I can't talk about what I saw at last night's San Francisco media presentation of "Alone in the Dark" yet. But I can tell you it made me hold my notebook over my eyes.
At one point, the audience was told they were about to see an exciting, pivotal moment in the storyline. A main character's story arc was going to take an unexpected turn.
Thing is, I didn't want to know about it. I want to play "Alone in the Dark." I certainly didn't want a crucial narrative point spoiled for me. So I covered my eyes.
Game Videos assistant producer David Ellis informed me when it finally was safe to look. It was slightly embarrassing to be consciously ignoring what the developer was trying to show me, but it's not the first time I've felt that way, either.
The same sense of "spoiler alert!" happened last week with "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots" and "Silent Hill: Homecoming," too.
Am I failing as a journalist?
There are whole leagues of gamers who impose media blackouts on themselves in anticipation of a high-profile game release. But even sometimes without. Look at how many gamers took the secret character reveals of "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" so seriously. Clearly, secrecy is important to people.
Unfortunately, that slightly contradicts my job description. I'm meant to see and experience as much as I can, and try to know more than I'm supposed to.
But I'm a gamer, too.
Watching Hideo Kojima play through the first 30 minutes of "MGS4" was undeniably a cool experience, but, to be honest, as Kojima played, I secretly wished I was viewing the opening minutes on my own HDTV. [SPOILER WARNING] The most impressive moment, when the introductory cut scene seamlessly switches to gameplay, won't mean as much now. [END SPOILER WARNING]
It was more stressful with "Silent Hill: Homecoming," which has a terrific, "Hostel"-like opene. Horror games are always at the top of my list. While checking out the refined combat of this latest "Silent Hill" was worthwhile -- I'll write about that later this week -- it also meant that, again, an impressive introductory sequence had been spoiled for me.
To me, knowing these story secrets is no different than spoiling an episode of "Lost." I spend an awful lot of time on the Internet, but go to extreme lengths to ensure I'm kept spoiler free before returning to the island every week. "Alone in the Dark," "MGS4" and "Silent Hill" are all story-driven games. It's a big part of the reason I want to play them. Their mysteries are important.
But I digress. I realize this is part of the job. And if anything, it's a compliment to "Alone in the Dark" that I wanted to keep some of its secrets exactly that -- a secret.
I'll tell you more about its secrets later this week.
***Have a hot tip? Is there a topic that Multiplayer should be covering and isn't? Maybe you don't think stories are as important. Drop me an e-mail.