The historical precedent for video game demo melons

October 29, 2019
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I saw a bit of the new COD the other day. It was fine. Fighting through the streets, going silent with one of those contraptions on the end of a gun barrel. But then: a marketplace, or the remains of it. And what’s this? Watermelons!

Reader, I am emphatically here for watermelons in video games. Watermelons always mean someone is showing off physics – look at the way they bounce around! – or animation – look at the way they come apart! (Third option is it’s Yoshi’s Island, but that’s literally all three options covered.) Watermelons are always extra-curricular, a little bit of interaction to enjoy between headshots. More than that, that phrase “showing off” is never far away. Watermelons are where the tech gets to shine.

Demo melons are brilliant aren’t they? Being sliced up in Metal Gear Rising, rolling and scattering in John Woo’s Stranglehold. I would argue that they are something unique to video games – video games are the only form that shows off in this particular way. But the more I think about this, the more I realise this isn’t true. Demo melons have roots that go way back into art history. (Melons have roots, don’t they?)

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