Hype is a funny thing. I've been thinking about it a bit lately, and if you check out some of my previous blogs then you'd see how it's taken a hold of me before, so I figured that I'd lay out some of my opinions on the this affliction that plagues us all from time to time.
Hype can either provide us with tremendous joy at a games release or immense dissapointment when a game doesn't live up to expetations. We're all effected by it at some time or another no matter what kind of games we play, be them old school, new school, shooters, fighters, blockbusters or indie titles. I guess you could say that we've all at some point been emotionally manipulated by the companies who's job it is to make and promote these games (makes you feel all dirty like your brain's been molested, doesn't it
Often the hype seems unstoppable as it starts to grow, but it tends to fade a lot more quickly then it builds, as we can see with examples like Halo 3, GTA4 and MGS4. The hype for these games built up into such a frenzy at the time of their launch, and although today no one is going to argue that they're still great games (well, some people probably will), it seems to me that these titles have just dropped off the gamers radar lately. We've stopped hailing them as the video game experiences of the century and now that our eyes are no longer clouded by the hype, we can finally see for the first time that these games, as good as they are, can be just as flawed as other recent releases which just didn't recieve the same amount of hype at the time.
Although hype tends to help good games appear almost godly leading up to a launch, it can also push games that turn out to be just god damn awfull.
Kane and Lynch had some tremendous hype leading up to it's launch. We were told that it would be the most mature, intruging and psycologicaly twisted experience that we would ever have with a video game, and all the media that they showed us made us really believe it. It was going to be a disturbing masterpiece akin to great films like "Heat", and the multiplayer was going to offer an amazing new team/every-man-for-himself mechanic that we couldn't wait to see....then it finally got released, and after the terrible review scores hit the gaming public, some of them would argue against the reviewers, yet most gamers were pretty damn dissapointed, and not surprisingly that dissapointment quickly turned to hate. Gertsmann-gate didn't help Kane and Lynch's image either, but the odd thing was that despite the games reputation having turned to shit, it still sold fairly well
. Ok, it wasn't exactly multi platinum well, but well enough for the devs to call it a success, and that's all thanks to the hype.
After everything that I've just written, it might seem that hype is a terrible force that only manipulates us into spending more money, yet while it definitely does do that, I'll admit that I believe hype is a good thing for all of us
... in the right circumstances ofcourse.
Let me explain. To me, Hype equals excitement. The more hype a game gets, the more excited we get ot play it, and the more excited we are to play a game, the memorable an experience first playing the game will be, and then that moment is something they we'll always have.
Sure, the excitement might not be 100% warranted, yet whether the 'hype produced excitement' can be called authentic or not, its still real excitement none the less and it still effects you in the same way. For example, if GTAIV had signifigantly less hype on its release, then people would've still enjoyed playing it for the first time, but because it did have the hype behind it, most peoples first experience with it was mind blowing, and although you could say this experience had been manufactured for us by the promoters, the feelings, as fleeting as they were, were still real. Right now halo 3 has definitely moved on from my top games list, but I still remember with fondness the first night I played it with my friends untill 4 in the morning, and as much as I enjoyed the gameplay, I remember that it just felt so good to just be finally playing the game that I had been looking forward to for so long, and that feeling was thanks to the Hype.
To sum up my opinions on this, I guess hype will always be a part of gaming as long as there are big releases on the horizon, and while this can often push people away from certain titles (honestly, raise your hand if you've ever refused to play a game because no-one would shut the fuck up about it), for the people it does draw in, i feel that it can actually make the experience so much better even if just for a while. It is an evil produced by advertisers and promoters, but I think that it's one thats worth giving into from time to time.