Game Philosopher

The philosophy of games and gaming

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.


2 Responses to “Waiting out the hype”

  1. zkip said

    This definitely applies to new consoles, too. I knew I would eventually get an Xbox 360, a DS, and a Wii when I first heard about them, but waiting always proves to be the right strategy. Price drops, bug fixes (Xbox 360’s orange light of death or whatever), and in some cases, entirely new models (admit it, the original DS is ugly, and the Lite kicks ass). I’m still waiting for the Wii, but not so much for fixes or anything of that nature. I’m just waiting for Super Smash Brothers Brawl. But maybe by then they’ll have some new upgrade or better-quality remote.

    Regardless, I hate people who think waiting for a new system or game past launch day is going to kill them.

    Also, I agree that Deus Ex 2 is worse than the original. Developers always find stuff to change when they’re making sequels, even if nothing needs to be changed. Oblivion, on the other hand, is an example I’d give for a sequel that’s not changed enough. But the flaws that do exist are exterminated with mods quite easily.

  2. I mentioned in my other post this morning that I’m back in Oblivion. The game definately has some flaws, but I’m also starting to just accept them and get back into the game.

    To tie in with my other post, it’s definately an immersion breaker to constantly criticize your games while you play them, like I did when I first started OB. This time, however, it is the player that’s breaking the imersion instead of the game.

    By the way, I got a Wii a few days after the new year, and while i can say i probably could have waited for late summer when the consoles, games and accessories were everywhere, it paid off in this instance and I play it – not as hard as my PC – but regularly and with much pleasure.

    So go get one.

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