I Refuse to Ride the Hype Train

It really doesn’t matter what form of entertainment media we’re talking about, I am forever and ever behind the times. While that allows me to seek out things that suit my taste at my leisure, it definitely also has drawbacks.

You might think that spoilers are the worst of those, but for me? It’s hype.

I’ve come to realize that once people start talking in terms of something being the best of the best, it starts plummeting on my personal to-do list. The more positive attention something gets, the less interested I become. It’s not because I’m some wacky hipster who couldn’t possibly like something that’s popular, but because there’s a tipping point, and once that point is passed, nothing can ever be as good as it has been made out to be.

Forgive me folks – I’m going to say something now that many folks will find horridly offensive.

Firefly was … fine. It probably deserved a second season, but in no way is it the best TV show ever made. Hell, I don’t even think it’s the best of the Joss Whedon shows. And Serenity? Don’t even get me started on Serenity.

I am fairly certain I would have enjoyed my time with the series more if it hadn’t been a victim of excessive hype. I might have even liked the movie better (but I highly doubt it – that movie just isn’t that good).

Take a moment to catch your breath if you need to. Cuss me out. I get that Firefly is absolutely sacred to a lot of people.

Despite really enjoying reading lists of All Time Best Video Games, I find myself passing over actually playing a lot of those games, despite having ample opportunity. I don’t own The Witcher 3. I’ve never played Portal. I played the first 30 minutes or so of the first Mass Effect, and never cared enough to go back. I still don’t know what Undertale is about, but I don’t feel the overwhelming need to play it.

Of course, despite being unwilling to ride the hype train, I certainly have no issues driving it. I love recommending games, and there are a handful that I find myself recommending over and over. I am single-handedly responsible for the presence of Psychonauts in the Steam library of about a dozen people I know.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about games (and movies, TV shows, and books) that other people are loving, especially when I know we already have similar tastes. But I also don’t believe the perfect game – and by that I mean the game that’s perfect for every single player – exists.

Do you find yourself riding the hype train? If you do, are you more often pleased or disappointed by it?

7 thoughts on “I Refuse to Ride the Hype Train

  1. I am much more careful with the hype train nowadays. And it is all because of Oblivion. Back in the days, when the internet was a much more innocent place and Morrowind was the latest and best Elder Scroll games, I looked every info I could about Oblivion.

    Morrowind was so good for me, and such a turning point on what games could do, that I believed Oblivion could do no wrong. When I finally got to play Oblivion to say I was disappointed was an understatement. It was a bitter lesson about hype though and since then I have been more careful about which games I am hyped about.


    1. Oh. This is near and dear to me. I started with Daggerfall, loved Morrowind, and I too found Oblivion a let down (although I still played the hell out of it). My expectations were far lower for Skyrim, and again, I played the hell out of it and enjoyed it, but yeah, Oblivion forced me to have a more realistic view of TES as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Daggerfall is one I only played in demo form (one day I will play the full game! One day!) back when we got those in CD magazines. It is what made me obsess over the series until I got my hands on Morrowind and fell in love. 🙂

        Oblivion though I could never finish. Not even mods could make the game tolerable enough for me. But I will try again, one day, just to see if the Dark Brotherhood questline in there is worth the praises it gets (I am not holding my breath). Skyrim, even though it isn’t as good as Morrowind, isn’t completely horrible too. And I too played and still play the hell out of it (thanks to mods! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For hype to exist, it requires a potential customer base that already has a propensity towards unrealistic expectations. So although it is fair to lay a portion of the blame for hype culture at the door of marketing departments and PR companies, we should also look to ourselves. It am not advocating cynicism by default. However, I think gamers should endeavour to cultivate a more measured and logical outlook regarding their own expectations. Disappointment is not something that is thrust upon you. You have to actively participate in allowing it to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh! I really like this perspective, and truly, I hadn’t considered the role of personal responsibility in tempering our own expectations.

      Personally, I mostly ignore paid hype; that’s just advertising. It’s the gushing from consumers that I feel is more likely to have an influence.

      Liked by 1 person

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