Killing games by oversharing information
Monday, September 12, 2011 6:10:47 PM
Was the ignorant bliss of not knowing what was in a game the key factor to game enjoyment to us older generation gamers? Even in general maybe?
I remember a time when buying a new game was quite scary. I didn't know if I would enjoy it or whether I was wasting my money. All I knew was that I had read a review that said it rocked and was the next best thing next to sliced bread. As an older generation gamer, well, not old as such, but old enough to remember the original Nintendo consoles and DOS based PC games like Sopwith, I remember games to be epic adventures.
The point is, games were fun. So much fun that one would find any excuse to play them all day. Like weekend long LAN's. What happened to those days?
I often sit wondering while I am scouring an official web page of the next game I want to buy whether the overload of information on the game isn't destroying my potential for enjoying it once it eventually gets released.Take any game release, in any franchise and I can guarantee that if you could throw a rock at the internet, chances are you'd hit an article about the game. The article will give a nice little run down of the game with the usual stuff. Along with the normal review, there will be constant updates as they are released by the developers. Anything from maps and weapons to gameplay and mechanics get taken apart and put down in detail.
Then there are the hours of gameplay footage available to view of almost every aspect of the game as well. You just need to go to Youtube and search for it. There will be loads of videos available.
Is the internet helping the destruction of game enjoyment? Some may say it makes the game more enjoyable since they don't have to struggle. The flip side of this, is that it makes the game easier since we already know what to do, which kind of robs a person of the general good feeling you get when you did it yourself.In effect, they are helping us know the game before the game has even hit the shelves. By the time I pick up my new BattleField3 or Diablo III, I already know, which classes I will play, which weapons I will use or which epic set to start hunting for and which monsters to kill to get the best chance of having the items drop. In essence, I have played the game before even buying it. This is often at least a minimum of 1 year before the game is released.
Yes, the companies need to market and yes they need to get the edge over their competitors by saying "Yeah, but we got this! [insert epic function/gameplay mode/item/etc here]" Bummer, now it's no longer a surprise in the game.
In the old days, games relied on the fact that we didn't know what was coming. They could write great story lines and combine that with awesome features that we had not been able to explore in depth. You only really knew what units/items/etc were available once you started playing the game. Many times you only figured something out once you accidentally stumbled across it.Yeah, you can argue that by giving us all the information, developers are allowing us to enjoy the full game as they intended, but admit it, a part of you cries out to be allowed to discover things for itself instead of it being spoon fed.
What this all means is, game developers are left with trying to create an awesome story line, which we will already know the plot of way before the game is released with features that are so well documented and explained, that my old dog would be able to pick up the game and play it (old dogs... new tricks.... get it? Anyone?) anyway.... Cleric , put it:
...part of the game's fun and excitement was finding out about the guns, the maps, the story and functionality of the game and more, while playing it, and those things wowing you with the experience...
If I know the entire content of a movie before I have even watched it, I am not going to enjoy it at all. Not to the level originally intended anyway. I am sure the same stands true for the gaming industry.
Yes, I agree that game companies are putting too much effort in to graphics and yes, one can argue that the markets are saturated and the game producers simply can't get new original ideas. But don't you think that if we just knew slightly less about the content and functionality in games that it might make the game more enjoyable?
Yet, somehow, I still can't stop myself hitting refresh on my favorite, upcoming game's official website hoping for any scrap of new information that might pop up Is this how we are doomed to be forever? Is it possible to try and avoid finding out as much as possible just to enjoy a game? Sadly, I don't think so. It is in our human nature to want to absorb as much as possible and while this is the case, the gaming companies will carry on to feed our information hungry minds and thus the surprises in our games fall away and it leaves us with nothing exciting.It is not because game developers have no originality, there is lots of that. It's about that originality being "fragged" before it even hits the shelves.