“Hype – an intentional excess verging on deception that creates great popular enthusiasm for a person or product.”

This is quote straight from Webster’s Dictionary, a fine read for anyone who’s got the time. Hype is what drives the video game industry. When I think of hype the first image that comes to mind is of a bunch of suits sitting around a boardroom table rubbing their hands together with evil genius smiles and dollar signs in their eyes. Hype is a great and powerful machine that we, as the gaming public, love. We love it because these same suits in the boardroom are the people who know what we want to see and hear and we love them for it.

However, hype is a double-edged sword. As many of us have realizedִoo much hype can render a game, for lack of a better word, unworthy. Hype gets us excited much like gossip. But the video game hype machine is so vast, spanning not only television but also movie theatres, newspapers, magazines, radio and the Internet. It’s global and consuming and we can’t get enough of it.

When my friends and I get together our conversations inevitably turn to who has the latest facts or rumors about a game. We feel superior to others because we know more about the game֯r so we are led to think. This is all part of the strategy of the enemy we love to hate. Which brings me back to the suits at the table rubbing their hands. Think of them like drug dealers, they give you some and you get hooked and you need more. It works the same for hype.

Just look at Konami, the masters of hype. Here’s a marketing strategy; take a game that you think could do very well on it’s own (Zone of Enders) and partner it with an exclusive demo of the most hyped game of all time (I don’t think I have to mention the title). It’s not rocket science. So what does that say to those of us who fall victim to it? Well in my mind it means we are all kids at heart and love to get excited about new things, which, to me isn’t a bad thing. For those of you who bought Zone of Enders, you know what I’m talking about. Metal Gear Solid 2 stands to be the benchmark of all good things to come for the PS2. Having played the demo to the point of knowing every pixel, I can attest that Hideo Kojima has raised the bar for all who attempt to control the masses with hype. He has created a game that every other game and gamer will compare against.

If the trial edition of Metal Gear Solid 2 is the embodiment of hype, which I believe it to be, then I have fallen victim to it… and let me tell you… I love it.

By Jason McKenzie – 01/09/02

Screenshots for Hype