Hype Down: How I learned to Anticipate in Moderation

It was EVO 2010. A new game was teased by Yoshinori Ono and I, along with many others, got excited for a new Darkstalkers game.

Fast forward to Comic-Con that same year; Ono, alongside Tekken producer, Katsuhiro Harada, reveal Street Fighter X Tekken (SFXT). Jaws were on the floor and the hype was through the roof. That one gameplay teaser brought so much joy to this blogger’s little fighting game heart I almost couldn’t think of anything else.
It was two more years until the game came out, but it was one of my most anticipated. Any information I could find, I would savour until the next morsel of information reached my palate. I was constantly hungry for more.

This made me so embarrassingly giddy... 
As more SFXT information arrived, I ate it up. It was shaping up to be a “VS” game, reminiscent of Capcom VS SNK with the artistic execution of Street Fighter IV. My mind couldn’t process the ever-growing hype I had. Once Cammy was confirmed as a playable character, the wait for the game became unbearable. So unbearable, I would constantly watch trailers and gameplay footage of the game almost every single day for a good two months.

This was the one, people—the game that would be the gem of my collection.

One month to the game. Thirty more days to the temporary halt of my social life. Well, not entirely. I was coordinating online matches and tournaments with both friends and strangers online. The hype almost took over my life. One week to the game’s release, and I had everything ready. I dusted my arcade stick, hooked up my 360, and started writing down potential strategies and noting matchups.

I remember the release day clearly. I was at work constantly eyeing the clock. The hype was so enormous, I almost considered leaving early. Almost. Once the work day ended, I rushed to the store where I had the Collector’s Edition of the game pre-ordered and sped home faster than Sonic the Hedgehog on caffeine.

I played the whole night and was a tired mess going into work the next day. One week passed and I played as much as I could to get a good impression of the game and then I asked myself, “What the hell is this shit?!”

The game was a mess. The gem system was terrible and people online were ruining the experience for me (mainly letting that stupid countdown timer run out). The game just felt incomplete. In fact, it was incomplete as Capcom had locked away DLC data on-disc, something they have done before. I was done with Capcom after that and I wondered why I got fed up over a video game.

It was the hype. As gamers we sometimes set absurdly high expectations on games and it is a very dangerous thing to do. Oftentimes, we can’t help it. If a sequel of a game we adore is releasing, there’s no stopping us from being giddy at every drop of information. In the case of SFXT:

1. I’m a huge fighting game fan.
2. Street Fighter is one of my most beloved franchises.
3. I’m a sucker for crossovers. The game had everything I love, but ultimately the business side of things reared its ugly head.

Companies develop marketing plans to increase the anticipation of a game, pre-release. They need to create the demand or their sales expectations won’t be met. You can’t fault a company for doing that, it’s a business. What’s different in regards to SFXT, is that Capcom saw an opportunity to obtain money in a controversial way.
Who DOESN'T love on-disc DLC?!
Content was on-disc and could be unlocked by giving the company more money on top of what you paid for. I didn't want to pay extra for gems (didn't care about the system at all), nor did I want to pay for characters that were already on the disc. The whole situation soured the experience for me and I have nobody to blame but myself. My belief was that the game would be “TEH BEST GAEM EVAR!” and I set myself up for disappointment.

So how should one counteract the hype? Well, you don’t have to. If you’re excited for a game, be excited. Nothing’s wrong with that. Just remember that the hype is a byproduct of extensive marketing by big businesses. While they may be part of the reason, having high expectations can attribute to any disappointment you have with a game.

Keep your expectations reasonable. Don’t expect an immaculate piece of software because a game’s trailer says [insert video game "journalism" site here] finds it, “divine”. Before upsetting yourself just know that a game will likely have flaws, but that doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the ride. Buy into a game for your own reasons and nobody else’s because in the end, it’s your hard-earned cash and it’s your opinion.