We’ve become a culture obsessed with getting entertainment early. VOD plays movies before they hit the theater; Chris Nolan leaks the best scenes in the Batman movies as trailers; I’ve listened to half the tracks on most albums I’m looking forward to by the time they hit Spotify. Gamers are at the vanguard of this phenomenon. For decades we’ve pored over magazines and websites (like this one) to see little images, watch little snippets, read little tidbits. We’ve squinted at grainy screenshots of the newest Thing in obscure Japanese periodical. We know everything about the media we consume before we consume it. No alarms and no surprises, indeed.
I’m not going to watch the first five minutes of BioShock Infinite online, and you shouldn’t either. Some true facts: 1. The opening sequence in Bioshock is one of the all-time great immersive narrative setups, ever. 2. As good as the rest of the game was, it was the best part of the game, by far. 3. I will never forget where I was as I played it, under the covers of a bed in my cousins’ house in Berkeley, my old laptop propped up on my knees. My jaw actually dropped.
What if I had already watched – not played – the opening in a little grainy YouTube player? I would have ruined one of the most memorable gaming experiences of my life! So, enough is enough. I’ll download all the leaks off the new A$AP Rocky album; I’ll devour everything I see about Pacific Rim, but I am not watching one second of the Bioshock Infinite opening before the game comes out.
Irrational wants to stoke our anticipation – I get that; it’s business. But if you let your anticipation get the best of you, you’ll be robbing yourself of that pure moment on March 26 when you sit down, put the game in your PlayStation, dim the lights, and play. You’ll have no idea what to expect. The possibilities will be infinite.