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Subject: Does Hype really exist? rss

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Chris Ruf
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Hype is very odd to me. What exactly distinguishes Hype from personal excitement? I’m not sure there is any difference other than how each individual categorizes it.

Thanks to Google –

Hype

Noun

Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion

Verb

To promote or publicize (a product or idea) intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits

Certainly some companies engage in Hype as defined. But then again, what company doesn’t want to promote their products? And do we as a community really just take the word of the publisher (or designer in some cases) that a new game is the greatest and most innovative game of all time? In my own view, I don’t recall many publishers exaggerating a games importance. They simply are excited about their products and performing their due diligence as a company to promote.

I believe often times the exaggeration lies within the community. Three recent examples are Pandemic Legacy, Scythe, and Mechs vs. Minions. I feel like especially in Pandemic Legacy’s case, the Hype lied squarely on the shoulders of the community. So it really seems like it was just the personal excitement of many individuals that created the Hype. Scythe had the trickle down Hype. Lots of little tidbits of info were released over a long period of time. This isn’t very different that hundreds of other games. But the reputation of the designer and publisher helped the Hype. But again, isn’t this just individuals getting personally excited over fairly normal aspects of business. People trust certain companies and people, and they naturally have a higher starting opinion of projects from people they trust or like. So again, this to me was community induced Hype. And now Mechs vs. Minions. If anything, Riot engaged in a 0 Hype marketing strategy. They didn’t promote intensively over a long period of time. They sudden influx of information about the game was just a natural result of the route they took. But Riot themselves didn’t really DO anything. They certainly have not exaggerated anything about their game. That is all on the community.

Now this isn’t to say that companies don’t try to alter people’s expectations. But given that we generally know we are being manipulated, it’s really our own fault if we allow ourselves to get sucked in. With games, it is often VERY difficult to get a good sense for a game simply from components, mechanism descriptions, and rules. I don’t think there is any problem with being excited about any of these things, as long as a person realizes they won’t have the full picture until they get their hands on it. And if a company wasn’t trying to alter our expectations, then they aren’t really doing their job. (Some companies don’t engage in this practice. But often that is probably due to money constraints, or the inherently small market they would be trying to Hype. This small market doesn’t need the Hype as they are already invested in that companies offerings. The example being most war games.)

So I fail to see exactly where the Hype actually is except for in our own brains. Not only that, but what exactly makes Hype negative? There is no way to really tell if it’s negative until after the fact. If a game gets a lot of negative reviews after lofty personal expectations of many people, only then was the Hype negative. But that doesn’t change the fact that the people were excited for the product to begin with. And what’s wrong with being excited for something? Things don’t always turn out how you would like them to. So people retroactively feel like they wasted time and emotional energy. But I don’t see being excited for any reason as a waste of time or emotion. Now that is obviously a personal choice. And if people have trouble with this, then they should try to quell their excitement in the event that their expectations aren’t met. Obviously way harder done than said.

The bottom line is that, from what I see, we are the cause of our own Hype. And we seemingly only characterize it as overall Hype when many of us share excitement for a particular game. Then we somehow convince ourselves that the Hype was there all along and we bought into it. When really, we all individually got really excited for something, shared our excitement, and had A LOT of fun doing so. So if Hype as we think of it even exists, why is it a bad thing? Didn’t you enjoy the Hype train while it lasted?
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Matt Brown
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See Scythe, Seafall, and Mechs vs. Minions.
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Jimmy Smith
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matthean wrote:
See Scythe, Seafall, and Mechs vs. Minions Dead of Winter.


Fixed
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maf man
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Legend5555 wrote:
So if Hype as we think of it even exists, why is it a bad thing? Didn’t you enjoy the Hype train while it lasted?

I think your just trying to say hype isnt hype if your looking from the inside, which its still hype even if its validated.
You talking like you know hype is bad which and you convince yourself isnt true which your right. There is so much power in hype that it is now commonly used by people and products so it became a sour word as more and more examples of hype=false hope crop up.

so, why is hype bad?
Because hype is usually the term we use when the excitement is not based on anything solid.

When we use hype in a negative way its when we believe we will get burned again.

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Osiris Saline
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Hype itself is not a bad thing, as it is generally sold on expectations built from prior great work by the same author/s.

However when money comes into it, hype is a product of marketing, and hype at times of release is what ruins a lot of experiences with board games. If people picked up less-great board games without that hype months after the hypewaves had passed, they'd likely not be as disappointed.

When it comes to monetary exchanges for goods, whether it's the nice person working in a nice store recommending me Doomtown: Reloaded and selling me with the theme/ability to expand it with a second copy of the game before I got it home and realized it was pretty janky and a slog, or whether it's a company pushing out a huge game that is way too dry and mechanically dull after some incredible reputation building games in the case of SeaFall, it's generally bad.

Not to say those games can't be good, or that they're inherently bad, but if the marketing enables you to think that a game will be as good as a prior one, or a comparable experience to another awesome thing, then it's not great.

In short, if money is involved, then hype isn't just hype, and it isn't solely our thoughts fooling us. We are all affected by advertisements, recommendations, angles in reviews etc.
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Hype is artificially pumping up the anticipation for a game. It's a feedback loop of mob excitement, each of us contributing to a feeling that is larger than us all. Mobs act irrationally and hype gets us to behave like crazed lemmings, eager to leap off the cliff into gaming nirvana...that turns out to be a long dive ending on the jagged rocks of mediocrity.

The harm? We spend our hard-earned money on crappy games.
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Imagine you have enough disposable income for one game and everywhere you look game X is going to be fantastic, so you pre-order, reviewers start saying its still a good game but not as great as they originally thought, game arrives, you wish you had bought monopoly. Hype can lead to very negative feelings that last a lot longer than the positive ones.
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Jessica Gustafsson
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In my opinion, hype is a phenomenon that is related to groupthink. It might even have some sort of evolutionary function since what it does is make a large group of people make a decision based on very loose grounds. I would go as far as to say that you can find the same mechanism at work in for example politics where people, once they have decided they like a candidate, seems unable to see the flaws in said candidate almost regardless of what they do.

Hype generally makes us not think too hard or critical about stuff, or do enough research. This is whats bad about it in my opinion. There are of course people who makes decisions like this every day, but the difference is that hype effects a large group of people at the same time concerning the same object. It has no bearing on whether the object in question is good or bad, only time will tell that.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Quote:
Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion
Let's use the definition you provided.

Legend5555 wrote:
But again, isn’t this just individuals getting personally excited over fairly normal aspects of business.
The thing that changes it from excitement to hype is the "extravagant or intensive" part of the definition. If people had simply said "I'm looking forward to Pandemic Legacy", I wouldn't consider that hype. It's when it gets billed as the next step in gaming, revolutionary, the "best game ever" that it turns into hype.


Legend5555 wrote:
The bottom line is that, from what I see, we are the cause of our own Hype.
Sure. Wasn't that obvious? I don't understand why you seem to think this is a revelation.

Legend5555 wrote:
And we seemingly only characterize it as overall Hype when many of us share excitement for a particular game.
Again, it's only when it becomes over-the-top hard-to-live-up-to excitement that it becomes hype.

Legend5555 wrote:
Then we somehow convince ourselves that the Hype was there all along and we bought into it.
Speak for yourself. I don't get that excited about new board games. I keep my expectations in check. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. The times when something is truly above average are rare enough that I tend to ignore the buzz until I see it for myself.

Legend5555 wrote:
When really, we all individually got really excited for something, shared our excitement, and had A LOT of fun doing so.
That sounds like the type of excitement you see in cults and mobs. I try to avoid such things.

Legend5555 wrote:
So if Hype as we think of it even exists, why is it a bad thing?
Because it distorts reality. And as I don't get off on imagining how great things will be (especially as you're only likely to be let down) there's no upside for me. It simply becomes noise I have to filter out. I get more useful feedback out of "It had some flaws, but I really enjoyed it." than "It was the best thing ever!" because the former seems to be believable in a way that the latter is not.

Legend5555 wrote:
Didn’t you enjoy the Hype train while it lasted?
No.
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Pete Lane
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Hype is the opposite of internet forum outrage. It just sits and churns but in the end you decide whether or not you buy in. Some people are QUITE happy to wait until the reviews come in or they play it themselves before they pull the trigger and buy something anticipated.
 
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HenningK
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Just look at Kickstarter... To me, "hype" describes the phenomenon that people get more excitement by anticipation than from the product itself. This phenomenon becomes increasingly more prevalent in our times. Look at muic casting shows on TV - it is more important to cheer for your favourite than him/her actually winning. Once somebody has won, the excitement is gone.

There is a similar thing going on with boardgames recently, especially on Kickstarter. People get excited by artwork and miniatures, while rules, gameplay and mechanics become less important. People get so excited that they back higher and higher sums in order to unlock stretch goals without having played the game in question. The excitement is at its peak during the Kickstarter campaign and when the game arrives. Often, the game in question then gets played a handful of times, and that's it. The excitement usually goes down once people actually play the game, even when they like it.

So, yes, I do think that "hype" exists. To me, it means that people enjoy looking forward to new games more than actually playing them, and I see that every day.
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Pete
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Yes, "hype" exists, but it's overrated.

Pete (wishes people would stop talking about it)
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As a game designer I would like exposure and excitement about my game but not necessarily hype.

As some of you mentioned, hype to often is linked to unrealistic expectations, which can make people sour on a good game just because it doesn't live up to the high expectations.

I want people to enjoy my game and want to play it again, because it's a good game. Hype can interfere with that, if it's "not as good" as expected. People can get lost in what it wasn't vs what it is.

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A Deal with Death
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This basically comes down to the dictionary definition of hype not being very reflective of the way it's used in practice.

90% of the time you hear the word hype its "that was over-hyped" "it's just hype" etc...

So our linguistic association is now hype = excessive praise that is unwarranted.

Even if strictly that's not what it means, that's our brains reflexive reaction.
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Chris Ruf
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It feels to me that by demonizing hype, we are in effect demonizing excitement and enthusiasm. You can't ask someone to not get excited by things they find exciting. People like to share their love and excitement. I don't want people to feel badly for doing so. Hype is indeed a feedback loop, but there is no real way to control or contain that. So realisticly, I see no reason to hate it.

If a person can't manage their own expectations, that is their own problem. And if they can't separate those hype feelings from the reality, good or bad, of a game, that is still their problem. But it's silly to me to feel negative about everyone else's positivity.

Despite what it may seem I implied, I don't buy into hype. I do my research and try to play a game before I buy it. I don't tend to feel bad or let a sour experience with a game I was excited about taint my thoughts on a game. Maybe I'm in the minority on that?

Hype is only a projection of your view on the situation. There are plenty of times where a non vocal group get very excited about a game. They may gave high expectations and be let down by the final product. But if the majority never heard them cheering, we don't tend to label that as hype. It's a completely subjective thing in my eyes. And as such, if people want to label hype as negative, then fine. I can't argue with opinion. I just think it's a shame to think excitement for something like board games should be stifled because others don't want to hear it.
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Lluluien
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Legend5555 wrote:
Hype is only a projection of your view on the situation. There are plenty of times where a non vocal group get very excited about a game. They may gave high expectations and be let down by the final product. But if the majority never heard them cheering, we don't tend to label that as hype. It's a completely subjective thing in my eyes. And as such, if people want to label hype as negative, then fine. I can't argue with opinion. I just think it's a shame to think excitement for something like board games should be stifled because others don't want to hear it.


I completely disagree with this. In fact, I think you gave an anecdotal definition of hype yourself by defining what it isn't. If you point to what it is instead (high-profile cheering the majority does hear), then it seems to be a very real thing. Several people in the thread have already pointed to several tangible examples of specific games where we believed the discussion was markedly different in a way that we might find difficult to define but easy to recognize.

It might be more fair to say the effect of hype is something that is individual and not collective, but my opinion on that is that if we weren't collectively prone to a specific behavior in this situation (the inevitable disappointment of not reaching probably-unattainable expectations), we wouldn't be having this discussion. Even if some individuals in our collective don't fall prey to this, quite a few of us (the majority, in my opinion) do. I certainly do.
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Chris Ruf
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lluluien wrote:
Legend5555 wrote:
Hype is only a projection of your view on the situation. There are plenty of times where a non vocal group get very excited about a game. They may gave high expectations and be let down by the final product. But if the majority never heard them cheering, we don't tend to label that as hype. It's a completely subjective thing in my eyes. And as such, if people want to label hype as negative, then fine. I can't argue with opinion. I just think it's a shame to think excitement for something like board games should be stifled because others don't want to hear it.


I completely disagree with this. In fact, I think you gave an anecdotal definition of hype yourself by defining what it isn't. If you point to what it is instead (high-profile cheering the majority does hear), then it seems to be a very real thing. Several people in the thread have already pointed to several tangible examples of specific games where we believed the discussion was markedly different in a way that we might find difficult to define but easy to recognize.

It might be more fair to say the effect of hype is something that is individual and not collective, but my opinion on that is that if we weren't collectively prone to a specific behavior in this situation (the inevitable disappointment of not reaching probably-unattainable expectations), we wouldn't be having this discussion. Even if some individuals in our collective don't fall prey to this, quite a few of us (the majority, in my opinion) do. I certainly do.


Why is high profile cheering hype when individual excitement is not? And why is high profile group excitement, whether with unrealistic expectations or not, negative? People garner enjoyment from that. If the let down is more than the excitement, that's on them.

Why should we tell people not to be excited?
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Lluluien
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Legend5555 wrote:
Why is high profile cheering hype when individual excitement is not? And why is high profile group excitement, whether with unrealistic expectations or not, negative? People garner enjoyment from that. If the let down is more than the excitement, that's on them.

Why should we tell people not to be excited?


Precisely because it is high-profile. We call it "high-profile" because people are hearing it. Having a wide audience hearing it is what makes it hype. If it wasn't being heard, it wouldn't be called hype, you are right. But it wasn't being heard, you wouldn't call it high-profile. Saying "high-profile hype" is tautological; either one will suffice - they're the same thing (at least, close enough for the purposes of elucidating the point in this discussion).

I don't think we should be telling people not to be excited. I'm just saying that I do think "hype" is a real phenomenon. I don't personally think it's the excitement that causes the unattainable expectations, and in that way, I don't think "hype" is created by individuals, either (though individuals like Rahdo certainly carry more weight in getting the momentum built up for hype to take place). I think it's the feedback loop that creates the unattainable expectations, but that requires the collective discussion and excitement.

The feedback loop isn't automatically bad either. Neither is the unattainable expectations automatically bad. If you're saying that the individual has his or her own responsibility to filter out the noise coming from the feedback loop, I agree. If you're saying the individual needs to make their own value judgement on whether or not hype and the feedback loop are bad in some way, I agree.

Neither of those value judgements being individual means that hype is not a real phenomenon, however.
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Joe Salamone
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A while back, I saw a guy in a sleeping bag on the sidewalk outside a store waiting for the latest iPhone release. He told me hype doesn't exist.
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Everett
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Yes, why do you think every single person on this site (other than the waragmers duh) seems to have played Pandemic Legacy, Blood Rage, and Time Stories?
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Chris Ruf
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lluluien wrote:
Legend5555 wrote:
Why is high profile cheering hype when individual excitement is not? And why is high profile group excitement, whether with unrealistic expectations or not, negative? People garner enjoyment from that. If the let down is more than the excitement, that's on them.

Why should we tell people not to be excited?


Precisely because it is high-profile. We call it "high-profile" because people are hearing it. Having a wide audience hearing it is what makes it hype. If it wasn't being heard, it wouldn't be called hype, you are right. But it wasn't being heard, you wouldn't call it high-profile. Saying "high-profile hype" is tautological; either one will suffice - they're the same thing (at least, close enough for the purposes of elucidating the point in this discussion).

I don't think we should be telling people not to be excited. I'm just saying that I do think "hype" is a real phenomenon. I don't personally think it's the excitement that causes the unattainable expectations, and in that way, I don't think "hype" is created by individuals, either (though individuals like Rahdo certainly carry more weight in getting the momentum built up for hype to take place). I think it's the feedback loop that creates the unattainable expectations, but that requires the collective discussion and excitement.

The feedback loop isn't automatically bad either. Neither is the unattainable expectations automatically bad. If you're saying that the individual has his or her own responsibility to filter out the noise coming from the feedback loop, I agree. If you're saying the individual needs to make their own value judgement on whether or not hype and the feedback loop are bad in some way, I agree.

Neither of those value judgements being individual means that hype is not a real phenomenon, however.


I should have separated some words. Why is "high profile cheering" hype while... Is what I was saying.

You and I are basically on the same page. I realize hype, as we think about it, is a thing. And I guess I am guilty of making a click bait title, but I was more trying to get at the fact that hype is relative to the person preceiving it. And therefore hype and excitement feedback are the same thing. I just personally find intense personal excitement and high profile group excitement to be similar to the point that calling one hype, and thus having a negative connotation in the eyes of some, and one excitement without the negative connotation, to be rather silly.
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Chris Ruf
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Toenail21 wrote:
Yes, why do you think every single person on this site (other than the waragmers duh) seems to have played Pandemic Legacy, Blood Rage, and Time Stories?


So how do you differentiate between hype and everyone legitimately being excited and wanting a game?
 
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You decide your own level of involvement in hype
 
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Chris Broadbent
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Hype, as I interpret it, is when the excitement and anticipation speak, rather than experience and reason.
When someone extols a game, not having played it, but having only seen artwork and read about mechanics, then they are hyping the game. In that situation, I find hype to be detrimental for the reasons others have noted - people are offering their opinions and expectations as reality, which oftentimes has a sad, tragic ending.
The other option is an informed, rational review of the game. If a person really likes a game, after they've played it, then I want to hear why and to know what some drawbacks might be. I've appreciated the reviews from "all the games you like are bad" because it's basically an attempt to penetrate hype and discuss games on their own merits in light of other games that people might have played.
This of course means that some opinions out there are hype-based and some are experience-based, and it can be hard to differentiate.
And then, we all like different things, so when we all think we are going to like the same thing, little alarms should go off in our heads.
I am finding that I am developing an inversely proportional relationship between my enjoyment of a game and its broad acceptance. Of course, with some exceptions.
As a case study, many people consider Scythe to have been "hyped". It certainly was well publicized and highly anticipated. Many people were very excited about it, and they each thought it was going to be a particular type of game. Some of them were right, some were not. So some felt jaded by the hype, but others felt vindicated in their excitement. My gaming group and I had the opportunity to playtest Scythe, and I wrote a review of sorts about it before the Kickstarter. Perhaps I contributed to the hype for some, but I tried to be clear about what it was that I liked and what the game was not, because I was pretty sure that combat-lovers wouldn't love the game.
So, with hype, as with everything in life, we have to sort the meaningful opinions from the hot air, and that is a lot of work, so we all just wish that the hot air would go away so the meaningful opinions were easier to get to.
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