One of my favorite things about the Playstation 1 generation was the ability to regularly play preview versions of games before their final release. This has become a rarity nowadays, with companies often releasing demos after a game has already been out for a few months in an effort to persuade more gamers into grabbing a copy of their latest title.
Growing up, video game demo discs were always a part of my entertainment experience. You would get them with a magazine, a visit to the store, a pre-order or even as a bonus disc with a new game. I didn’t regularly have access to the internet until the early 2000’s which meant the two biggest sources of gaming information were magazines (such as GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly) or the previously mentioned demo discs.
My favorite thing about them was turning the jewel case to its back so I could see which games were being offered in that edition. They would often contain plenty of filler titles (mainly sequels to sports games) but you would also find incredible gems such as Metal Gear Solid and Spyro The Dragon.
Some of the games I first heard about thanks to demo discs include: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1, Parappa The Rapper, Spyro The Dragon, Crash Bash and Final Fantasy VIII. Almost all of these games are internationally recognized in 2019, but it’s easy to forget they still had to “win us over” so we would fall in love with them in the 90’s.
So why talk about Playstation Jampack discs in 2019? That is an excellent question and one I hope you had, otherwise I’m just talking to myself and it’s rather awkward.
I love revisiting the past. Nostalgia is a real thing and I fully embrace the passion I have for games and movies I enjoyed growing up. That being said, I’m terrible at keeping track of video game releases and what was popular in set year. Taking a look at Jampack discs now allows me to step into a time machine and see what companies were trying to sell us during a specific season or year.
The pictures in this post illustrate what Sony were promoting to us during Winter 1998. What’s on the back of the box?
- Spyro the Dragon
- Metal Gear Solid
- Tomb Raider III
- Coolboarders 3
- A Bug’s Life
- Small Soldiers
- Rally Cross 2
- NFL Gameday ’99
- NHL Faceoff ’99
Analyzing that list, we have the beginning of an incredible series with Spyro the Dragon, and a successful transition to 3D graphics with Metal Gear Solid. They also included a demo for the third Tomb Raider game, and Medievil, which is a true Playstation Classic that will be getting a remake for the Playstation 4.
A big appeal of the Jampacks were their price point. At $4.99 you could spend a few hours playing games, looking at cheat codes, export game saves and even watch interviews with game developers. I have no doubt that companies paid a good amount of money to get their demos included in the discs, as is the case with A Bug’s Life and Small Soldiers. These were both based on popular movies, and I bet many grandparents ended up buying the full version of these games for their grandkids after they heard the demos were kind of fun. And then we have the sports bunch with Coolboarders 3, Rally Cross 2 and the NHL and NFL games. Rally Cross 2 is a generic arcade racer that’s extra average, and Coolboarders 3 should not touch any of your Playstation consoles as it’s not fun to play in 2019 (was it fun back then? I don’t remember).
If you’d like to take a deeper look at this Jampack disc, I suggest you watch my 20 minute video where I showcase gameplay, head over to the cheats section and we watch a “dog” film the developers of Crash Bandicoot, because that was rad and gnarly in the 90’s, dude.
I’ve become somewhat of a demo collector within the past month, which means you can expect future blog posts covering the contents inside of each disc, as well as a video going over the gameplay and everything else that’s included.
Did you love to play demo discs in the 90’s / early 2000’s? Let me know what you remember about those days.