Monday, January 14, 2013

The well was poisoned

One of the ways in which I fill my time is by watching Spoiler Warning. Spoiler Warning is an internet-based video series wherein one of the participants is playing through a computer game, and the remainder are heckling him, backseat driving, and talking about something else entirely while he does so. This mess is then cut into episodes and put on YouTube for the enjoyment of the masses.

So far, this setup has worked well. I watched playthroughs of all three Mass Effect games, and noted that they changed massively in play, tone, and writing quality; and felt no desire to bother playing through myself. I watched a playthrough of Fallout 3, in which the game was roundly eviscerated for its flaws of writing and plot, but the bugs I saw told me that I would enjoy the game - and when I bought it, I did indeed enjoy it. When they reached Deus Ex Human Revolution, I had been refusing to buy the game; their showcasing of the game showed me that the objectionable parts were FAR outweighed by the parts I found excellent, and I bought the game. Their single episode on Team Fortress 2 made me realise that it was something I could find fun; and when they covered Half-Life 2, that got me to re-activate my dormant Steam account so that I could re-play it.

I've enjoyed games vicariously through them; and I've been reminded of what I loved about games by them.

And then The Walking Dead came along. People had been saying very complimentary things about this game; the team at Spoiler Warning thought it was good enough to roll straight into a season without the traditional couple of weeks' break. I saw gameplay I would enjoy; I saw writing I would savour; and what I didn't see was the hideous mess that is the broken save system. I bought it; I played it, briefly; and I threw it at the wall in utter disgust at the betrayal of its potential. I was so disgusted, in fact, that I opened a ticket with Steam support stating that as designed, it was a defective product; and I did receive a refund of the money I'd spent on it. Steam doesn't give refunds except in very unusual circumstances, so I shall definitely be asking more probing questions regarding future purchases.

However, I have until now enjoyed all the Spoiler Warning seasons. This includes the ones featuring games I would not expect to find fun to play. I'm no longer enjoying the current season, though; the sour taste from my disgust with the game itself has seeped through, and even as the trademark heated discussions, sidetracking, and (so far as is possible) chaotic stupidity on the part of the player character continue, I'm finding almost no desire to watch the new episodes. Meanwhile, the old episodes of Fallout 3, being released onto YouTube after the original video host for said season decided they didn't like having content, are dragging me back; but The Walking Dead provokes at best a listless response, and at worst active dislike.

This is their tenth full game, though, and they've covered numerous other games in specials, one-off streams (multiple times, said streams have induced me to buy games by showing me what can be done in them), so they're running a better than 90% success rate in entertaining me, and I don't blame them for what The Walking Dead did to me. Whatever Season 11 turns out to be, I'll watch it.

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