Never fear—this isn’t a post that is going to be spoiling anything. Instead I am here to talk about the real enjoyment that can be had by spoiling a game. Not in the sense of us “ruining” the game for folks, but in the real logical sense why there are so many that want to have the game spoiled for them. You all know who you are, and when it comes to Zelda I am right along with you. The goal of this is to have an open discussion on the benefits of enjoying spoilers to give those who don’t insight into a side they may never fully agree with.
I want to start off by saying there is nothing wrong with not wanting things spoiled: it is very true that for many a game is simply better when experienced first hand without expectations or pretense. It’s also equally true that having a game spoiled for you doesn’t inherently mean you can’t or won’t enjoy the game. In fact, sometimes it actually heightens enjoyment. Speaking as someone who falls squarely on the line of increased enjoyment, I wanted to share what about having things spoiled for me gives me pleasure.
Speculation is A Lot of Fun
Remember when we had some fun speculating where Hyrule Warriors falls in the timeline? That was insanely fun. We then found out at E3 this year that the game isn’t part of the Zelda canon. You could argue that maybe not saying anything at all about it would have kept this fun going longer—but it also would have lead to a greater disappointment later when we realized it wasn’t part of the established timeline. However, the point here is that we were able to create speculation based upon known details from the game. The more we know, the more we can speculate about what we don’t know. How many times did we have posts about what characters should be added to Hyrule Warriors next? It’s hard to have that conversation if you aren’t willing to look at the characters we currently have. Same is true when looking at bosses, locations, story points, etc.
Essentially, the more we know, the more we speculate, and that speculating can be a lot of fun. Heck, we’ll be speculating about Zelda U again soon enough, and we have absolutely no new details to work off of. If Nintendo was willing to show us the entire opening section of the game, suddenly we have more to talk about and speculate about. I understand some don’t want to see it, but they are missing out out a key part of the fun in spoilers.
It Feels Like We’re Experiencing the Game Together
People love watching video game streams for many reasons. Some of it is the personality of the streamer, but the chief reason a lot of the time is see a game in action. Sometimes the games we desire to watch in action are games we haven’t played at all. Other times we’re watching new trailers or YouTube clips… or reveling in new details revealed from various quotes and translations. When we play a Zelda game, we’re playing it alone. That can be a very rewarding experience. It can also be rewarding to experience something together. That experience can be something greater than the individual’s experience alone in their room.
For me, a large part of enjoying spoilers is that we get to enjoy them together. You’re seeing the same trailer, the same stage, the same boss fight, the same type of gameplay as I am. We get to talk about that gameplay and revel in what we saw. This crosses a bit over into speculation, but it focuses more strongly on feeling like a tightly knit community.
I Don’t Play Games for the Unknown
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy discovering something completely new in a video game. However, if I know it exists, it doesn’t change how much I am enjoying the experience. I’ll use another example: how many times have you replayed a specific Zelda title? Why do you feel inclined to replay it? This is the same logic applied to folks who don’t mind seeing and experiencing the entire game before they themselves get to play it. Just because we’ve seen the entirety of the game doesn’t change the fact that we want to play it. In fact, often the more we see, the more we want to play it for ourselves.
The unknown can be amazing to experience first hand, but it can always be equally disappointing. Many times I can already tell you long before I buy a game if I will enjoy it or not. That’s because I took the time to spoil much of the game for me. This may get rid of the surprise, but it also eliminates the disappointment of spending money on a game I simply don’t enjoy. It’s like a two way street, really. The risk and reward factor.
This is Only the Beginning
I feel there are many reasons people love spoiling the game for themselves, and it’s hard for me to use my personal experience as the only reasons. Are there reasons you enjoy spoilers? If there are, feel free to share them! I firmly believe there is a lot of joy to be had by spoiling a game for yourself, but I am really interested in knowing the various reasons others enjoy it.