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I don't know why. I know I probably should. I know that they want me to. I know everyone else is doing it, so why not me? No, I'm not talking about drugs, alcohol, or something else not so good for me. I'm talking about buying into all the hype for these high profile games coming out. I know millions have been spent on marketing, that special editions are in the works, that limited edition consoles are out there, but I just couldn't care less (well, maybe I could but I doubt it). Grand Theft Auto IV and Metal Gear Solid 4 hold no interest for me. Why? Because I've played the progenitors of both series and found them...meh.

I remember my first forays into gaming. In the late 70's to early 90's, the arcade was the best place to hang out and have good, clean fun. I would always bum a couple of bucks from Dad, then when I ran out of money, hit up Mom. The games of those days were pretty simplistic both visually and with depth of story. You had your shooters, maze games, and the occasional racing title. It was new and I loved it, but then I met Pong.

Console gaming started getting my interest in the early 80's. I remember going into KB Toys and looking at all the Atari, ColecoVision, and Intellivision games. There were a lot of arcade ports in those days, but as the years went by, console games changed. Stories were introduced, simplistic at first, then increasingly involved. Mario and Zelda evolved into the likes of Metal Gear and Final Fantasy. The days of the simple arcade games were numbered, it was just that nobody knew it yet.

Games eventually received better visuals with more control options and more complex story lines to compliment them. As time went by games began getting movie sized budgets and required large teams to make. The days of the lone programmer (although still possible, even in the era of multi-million dollar productions) were slowly disappearing. What resulted out of this boom of increased budgets was a need for the games to sell even more to turn a profit. Enter the birth of the hype machine.

Even in the early days, marketing was having a dramatic effect on the sales of games. I still remember an ad I saw at a drive-in for Dig-Dug. I don't remember the ad showing any actual game footage, but then again, what was there to see? Marketing would also evolve with gaming, from the early attempts at print and TV ads to the million dollar promotions of today. The first modern promotion that caught my attention was the Final Fantasy VII TV ads. Those ads were a sight to behold. Never before had I seen visuals so intriguing for a game. The hype worked for me. That was the reason I bought a PlayStation and my first game.

Unfortunately, there have been too many games in the vein of Final Fantasy VII turned out to be great, but with the many, many ads after that, I became a little more wary. Hype can help, but it can definitely can be a double edged sword, just John Romero. Oh, and are you his bitch yet? No? According to Ion Storm, you should be. Daikatana was the result of hype without a quality game to back it, and sales suffered as a result. Daikatana and too few in the realm of FF VII. That is why I don't believe the ads. I'm sure both MGS 4 and GTA IV will be huge sellers, but the hype is definitely a turn-off for me.


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