The Fault They Won’t Give You Your Money Back For

BioShock 2 was released last month. Heavy Rain was released last month. A friend returned my Breakfast Club soundtrack featuring that catchy song by Simple Minds last month. Okay forget that last thing. The point is February saw me being a very excited girl.

But should I have been? Was I being somewhat naive? I mean, I’ve been here many times before. I found myself so wrapped up in the hype surrounding Resident Evil IV that by the time the game was actually released I felt more like some easily-excitable kitten who’d gotten itself hopelessly tangled in the ball of string it was playing with. My relationship with the game had been tainted before I had even seen a single frame firsthand.

And don’t even get me started on Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, a game so highly anticipated yet so irrefutably broken that discovering the manifold bugs and glitches it contained eventually became more amusing than playing the game itself.

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness glitch
No one asked to see that!

Now that I think about it, the last time I remember a game genuinely living up to its preceding hype was back in 2001 with the release of Silent Hill 2 (yes, I’m afraid I’m going on about it yet again and, I ain’t gonna lie, the chances are high that I will do in my next blog also). The first Silent Hill game had been so excitingly fresh, coquettishly enticing you with its uniquely creepy features like Dita Von Teese during a seductive burlesque staging. It was such features that inevitably aroused great expectations and speculations throughout gaming communities during the sequel’s development.

In contrast, I did not engage so much with the hype surrounding BioShock. Sure, I read the odd article on the subject, but aside from that I managed to remain quite detached from the whole thing. I’m certain that I would not have enjoyed the game as much had I not upheld this detachment.

Hype can be very damaging to a project. What it tends to do, for myself and for many others, is dilute the mysticism of a game. Hype often muddies the fresh enigmatic qualities a title would otherwise exhibit. You’ve seen its strings. So, whilst I fervently anticipated kicking some freshly-spliced ass when I returned to Rapture last month, I couldn’t help but wish I went to it with far fewer expectations about how said ass was going to shake when I did it.

Unfortunately, I am yet to enjoy that shaking. My disappointment in the game could well be due to the expectations I held about it prior to playing. Of course there’s always the possibility that it’s just not that enjoyable a game to play.

Hmmm… I think I just heard the sound of an entire gaming community girding its loins.

BioShock 2 teaser
My anticipation of BioShock 2 was far more enjoyable than the reality of playing it.







9 responses to “The Fault They Won’t Give You Your Money Back For”

  1. Mark Brown avatar
    Mark Brown

    Maybe you should try it. Go into GAME and say “I’d like to return this please, I was so overly hyped and eager to play it that anything less than the meaning of life pressed onto a DVD would have been a crushing disappointment. I kept the receipt”.

  2. wcd45 avatar

    The trade in prices for brand new games aren’t too bad. Is there not another slightly older game you’ve had your eye on. On topic i am already going into overdrive when it comes to Halo Reach – I’ve already arranged to have the first week of the beta booked off from work! Please, please, please, PLEASE Bungie don’t screw this one up.

  3. James avatar

    Hype is a horrible thing. The promise of what could be is always more tantalising than the reality of what is. I like going into games and movies blind if at all possible. No preconceptions means fewer disappointments.

  4. Loz avatar

    It seems to be a bit of a trend recently, with so many massive follow on games coming out it’s hard to not get excited and inevitably disapointed with what you end up playing. If only games companies could come out with sequels as good as the originals!

  5. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I try to read and watch as little as possible for a game I know I will buy. I only ever watched the announcement trailer for Mass Effect 2 and then watched none of the following trailers people were getting excited about.

    I like to experience whatever I can first-hand in a game. Possibly following up reading written or video reviews afterwards to see what was said about it.

  6. Simon avatar

    It’s interesting. I guess I try not to get caught up in hype and instead try to be objective in each purchase. I doubt I succeed though.

    I can’t remember the last time I was disappointed in a game I had already bought. But then I only buy pure liquid gold.

  7. Celeste avatar

    LOL @ Mark.

    @ wcd45: yea I often find that playing older games which have eventually managed to fall out of the spotlight often provide a much more enjoyable experience, and I think that might be because you are able to appreciate them in their purest form, isolated from the effects of expectation, whether they received it at release or not. Same for game series. The first Tomb Raider game I played was the 4th one and I loved it but everyone else was rather underwhelmed.

    I like Rook’s remedy. Problem is I need to know about these games and the expectations surrounding them to some degree because I think I might have told people I am some kind of game-based writer.

  8. NorfolkNChance avatar

    Simple rule, don’t believe the hype.

    I did that with Bayonetta, was so hyped and I was up for playing it and everything. Come release the sad reality was I didn’t play it, not even when a free copy was made available.

  9. Rhyle avatar

    I’m starting to fall in with the Rooks way of thinking, it’s something I’ve done for top-line movies for years – I’ve been avoiding any news on Kick Ass like the plague all year

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