Uncovering the Path – Hidden Content in Modern Video Games

You’ve stormed the castle, plumbed the depths of its dungeons, and rescued the kidnapped villagers, but something else remains to be done – if only you could put your finger on what.

Try as you might, the game is just not giving away anything – and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Ah, the glories of hidden content.

The inevitable human impulse: curiosity.

Smart developers will know precisely how to play up our natural inclination for wondering just what’s behind that door or around the next corner. Add that to the fact that most gamers are of a very competitive nature, and all of a sudden there’s a whole new pedestal for bragging rights one can climb to.

To find something brand new that hasn’t been data-mined into oblivion in today’s information-obsessed culture is truly a testament to one’s prowess on an entirely new degree.

Sure, it takes skill and time to perfect established gameplay techniques and cultivate aptitude to conquer everything that the devs throw at you – but what about the skill to uncover that which hasn’t even been set out in front of you? Much like the cartographic race for mapping the New World, the lust for fame and glory is there.

With modern video game pricetags becoming ever more exorbitant, developers are hard-pressed to pack content to the brim to justify their asking rates. Yet we cant help but think – is hidden content still considered content?

We can’t pretend that we don’t live in the age of the Internet. Infinite information is always at our fingertips. And yet, is it justifiable that a developer will include hidden content under the belief that after it is discovered every single game-related publication will hit the presses with guides and walkthroughs? It’s a tricky situation – and it certainly doesn’t have a clear-cut answer.

Where does a modern game truly end? With communities, YouTubers, forums, guides, optimal builds, and so forth, the scope of one “game” extends far, far beyond its traditional domain.

Perhaps we are wrong to assume that all things should be compartmentalized within easy-to-understand packagers that can be consumed at will. Because, lets’ be honest: life is certainly not that way – why should we expect art to be any different?

In fact, one could argue that in the age of hyper-documentation anything hidden beyond the sight of the average individual is inherently more valuable than anything that is placed in front of us square and centre.

This distinction alone is enough to entice us to probe the depths for anything left untouched in the hopes of discovering something new and unilluminated. And while there are some who won’t bother with hidden content, the quantities of those who will seek it out at any cost far outnumber them.

After all, what is more central to the human condition than curiosity?

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