I received an edition of a certain gaming magazine this month and there as an excerpt from the editor that piqued my interested. His comment spoke about streaming killing off the single player experience. Now, since I happen to stream frequently on twitch.tv (twitch.tv/ender410) I took a particular interest to his story. I won't go into overly detail on what he said, but to summarize, he posed the question:
"Does the ability to watch a game from beginning to end (whether stream or videos or whatever) destroy the linear single player experiences?"
I think that is an excellent question and merits some discussion. Let's go back to pre-internet, or pre-streaming however you want to look at it. The only way to experience a game was to play the game or go to your buddies house and watch them play or play there. Now I know growing up if I watched someone play a game it did not diminish my want to play the game, in fact I can think of at least once (Soul Blazer on the SNES) that it in fact increased my want, no, NEED to get the game.
Fast forward to now. When the South Park: Stick of Truth game was released I honestly had absolutely 0, less than 0 even, want to play the game. I hadn't watch South Park since season 2 or 3. (I couldn't tell you what season it's on now, like 30 or something?) but I watched someone else play the game (Faucius at twitch.tv/faucius) and while watching his play-through I found myself getting very interested in the game. I enjoyed the hell out of it and not only for the fact that Faucius is hilarious and really added to the humor. By the mere act of my watching someone else play a game that I had no interest in I had my original opinion completely flipped around and ended up wanting to get the game even though I have seen a few people now stream the game.
For those of you who do not know, Twitch.tv is a website that you can go to and watch people play games. This can be board, video and even card games as well. Some people stick to one game all the time, such as Minecraft and some play tons of games switching out if they beat the game or are getting bored and need to mix it up. The communities can be fantastic and make watching and chatting much more fun.
Now this is just my thoughts on the matter. I have never been one to be bothered by spoilers and the like. I have always felt that if I am going to play a game, or watch a movie I am going to regardless of what I know. That being said is there more of a surprise to find out that Soylent Green was people (lol) by watching instead of being told? Of course! But for me knowing what happened in South Park: Stick of Truth didn't diminish my enjoyment when I turned around to play the game. I still enjoyed the game itself.
Along a similar vein, what about when you beat a single player game. Do you ever go back and play the game again later? Whether to try and 100% a game, play through areas you didn't play or skimmed through? Some games have better replay ability then others, I will use Dishonored as an example here, the first time I played through it I did a special blend of stealth until I was discovered then it go loud time. This game was recently released on Xbox's Free with Gold set of games and I plan on picking it up and playing again. The story didn't change, I still know how it ends, but I want to replay the game even so because of little details or secrets I might have missed. To me, this is the same as watching someone play then playing the game itself on my own, or even on a stream.
What about you? Do you feel spoilers ruin your enjoyment of a game? Knowing how the storyline of a game is going to end up, does that stop you from playing the game, enjoying the mechanics or details of the game? When you beat a game once do you ever come back to the game? Drop a comment below, let's talk about this!