There’s a lot of content out there just waiting to be consumed by people. Be it movies, video games or books, they all contain stories or information that we want to get to and experience at our own pace. Yet there exists one concept –the spoiler—that can turn an exciting discovery into a flat, uneventful moment. The Internet, unfortunately, has a lot of spoilers drifting about and a large number of people that take pleasure in spoiling things for innocent people and taking away their fun.
I don’t understand those people, nor do I really want to.
A spoiler is helpful to no one, as it only exists to reveal relatively important information before the proper moment. At its best, a spoiler is revealed accidentally due to a misunderstanding between two parties, but ultimately isn’t as bad as both originally thought; at its worst, a spoiler is the creation of one of the aforementioned people who enjoys spreading them and takes every opportunity, appropriate or not, to let loose that info wherever they go.
Just recently, details regarding the ending of Naughty Dog’s upcoming title, The Last of Us, were found in the demo for the game that was included in God of War: Ascension. They’re not actual images or video of the ending, but the filenames contained within could easily spoil the ending of the game, as well as what happens to a few characters. Of course, this being the Internet, the spoilers are already spreading around like a virus.
My problem does not lie with the people who got curious and decided to dig around in the files of the demo. My problem is with the people who are spreading it around without a care in the world. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that The Last of Us is a highly anticipated title, so why, knowing that, would you purposely share game-ruining information like that? Regardless of whether or not you care about the game and its story, there are others that do, who also spend a lot of time on the Internet. So much time, in fact, that they could mistakenly stumble upon the spoilers when they did not mean to. It’s incredibly easy to take in a piece of information that relates to something you were not looking for. I’ve lost count of all the times it’s happened to me.
Remember the year 2011 (it wasn’t *that* long ago) and how people were speculating on whether or not The Joker dies in Batman: Arkham City? I believe Kotaku caught a little heat thanks to this article (or rather, the headline), which now contains many a comment calling the headline, and a couple of parts in the article itself, a spoiler. In this particular case, I don’t think the author or Kotaku saw any of this as being a spoiler, but in the end they were right, albeit unintentionally.
And then we have BioShock Infinite, which the Internet seemed all too ready to spoil. The plot of the game heavily outweighed the gameplay (which wasn’t bad) and saw the rise of many spoiler-filled talks. When’s the last time people took to discussing a game that fast? It was as though spoiler talks were had simply to get ahead of the people that were spoiling it for no real reason. You almost had to exile yourself from the Internet, play through BioShock Infinite, and then come back because all anyone wanted to do was bring it up. Mass Effect 3 had the same vibe to it. It came out, people played it, and then they talked about it a lot.
Speaking of spoiler-filled discussions, I suppose they serve a different purpose than a ‘regular’ spoiler. I say that because, at the beginning, I said the point of a spoiler was to bring up important details prematurely. A spoiler talk, despite sharing the ‘spoiler’ part, is something else altogether. For one, you’re given a heads up when going into a spoiler-ridden discussion: if you’re played the game or don’t care about spoilers pertaining to it, welcome; otherwise, it’d be in your best interest to leave. A spoiler barely gives you a warning before it comes charging into your ear and takes up shop in your brain.
Spoiler talks also reveal the spoiler-labeled information then goes into detail about it, as opposed to a ‘normal’ spoiler that kind of shows up then promptly leaves without any further explanation.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s a time and place to talk about spoiler-y things. Yet, in a lot of cases regarding big, story-driven games, some aspects of their plots are leaked beforehand and the Internet becomes a slightly more dangerous minefield because of it. Even the leaking of a game’s Achievements can impact a person’s experience with the story, simply because of how it’s named or described.
You may have come to this conclusion a while back, but I don’t particularly like spoilers. Never have. I think the people who spoil things for no other reason than to cause misfortune for others need to be the last to know anything, or never come to know it at all. Some sort of Cosmic Information Ban, I guess. That being said, I’ve been on both sides when it comes to spoilers, as in I’ve had something spoiled and I’ve accidentally spoiled things for other people. Hell, I’ve written a couple things that have had some spoilers in them, but I also made sure to make that obvious from the beginning.
Spoilers suck. Especially when they pertain to something you’re currently invested in. If you haven’t played something like Mass Effect or BioShock yet, and have managed to avoid spoilers, I’d love to hear how you’ve stayed pure this long without going, or already being, insane. Is the process the same as initiating a media blackout and vowing not to look at any more trailers or screenshots?
On the opposite side of that, what compels a person to actively seek out something that would be considered a spoiler? It couldn’t mean anything without the proper context, so why bother with it? Or is it just thrilling to learn something you shouldn’t be able to know yet? To you guys, I say either keep it to yourself, or keep it confined to a specific area that unaware people can’t wander into.
At the end of the day, there’s so much good stuff out there just waiting to be taken in; to be experienced for oneself. So can we please try not to ruin it for other people? The people that want to go in fresh and learn at their own pace? Is that too much to ask?
Because getting some hints as to what happens in The Last of Us would be a huge bummer. Go spoil Soul Calibur or something; that wouldn’t be too bad.
Kyree didn't have an N64 or Dreamcast as a kid (so sad) and he doesn't remember finishing any of his PlayStation games, but skip to the PS2/GC/Xbox era and everything changed. He hasn't been outside to play tag in forever, but he can recall playing way too much Smash Bros. and even more Kingdom Hearts; seriously, he can recite lines from it. I think he may have a problem.
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There’s a lot of content out there just waiting to be consumed by people. Be it movies, video games or books, they all contain stories or information that we want to get to and experience at our own pace. Yet there exists one concept –the spoiler—that can turn an exciting discovery into a flat, uneventful moment