Regarding the Arkham City Spoilers: Everybody Simmer Down

Just chill out a bit...like this guy
Just chill out a bit...like this guy

Crotchety gamers across the internet became cranky when a number of gaming outlets spoiled a plot twist in the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham City. Some outlets put it right in the headline, while others hid it under the fold or within spoiler tags. I’m not here to criticize other outlets and how they handle coverage - especially when it comes from an event devoted to press and media attention. Instead I want to say that spoilers really aren’t the end of the world when it comes to video games.

Of all the mediums that could be affected by spoilers--books, TV, film, and games--the enjoyment of a game is least affected because of their participatory nature. Players are only getting more agency in games as technological and narrative ambitions increase. If someone tells me what happens a few hours into a game, I will still enjoy the hell out of that game.

SPOILER ALERT
SPOILER ALERT

Let’s take Mass Effect 2 for example. A few months before the game’s release, Bioware revealed that your ship from Mass Effect 1 blows up in the beginning. The internet freaked out, much like with this Arkham City spoiler. Now think back to when you first played Mass Effect 2. The sequence where the Normandy blows up was still awesome and, sure, it would have been more awesome if it was unexpected. Now, remember all the stuff you did after the Normandy exploded, that wasn’t “spoiled” for you: the choices you made, the side missions, the love interests, the cameos from the first game. Those all combined to make Mass Effect 2 the best game released that year.

Arkham City will be the same way. Consider all the other villains they have revealed, and how large the scope of the game is. There will be awesome twists, action scenes, and takedowns of lethal villains. Arkham Asylum was just as fun on my second and third playthroughs--even after knowing all the story beats--and I expect Arkham City to be the same.

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