To Spoil or Not to Spoil?

Gears of War 3

An early alpha build of Gears of War 3 leaked to Torrent sites in July, followed by in-game videos hitting YouTube and the like shortly thereafter that showed off key moments in the game. A new interview by Edge Magazine with executive producer Rod Fergusson finds Epic Games sticking it to those who would choose to ruin the experience for themselves.

So I ask you… Are you one of them?

Spoilers are spoilers, regardless of the medium. As a storyteller, it’s unfathomable to me why some consumers want to ruin their own experience by reading or watching spoilers. Storytelling is dependent on surprise. Without the unexpected, you’re just reading a lifeless history report. If you know what’s going to happen before you crack open that book, or plop down your $8 movie ticket, or fire up the Xbox… then you’ll never have the experience intended by the artist.

Fergusson puts it this way:

When I look at being a fan of certain things, I want to consume them in their best form first, and then understand how they were made. Otherwise it has the potential to lessen the experience, lessen the impact. [Imagine] if someone said, “Ok, before I do this magic trick, let me show you how it works. So she’s not actually floating. There’s a cable here holding her up, and I’m going to move the ring around it this way. Ok, now let me do the magic trick and I want you to be astounded!”

As you would probably guess, I agree wholeheartedly. I’m not against re-experiencing something a second time. I’ve played plenty of games more than once, and I love to whip out a favorite movie and watch it again. But nothing will ever compare to that very first experience, and I never, ever want that experience to be less than what it’s intended to be.

On the other end of the spectrum, my wife loves spoilers. She has nothing against them at all. It drives me batty, but she actually likes to know what’s going to happen before it does. I keep telling her it ruins the entire experience for her, but she disagrees. She’s never really explained it in a way that satisfies me. So I’m not sure if she likes knowing that she’s not wasting her time on something that’s not going to end the way she hopes. Or maybe there’s just a certain comfort level that comes with knowing that you don’t have to get all worked up with suspense.


But I live for that suspense. And I’ll never understand those who don’t.

Beyond the spoiler issue, there’s the obvious illegality of posting a triple-A game online for people to play for free, ripping off the developer and publisher. These are things I would never condone. But what about you? Most of us would admit to downloading Torrents of a movie or TV show now and then. But have you ever illegally downloaded a video game?

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Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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