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The Man Who Knew Too Much

Over the last three decades gaming has grown.
It’s spread it’s wings and flown into the sub-concious of probably the majority of the population of Earth.
I imagine you’d be hard pressed in this modern age to find anyone that hasn’t heard of at least one facet of the gaming World. Even more so now as Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Playstation Move attract a previously disinterested group of soap opera fans, crossword puzzlers, knitters, gardeners, Grandads & Grannies and everything in between and challenge them to forget their preconceptions about video games and start playing.

Over 30 years gaming has grown from a predominantly male tribe of frowned upon kids eager for their next fix of blocky, pixelated fun into an entire Nation of passionate gamers with the World at their fingertips.

And this new found love for video games has created some Goliath’s, franchises that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the biggest box office hits the movie World can offer up, games that become part of the fabric of society, games like Call of Duty, Halo, FIFA, Gears of War, Uncharted, gargantuan beasts growing ever more powerful as we gamers feed from the Hype machine and as we queue in excited anticipation, the moment we finally get to play the game so close to hand, we already know almost everything that awaits us.

By the time the majority of titles hit the shelves these days, we know way too much.

We know what characters are in there, what levels to expect, how long it should take us to finish the game, we know whether there’s a twist to the storyline, we’ve seen videos of developers playing, big budget trailers on TV and in some cases we’ve already had a taste of the action via demo’s and beta testing or maybe we’ve browsed the forums and unwittingly stumbled into spoilers, whatever the case us gamers have never known the ins and outs of a game before we buy it as much as we do now.

The surprises the game could have offered are gone and the impact certain moments could have given have been lessened, largely because we’ve already seen them a dozen or so times. ‘Don’t watch the videos then’ you say, ‘steer clear of those damned forums,’ logical advice but much easier said than done, when you’re gearing up for a new game release curiosity often kills the cat.

Things have certainly changed, from playing my Spectrum, right upto, i’d say, my Dreamcast days, information wasn’t so easy to come by, the internet wasn’t as readily available and there weren’t any all singing all dancing TV ads beaming into our living rooms, in fact the only real option for gathering any snippet of information on new releases was the good old games mag. Mags like C&VG became the gamers bible, scouring the pages for a titbit of news and bathing in the glory of the screenshots, reading and re-reading again and again, and staring at those damned pretty graphics, just longing for a chance to play the game ourselves. And when we did get to play….it was fresh, it was surprising, and it felt like a new experience, none of the moments were already engraved in our memorys and every twist and turn was an unexpected treat.

Someday it’d be nice to go for a complete gaming media blackout in the months leading upto a big launch, just to recapture a bit of that feeling of unknowing excitement as the game enters the console for the first time….it’d be nice but I fear incredibly difficult, curiosity is a strong force, unfortunately, with games, one I succumb to every time… where’s that new Gears 3 vid I heard about on Youtube..

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thisisxbox2648d ago

oh lol... hello again, was just going through the approvals list and here you are haha... ^JasonA

Christopher2648d ago

I feel that this is the typical progress of a popular form of entertainment.

As an example, look at how many movies you go to see that you pretty much don't already know what's going to happen. I saw Unknown this last weekend and I knew going it what the whole plot would be and what was wrong with Liam Neeson's character. That didn't mean the movie wasn't enjoyable (well, at least a 2/4 star rating), but just that movies have become so popular and we watch so many that we've pretty much seen most of what we expect as it is.

Video games are a lot like this, at least when it comes to the main plot elements. In fact, many games have been built with this concept in mind. Similar to how we knew the story of Star Wars Episode I-III before they were made, many games are prequels that we know what's going to happen already (Halo: Reach). But that doesn't make them worse for it.

I do get your point of it being nice to see a game that comes out that surprises you. The problem is that it will likely only happen with a low-key indie title. Much like how Brick astonished me as a film (big fan of Film Noir), it takes a title that little to no advertising budget but a lot of heart on the end of the developer(s) to bring for those feelings of surprise and wonder.

ian722647d ago

I was the same when I had my Commodore 64. The only news about it I got was from Magazines. I remember typing in hours of data from a mag to play a game and when it ran it crashed. You didn't know if the game you bought was good or bad as there were no reviews. Most of my games were only £1.99 (M.A.D., Mastertronic added dimension), and the most costly games were £10. I got Frank Bruno's Boxing for £10. Having to load each boxer was a right pain, but thats how it was back then.
It is a shame that we know so much before a game is released, mostly due to the internet.

BaseAllstar2647d ago

Haha hello again Jason, hope your well mate.

Excellent comment 'cgoodno' good points as well, I agree that knowing what's coming doesn't mean a game or movie isn't still an enjoyable experience, just that back in the day information was harder to come by and because of that the pivotal moments in the storys, whether dramatic or emotional had a bigger impact.

I was going to go into the games and movies thing a bit, but the whole piece was already becoming a bit of a long read so decided against it, cheers for the comment though.

BaseAllstar2647d ago

I have many painful memories of spending hour upon hour typing code into the machine only to have it crash straight away.

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