New Game+: No more secrets

May 11, 2011

Remember the days when secrets in video games used to be rare to come across and sometimes only discussed among a group of friends?

The original Mortal Kombat, when released in arcades, was full of hidden Easter eggs and secrets. And when Mortal Kombat II was out, it was a hot topic of discussion among my friends. Rumors would start about secret fatalities and characters that weren’t actually in the game. The new Mortal Kombat is now out and people have dissected it thoroughly, making lists and compiling every last secret and unlockable that game has to offer. 

With the popularity of the Internet and the creation of many different gaming communities, it’s not hard to find yourself stumbling across people discussing these secrets just as you might have done with your friends back in the day. Back then it was about discovering them for yourself and trying to find something new to talk; it was more involved and allowed for more playtime of certain games. 

These days you can find everything a game has to offer in a day thanks to these gaming communities. Everything that you need to know about the new Mortal Kombat is just one Google search away, including the unlockables, secrets, and easter eggs. You can certainly avoid these things, but if you keep in contact with any gamers online, chances are you might find out more about a game than you might want to.

Were the days before the Internet better because it gave you a chance to discover these things on your own, or is it more enjoyable to find out things right away instead of discovering them yourselves? Is a game ruined for you if you find out about all of the unlockables and extras that the game has to offer before you can even play it? And I’m not talking about story spoilers either. 

The answer to these questions will vary depending on who you talk to, but it’s hard to deny that, no matter how hard you try, it might be pretty tough to avoid finding out about these things before you even discover them yourself. Perhaps knowing about a funny line in Portal 2 ruined that great moment for you, or maybe it gave you an idea of what to expect, allowing you to be more excited for it and potentially enjoy it more as a result. 

Gaming secrets are rarely even kept secret anymore. Achievements and trophy lists come out way before games do, allowing players to get a brief glimpse at everything they will come to expect from the game (with the exception being specific events in the story). I used to be obsessed with looking at achievements ahead of time to find out what lies ahead in a game I’m playing. These days I rarely glance at them, allowing myself to be surprised by these moments once again, at least the best I can.

Video games are still full of surprises, but those surprises may become fewer and fewer as time goes on. Is knowing everything about a game ahead of time a good thing, or does it prohibit that sense of discovery? It might depend on the game, the situation, or the people you interact with both online and off. However you look at it, there’s no denying that how we obtain information about games has become easier, for better or worse.