There’s a saying that I’ve found to be particularly true when it comes to gaming: “You know what you like.” In this age of information many of us have reached a point where what everyone else says about something informs our own opinions. We have so many people out there telling us what games we should and shouldn’t like that even the most independent-minded of us, who do indeed know what they like, can’t help but be affected.
It’s so incredibly easy to get caught up in the fervor of launch hype and raving reviews. When a game you’ve been watching suddenly gets all kinds of praise and everybody seems to be head-over-heels for it, suddenly what was once just merely interesting becomes a flawless treasure that you absolutely must have. Your personal taste might object, but it’ll get drowned out in the wave of popular opinion. It’s not that we submit to the common opinion so much as it is that we truly want the game to be what everyone says it is. The crazy thing is that it actually does feel like it’s just that good..for a little while.
The most recent instance of this happening to me was The Last of Us. Now I am by no means saying that The Last of Us was bad, because it wasn’t. I’m saying that for me personally it wasn’t a very good fit. For me, the best parts of the game were the detailed environments and the characters of Joel and Ellie. The rest of elements like gameplay and story were well…forgettable. This was my impression before the hype hit and after I had gotten through about 2/3rds of the game. What was it in between these two points? “This is the greatest game of the generation!” A starstruck impression derived from the media I was reading about it and the infectious excitement of my friends who happened to be awestruck by it too. I don’t buy games for the characters, so if I hadn’t gotten caught up in it all perhaps I might not have bought the game.
After waking up from the hype and realizing that I too am susceptible to hype and rave-reviews, I went and bought another game that my initial impressions said I would like. One that I had passed by because of lukewarm reviews and hearsay, a game called Remember Me. Along with being a blast to play, I found Remember Me to be a solid game with a lot of potential I hope they tap into if they ever do a sequel (man that would be awesome!). It’s true that “you know what you like”, and it took my experiences with these two games to remember that.
I just really felt like I needed to share this with you all so that you don’t have to be reminded like I was. If you aren’t affected by hype and reviews, I applaud you. It’s getting increasingly hard to be unaffected by such things in these days. However, if you’ve found yourself revising your opinion of a game shortly after the hype died down, then perhaps you too need to remind yourself that it’s okay to trust your instincts.
After all, you do indeed know what you like.