62: The Great Digital Hype

"The only thing worse than making a game with no hype, is making one that is overhyped. "Overhype" is when a player's vision of what a game will be far exceeds what a developer can possibly deliver. As a result of overhype, the game is judged more harshly than it otherwise might be." Dana Massey explores the fine line between hype and overhype.

The Great Digital Hype

As a personal anecdote to acompany this wonderful (though sad) article, I played through Deux Ex and LOVED it. I still find time to play it again and again (and again). Deus Ex 2 had me hooked from the first screenshot. I was anticipating it non-stop till release. When it came out I brought it home and was horrified. The game aspects I loved had been brutally altered. Gone were the skill points and skills, instead all was augmentations. The interface didn't appeal to me as much, and I hated the loss of the note taking feature. Recently I decided to play it again, I was looking for something to take up some time, and was between games. Going in with lesser expectations, I've found myself enjoying it quite a bit, so much infact, that I'm starting my second run through it.

- Tom

That's a great story, Tom. I do this all the time with movies - often if I look forward to a movie, I don't like it; but if I'm going in blind, not knowing waht to expect, or having no expectations at all, I have an OK time. The point you made, Dana, about the top movies being on people's "Worst of" lists is very well made.

As a companion to Tom's story about Deus Ex, Oblivion was a perfect example of over-hype. They even showed in game demos of all this cool AI and things you could do.. and what happened? the AI was nerfed before release, the interface for the PC version was a clone of a console, the skill and leveling system was a joke. It was all very disapointing, especially after how great Morrowind was as a game. I still got the game took it home and played it for two weeks but now it sits on my shelf gathering dust.

I salute the Wish devs for realizing that the game was going bad and pulled the plug early. More developers need to release demos or betas but i understand that time and money pressure can cause devs to release before they are ready.

oblivion wasnt optmised for either platform either and as a result chugs regardless of hardware which i think is far worse then any of the ingame problems.

also one of the most hype games ive fallen for was fable not because of the hype itself but because of what it was said to be by the devs and peter molynuxx, the game facts all the way up to release promised so much more then what was in the final product if i had known that i would achieve everything in 10 hours i would not have preordered or bought it.

It would be interesting to do a comparison of overhype between PS3 and Wii. Granted, PS3 has a higher negative mindshare due to it's majority-percieved blotched E3 showing, but the Wii similarly suffered from overhype after the recent price and date details (the previous announcements were carefully structured to generate the perception of cheaper costs and earlier release dates, without actually saying so).


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