Back in the mid-to-late 90s, there was almost nothing we enjoyed more than sticking in a new demo disc and fiddling around with whatever games we could find there.
The ability to drop in and out of a bunch of different worlds at the drop of the hat wasn't just a cheap way to experience whatever video game releases were on the horizon, but had the potential to make you feel like you were a digital excavator heading off into uncharted territory on the quest for gold.
Unfortunately, promotional discs pretty much went the way of the dinosaurs with the advent of online services for consoles, which made magazine demos at the time seem obsolete. But now thanks to communities like HauntedPS1, we can experience that sense of discovery once again. And this is most certainly the case with its latest creation: Haunted PS1 Demo Disc: Spectral Mall.
This collection of 18 lo-fi horror demos features a bunch of interesting titles like Ben Drury's Northstar Courier, where you explore a mysterious town with a camera and a bike photographing cryptids; Oates' procedurally-generated supermarket sim Sorry We're Open, where you become the manager of a haunted superstore; and Gamma Girl's point-and-click puzzler Gob, about a creature's journey through its messy and often unsettling home.
It's a strange collection that is working to make video games weirder and more interesting, and we can certainly get behind that! We should also mention, too, that it's free.
Have you tried the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc: Spectral Mall yet? Let us know what you think.