For the most part, the internet is a screaming void where no one can agree on anything – not even what to scream about. But there is one unspoken rule that a remarkably large number of people hold sacred: no spoilers. However, is that for the best, or does it limit our ability to talk about games (and other media) that we love? In this week Split screen Podcast we discuss spoilers. Then we spoil a few things.
To kick off our episode on Spoilers and Twists, Ash, Fahey, and I discuss the role spoilers – or a lack of them – play in the video game discourse, as well as our own conflicting feelings about getting things spoiled for us personally. Then we move on to a historical recap of my favorite video game of all time: Metal Gear Solid 2The big reveal that the velvety anime boy Raiden, not the gruff war dog Solid Snake, would be the lead actor. Everyone knows that twist today, but in 2001 the gaming landscape was radically different, allowing Hideo Kojima to unle ash the wildest triple-A gaming deception of the decade – if not all of the time. Finally, we’ll end a rapid-fire quiz / discussion on nine of the most famous twists and turns of video games. Did you know that last Bionic command
Get the MP3 Hereand view an excerpt below.
Nathan: But OK, while games are obviously different and in many cases longer than movies and even TV shows, I’m still a bit looser than other people with spoilers because I think our ability to really discuss something in depth – and games in particular, which are more narrative or whatever – depend on our ability to use certain details. Doing this is useful in several ways, both because you can discuss a work in its entirety – including topics and what it is trying to say – but also because it leads to more engaging writing and criticism. If I say, “This game is bad or good for the reasons X, Y, and Z,” people will say, “Well that’s vague,” but if I can say, “Here’s something that demonstrates that.” then that is a better font that is more convincing.
Ash: I can feel where this conversation is going, and I already fear it.
Nathan: Can you spoil it for me
Ash: So we take a unique perspective, especially when it comes to spoilers, because sometimes when we write about video games, companies tell us, “You can’t and can’t write about that about spoilers.” I’m inevitably, unstoppable, sadly from the discussion about attracted The last of us 2Because when people were writing their reviews, the whole back half of the game couldn’t be discussed because Naughty Dog said, “No, you can’t.” And yes, it would be a big spoiler, but when I think about it in context now – you know, in hindsight and such – I don’t think it was too big a spoiler to mention that you’re playing as a different character could. And the way I say this, it’s funny because I purposely dance around to be specific because I’m afraid there are people out there looking at this copy The last of us 2 on her PS4 digital shelf like “One day”, and then I’ll ruin it for her.
The big problem with this was that for the second half of the game you play as someone named Abby. You don’t know who Abby is. I think being able to mention it on a match report wouldn’t have been too big a deal to spoil certain plot lines. But people were shocked to speak authentically and authoritatively about this game in a review for people interested because they were so captivated by Naughty Dog. So it is like what is a spoiler, what is not a spoiler, what should we be able to talk about so that we can speak authoritatively about things? Because that’s why people want to read reviews: They are authoritative.
Nathan: Even if I take a step back, I think the other thing I need to consider here – and what I find compelling about the use of spoilers in the video game discourse – is that the current status quo only writes on whether a game is a good product or not. And I think part of it is that a lot of games are expensive and people want to know if they should buy them. But I think the other part of it is that we’ve spent so long having these weird unspoken rules for spoilers that video game discourse doesn’t always focus on things like topics or what a game is trying to discuss or what it is about going in a game.
In the absence of people’s ability to talk about certain story content, they instead say, “Well, let’s talk about mechanics. Are the weapons good for the Blammos? Cool. These are video games. “But I think games can be much, much more and tell much more compelling stories, or we can discuss the stories they are trying to tell – whether they are compelling or not – in a much more compelling way. This expands the medium and the perspective of the people. But as long as we have this iron rule of spoiling things and people really worry about it, we can’t really do it.
Fahey: First of all, many publishers only prohibit spoilers until launch day. They just want to make sure nothing comes out before the players get their hands on it, which I can understand. After that, you can go in there and say, “Here are spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. Let’s talk about it. “I hate writing about spoilers because I hate having to delineate spoilers. Inevitably, you get someone on Twitter to say,” You’ve spoiled what’s behind 20 spoiler warnings. “
Ash: Don’t you like this because someone inevitably isn’t listening, or do you just don’t like it?
Fahey: I just don’t like the process.
Ash: But I mean, this has become part of a polite conversation. We would do that if we were going to talk about anything. Only in a casual conversation would it be like, “Oh hey, wait a minute, that spoils a particularly big point. Put your ears in or something. “I don’t find this too burdensome. But I understand your frustration because inevitably someone will say, ‘You spoiled this,” and it is, brother, you had every opportunity. We made every effort to let you know that this was going to happen and then you let it happen anyway. At this point, it’s not our fault. So I get that.
Is there a possibility that you have unfortunately been spoiled? Are you even interested in spoilers? Have you had an experience where you were genuinely disappointed because either you or someone else accidentally spoiled something for you?
Nathan: That’s the strange thing for me: ideologically, I don’t care about spoilers and I think everyone should just be free to talk about games as they like. But when it comes to certain games that I want to play, I always say, “No, don’t tell me about it.” My partner is playing Yakuza: Like a dragon at the moment a game i want to start. Every time she plays it in our living room I avoid it because I want to experience it on my own terms.
So I don’t want to be spoiled, but at the same time there is In fact, science that supports the idea that people like spoilers. In many cases, when you’ve pampered something for you, you end up in that position of experiencing that medium differently, but it’s not necessarily worse. They know this particular part is coming, so you can have a look around this game or whatever and see how it predicts what’s going to happen. And even if it gets there, you can predict it. Predicting things feels good. People love to predict shit. That’s part of why pop music is popular: it attacks the parts of our brain that can predict things.
Nathan: Yes it is cool! There is a mechanism in the human brain that likes to predict things, and pop music is formulaic. In many cases, you can already feel that a song is going in that direction before it even gets to what it will do.
Ash: You mean like melodies and shit? Oh cool
Fahey: Yes, choruses, or you can feel like, “Oh, I know what word you’re going to rhyme with that.”
Ash: Is that why dubstep is so popular: Because you can tell when the beat is going to drop?
Nathan: Construction and dismantling and the like? Yes, in any case. I mean, dubstep is pretty old now – and we’re all old too.
But I think if we lived in a world where there are more spoilers, people would find that they enjoy that too. You would say, “This is fun. That’s neat. This is a fun way to engage with media. It is not worse. It’s just different. “
Fahey: You know, my spouse is actually going to start a TV series, watch a few episodes, and then read on Wikipedia about everything else that’s going on.
Ash: I will do it.
Nathan: My partner does that too! With every single thing we see, she always looks to the end. So again I got into conflict because I really like to show her things I’ve seen, so I can see how she reacts to big moments that she wasn’t expecting – but she is expecting them because she read about them on Wikipedia. That’s a disappointment, but it’s also the way she likes to deal with these things. She’s having fun and I understand that.
For all of that and more, check out the episode. New episodes drop every Friday, so don’t forget to like and subscribe to them Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. If you’re feeling inclined to do so, leave a review and feel free to send us a message at [email protected] with any questions or suggestion. If you want to yell at us directly, you can reach us on Twitter: Ash is @adashtraFahey is @ OnkelFaheyand Nathan is @ Vahn16. Until next week!