As soon as a freshly announced game catches my eye, I always read and watch everything I can find about it. I know all about a game before its release; the game’s features, story and gameplay. This sort of ruins the magic of gaming; you already know everything you’re going to experience in whatever game you’re playing – the sense of wonder and discover is completely absent.
It was different when the only way I’d get my video game news was from monthly magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly. Each month I’d read read little bits of information and eagerly look at any screenshots I could find. Now that the internet is where I get most of my gaming news, I have an overflow of information thrown at me at all times. With a quick Google search, you can find a ridiculous amount of information about any unreleased video games.
Huge gallery’s of screenshots and videos and a plethora of written previews are available to anyone with an internet connection, months before a game is released. I’ve done this for years but recently I made the conscious decision to avoid reading anything about the latest game I’m eagerly anticipating – Rockstar’s LA Noire.
The last game I remember being genuinely surprised by was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. When OoT was first released I was 10 years old. I had recently started playing through The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past and was just starting to get into the Zelda universe. My parents bought OoT as a Christmas present for me and my older brothers. I had no idea we were going to get the game for Christmas, I didn’t know anything about it other than a quick ad I had seen in a movie theater.
Playing OoT for the first time was an experience filled with genuine discovery. The fact that I was now part of this 3D world completely blew my mind. Exploring OoT’s world, taking advantage of the game’s open ended gameplay and traversing my way though the game’s dungeons was a genuinely original, exciting experience.
I’ve experienced these feelings before while gaming but nothing has ever matched the level of wonder I experienced with OoT. At 22-years-old, I tried to recreate this sense of wonder with LA Noire. I knew very little about the game other than the fact that you play as a detective and investigate crime scenes – I hoped to keep it that way. Every time I saw a preview or information pop up on my screen about the game, I quickly closed it. I knew that the main character is that guy from Mad Men (Aaron Staton.) I also knew that the game has been in development for years, but that was about it.
As time wore on I found it increasingly hard to avoid the LA Noire publicity machine. I ended up watching a few trailers and learning a lot more about the game than I had initially hoped. In the end though the entire game was still somewhat of a surprise, but I certainly wasn't able to recapture that sense of wonder and amazement.
Have you ever played a game you eagerly anticipated but knew absolutely nothing about? Have you intentionally tried to avoid reading about a game in order capture this sense of wonder I’m searching for?