Demo First. Always.

When I first started playing video games, I do not remember any demos being available. But then a few years later, you could snag, for free, a shiny disc that let you play a bit of the game. I loved those! I remember arranging my game demo discs the same way I arrange my games: Genre and then by title.

Nowadays, gaming studios cut costs by not releasing, on disc, a game demo. If you find one, hang onto it! It is rare. Instead, via PC/Mac or gaming console, you connect to the internet and then hunt down the game demo and then download it. Yes, there are many steps to it. But, it is well worth it. Let me explain.

With the average cost of a new release video game around $60 (USD) many wise gamers think before plunking down their hard-earned cash. That is a substantial chunk of money for a video game that may, well, let us be honest, suck.

For me, unless it is a well-known title from a series that I have played before and just love, I demo it. Most people I know will demo games. Or at least they tell me they demo a game at my constant insistence the game is amazing and they must play it.

How does a demo help? Well, it let's you preview, play a bit of the game before you buy it. This does not only apply to new releases or upcoming releases. Many video games made over the last decade or so have some sort of demo you can try out for free. This lets you see the game graphics, how the cells handle, if the controls are intuitive and, if the game is fun. That is the most important part.

Even if you are not a gamer but a Mamma of a gamer. Or a Daddy of a gamer. The golden rule before buying a game should be "Demo first for one week. Still want it?"

I remember when Soul Caliber IV came out. I rushed out and got it as a new release. Then came home, put it in, enjoying that new game smell. I was so excited I dropped my Xbox 360 controller twice as the game was loading. Mindset on how awesome and how fun the Soul Caliber series was (and is), I dove into the story as Yoda. Ten minutes later I was done. I felt used and cheated. This game was set to be a multiplayer with the single player aspect being almost an afterthought.

Multiplayer? But all my multiplayer time was devoted to playing with my gaming clan on my beloved Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. Yes, there was the single player challenges in Soul Caiber IV. But the bottom line was this: If I had bothered to demo the game first, I would have seen the aspect I loved about Soul Caliber was so small, it might as well have not been included in the game.

I had wasted $60 on a game.

I learned my lesson, and I learned it well. Demo a game first. Even if the game is 7 years old and only costs $7. Demo. Demo. Demo.

So what if the big gaming authorities reviewed the game and everyone in the world says it is the best thing out since sliced bread? I'm not everyone. You are not everyone. Demo first. Always.


  1. We have many a time bought it before playing and didn't like it. So now we do the demos and we have Gamefly so we can also try and then decide to buy. Son has certain ones that are buyable right away too like his Halo or COD. Sure saves a lot of money in the long run. Really good post.
    Sue B

  2. Thank you Sue! I think most gamers are the same way, but enough are still not doing the demo first and getting burned. Over the next few weeks I'll be going over renting and then comparing the two main renting companies. Thanks for reading!


Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Stay frugal!