|Anticipation is like this baby: you think everything will be perfect,|
but then they start crying... Wait, where was I going with this?
The way triple-A gaming advertises itself nowadays is by making an announcement about a game almost a year in advance of its release. Usually this trailer shows us no game play, but it hints on that you will have fun by the time you will finally pop the disc in and/or finished the required download. The developer will tell about some features that will be in the game and that is about all you will know about it. If the game only vaguely sparks your interest, you won't be able to help it, but you will get this feeling inside that keeps tingling until you researched everything about it on the net. Ofcourse, this doesn't count for everyone, but you are reading this on this blog, so you'll probably fall into that demographic.
|Just look how happy he is with|
all that money...
And then comes the moment when you'll actually shell out money to buy the game. It might be in pre-order, it might be on release or maybe a few days later, but you'll shell out that high price for that one game you've anticipated, because you want that cool game and you want to support developers who make good games. The moment you put that money down, all bets are off. The publisher has the money and neither the developer or the publisher has to do anything anymore, because they legally earned your money. The game you take home doesn't have to be any good, because you already gave them the money. This is the part that makes me sick to infinity and beyond.
Yes, you might return it, but the game doesn't have to be good in order for the player to keep it until after its latest return date. First you'll start checking your anticipation list. Are all features there? Are the graphics pretty? By then you won't have noticed that the game is designed as a skinner box and you are doing nothing but jumping through hoops when the game tells you to. Check my previous true post on how fun can be not fun.
In summary, what you'll need to know from the two links above is this: games can be rigged to make you work instead of having fun. They do this by giving you a reward for actions they wants to see from you, like killing people or winning a race, and punishing you when you do undesirable actions, like getting killed or losing the race. When you've learned that you get a reward, like an unlockable car or a skill level, they start to give you less rewards over time, so you'll work harder for the reward. The danger with this is that winning and losing and its derived rewards and punishments are an important part of the game, so it is hard to distinguish between the game's fun and addiction.
|Portal 2; Great game, but was it worth the|
And that's why I'm sick of anticipation. I'm sick of the whole scene of making people look forward to something that doesn't have to be good and will probably make you jump through hoops saying "later on it will be better, because you'll have this!" I'm sick of discussions on forums by people who like or dislike a game and trying to defend it, all the while forgetting that the game and its marketing rigged them to do so. But most of all I'm sick of reviewers creating more anticipation by giving a perfect score to a game that is clearly a skinner box.
As I try with most of my posts, I won't end on a sour note. What can we do to break this anticipation spiral? One answer would be piracy. Play the game first, then pay later. Unfortunately, this is illegal, but there are some good alternatives. First of all, you can play demo's. Second, there are services that can let you play the full game for free temporarily, like Onlive. When playing the game, check for any of the symptoms mentioned in this video of Extra Credits: the skinner box and if they are not too prevalent, the game might just not suck.
Also, Fall of Cybertron? Please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck!