Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hype Complex

We've all been victims of the excitement and hype that surrounds something that is highly anticipated. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes it's a bad thing. I went and saw John Carter the other day, i was rather looking forward to it being a Edgar Rice Burroughs fan myself. I had spent a great deal of time reading the Barsoome Chronicles before the movies had come out so i was prepared for the movie when it did. I thought the writing style of Burroughs was fantastic, i deeply enjoyed his works and i'll undoubtedly be reading the rest of his works with the exception of the Tarzan series as i was never really a fan of Tarzan.

However i found that the movie was somewhat of a disappointment. I understand that they're trying to make a movie series to bring them steady income over the next couple years, however the issue with making a modern movie out of a hundred year old short story is that you need to take a lot of artistic liberties, and i do mean a lot. All of the hype surrounding the movie and it ended up being a surprising let down to critic.

Another shining instance of hype making a product so much more than it is, is the highly acclaimed Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There is no doubt about the fact that it is indeed a fantastic game filled with hours upon hours of adventures for you to explore with it's two square kilometer world. However, is it really the god send that the public has made it out to be? Probably not. Underneath the sheen of new, shiney and over-hyped, there are the same old bugs and glitches that have been notorious in every Bethesda game since they opened their doors. Most of the bugs get passed of as over-beaten meme's (the much abused "arrow to the knee" jokes) however this oversight is a little disappointing. Bethesda is now on it's fifth iteration of the Elder Scrolls series and they've still yet to fix a few core problems with the video games.

However, all bugs aside all me to posit my theory as to why these bugs were easily overlooked by the majority of the community.

When Skyrim was announced the first people to find out about it was the press of course. The second people were the die-hard TES fans and then the time between discovery was proportionate to how much you knew about the series and how much you enjoyed it's previous installments. However, the community for his video game is so large and so passionate about the video game that the news spread like wildfire as soon as the core community found out. A combination of mystery surrounding the game and everyone screaming with excitement made the game catch a lot of attention. This attracted video gamers from ALL video gaming facets, not just your run of the mill RPG players.

This caused an influx of FPS players from various run-and-gun type FPS games such as COD and Halo. These players are used to massively buggy video games as the same issues hold true with their developers. COD's notorious quick scope bug was accidentally added in COD2 and people have been complaining about it since then. They still haven't fixed it after 6 or 7 iterations (lost the care to count after COD4). As these players are pretty much used to bugs to the extent where they have no issues with exploiting them or playing until they're red in the face from frustration, they tended to look over the bugs.

This combined with the fact that a hefty percentage of the Skyrim players have never even so much as looked at another installment of TES which means they're oblivious to the fact that these bugs have been around since installment one. Thus, their tolerance levels for these errors are significantly larger than the players from day one, installment one.

Never the less, Hype can be beneficial or deadly depending on how it's utilized and whether it's actually deserved. Frankly i would much rather do without the entire advertizing strategy, which is why i wait several months for video games after they're released so i can read reviews after the hype has worn off. What do you think about how developers of all medias use hype to their advantage? Whether it's deserved or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment