Game Philosopher

The philosophy of games and gaming

Archive for November, 2006

Waiting out the hype

Posted by gamephilosopher on November 7, 2006

You know when a game is coming out that you REALLY want to play, and you spend ages on the internet reading articles, previews, forum posts and anything else you can get your hands on to help satisfy your hunger for the game?

In my experience, this leads to one thing: disappointment when you actually play the game. For whatever reason, be it overzealous designers, over-excited reviewers, or your own too-wild imagination, you tend to get the game and find out that it’s really not as good as everyone thought it was going to be.

Think of: Anachronox, Blade of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Deus Ex 2, Doom 3, and Oblivion.

I think I may have found a loophole, fortunately. Like I said, the first time you play the game, you’re expecting so much, you’ve waited so long, perhaps through a pre-order line, or camped out in front of a store. When you get the game home, you’ve just completed your own little quest for entertainment, and when you find out the game isn’t the next game of the year, you’re pissed.

Here’s something I discovered. Leave the game alone for 6 months to a year. Move on, and let the game just sit there. Then, come back and play it having forgotten about the broken promises, hype, and every stupid feature that doesn’t meet your tastes. In a year, you won’t remember all of those things you were disappointed about not having and you’ll just play the game. You’ll find that there are a lot of redeeming values to the game despite the fact that it was rushed out the door in time for the holidays.

I recently did this with all of the games I listed above except for Deus Ex 2 and Oblivion. Oblivion is too new and DX2 is going to need a little more time in the vault before I can forget about how incredible the original was in comparison… but they’re on the list.

There are other benefits, too. If you found out you didn’t like the game BEFORE you bought it, you can save yourself a lot of money buying it a year later, not to mention make a statement to the publisher that you’re not going to blindly purchase lackluster games. Also, patches, walkthroughs and any community-driven benefits, like mods, will be in full swing by one year’s time. Lastly, your computer may be updated a little bit, giving you the ability to play it with a decent frames per second at high detail settings.

I’m currently thoroughly enjoying Doom 3, despite it’s flaws because I’ve really forgotten all that was promised that I didn’t see delivered. I have happy memories of finishing Anachronox and am also enjoying Blade of Darkness and Vampire as breaks from Doom 3.

So next time you’re pissed that a game didnt meet your expectations (just wait until Christmas – it’ll happen), put the game on the shelf and let it marinate for a year. When you come back to it with fresh eyes, you’ll be glad you did. I’m sure you’ll find there’s a lot of gaming goodness in even the most over-hyped of games.

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