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Spoilage

by Kris Wolfe 

This guy seems overly sensitive to basic politeness. Spoiler warnings are there so that if you don't want a game spoiled, you can skip the part with the spoiler. I avoided all things Chrono Cross for MONTHS before playing it because I was tired of always knowing everything about a game before playing it. I knew half the plot of FF8 before I played it; this has happened with other games on occasion. The worst example I can think of personally is Xenogears. I had this spoiled up, down and sideways by everything from websites to friends, and I didn't mind. I usually don't MIND spoilers. But then I found that I didn't want to play the game. I've owned it for 2 years now and never played it. Why? Because I already know the entire plot and all the little twists and so on. It sounds neat and I really mean to get to it... someday. But first I want to play a game where I have no idea what's going on and it's a new story. So I always play my new games first and never get to Xenogears at all. I was determined that I wouldn't let this kind of thing happen with Chrono Cross. I wanted it to be a new experience where I'd be like "whoa! that was a cool part!" or "What a neat plot twist!" or "I didn't expect that!" and it would be WHILE I WAS PLAYING, and not on IRC or while reading the Q&A. And since things everywhere were helpfully spoiler-marked, I didn't spoil myself and I had a really intense first time through the game.

Usually I don't really MIND spoilers, as long as they aren't excessive or so much that I don't even need/want to play the game anymore, but there are a few cases where they're really bad news. I don't know who's seen Escaflowne, but I think if I had found out about the end before I got there, I wouldn't have wanted to finish the show (though I'm now so glad I did!). Similarly, if someone had told me "the deal" with FATE and the Dragons in CC, or who Kid is, I would have been very disappointed at those points in the game because the mystery would be gone. The second or third time through, the mystery is gone, but you can always nostalgically recall that first time when you didn't know what to expect and you were shocked or amazed. There is no fond memory associated with a spoiler; it's just something you know. It doesn't make the game "worse" but at the same time... part of the fun of going through ANY plot (book, movie, or game) the first time is the reactions you have and the feelings that get pulled up. And part of the fun of going through that plot again is to remember that feeling. I don't care if someone tells me the basic gist of the plot of a new game, or what the character names are; but start giving away the parts of the plot that are unexpected or unusual or moving, and you're making the game that much less meaningful for me.

I could tell you that at the end of Chrono Cross, you get an item called the Chrono Cross and you have to use it on the last boss to get the good ending. Spoiler? Yes, but nothing I'd break a sweat over. If you're a gameplay nut.. well, they tell you in the game anyway, so it's not like you'd have to figure out that you had to use it. And I didn't say how. So you can use judgement when talking about parts of the game with others in the presence of people who haven't played. In a chat with me and a friend who hadn't played CC yet, my friend said, "What about that part where Serge ___ Lynx and Lynx ____ Serge at the fort?!" and I was like, "Dude, that was surprising! I couldn't believe it! Of course I was a little sad but..." and our friend had NO idea what we were talking about, even though it was a major spoiler. There are ways to talk your way around spoilers, as long as the other person has already played the game.

And if you absolutely MUST tell someone some spoiler, in detail, well, open a private message window or send them e-mail. It's not that tough. And if you're in real life... wait till the person who hasn't played it isn't around, or send the other person e-mail anyway. There is absolutely no situation in which you MUST spoil something, and it's just polite not to. Who cares if you personally don't mind spoilers or think they're stupid? Are you so selfish that you just don't care about the feelings of others who DO want to choose whether or not to spoil something for themselves? Geez.

--Kris Wolfe [Angry cow productions]


Original Editorial : Let's play sense-making game!
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