Why I Refuse to Watch Skyward Sword Footage
The element of surprise seems to be fading and becoming a lost art. Personally, I love surprises. I like not knowing what my birthday and Christmas presents are until the very moment I open them. I like waiting in anticipation for some big event. I just like being surprised, but thanks to the internet, it's becoming harder and harder to obtain that feeling of true and incomparable surprise.
Fall is here, and the AAA releases have already begun hitting download markets and store shelves everywhere. This is going to continue throughout winter and after the new year arrives. Though I won't deny how eager we all are to play some of the hottest upcoming games, I can't help but feel like they've lost just a bit of their magic thanks to all of the promotional footage, gameplay videos, and screenshots that we see on the internet all too frequently.
I'm totally OK with a new item or two being revealed, but let's not go overboard with the spoilers.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword may very well be my most anticipated game of 2011. Though I'm primarily a lover of indie and downloadable titles, have a grand affinity for offbeat games, and have this strange, inexplicable obsession with the Kirby franchise, no series in all of gaming is more emotionally gripping to me than Zelda. Maybe it's the lack of speech that allows me interpret the story and characters as I see fit. Perhaps it's my adoration of the vast, fantastical in-game world. Or maybe it's the chill-inducing vibe that has been prominent ever since I played Ocarina of Time. Whether it's one or all of those factors, Zelda is a franchise I absolute love.
It is this undying adulation that keeps me from scouring the internet for tons of news, screenshots, and gameplay footage of the upcoming Skyward Sword. Believe me, it's tough. With new details dropping as the game draws closer to launch, rest assured that it's a bit difficult for me to refrain from clicking on links and watching lengthy previews. That said, I've noticed that it's gotten exponentially easier the more I avoid big reveals.
Over the past several weeks, I've seen some noteworthy news items regarding Skyward Sword. The opening cinematic for the game has landed on the web. Websites are proudly featuring lengthy gameplay videos, one of which I believe contains the first two hours of the game. To top it all off, we're getting screenshots and gameplay clips that show off some of the new characters in Skyward Sword. While it may be impossible for me to avoid seeing everything, I've made it a point to stay away from any major spoiler footage.
Whatever the hell may be going on here, I don't want to know what it is until I actually play Skyward Sword.
That intro sequence? Yeah, I have no clue what happens in that. As for all of the gameplay videos out there, all I've really dared to watch are some basic combat previews and the weapon upgrade system, neither of which really spoil anything in terms of the flow of the game, minor characters, and dungeon design. The reason I'm doing this is because I love the Zelda series, and when I finally get my copy of Skyward Sword on November 20, I want to be almost completely surprised.
When I first played Ocarina of Time, I was totally shocked throughout my entire experience. Sure, I had read a lengthy feature titled "From Boy to Man: Link Grows Up" in Video Games for the Nintendo 64, a special magazine released under the EGM banner, but all I had to go by were lengthy paragraphs of text and a handful of low-res images. I wasn't aware of how Ocarina of Time would play out, the importance of the characters, or the lay of the land. Everything was completely new to me when I popped that cartridge into my Nintendo 64 for the first time.
These days, it's hard to get that emotion of surprise, and even though I like not knowing anything major about the games I play up until the very moment that I play them, I can't lie and tell you that I don't check out gameplay footage and screenshots of games I'm looking forward to. Saints Row: The Third is a perfect example. I've made sure to watch as much footage of that game as possible over the past several months. I know the wonderfully absurd content that rests within that game disc, and I know all about it because I didn't hold back. Max Payne is a personal favorite of mine, and I've managed to keep up with every little bit of news and video content that hits the internet.
Back in 1998, info on upcoming games was mostly kept to a text-based minimum. None of this "here's the opening sequence in Zelda" tomfoolery!
I doubt that these games will fully shock me when I finally play them, but I know for a fact that Skyward Sword will be rife with surprises all over. Since I've systematically refused to know much about the game, I can now expect a good, old fashioned gameplay experience, one that will hark back to my Nintendo 64 days when I first played games like Ocarina of Time, Turok 2, Jet Force Gemini, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Paper Mario.
I think it's really cool when I don't know what to expect from a game. Don't get me wrong, I know that as gamers there are some important details we need to know about the games we plan on spending upwards of $60 on, but every so often, I'd like to think that I'll be caught completely off guard by a game and be treated to a handful of awesome surprises. The games we love are fun regardless, but for me, there's something really special about witnessing a certain level, hearing a song for the first time, interacting with a new character, and discovering a massive boss while actually playing the game, as opposed to watching it all unfold on YouTube.