Leaks ruin hype in games

Nintendo’s latest Switch releases in two of their most popular series seeing the brunt of leak related content on the internet in spite of developers’ best wishes. (Dylan Robinson/Lariat)

Akin to a leaky faucet, the games industry is nothing special from other industries when it comes to information getting out to the public unintentionally early. Leaks happen and the public freaks out for a week or two then people move on until the game comes out leaving mystery and excitement for the wolves.

Most recently Twitter has exploded with the latest Pokemon leaks for their latest incarnations, Sword and Shield, revealing the entire roster of new Pokemon and gym leaders leaving people looking to go into the games blind clamoring for security away from leakers’ posts.

Same goes for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where “leakers” try and rally up communal fervor by posting fake leaked footage of upcoming downloadable content releases carefully edited to be as deceptive as possible. Frankly it gets annoying combing through Twitter’s sea of unyielding hype mongers to get to content that creators are actually proud to reveal themselves.

Not to sound like a “back in my day” discussion thread, but seriously… back in my day in the early 2000s when games were still starting to mold into the beast of an industry it is today, they carried mystique and an overall awe inspiring presence with them.

Keeping in line with Pokemon, the titles released for the series back in 2003 for the US with Ruby/Sapphire and eventually their updated counterpart Emerald in 2005 showcased this aspect incredibly. Hidden bases providing player made housing available throughout the game’s region in addition to countless legendary Pokemon up for grabs upon completing the game’s story.

These legendary Pokemon in particular offered no real intuitive tools to track them down. Even completing some of their puzzles proved excessively tasking requiring specified walking patterns in the overworld and making the player put certain Pokemon species in an esoteric order in their party spaces.

Not to harp on about Pokemon entirely, so instead, looking over at Smash’s earlier entries noting Melee in closer examination the characters you would unlock had an air of mystique to them thanks to the internet and YouTube either being small or a nonconcept at the time. When the “Warning! Challenger Approaching” screen popped up as a kid, you are filled with dread and at the same time excitement for the possibility of adding a new character to your roster but not knowing how they fight yet.

It was always exhilarating to feel the cold chills sent by that screen or seeing a roaming legendary Pokemon come into your view upon randomly running into it on a route in Ruby and Sapphire. Older games obviously carried greater weight when these encounters occurred due to the internet age not coming into full bloom of recently, yet I can’t help but feel it can be remedied nowadays just by not leaking information to start with.

People will always be in poor tastes on the internet, I understand that, but whatever happened to retaining developer intention when it came to a game’s novel secrets? Surely it can’t be just me who goes into things completely blind now due to fear of spoilers and shared content ruining my initial impressions of a piece of media.

There are measures in place on Twitter to avoid keywords encompassing topics you want to avoid but the same can’t be said for the whole internet where everything is permitted and these leaks sure do look true.

Avert your eyes and avoid looking at leaks for I believe they ruin any enticement you initially had for a game, movie, album or whatever other art is being ruined online through the cheap thrills leakers provide. Now I shall return to my shelter where the leaks cannot hurt me and continue playing my old, turn-of-the-century Nintendo games in complete and utter solace.