There’s nothing quite like a new game release. Whether for the gameplay mechanics, better graphics, or new ideas, you’re hyped. Maybe you’ve been waiting for a game as long as you can remember, or maybe this is the grand finale of your all-time favorite franchise. No matter what it is, the Hype Train has left the station, and it’s not making any stops until the game is in your possession.
I get it, we’ve all been there. As I write this, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Pokken Tournament, a pipe-dream made real. However, if you’ve ridden the Hype Train more than once before, you’ve likely experienced at least one catastrophic crash. What happened? The train crashed into an icy wall of Disappointment. Passengers let their hype get so out of hand that they created expectations. Every tiny expectation creates another layer of the wall until it eventually becomes impenetrable.
Let’s be frank: the Hype Train never stops or slows for anything. Instead, it’s up to the passengers to eliminate Disappointment by removing their expectations.
Train metaphor aside, it sucks to pick up a long anticipated game only to be disappointed by it in the end. It’s as if those weeks and months you spent hyping the game were all for naught. However bad the crash was, though, you weren’t helpless. You were not destined to hate the game.
Contrary to popular belief, you can be excited for a game without ruining the experience for yourself. The trick is minimizing expectations on what the game should have. Never assume that the game will feature more than what you know for certain.
For example, let’s take a look at Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. These games were announced just recently, and we literally know nothing except that they are the next installment in the main series. Yet avid fans are already speculating that players will get to travel to multiple regions a la Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver. Stop that this instant. The only things we can expect from Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon at this moment are a turn-based battle system, an evil team that fills the main plot, and a Pokemon League with 8 gyms, an Elite 4, and a Champion.
Pokemon GO is an even more dire case. We know that we can capture, battle, and trade Pokemon, but nobody outside of Niantic Labs, Nintendo, and the Pokemon Company knows anything about the gameplay. The only thing we can truly expect from this game is that it will land on iOS and Android mobile devices as a free download eventually.
If you can minimize and carefully monitor your expectations, then you’ll never find yourself crashing into that wall of Disappointment again. Hype and excitement are entirely healthy, and you should revel in both every chance you get. It means you’re passionate about something — never let that go. Just learn to limit your expectations to what you know for certain.