What exactly is a "Sample" version?

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Hiccup
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What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by Hiccup » 11 Nov 2018 13:34

Some No-Intro ROMs are named "Sample". What does this mean exactly, and is it superseded by "Beta", "Proto", "Demo", "Promo" etc?

Some ROMs are actually named as samples in-game, in the ROM data or on the cartridge/box, and they seem like they are pre-final (i.e. what No-Intro call "beta") demo versions of some kind? Are they for press for reviews/previews, promo items for consumers, or forkiosk demo stations? Or maybe for reviewing by other companies/other departments of the developer/publisher?

omonim2007
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by omonim2007 » 11 Nov 2018 16:39

I follow this rule when adding info to DoM: a Sample is a variant of the game that the developer released to the masses for testing (not so important for making a review in a magazine, for an exhibition, etc.), Beta is an unfinished version of the game that the developer did not want to show on to the public.

The Sample is the official demonstration of the unfinished game, the Beta is what was stolen against the will of the developer.

Hiccup
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by Hiccup » 11 Nov 2018 19:28

But where do "demo" and "kiosk demo" versions come into play here?

KingMike
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by KingMike » 11 Nov 2018 19:41

I believe "Kiosk demo" is to mean a trial version placed in stores on a sample console to be played to encourage purchase of the retail copy.

Hiccup
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by Hiccup » 11 Nov 2018 20:57

Hmm. How does that differ from "Demo" which is used with some 3DS games at least?

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BigFred
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by BigFred » 11 Nov 2018 23:13

If I was asked to come up with a definition I'd say that a Demo is an official release as an "appetizer" for the full game. A Kiosk Demo would be a special case where such a copy is only meant to be played on a Demo unit. Afair many of the GBA Kiosk "Demos" actually contained the full game so using it as a Demo for home use wouldn't be too wise. A regular (non Kiosk) Demo would be a copy for home use like the ones you can download from PSN or eShop etc. There were also Demos for the old PSX for instance. I don't know if any such Demos actually exist for cartridge based systems. Would be pretty expensive to do such a thing. Demos have become more common with the rise of DLC - also on cart based systems.

A Beta is unfinished software that usually wasn't meant to be played by anyone except for the developers. Either builds from source code or "intermediate" versions put on cartridge or discs. "Sample" is a bit misleading. I'm thinking about review copies here that are finished but might still contain cheat codes not found in the retail (Axelay or Mega Man 2? would be an example) or that are possibly tagged (to trace leaked copies). However it's very hard to find a proper definition here - often it's not black or white and in many cases the origin and purpose of a copy are unknown.

KingMike
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by KingMike » 12 Nov 2018 02:36

BigFred wrote:
11 Nov 2018 23:13
There were also Demos for the old PSX for instance. I don't know if any such Demos actually exist for cartridge based systems. Would be pretty expensive to do such a thing. Demos have become more common with the rise of DLC - also on cart based systems.
The only such "Sample" I can think of are the three Squaresoft Super Famicom "Samples" released in 1995.
They have been seen with box and manual, which is pretty rare.
Unfortunately probably not many of us actually know HOW those demos were originally distributed. In-store usage would've seemed the most likely? Maybe a trade show? I would expect those were meant to be seen by players. At least I know the Chrono Trigger one specifically ends the demo point with a teaser message to buy the full version. (though oddly enough the CT demo has been datamined by fans to reveal it contains a significant amount of altered content from the final version, combined with the aforementioned existence of a preliminary box and manual, making us wonder if anyone knows the exact context of its original usage)

Hiccup
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Re: What exactly is a "Sample" version?

Post by Hiccup » 12 Nov 2018 17:06

Maybe all samples should be renamed to "(Demo)", "(Demo) (Kiosk)" or "(Beta)"? "(Demo)" and"(Demo) (Kiosk)" already covers pre-final versions (see Mario Kart DS and Yoshi's Island DS's USA demos).

Also, non-kiosk demos do exist - for 3DS at least.

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