Opinion – Spoiler Eh…lert

SpoilerSpoilers. It’s the worst thing to occur to media in the modern age. Because it’s so easy to accidentally spoil something to a larger audience than normal, it’s become more important than take a bit more care as to what you say publicly, lest you somehow ruin the enjoyment of somebody else.

But then there are times where it’s just flat out stupid to employ a no spoiler policy.

This really got to me upon a recent visit to NeoGAF, wherein there were two topics of discussion for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: One that was spoiler-free, and the other not. While it’s talking about the film and the changes and additions made, the idea of a spoiler free discussion thread for the Hobbit is absurd. The story has been around for 75 years! It’d be like having a spoiler-free thread for something Les Misérables or Pride and Prejudice — it’s utterly absurd.

Compared to books or films, it seems gamers are the most protective of spoilers, with TV viewers a close second. It often feels like you cannot say a single thing about a game, because if you get even just a tad specific, someone’s going to cry foul. It’d be like publicly saying that you fight a goomba and get a super mushroom in the first five seconds of Super Mario Bros., only to see someone crying that you’ve spoiled the game for them. Insane!

This whole ‘crying over spoilers’ thing is such bullshit to me. It is totally possible to enjoy a game despite having it spoiled for you. Allow me to give two examples.

Persona4_RiseI’ve recently been playing Persona 4 Golden – the Vita remake of the 2008/2009 JRPG. I’ve got a weird history with that game wherein I own both an original PS2 copy and the Vita game. Before I even owned both of those though, I knew the game’s ending. I knew exactly how it played out, all the plot twists and when they happened — hell, I had even seen about three quarters of the Persona 4 anime! So going into Persona 4 Golden, I knew basically everything that happens.

And yet I’m still enjoying the hell out of it.

Not just on a mechanical level either, but the story is still really damned entertaining. Even though I know what happens, I’m still digging it, and not just the copious amount of new story content added to the Vita game, either. Everything about the game is still fresh, still enjoyable, and I’ve yet to put the game down.

But what about something a bit more shocking? Back in 2010, I found out about the final ending to a little game called Nier. If you haven’t found out about it, don’t — it’s legitimately one of the most amazing twists to a video game ever, and is one of the most jaw dropping things to ever occur in a video game. And despite having this gigantic nugget explained to me, it never really affected my enjoyment of the game. I still believe it’s the best game of 2010, and one of the greatest video games of the generation, despite having said ending ruined.

If anything, it absolutely strengthened my resolve to see just about everything that game had to offer. And I did something I almost rarely do with most games: I marathoned it, doing everything that I needed to do in a few days. Probably not the best way to experience it all, but it was worth it. It was much more fulfilling than just reading it online.

However, there are still plenty of examples where I wish I didn’t get anything spoiled, but still ended up enjoying the game enough. For this, we turn to Virtue’s Last Reward. It’s one of the best games of 2012, but whilst I was playing I had a fairly major character plot point spoiled for me. Not because of anyone directly spoiling it for me, but because I accidentally stumbled upon it while looking up a trophy guide. This one trophy made a specific reference to a particularly iconic film. Having known what the reference was, I immediately thought “there’s no way this is real”. And true enough, once I went down that path, my suspicion was confirmed.

All things aside, it was pretty minor, especially since that game goes in some pretty messed up directions, the trophy reveal wasn’t too huge. But it kinda sucked that I was spoiled, because I was still really into the story. Thankfully, it never really ruined the enjoyment of the game; the truly mind-blowing ending wasn’t ruined by having one ending revealed earlier than anticipated.

I understand, at the end of the day, that people are wary of spoilers, and quite rightly so. But if you do get spoiled, don’t treat it like it’s the end of the world. After all, the games you may get spoiled could just be the best game you’ve played that year.


Come back on Thursdays for more thoughts and views from the NG+ cast and crew.

[Image credits: Technorati, Atlus USA, Chunsoft]