Does Hype Affect Gameplay
I have been thinking a lot recently about if watching coverage/opinions of a game can change how much you enjoy a game when you play it, for example if all the pre release coverage of a game is overwhelmingly positive and you watch a review that praises the game are you more inclined to gloss over/ignore the games flaws and vice versa if it's had negative coverage.
What do you guys think is there something to this logic or are the game playing public able to split what they have been told to think about a game and how they experience the game?
I'm the complete opposite, but it's worth noting that I don't read too many actual reviews these days, and I've become too cynical to let consumer hype affect me at all. The opinion of another person is useful to me when judging what to expect from a game, but it could never change the way I enjoy it. Ultimately a great deal of my enjoyment of a game hinges on how much it surprises me, same with films. Now that I think about it, that's how I approach a lot of other things in life.
I'm playing the Uncharted series for the first time at the moment. Cool games for sure, I'm having fun with them, but only as much as I thought I would when I made the decision to play them. It certainly hasn't surprised me at any point, I knew exactly what I was getting into based on what I already know about the series. So actually in some ways media coverage and general hype is changing the way I look at some games, and to a degree it probably can't be avoided, but I think it's miles from simply being told what to like and what not to like.
Likewise, if I read a negative review of a game, I'm much more likely to notice positive things about it and be surprised by them. Everyone is going to have their own opinion on the matter and I understand that, but I can't ever imagine myself going crazy over a game that doesn't surprise me. Every game I have rated highly, from Wing Commander to Dishonored, has done something I didn't expect it to. But it's not like I don't have it in me to enjoy something that I consider just average, actually most of the games I play I would say are pretty average.
It will be interesting to play Aliens next month, I'm a big fan of the franchise but I'm basically going in blind. I've been avoiding trailers, articles about the game, everything, somehow I resisted visiting the booth at Eurogamer last year too. I don't think I've ever known so little about a game I was looking forward to so much.
[Level 4: Cyborg]
I think social influences on personal opinion are a far more complex issue than that, but in general I would say that this is not the case for me. I tend to be wary of games with excessive positive or negative praise, but I usually go into them with an open mind. In the case of something like Uncharted, I went into the series expecting it to lean on essentially every poor modern design convention (i.e. trying to be a movie instead of a game) and they did just that, but I still found them pretty enjoyable anyway. In the case of Far Cry 3, I expected it to be a sprawling, in-depth, mature sandbox game and it was "sort of" one of those things, so I found I was extremely disappointed with it by the end. In that case, my opinion of it was based on expectations from the previous game and the critical hype that made it out to be more than it was. Every example is contributed to by a unique set of social and personal factors that can influence one's opinion in different ways.
[Level 5: Mech]
I think it definitely does. Both in that you might be more likely to gloss over or ignore potential problems with a game, or it might make you more invested in allowing the game to have the best chance it could have with you.
I remember when Enslaved first came out. I was really excited because it looked like a really gorgeous game with great writing and story. Plus, Andy Serkis. When I first played it I enjoyed it, and although the story didn't really move me (apart from a few select moments) I still thought of it favourably, mostly because of the characters. But when I looked back on it later on I realised that the game wasn't very good. But most importantly, the story and characters (which were supposedly the best parts) were also not great. They were very well presented, but upon reflection I saw that the story was pretty much non-existent and the characters went nowhere. The mo-cap was impressive, but in terms of actual narrative is fails pretty badly in a lot of ways. I think this was an occasion where things like previews and reviews did hype me up for the game and it made me think it was better than it really was. I've learnt from that and haven't had an experience like that since. As time has gone by I've been able to develop a pretty good sense for whether I will like a game before I've played it, whether or not it gets praised a lot.
That's a situation where hype affected my experience in a negative way. Although I enjoyed the game when I was playing it I was half aware that I had a kind of cognitive dissonance that I wasn't really enjoying it as much as I wanted to. So I think in that way it was negative. Hype had manipulated me. But hype doesn't always necessarily have negative effects on how you perceive the game as you play it.
There are some times where you get caught up in the hype of a game and it makes you more interested and invested in a game that you might otherwise not have been. It helps you to give attention to a game that deserves it. To give it the chance it needs to really show you how good it can be. For example I probably wouldn't have gotten Driver: San Francisco if I hadn't payed attention to the hype. The series has had a pretty poor history, so it's generally been a no-brainer to just avoid it. If I hadn't watched trailers and gameplay videos etc. I would have just let it pass by and forgotten about it shortly after. But getting caught up in the hype gave me the incentive to delve deeper and see what was going on with this game, and it turns out there was a lot. I'm not sure if my actual experience with the game was altered because of hype, maybe it was, but if it wasn't for hype then I would have a completely different opinion of the game overall.
So it can be a good thing and a bad thing, but there definitely is an effect. After all, companies hire psychologists to do stuff like this for them. They know exactly how to push our buttons, and everything we experience alters our perception on reality. That much is pretty obvious.
[Level 4: Cyborg]
going to completely ignore those walls of text because i'm a lazy fuck
It's really all about your personality. If you let certain expectations about certain aspects of a game affect you, you're obviously going to be disappointed if the game doesn't meet your expectations. It's all about you as a person.
[Level 2: Human]
It's difficult (at least for me) not to let the press and fanboys galore sweep you along the hype train. And once you're gone, you're gone. But I do believe this affects the overall impression of whatever game that has been run over by all the hype (poor, poor game). Typically, I find that when a game is hyped completely beyond the realms of space and is supposed to be something that exceeds every expectation, it loses its value after release. Because, although said game may still be excellent/great/what have you, it will NEVER meet up to the hype. In the end, most (if not all) are let down to some degree.
Yet if there is little to no hype over the same game, the reactions upon its release are completely different. Because, while it is still a great game, no expectations were held. There was really no bar set above it (other than hoping it wouldn't suck). Thus, satisfaction is spread throughout the community, and there are no saddened fanboys in sight.
Obviously, such circumstances are not the same for each and every game, so the outcome varies. But I find that, generally, this is what typically happens involving hype over video games.
[Level 1: Fresh Meat]
If hype wasn't important to promote a game, game makers could save a lot of money and time. And PR companies would be out of business. But unfortunately 50% of budget (or even more probably) is spent on building hype. It would be nice if that money was spent to make game even better.
However, these days it looks like it's almost impossible to make a game noticed without hype.
[Level 1: Fresh Meat]
over hyping games does not affect gameplay, but it does make your expectations to be set higher than usual, making you look for awesome stuff that the game may or may not have. just take a look at diablo 3. many fans did not buy the game (i am one of them). the decision for d3 to be online is the one that's to be blamed for its fate.