Hello, readers. I hope you are all well. Apologies for the gap in recent posts, but I’ve been a little under the weather recently. I was going to write up a lovely account of social media in-game crossovers (never a good thing) but I’ve become so infuriated and consumed with rage since coming home from work, that I feel it’s best I leave that topic for another day. Now, on to business.
Har har. Spoilers. You all know what they are. I’m not talking car spoilers, contrary to what the above image might imply. I’m talking specifically about spoilers for games, although the message can be translated to other media as well.
Now, I’m assuming you, dear reader, are not someone who spoils things for their contemporaries. If this is true, good job. I shall personally visit you and give you a high-five if you leave contact details in the comments. If you do have a tendency to spoil things for other people, please do the same, and I’ll think of a suitable punishment for you in due course.
A while back, I bought Red Dead Redemption for the Xbox 360, which, if you’re in the know, you’ll know is a stonker of a game. It’s a progression from Rockstar’s GTA series, in which the story plays an even bigger role than thought possible. This game came out a month ago, but I have yet to complete the single-player story. Sadly, thanks to certain irresponsible and despicable individuals from across the interwebs, I already know exactly how the game ends, which has dampened my enjoyment somewhat. Sure, the game is still a delight to play, but it all feels as if the majority of the excitement has been sucked from it.
Social media is a marvellous, fabulous thing, which has encouraged gamers from around the globe to unite, share their experiences, and even coordinate themselves and their online gaming activities in a way that previously wasn’t possible. For instance, players of Red Dead Redemption closely rally around the #reddeadredemption hashtag on Twitter, which is a great way to find fellow cowboys and cowgirls to play with online, or even find quick help with a tricky mission if the need arises. It’s also a place where, admittedly, people do tend to share their experiences of the game. These vary from interesting, amusing, to downright irritating and even soul-destroying.
For instance, it would be an acceptable use of social media, such as Twitter, to tweet,
Anyone looking to go raid some gang hideouts this evening?
That’s fine. That’s using your initiative to seek out friends to play with. I think that pretty much sums up social media in a nutshell, in terms of bringing people together.
Alternatively, it would be acceptable to post something such as,
Wow, that final mission really moved me. I was greatly satisfied by such an ending! Bravo, game creators!
That’s also fine. You’re not spoiling anything at all. You’re expressing your satisfaction on a good 10 or 20 hours work, or whatever, and delighting at a satisfactory ending to a brilliant game, which you acknowledge by praising the game’s creators. Bless you.
This last example is taken too far in many cases, however, and more often than not leads to SPOILERS, such at the one we see below. Remember kids, this is exactly what you don’t want to do, or say, online.
OHHHH MY GOOOOOSH THAT WAS SO INCREDIBLE AT THE END OF THE GAME WHERE JOHN MARSTON SAVED THE CRITTERS BY EATING A TEDDY BEAR WHOLE AND THEN POOPING YARN WHICH HE THEN USED AS A LASSO TO KIDNAP HIS MOTHER AND STRANGLE EARTHWORM JIM!
This is unacceptable, and I cannot abide it.
Please, everyone. Use social media responsibly. Part of that is realising who you’re broadcasting what you’re saying to. If you have a private Twitter account, and you are only friends with fellow ‘hardcore’ gamers who insist on finishing games quickly, then fine. Spoil all you want. If you’re using a hashtag which you know is monitored by all sorts of people, however, please keep your spoilers to yourself. This applies to YouTube comments, Facebook statuses, and anywhere else people can publicly see your words.
Even forewarning of such a spoiler is unacceptable. On the internet, as I’m sure you’re aware, people scroll upwards, downwards, side-to-side, diagonally. If you write it down, it will be seen by people, and will spoil things for a great many of them.
What do you think you’re gaining by posting such things? You think it makes you look impressive? You think it’s big to spoil things for other people? Well, how about I come over to where you live, waste a day of your life, or thereabouts, playing through the computer game of our generation (or one of them) alongside you, only to point out as you progress through the game what happens to each of the principal characters. I then hand you a flat glass of lemonade, fart in your face, and leave you, weeping, to pick up the pieces
When you spoil games, that’s what you’re delivering to any number of unsuspecting people. Flat games, and a fart in the face. Think before you type.
Desire is a strange word. The OED defines it as a notion of requirement. If you desire something, you require it. While there are varying degrees of requirement, the OED also describes desire as an indicator of craving something. So, if I am to understand things correctly, if you desire something, you both crave and require, want, or need it.
Right now, I desire to get my hands on Super Mario Galaxy 2. Bear with me, if you will. I know this has been a recurring theme in this blog, as of late, but Nintendo have done a superb job of building, or manufacturing this desire within me, over the past few weeks, with its YouTube campaign leading up to the game’s release on Sunday.
I’m a huge Mario fan. That’s a given. I enjoyed the first Super Mario Galaxy a great deal, and was looking forward to its sequel, to some extent. I wasn’t craving it to the extent of hopping across my room with excitement whenever I see or hear anything new of the game, however. Nintendo have done a brilliant job of drip-feeding information about the game to its public, and they’ve done so fantastically.
If any of you are unaware of the current campaign going down on Nintendo’s YouTube channel, a new ‘transmission’ (from planet Mario, I assume) is uploaded every other day, which is a minuscule snippet of in-game footage, never longer than a minute or so. At the start of each video, you’re shown a ‘progress bar’, made up of planets, which denotes every trailer leading up to release. Instantly, you can see how much content you’re going to receive over the course of the campaign, which is already a good incentive to check back. The trailers themselves are brilliant, never showing too much, or too little; just enough to whet your appetite. Each trailer shows off one new gameplay element, such as a playable Luigi, various new power-ups, new level designs that incorporate 3D and 2.5D cleverly and seamlessly, and the return of Yoshi, and his functionality as character. The latest trailer was absolutely fantastic. To quote my recent tweet, “I almost just crapped my pants with excitement” on watching it. Quite.
Any fan of Super Mario 64 will instantly see what I mean, when I say that this made me excited.
Nintendo have created a cunning way of enticing Mario fans, old and new, into finding out about Super Mario Galaxy 2. By not releasing all the information gleaned from these brief trailers all at once, they don’t overload you with information, and deliver their content in a way that is much more exciting than a boring old ‘Info’ page on a website, that no one really reads in great depth anyway. These videos sort of make me feel like I’m piecing together a puzzle, which is exciting. That, I think, is something you don’t see enough of in advertising today, in my humble opinion.
I talk an awful lot about control on this blog. Control of expectations, but also control of emotions. Nintendo have made me want this game in a way that not even Rockstar have managed, with their imminent release of Red Dead Redemption tomorrow (in the UK). Red Dead Redemption is a game I’m also very excited about, but in giving me an almost daily reason to want their game, Nintendo have succeeded in making me truly crave Super Mario Galaxy 2. Good on you lot.