I have to really like the demo.
I usually go by the description - is there magic, supernatural elements, or superheroes? I mash the purchase button. If not, I’ll give the demo a try and waffle about it.
Demo all the way.
Artwork and genre say nothing about the writing itself. A non-binary option might not be well implemented and also isn’t a promise of an overall good game. Even a great author might write something that just doesn’t captivate me that time. Descriptions could be great, but the description could well be the best thing about the game. And I don’t even look at length. A 500k story could be super long but lineair, it could also be super short but very branchy. A long game could feel short and vice versa. It doesn’t say anything to me.
A demo tells me what I need to know. If it captivates me, it doesn’t even matter if the demo was the best part of the game and it all goes downhill from there because I’ll consider the fun I had with the demo to be worth the price I paid anyway.
I’m interested to know that many (most?) people go by the demo. For one, I don’t have a lot of info on how many people are playing the demos, but that aside, I find it interesting because one of the things I work to drill into authors is Kurt Vonnegut’s advice on fiction: Start as close to the end of the story as possible. Meaning, don’t preamble, don’t explain, don’t lay a lot of expository pipe–put me in the action, immediately. Which is one of the things I really admire about the opening of, for instance, Mask of the Plague Doctor. Let’s get IN THERE!
Anyway more serious answer: I love reading the descriptions of the games to get a feel for what’s coming, but these descriptions are notably absent from the omnibus!
The characters that are introduced in the demo are the first things I look at - protagonist included. A cast with good dialogue and goals of their own is delightful.
Also the stat screen since it’ll usually give me an idea of what sort of MCs I can build. I particularly love being able to see the stats in both words and numbers.
Well written reviews here on the forums have also swayed me one way or the other.
Not for long, also they should be the “release notes” of every new release of the omnibus, and please make sure you subscribe to our mailing list if you aren’t seeing descriptions regularly.
I see the descriptions in the mailing list but for a lot of older titles I have to rely on word of mouth from the forum to figure out whether I’d be interested!
I will buy almost any CoG after reading the description, but for HG I prefer to read reviews first.
I guess I also Go with the description. To buy a game directly after seeing there is a romance in it and a interesting setting is enough for me. The forum is also very important, if I like the way an author acts here, I am willing to buy their game, and if posters who seem to have similar opinion refer to a game as good or worth Reading, I am willing to try it. These got me Tin Star and Slammed. Both were good buys.
I usually try the demo first, I will purchase it right away if I really like it but if I am on a fence, I will usually check the impressions from people here.
I play the demo. And once in a rare while I get a demo that f’ing hooks me. Those are the best games and I immediately purchase. Even if I read one page, of the writing is brilliant, I’m buying it! (When I have money )
Most of the time I’ll purchase because of the demo, but after Midsummer Night and Tally Ho I don’t need a demo to know I’ll like and buy whatever Gower writes next.
Although I do think artwork, and how much it catches my eye, plays a role in when I play the demo, especially if I somehow miss the game when it first comes out.
She also did the artworks for Heart of the House, Superlatives, Baroque and Weyrwood, right?
^ oops, never mind this. I only read the post you replied to just now…
The highest chance for me to buy a game would be if I know the author already and never got disappointed by their games. If that’s not the case then game description and game length are based what I make the decision of buying a game or not. I rarely do the demos bc I think they tend to end before the game could get really interesting so that doesn’t helps me much with the decision.
Anyway while I try to not judge based on cover arts normally a cover art made by Abigail Larson does also make the game more appealing for me. The cover arts made by her are still my favorites.
Okay, I thought I’d be able to pick more than one option but now the poll has me down for game length I suppose.
To clarify it all: Like for many others, it’s multiple factors that make me hit that purchase button. When a new game is released, first thing I’ll see is…well, the name of the game. And while I don’t put too much importance on it, a good name can heighten my interest.
After that, I’ll usually read the description. One of the first things the description will tell me is game length - and admittedly, anything under 100k tends to drastically lower my buying intentions. If it’s under 50k, I might not even finish reading the description properly.
The next thing that I’ll pay attention to is the plot summary and whether it’s one that interests me. If it’s a theme that absolutely doesn’t tickle my fancy (realistic war stories, abstract concepts like that game about playing an atom, management sims and such), I will refrain from buying unless someone convinces me otherwise. Apart from my particular story dislikes, I have very little expectations for the plot itself. If it’s something that at least kinda sorta sounds like something entertaining, I’m in.
Last thing I pay attention to in the description is gender choice and romance options. If the description doesn’t have the little ‘play as male, female, or non-binary, gay or straight…etc.’ blurb, I’ll first try to find out if it’s gender-locked and has romances. If I can’t play a woman, or at least someone non-binary, I pass on the game. If the game doesn’t have romances, I will also be very reluctant to purchase it, albeit I wouldn’t say I’d never ever buy one. (So far I haven’t, however.)
If all of these factors are to my taste, I’ll try the demo and, usually, will decide within the first two or three pages (or within the first two or three choices) whether I’ll purchase it, wait for other people’s reviews, or whether I’ll pass on it.
For example: I read exactly two pages of the Tally Ho demo before smashing the purchase button. Reading the description and such was the preliminary ‘casting’, so to speak, but what made me buy it immediately was the way it was written. I just knew right away that it would be something I’ll love. (I was right.)
Now, for most other games, I’ll wait a bit before purchasing and read a few reviews first. However, if the description made it through my judgement, the chance that I’ll buy it at some point is relatively high unless the demo or reviews put me off. (These tend to be games that I purchase and then let sit in my library until I’m in the right mood. Still haven’t finished I, Cyborg and Bloodmoney, for example, despite purchasing close to release.)
The last category is games that have a description that I like but that turn me off in the demo. Weyrwood was one such game where I liked the description but ended up not buying it. Reading the demo, the writing style just wasn’t my thing. I’m not a native English speaker, but I don’t have big trouble with fancy language - I simply don’t quite enjoy it when it’s too convoluted and with too many rarely seen words thrown in. I absolutely respect the author’s style of writing, it just wasn’t my thing and I ended up only skimming the demo. (However, good reviews here on the forum, or something particular catching my interest, can always change my mind. I’m willing to read something even with a style that doesn’t resonate with me if it has something particular I’m interested in - really good and/or unusual romances, for example.)
So, that is my entire decision process. The description is the casting and the demo is the re-call, I suppose.
For me, it’s a combination of factors as well. In no particular order:
(1) The genre is what pulls me in. There are some that I’m already quite fond of, so those games that fall in these categories (e.g. dark and gritty ones and superheroes) are ones I’d be more likely to purchase!
(2) The demo. There are those I fall in love with after the demo, and I’ll purchase it right after the free chapters end. If I am still unsure by the time I reach the end of the free chapters, I’ll look at reviews - on the PlayStore before I came on the forums, and now that I’m here, I’d look at the opinions people share here.
(3) As of now, there are a few series I’m actively following. Their sequels are the ones I’ll immediately hit purchase to once the book is released!
Genre doesn’t really matter to me, at all. I’ll read about robots, renaissance politics, wrestling superheroes, whatever.
Engrossing writing is key to me. Ridiculous ambiguous I know, but there’s lots of contributing factors: well-written dialogue, good grammar, good pacing (where’s the plot gone again?!")
Author is a good pull, I’ll always buy anything written by Kevin Gold for example.
I’m another one that the poll doesn’t work for; I tend to get any CoG or Hosted Game that is published to support creative endeavors even if I end up not liking a story.
However if I’m talking games in general, then it first has to gain my interest. This is where cover art/game art comes in handy. If something looks like a minimal effort, then I likely to skip over it. The art can also influence my expectations of the game; I didn’t care for the art for Grand Academy for Future Villains, and unfortunately this did carry into my perception of the game.
From there I will look at what the world/genre of the game is. I’m willing to play anything, but fantasy, sci-fi, superhero stuff, etc. are sort of played out for me. So if something is more niche, like Choice of the Cat, then I am game on.
Finally, a demo can help me buy a game. If the creator is confident enough to put one out, that is a plus…whereas one that doesn’t, well I might just skip it. Look at a lot of the asset flips, etc. out there.
Didn’t see this option under the poll but sometimes whether or not I buy a game is influenced by reviews from other consumers. If I see a game has poor reviews I may try the demo to see for myself. If it’s rated highly, I’m more likely to purchase it before I play the demo.
The demo. Nothing else. I rarely read the description very closely. The cover is good for drawing me in, but the demo is the selling point.
Words are what connects for me, nothing else.
EDIT: Which is why games with short demos, or premises that doesn’t hook me might get unfair treatment.