274: Spoiled Rotten

Azuaron

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boholikeu said:
Azuaron said:
Back when Roger Ebert said games weren't art, there was a lot of argument about what, exactly, constituted art, with a strong faction saying art evoked emotion. In my mind, spoilers ruin the emotional experience. In my mind, spoilers are the equivalent of painting a mustache on the actual Mona Lisa, taking a sledgehammer to the Taj Mahal, or burning 80 frames, at random, out of the last copy of A New Hope. In my mind, spoilers destroy art.
This is an interesting idea, but honestly, if a plot twist or ending was the biggest thing that elicited emotion from you, that artwork is pretty shallow. Elements like characterization and tone are much more important, and they are virtually immune to spoilers.

If you still aren't convinced, consider this: most people know the endings to the classic works of literature and film, yet modern audiences still feel their emotional impact. This is because the art in Romeo and Juliet isn't in the fact that (spoiler!) they both die at the end; it's in the way that Shakespeare presents those events. By your logic, nearly every work of art would have already been "destroyed" years ago when the spoilers of their plot became common knowledge.
But that's exactly the thing. I'm not even referring to only stories with twists. If you know, at any time, what's going to happen later, it colors your perceptions of the entire work as you experience it. There are key emotions that you will not experience by knowing the ending (oh, to be able to read Romeo and Juliet without knowing they die!) I've always thought that, were I to get complete amnesia, the only good part would be the ability to experience great stories again for the first time.

Good stories are worth multiple readings to experience all the different layers the author has worked in. But knowing the ending before experiencing the story cuts off the head, the first layer.

And I never said spoilers completely ruin a story. The Mona Lisa is still the Mona Lisa with a mustache. The Taj Mahal would only be a bit dented and chipped by a sledgehammer. 80 frames out of A New Hope is a bit more than 3 seconds. But the fact remains that spoilers detract from the emotional experience.

Let me give a spoiler-filled example.

When I saw Serenity, I was relieved when Book died. I thought, Good! Joss killed off Book. It was going to be him or Wash, so now it won't be Wash! I know, I know, I was naive. I had only watched Firefly, so I didn't yet know Joss' penchant for killing people. I happily continued the movie until the giant space battle where I became horrified that Joss was "killing" Serenity. Then Wash to the rescue, saving the scene, giving me a bit of hope and humor, "I'm a leaf on the wind," laughter from the crowd, "watch how I..." SNICK! Wash dies. After that, I wrote off the whole crew. Anyone, or everyone, could die. Zoe's stabbed, Simon's shot, Kaylee's darted. Joss has already killed Book and Wash, there's no telling if anyone will get out alive.

Now when I watch Serenity, it's a different experience. Every time Wash says, "I'm a leaf on the wind," I cringe, where before I laughed. Book's death is sadder because it's not Wash's salvation. Serenity's destruction is not cause for horror, since the ship is repaired in the end. When it looks like everyone's about to die, I don't worry. I know only Book and Wash give their lives to the movie. Do I like the movie less with subsequent watchings? No. But I do treasure my first experience.

Everything I experienced in my first watching could've been destroyed with spoilers. "When Wash starts saying he's a leaf on the wind? He's about to die." "The ship is completely repaired at the end." "Book and Wash are the only ones to die." Then I'm just waiting. I know these things will happen, but I don't know when. The movie becomes a game of patience. "Is this where Wash dies? No, no yet... Oh, here's where Book dies... Surely Wash doesn't survive Miranda? Oh, well, so he does... Ah, here, here is where Wash dies, and there he goes."
 

mechanixis

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You can experience something unspoiled only once, and experience it after it's spoiled an infinite number of times. Why would you throw away something finite to acquire something infinite that you would receive anyway?

Yes, through the collective conscious of our culture, I knew that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father before the climactic scene, and the experience was still great. But I still envy people who saw the film on opening night. While it's true that spoilers aren't everything, they still do detract from a first impression of a work, by robbing you of that fresh experience.
 

Aurgelmir

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Nov 11, 2009
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Michael Thomsen said:
Spoiled Rotten

"Spoiled" and "ruined" are not synonyms when it comes to videogames. Learning a game's secrets in advance merely opens up new ways to appreciate the experience.

Read Full Article
*Wails arms in air*

AW MAAAAN! You Spoiled Shadow of Colossus for me!


yeah I don't really care, but its probably what a lot of people think.
 

xmbts

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I don't know I kind of like it when the you don't know anything about what will happen and realization hits you like a brick wall. I say if you want to appreciate all the things that tie in with the ending you could always play through the game again.
 

teknoarcanist

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"Games themselves are not a storytelling medium, rather they are a space for gamers to create stories themselves."

I think that only necessarily applies if you're trying to encourage emergent game-play. While I would buy that for a game like Minecraft, and while it's just as valid an approach to game design, I don't think you can completely discard the attempts to fuse gameplay with a linear story like most games have historically tried to, and are just recently beginning to really get the hang of. I'm thinking of Half Life 2, Heavy Rain, etc; games in which the atmosphere is one of perpetual forward momentum, and everything that is a gameplay element is also a story element.
 

FollowUp

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RowdyRodimus said:
There has to be a statute of limitations on spoilers though. "Oh no, you gave the ending away to a 5-20 year old game! How am I ever going to enjoy it now?" If it is a new release or hell, anything less than a year old I can understand, but to whine about someone posting something about the ending to Shadow of the COlossus or Final Fantasy VII is stupid. That's like complaining that you heard the twist to Psycho or the first Friday the 13th in 2010.
You can post spoilers as much as you want, you can just be considerate enough to tell someone when you're going to spoil.
 

Zechnophobe

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I... think this was one of the worst ideas for an article ever.

Step 1: Attack a sacred concept
Step 2: While attacking it, ruin games for people who hold that concept as sacred
Step 3: Rationalize.

Let's talk about movies for a sec. Let's talk about FIGHT CLUB. If you haven't seen this movie, go watch it and come back. It is an amazing piece with a really cool twist at the end.

You know what's even more amazing? How much fun it is to watch the SECOND TIME. You get to see the hints, the slight bits of information telling you about the cool twist. You get to marvel over the glaringly obvious bits of information the movie doesn't give you. It is truly astounding.

You don't just ruin the first watching of the movie, you also ruin the second, by knowing the twist. You don't even get to try and figure it out, which someone reading this text might think. And if you had it spoiled, the second time you see the movie is just like the first. Worse even because you don't have the added excitement of discovering your own folly.

I think this article is wrong, and damaging. I think it should be briefly skimmed and then forgotten by all.
 

Bloodstain

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Someone spoilered to me the solutions to nearly all puuzzles in URU: Ages beyond MYST.

I did not approve.
 

LawlessSquirrel

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I disagree with this guy I'm afraid, I'm one of those people that will avoid spoilers as much as possible. The reason is quite simply because I want to experience every twist and turn fresh, and let things sync up as was carefully planned. For example, when I saw Hard Candy, I intentionally avoided even the slightest spoiler to the point where all I knew was that it involved a paedophile, and I must say that it made the movie that much more enjoyable, honestly not knowing where it was going.

I'm not saying you can't enjoy something once you know what happens, but you can only enjoy the moments fresh once, which won't happen with spoilers. It robs you of a one-time-only experience.

EDIT:
mechanixis said:
You can experience something unspoiled only once, and experience it after it's spoiled an infinite number of times. Why would you throw away something finite to acquire something infinite that you would receive anyway?
Well damn, beat me to it. That was exactly my point.
 

Truly-A-Lie

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There's quite a few posts saying what I want to say already, but I really don't agree with this. Take Metal Gear Solid 4 for example (which I liked by the way, so that's where I'm coming from with this) - your first play through takes you around the world, you meet and reunite with a variety of characters on Snake's seemingly impossible mission. Deep down you know good will win at the end, but you don't know how or at what cost, and there's a tension there as you play. Who will live or die, what sacrifices will be made? This was advertised as the final game after all, anyone could die at any point. Knowing the ending would destroy that tension.
 

junkmanuk

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A tragic point of view I think.

The very definition of a spoiler is something which gives insight into a plot element which was meant by the author to be withheld until the story chose to reveal it.

Stating that spoilers are not a big deal just makes you look ignorant about writing and story telling in general. It sounds to me like you don't want to get 'involved' in game stories and prefer this modern trend of "soundbite media". If that's the case play Team Fortress 2 and leave the story games and 'spoilers' alone.
 

mParadox

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The article is right...i was spoiled with one of the greatest spoilers in gaming history...

Bioshock's.

I was sad at first but when i got to it...it still felt fresh and very awesome.
 

Celtic_Kerr

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If a game is going to make is obvious (See halo: Reach) then yes, I agree that the spoilers are pointless. Having Ganon as a bad guy or Cthulhu would make no different if the bad guy stayed masked the whole time. If you only meet the bad guy at the end of a game, and he wasn't introduced before, then a spoiler holds no meaning. Now lets say ZELDA was the bad guy, now THAT would be a spoiler. She's established early as good and righteous, so her being a bad guy would be a shock.

Star Wars gave very subtle hints about Leia being Luke's sister, and Darth Vader being Luke's father (tough on the spoilers, if you don't know by now), so if it's spoiled, it would change the exp[eriance it shouldn't be changed for yet... the joy is in finding out the way you should find out: by experiancing it, and then going back to see if the clues worked out
 

Electrogecko

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I agree that they don't matter as much as everyone makes them out to, (for certain games at least) but of course it's preferable to not know.
 

cynicalsaint1

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Spoilers don't ruin the game - they ruin an experience. Playing through a game not knowing exactly whats coming next, or not knowing some big plot secret is a significantly different experience than playing through knowing everything.

For a lot of people there is a lot of value in that particular experience. I really don't see whats so hard to understand about this.
 

Dogstile

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I'd rather not rob myself of surprise. I want to fully experience a game. Spoilers ruin parts of it for me so I don't feel the same shock when I reach that moment.

Is it really that hard to understand? :p
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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Even if I grant you that spoilers just alter the way you experience a game, maybe I don't want my fucking experience altered. Hence, don't post spoilers.
 

Daft Ghosty

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Azuaron said:
..snip.. In my mind, spoilers destroy art.
+1

I can't say it any better then you did. To me that is the heart of spoilers. Movies as well share the same problem today, with their trailers. I can't tell you how many times I skipped a movie b/c the trailer gave away to much. I hope games don't get as bad. I've already had a few games this year spoiled from reading to much or hearing to much about the context of scenes.