Ask Me: Episode Seven (Is Guidance Without Spoilers Possible?)

smb question block 01

As many gamers out there can relate to, most of the people I know don’t play games. I’ve often wondered what the perception is of a gamer to those that don’t play, or who do play but with far less frequency. With the advent of mobile gaming, more and more people are some type of gamer, whether they find that to be true or not.

So I got to wondering, what do non-gamers wonder about gamers? What do they wonder about video games?

So I asked.

And here’s what my friend M.T. (who actually is a gamer, as well as a super productive human being) had to say:

I used to play video games quite a bit and then kinda didn’t for awhile and recently returned to my favorite-of-all-time type of game: Classic Sierra Adventure games.  I had played the whole King’s Quest series as a kid, but actually completely missed the Space Quest, Quest for Glory, and Police Quest lines.  (I got most on Steam, but they’re almost all available as abandonware now). 

So with these games, I refuse to look at the walkthroughs/online spoilers (which means of course that I am now stuck, at different points of completion, in EVERY SINGLE SQ game that has ever been made, and giving myself a few days to cool off before going back to them).  I wonder how the availability of strategy guides and walkthroughs on the internet affects more “puzzle type” games.  Does it make people like them less?  I personally ended up not liking multi-player and MMORPG type games simply because I’m not good at them and sucking at stuff makes me feel bad.  So I prefer a more single player game that’s more cerebral, but that can be isolating, especially if you can’t even go to message boards about the game for fear of spoilers!

Another thing I discovered that was cool was that several of these games have remakes that were made by …. fans.  This just amazed me.  That someone would like one of these old games so much it would inspire them to update them with better graphics just for kicks.  Obviously copywriting was an issue but in most cases it looks like the game developers ended up being like “cool, thanks guys” and allowing them to persist.

Excellent thoughts/question! Let us traverse these thoughts!

I think, more and more, gamers online are increasingly prone to avoid spoilers. Of course, there are always the folks out there who let anything and everything slip, so, proceed with caution!

I do enjoy that many sites seem to have implemented safeguards to make sure you see only what you want to see by way of non-spoiler guidance. One of my favorite techniques is when a general guidance is given, and then there is an “invisible” block of text that can be highlighted to be read for more direct guidance. I think this is a fantastic method for giving the player the nudge they need without spelling out the entire solution.

Back when I first got the Wii U, I was playing Little Inferno and I was stuck on a handful of combinations to burn in my Little Inferno fireplace. I was looking for light guidance and I found a site that gave me hints, but that would also outright tell you if you continued to be stuck. I appreciated the choice.

I think there are walkthroughs for all walks, honestly. I think there are the explicit, play by play options out there, and I like that those exist. There are also guides that offer the general nudge approach, and I like that, too. With all the games to play out there, if you are stuck on one thing for an extended period, it’s such a lovely resource to have to get past difficult spots.

I think in an increasing “Let’s Play” society, the existence of walkthroughs don’t effect the likability of puzzle games. I think they offer help to those who want or need it, and that can only be a positive.

As for remakes made by fans, aren’t they amazing? I recall reading about a few that people were working on for years that turned out wonderfully. What a testament to both a game and the people intent upon bringing it back into the present in a new way.

And with that, I’d like to thank M.T. for her time and thoughts. I truly believe that games can connect us and foster stronger bonds, and that’s a remarkable thing. Whether they are video games, board games, card games, or any other type of game, I’m in.

Cheers to more questions and the discussions they bring!

Categories: games

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6 replies »

  1. I too am very cautious about spoilers and generally try and avoid walkthroughs for that reason. However, as you have illustrated, there are a ton of great options out there should you happen to get stuck. I’m always impressed by the level of effort that people put into their guides and always thankful for the hard work that they put forth just to help others.

    This discussion also made me think about the times where it can be fun to actively decipher a game as a community. My time with Bloodborne is one such example in which I greatly enjoyed being part of the group who was uncovering a game’s secrets for the very first time.


    • As cautious as most of us are, there are still plenty of people out there who just love to spoil things for the rest of us. Hopefully they are few and far between.

      How fun with Bloodborne! I still need to get back in to that. I hope to in October.


  2. As always, I enjoy your interviews. And I hate spoilers. I think guidance is absolutely possible without spoilers and I totally appreciate it when I need a bit of assistance. Websites with walkthroughs or FAQs that allow you to only see as much as you choose are a great thing! And friends who are sensitive to spoilers and endeavor to avoid it are the best!


    • Aw thanks! I hope to have another one up sooner than later.

      And indeed! I think for the most part people are good about it. But then there is the one person out there who wants to troll people and will ruin it for anyone.

      Makes me think of a time I looked at a horror movie on amazon. One of the “reviews” listed first was super short and flat out said who the killer was. I was like, SERIOUSLY? Dork. They ruined it for who knows how many people.

      Liked by 1 person

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