Life, The Universe And Gaming: Spoilers Aren’t The Problem; You Are
Foreword: This column comes with a mild and excessively ironic spoiler warning, so, yeah.
Humanity is an endlessly curious thing. Greater folks than you and I have spent their entire lives dedicating themselves to answering the question of exactly why we are here, and what our purpose is in the grand scheme of things. This very column’s title borrows from a fictional rendition of that everlasting search for purpose; for an answer. None has yet been found. Sure we’ve come up with some workable theories. Some have turned to religion to explain things, others to the stars. Some have even thrown out chaos theory as the explanation. But is it enough to think that we are simply a coincidental hiccup in the ongoing progression of a universe far larger than we will ever be able to grasp before our untimely but seemingly inevitable demise?
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To be honest, I’m not sure most of us actually honestly really want to know the answer. Why? Isn’t it obvious. Because spoilers.
I’m getting a little sick and tired of people who cryface about spoilers, as if the cryfacing is warranted or something — really, there are bigger fucking problems in this world than finding out what happens next in something you have some temporary investment in. I had originally intended to save this for a Friday off-topic article but then I remembered how few people actually read those, and I realised that I could tie this quite nicely into gaming with minimal effort, and then I decided that I could use Friday for something else I wanted to talk about instead, and so here we are. And I only really have one thing to ask of the world with this particular column entry:
Can we just stop with the “no spoilers please” already?
Do you know what absolutely annoys, irks and leaves me intensely irate? That I have to tiptoe around others who seem to take actual legitimate offence to having something spoiled for them, even though the place I wanted to use to talk about whatever I want to talk about, is considered a place where talking about things is the order of the day. So to clarify, I can talk about politics, religion, my sexual escapades (or lack thereof) if I so desire, but I dare not talk about Game of Thrones? Fuck off, man. It further serves to frustrate me when every weekend I go onto Twitter or Facebook and people are live-tweeting all sorts of sporting events and the like; tell me, friends, how is that different? What if I really, really cared (spoiler: nobody ever does) about who won a particular match between two teams, and you just ruined it for me? Oh, but it’s just a game of football and you can watch it after! But don’t you dare tell everyone about Joffrey dying, two days after the show airs — and fourteen fucking years after the book.
I was understanding with the Red Wedding because at that point I knew that a lot of people weren’t as into Game of Thrones and it was absolutely the story’s greatest (and darkest) moment. Further, I knew that those people were smart enough to not go onto the internet, at least not most sites, until they had watched the episode. Not that they knew what was coming but rather, they simply had the sense of mind to not delay things and push their luck with spoilers. It just makes sense to stay off the internet when a series is happening that you are invested in, and you want to find out for yourself what happens next.
But places like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, even the comments sections of sites such as these, are not in the control of the site’s owners; they’re in the control of the users, to some extent. What I mean is that we do not get to dictate what is posted in the comments below, the same way you cannot control what others post to Twitter. We can delete or edit comments, the same way you can unfollow or unfriend people on social networks, but the point here is that these types of places are very much opt-in, meaning that if you really wanted to stay away from spoilers then the onus is on you to stay the fuck away from anywhere that users can post freely.
It really is as simple as that.
Getting upset at me because I want to discuss the Purple Wedding, or what have you, on a social network, is stupid. It’s a social network. The keyword really is in the title. Social. In case you haven’t figured it out yet. I should be free to discuss whatever the fuck I want, and if you care so much about spoilers then you should simply not be on there.
To address spoilers themselves, do I think that spoilers are okay? Well let me put it like this: I started reading the Game of Thrones books (the series is actually called A Song of Ice and Fire) just after watching the second season of the TV series, and I made the mistake of declaring this intention on Twitter, which then led to a former friend replying to that tweet with various spoilers including the Red Wedding, as well as a few others that have yet to transpire in the TV series. Did I then decide fuck it, and walk away from the series? No, not at all. Because while it’s all good and well to hear, “Robb dies.” It’s quite another thing to actually experience it in the series. And so it was that I read the books with a little more attention paid and really took careful heed of everything that transpired because I was aware of certain inevitabilities.
But that’s not to defend spoilers, they absolutely do ruin the experience for some. I still remember last year when after weeks of avoiding them, I stumbled upon the great plot twist that was BioShock: Infinite’s late-game reveal — and I guess it’s telling of how fucking sensitive we are that I don’t even want to reveal it right now, a year later, because I know how the cryfacers will cryface — and it absolutely sucked that I had done so well up until that point to avoid any spoilers. Did I blame the person who spoiled it for me? No. I didn’t. Of course, I had to edit that person’s column so it was unavoidable but the fault was still mine; I could have asked someone else to edit it. I didn’t.
Spoilers exist. If you really, really, really cared that much then you would have stopped making those lazy-ass excuses of, “Oh but I don’t want to read the books, I want to experience the television series for myself,” and just gone and read the fucking books. Perhaps that’s elitist of me to say because I actually took the initiative and went and read them myself. Fine, but please, stop with this complaining about spoilers. I understand entirely if someone messages you directly with spoilers — you should probably stop being their friend — but I want to be able to talk about what happened in the latest episode of Arrow, The Originals or even that movie I watched about a soldier named Winter. And I want to be able to do it on social networks, not in the cold, dark vestiges of the deep web, just because the rest of the world has become so fucking sensitive.
In parting, I want to say that I pity historians; every world event is a spoiler to them.