Saturday, April 24, 2010

Demo Demo PlayStation Predicts the Future

Sony’s Demo Demo PlayStation series is less than a footnote in the system’s history. They’re very similar to the Play Play demo discs that were mailed to new PlayStation owners across Japan starting in 1995, as Demo Demo volumes are also loaded with promotional videos and playable previews. Unlike Play Play, Demo Demo discs were originally made for PlayStation store kiosks in Japan, and they were perhaps the first PlayStation demo discs ever released. They stretch back to the system’s launch in late 1994, making them relics of a time when Sony was doubtless worried that the PlayStation would flop and send their entire video-game division scrambling for new jobs at Nintendo’s Virtual Boy department.

I'll remember Demo Demo PlayStation mostly for including a playable version of Bounty Arms, yet these discs are interesting beyond that sample of my most-wanted unreleased game. True, Demo Demo volumes are bare-bones compared to the Play Play series. Play Play discs come with plenty of extras, commercials, original games, booklets, and glossy designs. Demo Demo discs just get covers with generic comics. That's understandable if these cases were meant to sit idly on a shelf while the disc ran in a kiosk somewhere. Sony gave Demo Demo covers to any manga artist willing to sacrifice a few panels to obscurity.

My favorite Demo Demo PlayStation cover comes from Volume 11, because it’s the only one I even remotely understand.



If this were a good website like Magweasel, I’d have a detailed translation of this comic. It’s not, so here’s a crude guess (edit: I am, in fact, mostly wrong; see the comment below). Starting on the upper-right and going clockwise, we find two girls wolfing down cake, with the brown-haired one fretting about gaining weight. Her blonde friend points out that she’s not worried about her own figure, explaining in the second panel that “games” keep her thin. I assume she’s talking about sports.

Our heroine, being none too bright, interprets this to mean PlayStation games, and the next panel sees her embracing a “Game Diet” with the help of her trusty Sony-manufactured game console. This diet presumably consists of her sitting around all day while playing Ridge Racer, Philosoma, and maybe even Hermie Hopperhead. In the last panel, she laments that she hasn’t lost any weight on the Game Diet, while the blonde girl laments the unfathomable stupidity on display.

This sort of allegedly classic humor has entertained manga readers for decades, yet there’s something charming about this little throwaway gag. Perhaps it’s the way the comic unwittingly predicts Wii Fit fourteen years down the road. Or perhaps it’s the backhanded, Sony-endorsed admission that playing video games will make you a fatass.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

unfortunately, your translation is way off base: the girl who suggested gaming (and yeah, she means actual gaming, not sports) says that if you get engrossed in gaming, you forget to eat.

in the last panel, the other girl complains that when she lost (in the games), she comfort-ate, and hence got fat.

sorry for the driveby comment, but blatant mistranslation is annoying.

Kid Fenris said...

You have nothing to apologize for. I'm glad that someone gave it a translation instead of my wild guesses.

I am, however, disappointed that the girl didn't eat her PlayStation, as I originally suspected.