Most video game demos simply use aspects of the game. Sometimes these demos use the first level of the game and sometimes they'll use random levels. In contrast, self-contained demos are not levels from the game itself. They use non-canon stories or side-stories to give you a feel of the game without spoilering anything or reusing a level. Compare to Tech Demo Game.
ExamplesFirst Person Shooters
- Halo 2's demo at E3 2003 was an original level set in what became the New Mombasa levels. While the core mechanics demonstrated in it (dual wielding, vehicle hijacking, and enemy Brutes) were kept in the final game, the demo levels ran on an entirely different engine that was said to crash if the player went just the slightest Off the Rails.
- The Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast demo was about investigating an enemy base that had no connection to the game itself.
- Bioshock Infinite. The two early game play demos 2010 - Fighting Saltonstall and a Handyman and 2011 - Exploring a novelties shop and Columbia take place in areas which are not found in the game.
- Silent Hills (aka PT) was meant to be this to a new Silent Hill game. However the game ended up being cancelled and eventually PT too was pulled from Playstation Store.
- In order to avoid spoiling the game itself, the creators of The Stanley Parable created a self-contained demo to promote it. The entirely original level contains the Narrator leading you through a tour of what is supposed to lead up to the Stanley Parable demo, but ends up becoming a surrealist nightmare. They even sent special editions of this demo to Let's Players Steam Train and Revision3 containing bits of dialogue directly addressed to them.
- Glider PRO: "Demo House" served as the playable demo as well as the game's tutorial and Attract Mode. Though included with the full game, it is entirely separate from the game's primary scenario, "Slumberland.
- Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire had a downloadable demo where you played as the male lead set in Mossdeep City where you encounter Team Aqua and Team Magma.
- Pokémon Sun and Moon had a downloadable demo where you played as the male lead (named "Sun" in the demo). It feature him arriving in Alola with his mom, but it's depicted in a completely different from the actual game. In the demo Sun receives a Greninja, which is a Kalos starter from Pokémon X and Y.
- The original StarCraft I demo was a campaign made of four levels that play before the events of the actual game. It was later made available as an extended version with additional missions that could be launched as a custom campaign from within the game.
- Empire Earth has tutorials that are unconnected to the game's campaigns, like Phoenician settlers or Roman soldiers.
- War Craft 3: Had a demo that was an extended version of the tutorial prologue. The extended version was merged into the main game with the expansion pack.
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