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Marche100 avatar 12:40 AM on 10.06.2013  (server time)
The Life Span of the Video Game Spoiler

I don't watch Pretty Little Liars, but if Google Images is anything to go by, it's about four girls who stand around doing not much of anything.

Spoilers. Love them or hate them, they're all around us. Some of us can't resist the temptation and dive right into the spoilers, laughing maniacally all the while. Others become hermits, refusing to so much as look at the Google homepage for fear of having everything spoiled. Or, maybe you just don't care. Whichever way you go, it's important to be considerate to those who don't want to have things spoiled for them. Use spoiler tags. Don't blurt out a spoiler. These kinds of things.

I just noticed on Twitter that Entertainment Weekly Online put out an article (found here: a week or so ago concerning the Pretty Little Liars finale. Apparently, they had put what could be considered a spoiler into their headline two days after the finale aired. People raged. Entertainment Weekly claims that a spoiler is only a spoiler for 24 hours after a show airs. 

Oh no, I've just spoiled the Breaking Bad finale. Walter White has hair!

My family gets Entertainment Weekly, so I noticed in the most recent issue that there's an article about the Breaking Bad finale. It gives a spoiler warning at the beginning of the article. Right above the words is a picture that totally spoils the ending of the show. Yeah. I won't say what the picture is, because I'm a tad more considerate, but Entertainment Weekly means business when they say that once that 24 hours is up, they no longer need to be careful with how they use their spoilers.

Agree or disagree, I've been thinking lately about spoilers in video-games. How does this all fit in to video-games? Let's think on that.

I wish Sephiroth could have made that face in the actual game.

Yes, yes, I know. I know that you know that Aeris dies in Final Fantasy VII. That's common knowledge, now. But, at one point or another, that was considered a spoiler, wouldn't you agree?

Here's where video games differ from something as simple as a TV show. A TV show airs for its first time once and only once. There is a 24 hour time slot after the first airing where an event within the episode is considered a spoiler, which is to account for other time zones where the episode will air at different times.

On the other hand, video games are not as cut and dry. Take Kingdom Hearts 2, for example. I beat the game for my first time about 2 or 3 days after its release. I blazed through it. But not everyone blazes through it. Some people might take weeks, or even months to finish it. Heck, people might put it on their backlogs and not get to it for years to come.

And that's without taking into account the differences in release dates between countries! You're getting into some complicated territory, there.

Would you kindly refrain from spoiling the plot twist until it's no longer considered a spoiler?

Regardless of how long it takes people to get around to playing a game, it's clear from the "Aeris dies" example that there is a point where a spoiler ceases to be a spoiler. The question is, "When is that time?" And that's the question I would like to pose to you.

Frankly, I don't know what to think, because every time I type down a spoiler, even if it's from an old game, I think to myself, "should this be in spoiler tags?" It's difficult to say when the statute of limitations on a spoiler runs out, and people are always going to disagree on when that is. But I'm curious as to your opinions are on this.

So, when does a video game spoiler cease to be a spoiler? Or can you even measure that? What do you think?

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