When's The Last Time Hype Influenced How You Felt About a Game?

With Austin at a work event, Patrick and Rob and myself discussed our own uneasy relationships with hype—say, around a game as big as the new God of War—and how we navigate the joys and sorrows of buzz around big games.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ne9mm8/god-of-war-hype-game
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In the words of James T. Kirk: Don’t believe them. Don’t trust them. Let them die.

If there’s one good thing that came out of last year’s insane glut of new games, it’s that the hype train well and truly burnt itself out. If a game is good or has some quality that makes it stand out, I’ll hear about it on Destructoid or Kotaku or Waypoint, or any of the other sources I use to stay informed. Everybody’s got their bias, sure, but spread yourself around enough and you’ll know what you need to know.

Agree about hype, but I disagree about hearing about good games either way. There are plenty of good games that go completely under the radar - e.g., last year’s fantastic Linelight, which no major site except GameSpot reviewed.


An acceptable loss, I think - cracks and blindspots are inevitable in any system. But here we are on Waypoint’s forum and you’re telling me about Linelight, so… now I know about it. :slight_smile:

Listening to today’s podcast reminded me of the time I was worst affected by hype (but it’s in kind of a weird way).

I’d heard about Skyrim before release and was instantly suckered into the idea of infinite possibility.

I traded in a load of my Wii games so I’d have enough money to get it for PC from my local Game shop.

Took it home, installed it on my family laptop, and it barely worked. The laptop was wayyyyyy too crappy to handle it. I ended up playing years later but that initial burn was a harsh one and taught me an important lesson about system requirements…

Thinking about the last time I was really hyped for something - it was Twin Peaks last year. But that paid off, of course.

I try to decouple pre-release hype from post release hype when I can. So if there’s a game I’m really excited about I’ll consume all the developer interviews, previews, screeenshots I can, but aside from maybe a glance or two at initial reviews to make sure the game isn’t total garbage, I’ll kind of detach once the thing is actually out in the world and try to avoid the “actually, only my assessment of Game X is blatantly valid” phase of the discussion. That’s the plan anyway, deployed with varying degrees of success.

I can’t remember ever being truly burned by hype for a game (Phantom Menace on the other hand…), although I my experience with Bioshock Infinite was similar to Patrick’s and many other people’s.

So my recent disappointment with hype is about Doom(2016). It was obviously greatly received critically, I had friends recommend it to me highly, but in the 2 times I started it I just never understood what people found so great. Once I clear out a few of the things I am currently playing I am considering going back and bumping up the difficulty to see if maybe that was the disconnect.

I could empathise so much with feeling like I need to like stuff less in the face of overwhelming positive reception. Partly because I’m an arsehole admittedly, but this is my story with Stranger Things. Really enjoyed watching it when it was first released, but then everyone started praising it just a bit too much – and it brings to attention all the flaws that those people are totally overlooking.

As for games, I don’t really get too hyped in advance about games or any media as much as I did as a teenager (though I actually appreciate all the actual finished “works” themselves way more now). Partly because reading loads of previews of Dishonoured kind of dulled the experience of that game a bit – the interestingly designed missions aren’t as effective when you’ve seen previews explaining in great detail why all the missions are so interestingly designed.

This exceeded my expectations. Twin Peaks did the right thing of more or less totally ignoring the massive hype surrounding it (except for using the nostalgia really effectively as a thematic point).

The lesson to learn is don’t patronise the fanbase

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I get burned way too easily by hype. I haven’t seen a lot of so-called “classic” movies because they’ve been so hyped up for me that I know they’ll never live up to their reputation. This happened with Indiana Jones – I watched the original trilogy of movies a year or two before Crystal Skull came out and walked away with a sort of, “That’s all?” feeling about them

It took a good five or six years and multiple viewings before it really sank in that they were good movies (Well, at least Raiders and Crusade are)

The same thing also happened with Blade Runner and The Shining.

I’ve sort of been avoiding Undertale for the same reasons, though that’s a little more complex. Games are something I find much easier to be swept up in the hype for – I loved Grand Theft Auto IV when it came out, for instance, but I went back and tried to play it right before GTAV came out found it incredibly difficult to penetrate because of the weird controls, and the relationships system, etc.

Similarly, I happily played through 80% of Twilight Princess on the Gamecube, not really forming a legitimate critical opinion about the game other than “It’s Zelda, so of course it’s good.” I never finished Twilight Princess until I came back around to the game in 2013 or 2014 and found it to be infuriatingly slow and tedious.

As someone who now gets paid to be a game critic, this actually presents a pretty significant problem where I know how easily I will unconsciously feed on a zeitgeist. So I’ve learned on games I plan on reviewing, a week before release I will shut myself off from all media coverage – I’ll stop reading previews, refuse to read reviews, will actively block related keywords on twitter and tumblr, etc. to ensure that any thoughts or opinions I have on said game are purely my own and no one else’s.

I’m hyped up for Battle for Azeroth. The thing about WoW is that each expansion adds so much content to explore that it’s generally worth the price admission. That the core gameplay remains good–even if it changes on the margins–just cements that each expansion is at least worth checking out. Whether I stay depends on how many friends stay in.

This isn’t exactly the same thing as hype, but as they’ve become more universally acclaimed I find myself increasingly perplexed as to why people will talk about Dark Souls like it’s the second coming of Christ, whereas the 10 or so hours I spent with it comprised largely of boredom, misery, and frustration over all the cheap ways the game decided to kill me without warning.

The hype train got me to pay full price for Nier: Automata, a decision I have constantly regretted ever since. According to my husband tho, my father-in-law had fun playing it, so I guess it was worth the $60 price tag if it made him happy.

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Nier Automata is a super weird one yeah. I loved it, but mostly was hyped for it because I’m deep into shooters and brawlers, which strangely didn’t end up being what I liked for.

At the same time the hype for that game made what is really a super niche game into something everyone felt they had to play and its really just gonna be a miserable time for people who aren’t into that.

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I finished The Witcher 3 more than a month ago, and this question has been bugging me since then. I came away from that game concluding that it’s not just overrated but flat bad. Lavishly produced, with many excellent individual elements, created by the labor of many incredibly skilled and talented workers, but as a whole bad. Since then I’ve been on and off working on a review, mostly to convince myself that my opinion is justified. It would suck if I’d ruined a great game for myself by being contrarian.

Any particular reason you didn’t enjoy Nier? I picked it up for 40 and really had a good time with it.

I have something like 60 or 70 hours in that game, never really made it past Novigrad and I can’t really figure out why people love the game so much. I plan on getting back to it and bumping up the difficulty hoping that was my issue.

That you think bumping up difficulty is the solution, suggests to me, that you have the issue with it, that made me try a friend’s copy for an hour and then never touch it again - the combat is ungratifying, and several of the other mechanics feel clunky.

I just couldn’t sit down for 50+ hours, when I didn’t enjoy the mechanics. If the game’s primary driver is story, then I need it to be short, so I can revell in that (ala The Fall). If the core gameplay loop isn’t clicking with you, then odds are bumping the difficulty will only turn enemies into sponges, which is unlikely to solve your issues with the game.

This is going to be long and angry, but here you go.

The fact of the matter is that while I really enjoyed the 2B segment, I never even got past the first portion with 9S.


As a character I found him pretty unendearing once we started to get things from his perspective, and also tbh? His gameplay was shit and I dislike the implementation of it as a game that expects you to fight primarily with the Actual Combat System, then after several hours with it, shunts you into a section that is literally 90% SHMUP with literally no like build-up from easy patterns to hard ones. And if you’re not hacking as 9S, you do literally no damage to any enemies at all. I could have probably swapped the game to auto-mode, but from a personal standpoint, I don’t really see the point of getting a game if I’m not going to play the game.

At the point where I realized 9S sucked and his segment sucked, I fucked off from the game and just read a few summaries, watched some cutscenes, and read some transcripts of the dialogue. The story didn’t impress me, especially with the whole deal where 2B gets top billing and then dies and gets put in a sword. This, combined with fucking Yoko Taro and the free pass people gave him for being blatantly horny in with his character designs (which I know weren’t entirely his, but he approved them soooooooo…) just because he went “I like cute girls”. As if that excuses him from making a game that felt so much about what it means to dehumanize and objectify an entire group of people (machines), and then… objectify women in your very character designs.

Also, Adam and Eve being extremely queer-coded villains can also fuck right off, especially in a game where the girls flirt with each other on the regular. It’s so fucking frustrating to see wlw get put in a game for the benefit of the male audience, then you get two pretty queer-coded dudes and of course they’re evil because mlm are evil. S u p e r.

I played it because I wanted Platinum’s combat system, and I got about 12 hours with that before the game turned into an unenjoyable slog. The fact that people sung the praises of this game made me keep trying to go back to it and go back to it. I thought hating it when all my friends liked it made me broken in some way. Eventually, that completely unreasonable line of thought lead me to such a high level of anxiety that I didn’t touch my PS4 for several weeks after my last attempt. I thank Prey for actually getting me out of it and coaxing me back into playing that console again.

Nier: Automata is why I don’t buy games on release anymore. Sixty-fucking-dollars. That’s bus money for 6 weeks at least where I live.

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I’m still super hyped for God of War, especially after all the reviews and everything (don’t have the time right now to get it). I was a big fan of the original trilogy, and have platted every game except ascension, which I didn’t even play. I like being excited for things, and I’ve never understood why people intentionally dislike something just because other people like it. I had a friend who, when The Force Awakens came out, went in to the movie WANTING to dislike it just because so many other people liked it. They enjoyed it, but still, it annoyed me so much I unfollowed them on various social media platforms, lol.