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What Do You Mean, You're Still Not Convinced?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Oasis has a time-limited demo. It also has a tutorial. Your time limit is sixty minutes. The tutorial took me about... sixty minute. Well, more like fifty-nine, actually. Did they do a great job timing that or what!

A screenshot of Oasis.

Well, I hope they didn't. I hope it wasn't a conscious decision to let people play just the tutorial. You see, I don't think tutorials are really that enjoyable. Sometimes they are necessary. Often they are not, but they're still included. By the way, did you ever notice that games that don't require a tutorial but still have one, are also in the habit of making the tutorial obligatory? Well, I have. And yes, the obligatory tutorial in Trichromix is absolutely necessary, thank you very much.

So if I don't really like tutorials and I made it through an hour's worth of your game's tutorial, what do you think is the best way to reward me? If by this point you say "well, a nice message saying You've reached the end of the demo, of course", then I hope you are either not a shareware developer or seriously considering a career change.

I didn't buy Oasis. You know what game I did buy? (A while back, but still.) Pax Galaxia. And do you know how much time I spent on the demo? Neither do I. I was just having so much fun with it, that I lost track of time. Picture this: I'm battling four alien races for ultimate supremecy of the universe. It's a tough fight and I almost lose all my forces. But then, through a brilliant tactical decision, I manage to conquer back a valuable planet. I actually feel the tables turning. I'm a genius! What if Diodor had decided to stop me right there and then and said: "Good grief, mate, looks like you're doing swell. Just whip out your credit card, fork over your money and I'll let you get back to feeling like an omnipotent, intergalactic hero." Would I be enticed into buying? Would I be convinced this is the game for me? Enraged is what I would be! What do I care about 'impulse buy'? I was kicking ass!

A screenshot of Pax Galaxia.

Fortunately for him - and for me - Diodor didn't stop me and I rewarded him with my money. The guys over at Mind Control won't have me as a customer, because they were too afraid I'd be playing their demo all the time. So what if I play your demo like a thousand times? So what if I play the same level over and over again? So what if there are six months between me downloading the demo and me buying the game? And even if I decide not to buy the game, there is no harm in letting me keep the demo. Maybe one of my friends walks in one day and says: "That looks like fun."

I'm not saying anything about the game itself, mind. Oasis seems like a fun game. I'm not sure though, having never actually played it. Except for the tutorial, that is. And about one minute of the actual game.

Of course, I might just be talking out of the wrong orifice. I didn't run a test to see whether my time-limited demo brought in more sales than my feature-limited demo. (This might have something to do with the fact that I still haven't released my first game yet. Just might.) All I'm saying is that I'm less likely to buy a game that has a time-limited demo. Am I your target audience?

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