Around Christmas time, there were a couple of kinds of kids I knew. There were those that no matter how much they wanted to know what they’d been given for Christmas, they’d never actually peek or open them early. I was one of these kids. Maybe it was a respect for the tradition of waiting for the appropriate time to open my gifts, or maybe it was because I wanted to save the surprises for one big moment to enjoy, or maybe I was just lame, whose to say. Then there were the other kind of kid, the one that couldn’t wait, who would shake their presents, rip paper to see inside or just go through their parent’s cupboards and open whatever they found. It’s the later of these people who have made it so enjoying a game as they come out is next to impossible.
Pokemon Sun and Moon were announced back in February. People wasted no time going through the short trailer frame by arduous frame and finding any little scrap of barely relevant information. Then they’d proceed to fill social media, Youtube and video game blogs like Kotaku with the flashiest, attention grabbing thumbnails and images they could, whether people browsing these places wanted to see them or not. Since then, Nintendo have been pretty heavily pushing the upcoming Pokemon game, much more than they have with previous games in the series: releasing constant trailers, images and other information about the game to build up hype for what will probably be their biggest seller this calendar year. The problem is that people are eating it up and I really, really don’t want to know any of it.
I love the Pokemon series, and used to get excited for the games releases. With Sun and Moon, their aggressive pushing of the game has cooled me on it a bit. This is part their fault, and part the fault of the internet at large. Not too long back, Nintendo put out a demo for the new game. I wasn’t overly impressed with the demo itself. But mediocre demos aside, the biggest problem that came from this was people data mining the demo for content to do with the unreleased game. Due to poor foresight from Game Freak and Nintendo, people have basically managed to mine the entire contents of the game out of the demo and then published it everywhere they possibly can.
The problem is, with the internet and social media being what it is, it is next to impossible to avoid information for a game as anticipated as this is. No matter how much you want to. There’s no way I could black out all internet from February when the game is announced till November. My only choice is to try my best to avoid to seeing things like this and opening articles spoiling the game.
The sad problem is that not everyone has the tact to put this information behind a click and over the course of the last eight months I’ve had pretty much everything about Sun and Moon spoiled for me, from the entire new pokedex, to the nature of the main antagonists of the game itself, to other potential twists in the story. Simply because some news sites can’t resist putting fat spoilers on the main page of their news articles rather than behind a spoiler warning or a generic picture of Ash Ketchum. Or people with mildly popular Youtube accounts needing to create the clickbaitiest thumbnails possible.
Pokemon seems to suffer uniquely from this problem while also never abolishing anyone for basically giving away their game before they’ve even revealed it themselves. People seems to be so totally unable to contain themselves when it comes to things like this, but game freak don’t seem to make steps about it. Film makers have cancelled entire projects when scripts leak. Hell, Nintendo are pretty ruthless themselves when they want to be when it comes to blocking people broadcasting their games online. Unfortunately, this type of coverage is nothing but free press, something Nintendo kind of need after this year.
In the end, I’m still going to buy the new game. Whether my enjoyment of it will be effected by all these leaks or not I can’t say. But I’ve noticed a reoccurring trend with all things popular these days; be it movies, games or television shows. Nobody wants to simply watch and enjoy anything anymore, they need to pick it apart. To create podcasts dedicated to talking about a single minute of a TV show and speculating about the thousands of potential meanings behind it, only to find out that if they’d waited six days that it was nothing, simply a writer’s secret message to his wife. Then they’d write a dozen “unbelievable Easter eggs in your favourite show list” and it would pop up there till the end of time.
Nothing can just be popular anymore, it needs to be a cultural phenomena. And despite being around for 20 years Pokemon has suddenly found itself in the mainstream again, and thus we can’t be allowed to be surprised by anything in the game anymore because the internet at large has become a hive mind that accurately spoils, reveals and predicts everything that is every going to happen in all your favourite media…
Yeah, so I’m annoyed…