I am a gamer. Have been for years. I built my first “console” long before the Vic 20 was released, which involved acids baths (not on me), soldering, and programming in hexadecimal. I think I just lost many of you.
No fear, I’m not going to get any more technical then that. What I am going to talk about is the recent explosion of “dashed hopes and dreams”, and how this seems to mirror the word we live in.
Recently, there was a reveal and confirmation of perhaps one of the most anticipated games of the past 10 years. Star Wars Battlefront. I still own a Playstation 2 just so I can play my copies of the first two games to use that title. I have followed the life of this game, through its troubled times with a now defunct developer, across murky legal waters, over the sale of LucasArts to Disney, the eventual handover of all gaming development to EA, and the saving grace when DICE (Stockholm) convinced EA to let them develop Battlefront. I know its story.
I have also watch the ebb and flow of Fans. More specifically, their fluctuating expectations, and tendency to react without getting the full story.
He is the underlying truth; Ignorance exaggerates expectations.
Once upon a time, I was taught that expectation was based a reasonable understanding of what was possible. These days, and please correct me if I am wrong (I would love to be wrong) expectation has more to do with personal desires and wants, rather than having any association with reality.
So here is where I attempt to make the analogy between Gamer Expectations and Society in general.
A trailer is released showing a potential graphical presentation of a game that has been anticipated for a decade. Fans go wild, for both good and bad motivations, and this line can be clearly seen, in comments and posts, as being driven by their expectations. Be it informed or naive expectations, this is what is dividing the fans.
Those displaying the most disappointment would (in the majority) appear to be very unaware of the history of the game, the promises made by the developers, and the time considerations. They are often expressive, to the point of offensiveness. Frequently argumentative, and often confrontational. There is also the occasional Troll, but I’ll not discuss them here. Essentially, it is the most ignorant who are the most upset.
DISCLAIMER: Ignorant means lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact. It is not a term for derogatory comparisons, so please, don’t take offence.
It seems to me that most people seem to take their aggressive ignorance as a sign of strength, which I simply find peculiar. In most cases, where the person in question is not simply playing Devil’s Troll, a measured explanation of the facts often subdues the beast of expectation. The person remains disappointed, yet without the vehemence of indignation.
Hey, I’m disappointed too that certain things are not included, even with my background in computer development and software design. People tend to forget that technology tends to improve because we want to do things better, faster, prettier. For example, using today’s technology, is a game developer used graphics from the 1990s or earlier, then the game play would be outstanding. Crappy graphics, but incredible scope for diverse gaming, and expansive maps. Just because we have better technology, it doesn’t mean developers can do everything quicker, better, and more efficiently. It means that can to what they were doing better.
However, the expectation is that EVERYTHING can be achieved. This is simply not so. Technology and functionality push forward at the same rate, so if you want the best graphics, you need to compromise elsewhere.
What I find particularly interesting is the aversion some people have to what is called Downloadable Content (DLC), which is a brilliant way to expand an existing game. Yeah sure, certain companies see it as a way to increase revenue, but seriously, this is like supporting your arts industry. If you don’t pay the developers, testers, catering crews, actors, directors, designers, etc, etc, then you wouldn’t have any games to play at all. Yet DLC get’s a bad rap because “it should have been in the original game.” I prefer to see the incredible potential in DLCs, rather than bagging the obvious “it’s a money making scheme” to which I say “Well duh!”
Expectations lead to Depression
And here we get to the point. I have said it before, expectations are not a measure of success, they are a measure of failure. When ignorance fuels expectations, then the potential for disappointment, and emotional pain, according to what I see, increases rapidly.
People are incredibly attached to things; idols, TV shows, technology, sporting teams, whatever. So much emotional investment in something they have absolutely no control over. So when things don’t go well, and as expected, the pain is profound.
I know this feeling. My own passage through depression is filled with periods of disappointment in myself because I didn’t reach someone else’s expectations of me. I couldn’t be the person they wanted me to be, and I know now that I could never really understand what was expected of me, because they weren’t my expectations.
If we could somehow take that emotional investment, turn it around, and invest in ourselves, rather than things. That is not to say that we stop loving our shows, our idols, our technology. Just that we can emotional detach without going through withdrawal symptoms, because we have also invested in ourselves, because, we as individuals are worth it.
We all have something unique to offer, and it is not our disappointment, our expectations, or our aggression. It is our belief in ourself. If you need to expect anything at all, then expect that every day, you can do your best.