The Problem of Overhyping Games
We’ve all run into that game that we thought was the “perfect” game. The story is perfect, the combat is expertly tuned, and the art and music bring a tingle down your spine. “How could this game not be more popular? It has everything! Everyone I know has to play this game immediately!” But then, once you present the game to other people after building up the expectation of it being the best game since Pong, you hear the dreaded words:
“This isn’t as good as you made it out to be.”
We have all “overhyped” a game at least once in our lives. Even if it never reached the levels of extreme that you might see on social media websites, we have a game that we love, but those around us don’t quite understand the appeal. That comes with the territory of interacting with other people. We all have differing opinions on what’s good and what’s bad, but what exactly does it mean to “overhype” a game?
The problem of overhyping a game mainly comes into play in situations where the reality of a game isn’t brought up alongside the expectation that someone can expect while playing. This happens more frequently with games that haven’t been released yet, as trailers, interviews, and even game demos can shape how you think a game “may” come out. If we look at No Man’s Sky – before it turned around and fixed its reputation – the hype that it built was immense, only to be followed by disappointment when reality hit.
Now for games that have already released, let’s look at Hades. This game has been mentioned everywhere at this point and has been recommended high and low. It’s even in the running for GOTY! While I do believe that the recommendation is warranted, Hades has unfortunately fallen into the trap of being recommended in an echo chamber. If you ask if you should play Hades without prior knowledge of what exactly the game is about, outside of it being popular lately, most of the responses you’ll get will say “yes,” and leave it at that. Some people may give further insight as to why you should check out a game, but otherwise, you’ll just see a sea of “yeses” (along with a couple of “noes” just to mix things up). Along with those responses, you’ll probably run into the following statement, as well:
“Even if you don’t like [ x genre ], you’ll love this game!”
I’ve seen this statement so many times with gaming, and it is probably one of my pet peeves when it comes to recommending a game to someone. If a person does not like a particular genre, then there is probably a reason for that and unless those issues are magically resolved with this game, then this recommendation doesn’t really amount to much unless you know the exact reason why the person doesn’t like the genre. Going back to expectation vs. reality, telling someone who doesn’t like roguelikes/roguelites that Hades will make them like the genre may be true, but it may also be false. Making a blanket statement doesn’t really offer much insight on what to expect.
Trust me, I understand wanting more people to play the game that you’re excited about – I’m still waiting for people to realize the greatness of Capsule Monster Coliseum – but one of the worst ways in my opinion to build up expectation for a game is to portray it as something grander than it may actually end up being.
On the flipside, the issue with overhyping also lies on the person checking out the game. If you go into Age of Calamity knowing that you don’t like Warriors combat, didn’t enjoy the demo, and wasn’t impressed with any of the promotional game videos, and come out saying that you hate the game because it’s a Warriors game and not BOTW, well, there’s not much to really say about that. Even if all of my friends told me to purchase a game, I still do research first. If I know that I like simulation games but don’t enjoy sandbox games without a story guiding me through, then why would I purchase Minecraft?
There is an issue with the community building up expectations for a game to the point where latecomers end up disappointed due to reality setting in. But I also believe that when making the jump into a new game, some form of research needs to be done. Of course, all of the research in the world won’t prepare you for the actual experience of the game once you start playing. But paying attention to the facts presented to you can potentially stop disappointment from happening in the long run.
Have you guys ever been on the end of playing a game that you felt was overhyped? Is there a game that everyone tells you is amazing, but you just don’t see it? Let us know down below!