I grew up with the Donatello (the above is Leonardo) pillow.  With little legs and arms this is the best pillow design ever. 

Multimedia entertainment is not a new concept.  Way back when as a small child I adored the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons on the television, I played with the action figures on my parents' porch, I slept with a Donatello (the purple one) pillow that had tiny arms and legs, I lounged in my TMNT sleeping bag and once even tried to put the accompanying TMNT tent together, I begged for VHS tapes of the live action movies, I replayed the TMNT on tour tape cassette in my Walkman over and over (yes the TMNT and April sang teaching me my early lessons in tolerance with song lyrics such as  "you may not be green and have a cool shell but you'll be you and you'll do it so well"), and of course, my first dedicated video game player was a portable handheld that featured a single 2D side scrolling TMNT game that I adored. 

Older, but maybe not wiser, my mother long ago threw away my ragged TMNT wallet that was bundled with a backpack and fanny pack (it was the nineties, you had one too) and I began spending my own money.  In college, I fell all into Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show by the now no longer obscure Joss Whedon, I cultivated a DVD collection of the original folding cases, not the cheaper snap cases, I bought the soundtrack for the musical episode, and I began a small but proud action figure collection.  While searching a pile of used Playstation 2 games I happened upon a Buffy video game, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, and I immediately snatched it up.  Now I read the series in its comic incarnation and while I adamantly refused to pick up the various Angel spin off comics I could not resist stepping into the recent Willow miniseries.

I really tried to play this game, I did but this flight simulator beat me instead. 

Later, I became enamored with the SyFy Battlestar Galactica 2003 reboot.  Again, I bought the series on DVD even searching eBay diligently for the special editions of seasons 4.0 and 4.5 that are accompanied by a replica of a character's dog tags.  I convinced myself that I did not want another action figure set but I was not as successful regarding the multiple Battlestar Galactica comic miniseries.  In a different pile of used Playstation 2 games, I nabbed a Battlestar Galactica game as soon as I spied the familiar name. 

Actually a fun game that put me back in the Buffy-verse for just a little bit more. 

The Buffy PS2 game is actually decent fun that accomplishes its task of providing a fresh but familiar way into the universe.  I got stuck without many healing potions against the very difficult Anyanka boss and her horde of bunnies.  My time with the PS2's Battlestar Galactica game was much shorter.  I am an absolutely terrible flight simulator gamer.  The controls simply do not connect between my mind and fingers.  Inevitably my flights are short and fiery affairs.  Despite wishing that this time would be different, my time with PS2's Battlestar Galactica ended quickly. 

As gamers you may guess my next example in this series of multimedia entertainment examples, Defiance.  "Watch the show, play the game" nearly reverberates off of my television screen while I watched the pilot episode on SyFy.  Despite the multitude of solid reasons for why I have not picked up this game I found myself bemoaning my ill fortune muttering to myself, "I am watching the show but I cannot play the game."      

I am watching the show but I can't play the game.  My life is in ruins. 

Before the game and show launched I had a series of clear reasons why a day one purchase was not the best use of my money.  As a console based MMO the game will certainly experience various bugs, lags, and other glitches that require patches during the early days.  I have no friends who are playing the game to play online with.  I am an MMO beginner who is excited at the premise of console MMOs but I have a lot to learn about playing the genre.  I still cannot use my hearing aid peripherals as a headset for Xbox 360 online play leaving me choosing between either in-game sound or live chat. 

But the show advertises, "Watch the show, play the game" and that advertisement slogan is working.  I really want to play the game and discover the ridiculous universe simultaneously in both mediums.  Plus, the game is not a flight simulator; I have a chance at being proficient with a game that I can share with others. 

Given all of the above, I am left weighing whether or not I would enjoy that game at the $60 price point.  Without hands on experience with Defiance, I am unsure if the gameplay itself is enjoyable to me.  The ability to feel how a game plays myself rather than reading endless previews, reviews, impressions and watching gameplay footage is the final determination in the decision of "do I or don't I?" for game buying.  Game pickups are a gamble but I am much more inclined to gamble with a few dollars rather than $60.  The high price point results in higher expectation coupled with either higher enjoyment or disappointment. 

When life raises questions, Calvin and Hobbes has the answers.  In this case, sometimes the idea as seen in real life is not the same as the idea in your head.  

The larger frustration is that games, as are DVDs and CDs, cannot be returned if purchased new.  If the game just does not click with your gaming preferences the used market is the only recourse if you have a physical copy.  If gaming companies convince a gamer to turn over the cash for the initial game purchase there is little incentive to care if the gamer does not enjoy the game because the product cannot be returned for a refund.  The money is irrevocably in the developer's and publisher's pockets.  Certainly gaming companies want a good word of mouth for their products for follow up purchases such as microtransactions, DLC, and future games.  However, a gamer's vote is cast upon spending the initial money regardless of the gamer's ultimate like or dislike of the game. 

Jesse Schell's, Schell Games' founder, proclaimed in February 2013 that a free game demo harms sales.  The "try before you buy" becoming "buy to try" business plan remains controversial and fuels an ongoing loop of gamers unable to sample games without spending money, whether a rental or purchase.  The money spent regardless of the gamer's personal opinion about the game is tabulated as one more voice in support of the game because money talks. 

This business plan fuels the hype machine.  Pre-release games exist in a netherworld in which the game is the most epic experience known to mankind until us gamers play the characters ourselves and experience how all of the developer's lofty ideas translated to the gameplay.  Until we play the game we are soaking in the hype.  With so few games offering free demos we purchase games without demos on the premise that the un-played game is better than games that we sampled until we discover that the game is just that, another game. 

The big questions is, will these new features work as advertised?

The next generation may make this problem obsolete, Sony's announcements for the Playstation 4 includes the famous "share" button that will purportedly allow gamers to not only instantly share screenshots and video but to "take over" a friend's game to provide assistance or to wreak havoc.  The details are still unclear but if this allows a game takeover without the buddy having a copy of the game then "demos" via our buddies' gaming libraries are possible. 

During the Ouya's Kickstarter craze in the spring of 2012 a major selling point for Ouya was a required free portion of each game such as a demo.  With disappointments currently arising over the Ouya's limited technology especially in the context of the next console generation promising so much more but final opinions await the revelation of the system's gaming library.  Yet, originally the very promise of free portions required for each game in the catalog to a "try before you buy" system helped fuel a Kickstarter campaign that raised $8,596, 475 when the original goal was $900,000. 

On the other hand, the burgeoning free to play market on PCs, smartphones, and tablets is the polar opposite of the console game lockout without money spent.  A multitude of games and apps allow for an initial download with a variety of popups suggesting real money expenditures to progress faster or to open up rare and boosting items rather than a straightforward option to unlock the full game.  Consoles and the PC/app technologies are opposite financial ecosystems but both want the same goal, to separate gamers from the contents of their wallets.        

Obviously "real" Buffy fans own the DVDs, the comics and all of its spin offs, the action figures including the Sunnydale library play set, the novels, the board game, the play cards, and the Bronze coffee cup.  

Defiance as a traditionally PC gaming genre, an MMO, is a genre that is more and more adapting gaming's buy-in costs to the changing market.  Many MMOs are now free to play allowing for play time without purchase before paying full price for the complete experience or real world money providing the experience with bonuses.  Defiance entered the console market as a PC gaming genre but with a console pay scale, $60 to enter, no if ands or buts.  I understand supporting a developer with $60 especially with the ongoing costs of maintaining an MMO but as a gamer new to the MMO genre jumping in with no hands on experience is a risk I cannot afford.  Unless those "watch the show, play the game" commercials convince me to finalize the game purchase before the commercial ends.  In the meantime, my wallet is hoping that no Defiance based comic book is released, I would be unable to resist.     

Just yesterday I saw Jurassic Park 3D in the movie theater.  The twenty year old movie as a story stands up well along with the remastered graphics and transition into 3D only made the heart stopping T-Rex better.  Maybe now I will download Telltale Games' Jurassic Park: The Game just to stay in the universe for a little longer. 

Thanks to all who read through.  Time is limited and I appreciate all who stopped by.

What is your favorite multimedia franchise?

Do you prefer to play a game before purchasing? How do you demo games? 

Are you playing Defiance? And/or watching the show?