Something that I hear an awful lot of when talking about games is what reads to me like a really strong aversion to disappointment.
We’re told that lowering our expectations and ignoring all hype surrounding a game is the only way to avoid disappointment, and perhaps that’s the case.
But increaingly I’ve found myself thinking: is disappointment really such a bad thing that we ought to take all these steps to avoid it?
Disappointment, at least for me, tends to fade quite quickly, especially because there are so many games now that there’s always the next thing to be excited by. It’s not like if The Big Game had been bad then there’d be nothing to look forward to for the rest of the year.
Indeed, I’ve been delighted for hours so far this year by games that weren’t even on my radar: Yakuza 0, NieR: Automata, Breath of the Wild (which I knew about but had no idea just how different it would be from recent Zelda) are just a few of those, and that’s not even mentioning the smaller games.
By contrast, being excited for a game can last for months, and years sometimes, and it can be a very lovely feeling that I don’t think is completely negated when the game turns out disappointing.
Of course, I’m not advocating for completely naively accepting all hype and uncritically drinking in everything that’s said about a game. I think it’s possible to be excited for a game without being fooled into thinking that it’s more than it is: very early on into the No Man’s Sky announcement I said to myself ‘Y’know what, if all this is is a game where you go around and visit pretty planets and look at stuff then I’m into that, and it’d be lovely if it was more, too.’
I feel like as a result I enjoyed the anticipation for the game far more than people who immediately and cynically wrote it off as a game that would obviously disappoint, or the people who decided that the game would be the Last Game You’ll Ever Need.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think there’s a sweet spot between naivety and cynicism that still allows us to enjoy a game’s pre-release period - and sure, sometimes be disappointed.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot when looking at the Twitter response to Anthem which has really run the gamut of responses.
So what about you? Do you consciously avoid disappointment, and if so, how come?
(One thing I think is fair that I’ve previously heard said to me is that if you have a pretty limited amount of money to spend on games then it becomes more important to temper enthusiasm since the choice of what to buy becomes much more of a factor. No use becoming super-excited about 10 releases this year if you can only afford 3 of them.)