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LoopyChew avatar 4:34 AM on 11.19.2010
I Need to Know: Can you spoil something that isn't a plot?

(Dtoid apparently missed this article when restoring old blog articles; I'm reposting it again for posterity! Thanks for keeping tabs on it, Flixist!) Originally dated October 19.

So there's a discussion on the Rock Band forums involving stores prematurely releasing Rock Band 3, and whether or not it's kosher to reveal anything despite the setlist being publicly available since Gamescom. Some people argue that the setlist is the only thing that can be really spoiled in a game like Rock Band, and even without thinking I can immediately say that were that true they wouldn't have been driving up the keyboard/harmony/Pro-mode by dropping small hints in demos and such.

Simply put: If you're demanding information that hasn't otherwise been divulged to you, you can be spoiled. It's all a matter of degree.

Let's remove this conversation from music-based gaming in general. (Shocker!) I'm going to quote from one of my posts in the above-linked thread:

The thing about non-plot spoilers is, sometimes they add to the cool factor, particularly if you haven't been spoiled about it beforehand.

To take an example outside of Rock Band, I remember the gasps of "AWESOME!" people had when watching the live demonstration of Assassin's Creed II, when Ezio took out two guards simultaneously. I had my metaphorical jaw drop when I saw it in action. It's nothing incredibly innovative, it definitely has no impact on the plot proper, but it announces itself in an incredibly stylish fashion and you can't help but grin.

After a while, it becomes something you take for granted, but the first few occasions you see and/or experience it, it's a brand new aspect of the toy you didn't know was there.

Small flourishes enrich the experience, especially if you haven't been spoiled on them. They're the hotel mint on the pillow you weren't expecting, or you discovering that her/his lips taste like strawberries.

I can even expound on this even further, where small details MAKE the experience what it is, and spoiling it can kill the surprise factor, particularly if it's something that's never been seen before. Do you remember The Matrix, and seeing Bullet Time on the screen for the first time? Was your mouth agape? The movie could've thought of other ways of handling Neo dodging bullets--THAT was the important bit, plot-wise--but it decided to go with the most fantastic way they could possibly think of at the time: cameras encircling Keanu Reeves.

It's true that you can still enjoy whatever has been spoiled, on its own or in context, plot-related or otherwise. Hell, after the whole HP6 spoiler internet wankery (which I will not reproduce here, juuuuuuuust in case) I just kinda "meh"ed and enjoyed the book anyway. Then I made sure to read HP7 immediately after purchasing it from the closest bookstore on release day (though that wouldn't have helped with the HP6 thingy since that happened prerelease). Otherwise people wouldn't own movies for the home or keep them after watching them the first time around.

However, if you ARE spoiled, you lose some of the surprise factor that you'd get if you tore into whatever you're going into without any preconceptions.

Also, if I'm going to experience it firsthand, I definitely don't want to have someone else spoil the taste of her lips to me.

Tagged:    cblog    Rants and Commentary  

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