Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Psygnosis Mega CD Demo Moment

Getting demo discs for the Sega Mega CD was very exciting. For years I was secretly jealous of home computer owners who regularly got magazine-mounted cassettes and floppy discs full of game demos. It was too costly for magazines to do them for cartridge based systems like the Mega Drive and Master System. And to my knowledge no Commodore 16 Plus/4 demo tapes ever existed on magazines - but that is way back in the days before my Master System so I wouldn't count on my memory there!

The demo CDs were on either Sega Pro or Mega Power - both were wretched magazines and  the CDs were the only reason to buy them. The first one was Thunderhawk on Mega Power, me and my friends were wowed by it. It was the first time we'd seen a game that harnessed the power of the Mega CD for something other than FMV.

The demo CD that stands most out in my mind is the Psygnosis Demo CD. Unlike most other discs it had more than one game on it - a real treasure trove! It included demos of Puggsy and Wiz 'n' Liz. Wiz 'n' Liz... I can only imagine the game was conceptualised by Psygnosis developers in a Alan Partridge Monkey Tennis moment.

The games were so-so but there was also footage of Microcosm, a game that really intrigued me as the concept of being a airship shrunk down and injected into someone felt very Inner Space (and Inner Space has zero defects!) The footage - like most FMV games of that era - looks shocking now, so it is hard to describe how excited it made me and my friends for the game. The music accompanying the footage was stupidly bombastic, in a poor-man's Terminator soundtrack way. One time when we watched the music didn't play and the footage took on an eerie minimalist quality.

Finally on the Psygnosis Demo CD was a music video! A really hideously compressed video of Broken English by Sunscreem. It looked so bad the only thing you could really make out was that a guy was wearing neon pink sunglasses. And the song was awful. But there was something quite special still about having a music video on a CD no matter what the quality was.

How easily pleased I was before the internet!

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