I’m going to share with you something I’ve come to realize. As many of you probably already know, this past April Fools Google put an add on into their mobile app for Google Maps. This allowed users to scan various locations and find 150 Pokemon at various points on the globe. Well 151 if you could find Mew which is a task harder than getting him in the actual bloody game.
Within hours players were scanning the globe finding Pokemon at various famous locations, why there was a Jolteon and a Charmander at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is kind of baffling. But within, say, six hours players on various internet boards began doing something that I think is quite remarkable.
They were working together.
People would find Pokemon and immediately share (mostly on Reddit but you really can’t beat the speed curve it has) the locations. Within hours they found all of them. Within a day they were charting Mew’s path, slowly whittling down variables to determine where he’d show up.
Now I’ve heard, repeatedly, how game developers bitch and moan about how they hate the internet. How they hate how people post videos for others to show them how to beat games. How they spend all this time developing and designing games to have a good progressive challenge and to have secrets for those who legitimately look for them.
Quite frankly I think that’s a load of crap.
This is a perfect example of what the phenomenon actually is: people sharing information. Free. There’s no profit gained from this and you can’t cite it as any kind of measurable achievement in terms of beating the game. It is just an act of goodwill. Granted there are some that are trying to become famous through video walkthroughs but even with that there’s still a large body of people who are just putting these videos online in tiny clips that function as how-to guides.
Even if you don’t want videos you can type in your game into Google search (I wish I could pretend there was another engine we were all using) and include your problem. Takes about twelve seconds to find a solution in some forum or Q&A board.
I think it’s positively amazing that anyone can get anything marginally approaching good advice on the Internet in this day and age. When there’s this large community of Let’s Players, FAQ writers, Q&A responders with methods of beating nearly every game, if not every game, that was wrought by humans.
I know it’s easy to hate people who you see taking a shortcut, but in that same breath you have to forgive those who want help from others. When that happens it isn’t just one person playing your game anymore, it’s a group of people working together playing the game individually but sharing knowledge.
And I just can’t see that as bad.
So too does this work exist.