By MICHAEL EMERSON
Being a nerd, or more appropriately an appreciator of arts in the modern age is rather difficult. At the turn of the century when computers were becoming more readily available, a movement commenced by the nerd community had everyone in speculation. It was fun to theorize and try to figure out what a studio was cranking out, and being genuinely surprised by something once it came out, was one of the greatest things about being an active pursuer of knowledge.
That started to change in recent years because of the internet, lax rules on leaking and companies being scared that people won’t buy their product, unless they basically release information on the entire thing with no twists or surprises. Even the animation gods at Pixar are falling prey to this, going so far as to release a one minute clip of their new short. And that’s just a short!
There are, however, companies who still keep their products, stories and news a secret until the release. This allows for the audience to experience something surprising when they go to a theatre or buy a video game. Speculation, forum threads, nitpicking trailers and clinging for dear life to an expectation that gets higher and higher is what some might call “riding a hype train.” Unfortunately this practice can be a double-edged sword for both the company’s product and the fans craving its release.
For example, I watched the Iron Man 3 movie and came out of the theatre ultimately disappointed. I won’t ruin the movie’s ultimate twist, since not spoiling something is one of the great nerd commandments, but I will tell you that my particular hype train with that movie was thoroughly derailed halfway through. For at least a year after Iron Man 3’s trailer was released I was pumping myself up for one the greatest marvel heroes to go head to head with his arch nemesis. He was down trodden, broken and misguided at a time when the greatest threat to everything Tony Stark stood for was rising. It was supposed to be Iron Man’s Dark Knight moment, with the good of progressive science and justice vs. the evil of regressive sorcery and terrorism.
It wasn’t bad by any means and it had a lot to offer for the character of Iron Man, but I just didn’t care for it. I was furious at the fact that what I wanted wasn’t what I got. I re-watched the trailer and joined the discussion, waiting and raising my expectations, but the higher you go the harder you fall. That’s when I realized that riding a hype train is a dangerous game. It may be fun to play, but when the hands are revealed and you’re coming up short, you feel cheated. You weren’t cheated; however, you were just foolish.