Spoilers are just so hard to resist

The blog Shojo Corner wrote a really great piece regarding spoilers a while back. The post talks about the idea of spoilers and how a spoiler negatively or not so negatively impacts our decision to watch or read something.

My view on spoilers is it doesn’t quite matter to me if something is spoiled. I’m more interested in how we actually arrive to the ending or to certain major plot points. I think I very rarely tell someone to not spoil me on something if I really want to be surprised. I find myself itching to find out how something unfolds before I even get to watching, reading, or playing something. It’s funny how spoilers just happen to find you without it being intentional.

I am currently playing the video game Mass Effect 2 for the Xbox. I haven’t really spoiled myself too much on how the games goes down, but I have looked up a few things to make sure I don’t screw up any big decisions I make in the game. Mass Effect 3, the final chapter (or at least the final chapter of the main character Shepard’s story) of the series, came out in stores last week. Players who have eagerly bought or pre-ordered their copy of the game have gone through the entire game within a week or less since its release on March 6th. Being unable to resist finding out some players’ experiences of how certain story plots and romance subplots play out in Mass Effect 3, I sought out mild spoilers.

At first I did avoid anything having to do with the ending, but eventually I stumbled upon a floodgate of fans’ outcry about how Mass Effect 3 ends. To say fans were upset about the ending is a HUGE understatement. After reading the non-spoilery responses from pissed and disappointed players, I eventually chucked my carefully constructed vow of not reading anything about the ending and I just read whatever I could about them. I had to know why so many fans who have played through 1 and 2 of the game series were up in arms about the ending in the last installment of the Mass Effect franchise.

What I have read is not good. Fans who agree that the game is great up until the last few minutes of the story are so vehemently against the ending as it is that an online petition has been created to demand that the developers at Bioware change the ending.

Knowing what I know now about how Mass Effect 3 ends, does this mean I won’t pick up 3? Absolutely not. I have read spoilers about how Dragon Age 2 ends before I even got around to playing it, and Dragon Age 2 also got a lot of flack for being a terrible installment of the Dragon Age series. After I played 2 to see for myself if I would hate it as much as other people did, I found I didn’t hate it as much as others who were ready to sell their copy or forget it ever existed. If anything, I thought the negativity was greatly exaggerated.

Spoilers for whatever reason are hard to resist sometimes. It’s the feeling of wanting to know how something turns out. I think we get anxious to the point that rather than wait and see what happens ourselves we want to seek out what others already know. Knowledge is a seductive thing indeed. I think I spoil things for myself these days rather than wait for the surprise. Maybe it’s a comfort thing? I really don’t know. Does it ruin the stories for me? Not in the least. I have spoiled anime and manga series on my own just because I wanted to know how it ends. Usually when I read spoilers, I end up forgetting how something ends until it actually happens. Then I remember how I read about it on the Internet.

When spoilers are out there, especially when it’s all over the Internet, it’s like a siren call beckoning you to read them. Even the disclaimer of “spoiler alert” gives me a sense of excitement. What does this person know that I don’t? I think I admire people who avoid spoilers like the plague. I don’t know how anyone does it, but I’m terrible at avoiding them. Even when I have every intention of avoiding them on those rare occasions when I may want to be surprised.

How do you feel about spoilers? Are you good at avoiding them? Or are you like me who has to know no matter what?

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11 thoughts on “Spoilers are just so hard to resist

  1. For me, I’ve noticed it’s A LOT harder for me to avoid spoilers for a game/entertainment medium if I really care about the characters in it. If I care about the characters, it might be too hard for me to avoid the spoilers, since I’ll desperately want to know what happens to them.

    If I’m indifferent towards the characters, I think it’s a lot easier to avoid the spoilers. Usually I avoid them eitherway, but with the former it is much, much harder to do.

    1. I have to agree. The pull to be spoiled is even greater when you love a character so much and the story is amazing. It also prepares you in the event of what you read turns out to be not so good for a game or series’ ending. For games, I definitely still plan on playing it even if I know the ending may be bad. I really want to be the judge and not get influenced by the opinions of others.

  2. I am like you! I need to know what happens! I try hard to avoid the unknown info, but like you said, it is a lot like a siren call! I think that’s why mysteries and I don’t get along. Reading spoilers has also helped me bypass some things I know I would have disliked just because of that one little thing that happens and it has also helped me avoid being overwhelmingly disappointed, like when a favorite character dies, by providing a buffer.
    …And then came the part about Mass Effect 3. ME is one of those rare things that I have really, really tried hard to avoid spoilers. Like you, I also make sure that I don’t make any mistakes that would affect the outcome that I want, but I force myself to keep it at that. After reading through some of the comments on the petition, I don’t know, I don’t really see what the big deal is, but then again, as long as I have Garrus, I really don’t care! Haha, just kidding(or am I?). I think the thing that irked me most about that petition were the comments of how some people were going to “boycott” the game without having even played it…

    1. Games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age heavily relies on you doing the right thing in the game if you want the best possible outcome ever. I suppose it would be better to just avoid the spoilers and just get whatever you get. Then if you hate the outcome, read the spoilers afterwards so on the next playthrough you get a better outcome. It’s impossible though. Especially when everyone and their mother have already played the games before you.

      I already expected ME3 to have a depressing ending of sorts, but I didn’t think people would be so upset over how Bioware handled them. Even as I read the possible endings you can get I’m still confused on the details anyway. I really don’t take people’s word for it. You have to just see for yourself. I also agree with you on the ridiculousness of boycotting the third game based on what people have said. I think people overreact at times. Just play the game and judge for yourself. Maybe you may disagree anyway. I’m more interested to hear a comment from Bioware over the fury of the fans and the petition they have created as a result of the ending upset. I doubt they will redo the ending or add a better one, but I want to see where this goes.

  3. Even though I dislike spoilers, I still manage to come across them all of the time, thanks to people who don’t use spoiler tags on forums or on TV Tropes. I’m like you in that I’ll go ahead and read spoilers even though I probably shouldn’t, although I tend to do that with anime and manga I’m not really interested in.

    1. I think I do it less with manga/anime I’m not interested in and more with the ones I am interested in. It’s weird.

      I haven’t encountered too many problems with people spoiling stuff without giving fair warning. I’ve been good with finding places that warn you first before proceeding. TV Tropes is definitely bad at warning you about spoilers for sure.

  4. On reactions/thoughts on a few things you wrote (didn’t read the comments yet so sorry if I repeat stuff others have said):
    -On Spoilers: I agree I find that spoilers do not ruin the “fun” of reading or watching or playing for myself. I’ve also spoiled many things for myself but that never deterred me from a series.

    -On ME3 Ending: I haven’t played the games at all, but I have been seeing the massive outcry too. It’s amazing how into the games and story fans can get. I’ve felt disappointed by endings too, but I don’t agree with the whole petition Bioware to change it thing. It seems a bit arrogant for fans to demand that the creators bend to their whim. I have no idea what the series is about or why fans hate the ending, but there must have been a reason for it to end like it did. Not saying you support this petition, but just my thoughts on this whole thing. 🙂

    -Dragon Age 2: I find that once we hear all the negatively, we expect the worst and perhaps that what helps us enjoy a game more. I know when I heard about FFXIII, my expectations were lowered and then when I watched a playthrough, I didn’t get all the hate for the story or characters.

    “When spoilers are out there, especially when it’s all over the Internet, it’s like a siren call beckoning you to read them. Even the disclaimer of “spoiler alert” gives me a sense of excitement.”
    You took the words right out of my mouth! xD The lure of the spoiler alert is too tempting to resist for me as well. Or if I see people talking about something and I want to know what’s going on, I’ll spoil stuff for myself too.

    I’m terrible at avoiding spoilers, although I do try to for certain games as I find the shock value is lost if you spoil stuff for yourself. I played Tactics Ogre with minimal spoilers and the story hit me so much harder because I didn’t know certain things would happen. There are things to be gained through. If I know something is coming, I tend to pick out foreshadowing much better than if I didn’t. So spoiling isn’t all bad. :3 /rant

    1. It’s bad that I actively seek spoilers out sometimes. Like you said about you playing Tactics Ogre, by avoiding spoilers you got the surprise and a very satisfying (I’m guessing?) emotional response from the things that happened in that game. It’s better to avoid them at times because you don’t know what to expect. Once you spoil something for yourself, you become more emotionally prepared for it and the breathless gasp moment doesn’t come at all when you already know what will happen.

      I can see why fans of Mass Effect would be upset over the ending. The first and the second game are really good. Bioware developed a great world with deep characters. It’s hard not to get attached to them. Considering 3 is the last for the creatable main character Shepard, fans were expecting a satisfying conclusion to a great game series. I don’t know if I’ll be throwing my controller across the room like some people seem to have when they got to the ending for 3, but I don’t want to judge yet. I doubt the developers will change the ending, but I’d be more surprised if they gave fans what they want and decide to make their next DLC for Mass Effect 3 be improved endings to tack onto the current game.

      1. I guess I’m siding with Bioware here because I’ve dabbed in writing and other creative things and I would find it really arrogant if a group of people though I wrote my story wrong and demanded I changed the ending. I mean I didn’t like the ending of Harry Potter, but I respect that it was Rowling’s choice to end it how she saw fit.

  5. I don’t mind getting spoiled. In fact, I look for spoilers. the only problem I have with spoilers is that, sometimes I get to kniow how the story ends , and if I don;t like the ending, I drop it. For example, I’m following Tonari no Atashi… i’m shipping one particular couple coz I do believe it is their love story….. but , it looks like the ending that I desire is not going to happen.

    Oh, gawd, speaking of hating the ending……………. play Persona 3 FES ! ! ! ! !
    I played that for more than 600 hours. T.T Never mind…. just play it.

    By the way, I JUST TAGGED you. Please chek out my latest post.

    Cheers !

    1. I think even if I know a story will end badly I’ll still read it anyway. Maybe after reading it I might feel the story should have ended the way it did. You never know really. I like to give things a chance before dismissing it all together.

      I hear a lot of good things about Persona so I definitely do want to check that one out in the future.

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