Monday, June 16, 2008

Creature of the Night

My love for games forms a large part of the passion that drives my work. In the last couple of months, I have partaken in not just one, but two midnight game launches. In April it was for Grand Theft Auto 4, and more recently for Metal Gear Solid 4. In both cases, I admit to feeling genuinely excited prior to the release of each game. The funny thing of it is, I don't stay up that late anymore, so I only get an hour or two of playtime before going to bed (well, I suppose some people might consider 2:30AM to be a little late..). The reason I do it is for the satisfaction I have the next day, which is palatable, and it leaves me with enough longing to make me giddy until I can return home. Calling myself a superfan isn't really the right word, because I don't buy anything and everything that is associated with my favorite things. However, I definitely feel a strong excitement at times when I sense that something I want will live up to my expectations. I want to say more about both of these games, but I will reserve that for a later time. The great thing is, in both these cases the excitement I feel about each still hasn't worn off.

At this point in life, many of my friends and colleagues no longer wait out in the late hours of the night to pick up a game. Chances are, most of us won't get much time to dive into the game for potentially weeks. That said, I think there is another important reason for continuing to partake in this process. To understand the enthusiasm and disappointment of a fan, I think you need to continuously experience being one yourself. Having waited years for something to come out only to be disappointed is something everyone can relate to. On the other hand, having the final product meet and exceed expectations can add value to peoples lives, sometimes for many years after release. I enjoy going on this emotional journey from reading initial press reactions, to discussing game trailers, to being in the pre launch line at midnight, and all the way through the conversations that ensue once people have gotten to try the final result. And then there is the inevitable sadness. Sadness that you experienced a game that was clearly hyped up to be something it wasn't, or so completely exceeded your expectations in a way you know will perhaps never be replicated in quite the same way. The ups and downs are what make me feel alive, and I hope I can continually exceed the expectations others have for the things I create.