Extra Lives: Don’t believe the hype

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I’ll admit it. I am very, very excited for “Civilization: Beyond Earth” to come out. I may be more excited about this game than I have been about any other. The anticipation is killing me. The release date comes closer and closer, but it feels like it’s getting further away.  The game just looks so good. It’s everything I want in a Civilization game and then some.

It’s important to remember that the game hasn’t come out yet. It doesn’t for several days. Yet, I still find myself wanting it more than ever. However, even in this state of anticipation, I can’t help but have my doubts.

I trust Firaxis to do the right thing and release a quality game. At least, I think I do. In the past year, the industry has seen numerous releases that were hyped up to no end. “This is the next big thing.” “Believe the hype.” Games win awards before they’ve even been released. I wouldn’t be so wary of this kind of excitement if so many of these games hadn’t turned out so disappointing.

For example, take the recently released Bungie title “Destiny.”  For at least a year prior to the game’s release, it was hailed as the next big game. This, we were told, was the future of gaming. This was the game that was going to show us what the next-gen consoles could do. The result? A repetitive, boring experience with a lackluster story not unlike things we’ve seen before. It wasn’t a horrible game. It just wasn’t nearly as good as it was supposed to be.

A lot of this hype stems from the gaming media itself.  Websites receive press statements from a publisher’s public relations team and then simply regurgitate the information back to their audience. There’s no objectivity there. The press simply repeats the mantra that a game will be incredible over and over again because it’s easier than actually reviewing the game. This is irresponsible on almost every level imaginable.

The consumer is also to blame, however. This is in part because gamers constantly buy into projects that are clearly not developed yet. We buy games through early access, support them on Kickstarter, or even pre-order them. Although the media can be somewhat blamed for hyping up a game prior to its release, it’s ultimately the consumers who make the choice to spend money on a game that’s unfinished or unreleased. This brings up a point that I don’t think I can stress enough: Do not pre-order games. Just wait until the reviews come out. It’s very tempting to get way too excited about a game (trust me, I know) but in the end, you have to resist the urge and instead decide to make a rational, informed decision.

How does this apply to me and “Civilization: Beyond Earth?” I am very excited for this game. I’ll probably buy it within the first few days of its release. Sure, I’m excited, but I think I’ll wait for the reviews to come in. I was very tempted to pre-order the game, but after considering all the options, I don’t think I will. It’s better to wait a few days after release and potentially save $50 of  my money.

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