What’s the right thing to do? Do you spoil it, or do you live in total ignorance?
Don’t worry, I’m not looking for any of you to make any kind of life-changing affirmations here. I’m just talking about games. Shocker, right? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately.
What with Fallout 4 finally launching last month, I sat and gave it some serious thought. Like most things in life, this is definitely one of those situations where you’re balancing on the edge of a razor. I know this is definitely a decision you, dear reader, need to make for yourself. Me, however, I’m going to spend the next 400 odd words debating the pros and cons.
So, Fallout, the most recent, and most relevant example I can think of. Yes, I watched the Bethesda conference at the E word, and yes, I was totally psyched for its release. But I refused to read, watch or hear about anything regarding the game. I want to go in, experience what it has to offer first hand, for the first time. So I boycotted the media on it. I put my fingers in my ears, made strange noises and closed my eyes as I ran from friend and co-worker alike. But, is that the better decision?
The argument in favour is, I suppose, that you go into the game completely fresh. You found that cool national park with the raging Yao Guais on your own. You didn’t watch that twenty minute video showing you all of the new gameplay elements. So when you do something, outside of the missions/mission parameters, it’s completely original to you. Your experience, I’d argue, is infinitely better because you’re experience is unique and therefore, more immersive. In an age of “on-rails” games, having the ability to do as you like within the game world, is as close to real freedom you can achieve within a game, or for that matter (possibly) in your day-to-day as well. So there is definitely a strong argument for avoiding the hype, the wiki articles and the general press and forums.
The biggest reason against, then, would be: I knew nothing about how any of the systems worked going into the game. With a game like Fallout, it’s definitely advantageous to have an idea of how all of its systems work. The crafting aspect is so deep that sometimes it feel like I need someone sitting next to me at all times giving me a step-by-step tutorial. Now, I don’t mean that literally, but there have been aspects that came off as extremely convoluted. They’re not necessarily aspects that are required for completion, but are worth taking part in to get the most bag for your buck. It’s also tough because we exist in an era (bit dramatic, but I’m being intentionally hyperbolic) where tough choices have to be made with which games to buy. I rely fairly heavily on sites like Gametrailers.com for reviews, and from those reviews, I select which games are worth picking up.
Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what’s right. I’m sure it’s one of those subjective non-answers. But it’s a complicated problem. Obviously – spoiling things isn’t good. But neither is ignorance. Like many things, I don’t think there is much of a middle ground on the issue. If it were that simple, I doubt it’d be racking my brain nearly as much as it is. I can’t say it’s something I lose sleep over, but it is something I’ve asked myself time and time again. I guess the issue is that there just isn’t a satisfying answer. The happy medium, the middle of the road, just doesn’t exist. You can choose to look at some articles or some videos, but the truth is: You can’t control how much info is actually in there. And, for me at least, once you see something, sometimes it can’t be unseen. That’s why I don’t watch Game of Thrones teasers/or read wiki articles.
– The Ego