I don’t get to talk much about the games I’m playing anymore. I’ve gotten very good at talking around them, being suggestive but vague, so as to avoid the constant concern about spoilers. It’s not very satisfying. Some of the most impressive game experiences I’ve had have been reduced to “it’s really neat!” and a desperate hope that someone else I know plays through it so that I can talk about it openly. It doesn’t happen much, but there’s always the possibility that someone is going to play whatever game, so I still can’t talk about it.
It’s frustrating for me, because games are a social space. I may have mentioned previously that I don’t watch TV on my own, and the quick, flippant explanation I give is that years of interactive media have made me fidgety when just watching a show, and I like to have someone else around to talk to and share the experience with. That latter part is very true, but it’s also because what I want is someone to talk to about what I’ve experienced, who I know is in the same place I am. The delicate dance around spoilers runs extremely deep, and I catch myself shushing people who are a little too open about them, and hating myself for it. As before, games are social for me, and if I can’t talk about them, what’s the point?
I get similarly antsy when there’s nothing my friends and I are playing together. Without someone to share the experience with, games and honestly, most media feel someone empty and uninteresting. This doesn’t necessarily mean multiplayer, and in fact often doesn’t– it just means we’re in the same place and experiencing the same things, so we naturally have something to talk about.
It calls to mind the experience of playing Heavensward. Twenty or thirty of us were hanging around regularly, NOT talking about the game we were all playing together, dancing delicately around spoilers. By the time we actually talked about it (relegated to a specific Aggrochat episode, where the reins were off), the exciting glow of the experience had dimmed somewhat. The Aggrochat Game of the Month has a similar effect– we all play the game together but often pointedly avoid talking about it until “it’s time”. I’ve started playing the GotMs a lot closer to time, just so they’re fresher in my mind when we talk about them.
My game is coming up for our Game of the Month, and I’m hoping I can talk the rest of the crew into a) not keeping mum about it until the show and b) keeping the muzzle off for spoilers. It’s going to be a big enough game that we can all go our separate ways and do different things; in this case I think spoilers might actually add to the experience we all have rather than detract.
Really, though, I just want to talk about the experiences I’m having without worrying that someone is going to jump down my throat about sharing them. I’ve long since passed the point where I find experiences for their own sake terribly compelling; my experiences have meaning when shared with other people. I respect other people’s wishes to keep said experiences pristine and fresh and new, but I’ve realized that in so doing, I’m denying myself a huge part of the enjoyment I get.
I don’t know of a good solution to this. I know that it’s lately left me listless about various games I’m playing, even the compelling ones. Maybe I’m just waiting for a kickstart.