The Haunted PS1 Demo Disc
06 Mar, 2020
After weeks of anticipation, the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc – a collection of PlayStation 1-inspired horror game demos – is here. Despite sharing a common theme, each of these demos all feel different, collecting horror games of varying genres. Psychological horror, survival horror, horror RPGs, horror walking simulators, and narrative-driven horror games. There’s even a skateboarding horror game.
Haunted PS1 Demo Disc
Most of these games are spectacular, and even the ones that aren’t are worth talking about. If you want to see the nine best games in the collection, check out my new video below going over what makes them so great. But aside from the individual games, the collection itself is a brilliant marketing ploy more indie game developers should use.
It’s easier than ever to make an indie game these days. With cheap, easy to use development engines, indie-friendly publishers like Devolver Digital and Serenity Forge, crowdfunding, and plenty of places to both sell and market games. That ease is a double-edged sword, as there are also more indie games than ever before, making it almost impossible for even the best games to standout. That’s the genius of the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc.
With 17 indie developers coming together to create one horror-themed package, it gives all of those involved a bigger microphone. Pooling together resources to help market each other’s games would be one thing, but what takes this package to the next level is its wrapping.
Organized by Breogan Hackett of Aiteach Games, this demo “disk” is more than just a bunch of executable files in a folder. This collection has a PS1-themed opening animation, a riff no the classic PlayStation start-up animation and sound effect. After this, you’re taken to an animated menu to pick which game you want to play, while catch 90s-esque music blares in the background. Upon selecting a game, you’re given the chance to play it (obviously), but also read a brief description, view that game’s credits, or follow its creators online.
It’s this presentation that captured headlines, allowing the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc to appear in headlines across multiple gaming outlets and played by popular YouTubers. That’s the attention that most (if not all) these demos would never have received if not for this collection.
This collection wouldn’t work if it weren’t a collection. When’s the last time a group of indie developers came together to release a bunch of demos for their games in one package like this? Never, seems like the only correct answer. Far too many indie developers would fear their game getting lost in the shuffle, that some other project would hog the limelight while their game was forgotten.
That’s to say nothing about demos. What if someone plays your demo and they don’t like it? They’ll never give you game a second look. Or what if the other games in the collection wind up being terrible, or the collection overall is panned, making your demo look bad?
Overcoming these doubts makes Haunted PS1 Demo Disc so special, and why it’s such great marketing. It proves all those questions wrong by providing great demos with a top-notch presentation. It’s impossible to quantify what games are getting what percentage of the coverage when there are so many writing articles and making videos about these games, but if you check the individual developer pages from each of these demos, you’ll find plenty of people saying that specific game was their favorite of the bunch.
That’s why more indie developers need to work together like this. Imagine if all the developers making classic, collect-a-thon 3D platformers right now did something similar? Or first-person shooters? Or any other genre or weird niche linking a similar group of games together? It would not only introduce the world to a bunch of great games, and present some wonderful opportunities for the music and menu like in Haunted PS1 Demo Disc, but it’d also dispel the myth that the 3D platformer is dead.
You can do this with any genre, or any group of games as long as they all share a common theme. The possibilities are endless.
The Future of Indie Game Marketing
Collaboration doesn’t have to be a collection of demos like Haunted PS1 Demo Disc. It can be something as simple as a group of indie game developers posting a blog or series of videos together, talking about their games in one space. Indie developers can run a Twitter account together, signal boosting other great games. It can even be something done behind the scenes, where indies help each other with technical aspects or with securing financing.
The fact of the matter is, it’s almost impossible for an indie game to stand out on its own in this market. If you’re a developer and you want people to pay attention to your game, you’ll need help. While a traditional publisher will help in that regard, why not shake things up and try something different, like releasing your own Haunted PS1 Demo Disc?
You can find the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc here
For more indie game previews from indie game developers visit our Into Indie Games previews page