How Upset Should Gamers Be About Spoilers? - hist Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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How Upset Should Gamers Be About Spoilers?

We've all heard that familiar refrain.

You're having an innocent discussion on Twitter or wherever (maybe even in "real" life?) and you mention a game where something similar happens. Inevitably, you hear this:

"I was doing my best to avoid spoilers on (Game) but then somebody went and posted the ending! Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" 

Spock just had the ending of Red Dead Redemption spoiled (thanks to Memory Alpha for the photo)

Should this hypothetical gamer really be that upset?

I've always been of two minds on this one.

First, if it's a new game, say within the last six months or maybe even a year (the timeframe is debatable), then yes, you should refrain from just spitting out a spoiler about a game. If you're talking about the latest James Bond movie, you should avoid saying how Bond ultimately killed the bad guy (oh, come on...has there ever been a Bond movie where the villain actually was arrested at the end of the movie?)

But should you also avoid, out of the blue, stating how Bruce Willis is actually dead in The Sixth Sense?

As you can probably guess, my second mind says that old stuff can be spoiled, though it would be courteous if you asked the person you're talking to first whether or not they've seen the movie or played the game or whatever. But you shouldn't have to worry about any impartial observers of your conversation being accidentally spoiled on something they've been avoiding for ten years because they haven't got around to seeing it yet. For example, if you're discussing it on Twitter, a third party really shouldn't be start ranting at the two people discussing it by shouting "YOU SPOILED THE ENDING OF CITIZEN KANE!!!! YOU A-HOLE! I WAS GOING TO WATCH THAT TOMORROW, FINALLY.  WHAT? YES, I AM 45 YEARS OLD. WHAT OF IT?"

My third mind just wishes the other two would shut up and let it sleep.

I have actually seen this, somebody getting truly upset because they just happened upon a conversation where the ending of a 10-year-old game was spoiled for them. And they weren't even involved in the conversation. I think there is a statute of limitations on when spoilers require general warnings, and while just where to draw the line can be up for discussion, I think ten years is way beyond it.

Again, if you're talking one on one, or even in a small group, it is courteous to say something like "have any of you seen (X Movie)? Are you going to?" Most people don't care by this time if they haven't seen it, so you can go on and make your point. But you shouldn't have to worry about Joe Schmo walking by the watercooler and overhearing your spoiler.

Can you imagine a world where we had to walk on that many eggshells in conversation, just to avoid spoiling things?

Person 1: The mayor really shouldn't be doing that. I can't believe that you disagree with me.

Person 2: But he really should! It's like Beach Blanket Bingo...have you seen it?

Person 1: No, I haven't.

Person 2: Ok, it's like...The Outlaw Josey Wales. Where...

Person 1: I haven't seen that one either.

Person 2: Oh....well, it's like.....I got nothing. You win. The mayor shouldn't be doing that.

There would be chaos and society would probably crumble.

(Empty Chair: Hyperbole much?)

Certainly it would be a lot harder to have discussions with people. Have you thought about how often we reference pop culture when we're talking about things with friends? I find myself doing it all the time, and it's often unconscious.

But that's beside the point.

What was my point? Oh yes. It's that you shouldn't be given crap by anybody for accidentally spoiling them on something that is years old.

Some people don't care about spoilers even in new stuff. Whenever I think about spoilers, I remember the TV series Babylon 5.

Two of the ambassadors, G'Kar and Londo Mollari, hated each other but yet still had a sort of grudging respect. There was constant tension between their species, and there was a lot of bad blood and history between them.

This was at the annual Christmas party (thanks to Ani-Bester)

In one of the very first episodes of the 5-season series, they showed basically how these two characters would ultimately meet their fates. But the fun and intrigue was in seeing how they reached that conclusion, the journey these two characters took as they weaved in and out of each others' lives.

Sure, you've had the ending spoiled, but wouldn't it be interesting to see how they got to that point? What drove the characters in Red Dead Redemption to get to the point where that ending happened (yes, I'm not going to spoil it here)? That's why I don't understand people who say that they won't play that wonderful game because they already know how it ends.

So what do you think? Is there a time limit for when it's legitimate to get upset about spoilers? And are you one of those people who does get upset, and maybe even doesn't play the game afterward?

I'd love to know why.

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Yes, this is the post that I promised in my last post about spoilers.

Only two months late!!!

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