Daily Reaction: A Dangerous Minefield of Video Game Spoilers
There are all levels of spoilers for media today, from mild elements of an experience, to ruining massive reveals at the conclusion. Being particularly opposed to spoiling experiences for themselves and other people, the Daily Reaction crew is diving into video game spoilers and why they damage the final experience that a person can have.
Chandler: There is a huge part of an experience that is in reveals of information or entire gameplay elements in the title. Gamers clamoring for more information can potentially spoil experiences for themselves, which is disappointing as part of the wonder is in that first sense of discovery. One gameplay mechanic that sticks out to me as having been held back from players was the spraypaint graffiti mechanic in inFAMOUS Second Son. Sure, it was a small thing, but what it did for my experience as the game first told me to turn my controller, shake it, and “spray” the screen was introduce a sense of wonder as I was partaking in a piece of the experience that I had no idea existed in the game.
Another huge part of a game originally held back from early coverage and marketing was Metal Gear Solid 2’s swap from Snake to Raiden. That surprise hit early players like a ton of bricks, throwing them for a loop and instilling a sense of stupor and discovery into the experience. Who is this new character? Why am I now playing as him? What happened to Snake? Having this piece of the experience spoiled may not ruin the entire game, but it certain diminishes some of the impact.
This subject comes to mind because of certain elements in Arkham Knight that happen relatively early in the game, but were kept from the public by Rocksteady and WB. Fortunately, I did not have this particular element spoiled and it helped to give Arkham Knight a fascinating and unexpected twist, but certain people seem to think that because it is revealed within the first half of the game, it is not considered a spoiler. This isn’t even mentioning the far more massive reveals that occur at the game’s ending.
The internet is a minefield of spoilery information on games, movies, TV shows, and comics, with some of these landmines being far more explosive than others. If you fail to partake in an experience right at the very beginning, you risk finding out information that could potentially lessen the significance of these carefully crafted moments and mechanics.
The other question this brings up is what is really considered a spoiler? Dan, I know you have a particular aversion to spoilers that I am sure you will talk about, but can I talk about what happens to Aeris in Final Fantasy VII, especially with the remake coming to life? What about something far more recent? Where do we draw the line? Personally, I try to err on the side of caution and avoid letting out anything that is even questionable as a spoiler, hopefully keeping the minefield of the internet a little more clean for those that don’t want to ruin their experiences.
Dan: If you know me, you do know that I absolutely hate spoilers. I am a purist when it comes to experiences, as I don’t need to be hyped up on seeing or playing something I know I am going to play it. Much like when going to a theater to watch a movie, I hate trailers that try to amp up the crowd by showing the best scenes from the movie just so people will want to go watch it. I understand that some people don’t know enough about a product to be excited about it and that is who the trailers are targeting, but that some of us know what we want, and appreciate the ability to have a new experience.
Now, I know not everyone cares about having a clean experience with something, especially if they are planning on spending a great deal of time invested in a single product. As their payoff comes from the investment and is less about the initial experience, but that is them, and that isn’t everyone. That is the single biggest issue I have with the internet. There is a genuine lack of appreciation and understanding for differing opinions and what people want out of an experience.
Just recently I had to babysit our Batman Arkham Knight review simply because people thought it was OK to spoil major moments in the game if they weren’t happy with it, completely disregarding what it could mean to those who had not had a chance to play and experience it for themselves. Whether or not you are happy with something has no bearing on someone else’s opinion, which is why I dropped a warning that anyone putting story spoilers will be banned, and I enforced it to protect our community.
I’ll try to tackle the question that Chandler raised. What constitutes a spoiler? I personally think that any information about a product can constitute a spoiler, but to different degrees. Basic background about what a game is, is generally acceptable spoiler territory, which what we generally get from trailers and teasers. Plot points are where things can become more touchy, so this is where I think it comes down to knowing where you are putting your information. If you are putting in plot points into the comments section of a review, you are selfish and have no common sense. Plain and simple.
But, there is of course a statute of limitations that is a more difficult place to pin down, much like with the Final Fantasy VII Remake and the story elements that many of us already know. I think this is just one of those things where the opportunity has been out there there for so long that anyone who cared about spoilers really should have made the effort to get through it. The same can be said for any product, but the question of time I think comes down to where you are, and who you are talking to. So, please, just think before you speak.
What’s your take on spoilers? How do you react when somebody spoils something for you? Let us know in the comments below, email us at [email protected] or join us in a spoiler free conversation on Twitter @Foolsjoker and @Finchstrife.