doesn’t work on me. Truth be told, I haven’t bought a single game on my 360 that I have demoed. As a matter of fact, download wise, the only Arcade game I’ve ever bought is UNO, which I never demoed. And I have bought plenty of Wii VC titles, but those were in moments of weakness. They don’t count.

But taking a look at my downloaded games list on the green blade of Live, I have on average of five to 20 “games”. Every single one is a demo (except for free shit like Yaris, Aegis Wing, and Undertow). From BioShock to Texas Hold ‘Em, I download a lot of demos.

I have a dirty secret to tell: When I get bored with the games I have, I download three or four demos, let them load up while watching South Park, and when finished, spend an hour and a half playing these games. Even if they are crap, even if I never had any interest in them, even if I never intend to buy them, even games like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (shit on the 360 D-pad), I’ll sit down and play. Since I got the 360 in December, I’ve had a ton of demos to play. I may have invested more time playing demos spread out than in some of the games I payed for. For instance, Half-Life 2.

I’m an ‘effing demo whore. Why in the world would I want to spend hard earned cash on a game I’ll only play a couple times when I could just have a taste and be satisfied? Ikaruga is a bitch, and I’ll never beat the first level so the demo is as much fun as I’ll ever get out of it. The BioShock demo, showcasing a game that scares a pussy like me, lets me experience BioShock and not have to buy it. I just played the Iron Man demo. I got fun out of it and now I don’t ever have to buy it. Ever. Maybe it’s A.D.D or something, but I don’t have to ever care about not playing Iron Man. Because I already did. The same can be said with a ton of other games. Besides, a lot of games on Live are only worth a demo, and shit like Tron is actually fun when free and in short bursts. It’s like my 360 is a giant Wario Ware console, with Mega Minigames instead.

There’s a candy company in America called See’s Candies. They specialize in chocolate truffles and stuff. When you go there, you can spend a lot of money on these things, but they have a policy of giving away free chocolates when you go there. You don’t even have to buy anything. Live and the PSN give me the “free chocolates” of gaming. Sure, it’s all “mocha” and “caramel”, and I’m missing out on “strawberry bon-bon” and “coconut”, but what’s free is free. It’s all gaming.

Who’s gone to Costco, walked around eating samples, then just left? I have. That chicken nugget was good, but I’m full now; I don’t want to buy a whole bag of delicious nuggets.

So excuse me, big-huge-gaming-corporations. I could care less that my beloved Mr. Driller is online. I already got to play it, thanks for the fun. You’re gonna have to do something extra special to hook me into paying you for games. Why pay for fun when the same level of enjoyment can be gotten for free?