Daymeeuhn wanted to enjoy procedural universe game No Man's Sky on his own. No secrets revealed, nothing to be Googled, not a single spoiler in sight. He spent more than $US1300 ($1709) to make it happen. And then he nearly spoiled it for everyone else.
Daymeeuhn (probably not his real name) describes himself as someone who works in the gaming industry and is very passionate about the medium. He managed to purchase a copy of No Man's Sky off eBay from somebody who broke street date for the average, completely perfunctory and not at all eyes-popping-clear-out-of-my-skull price of $US1302.95 ($1713).
No Man's Sky will be out on August 9.
That might sound a little excessive, but Daymeeuhn put it this way in a Reddit thread:
"I'm a lucky guy," he said. "I've done well for myself. I have disposable income and I'm happy in life. I'm in a state of being where I don't look at a purchase and determine the overall value by the price tag, but rather by how much happiness it will bring myself or the people I care about. I'm also very much in a weird state of mind half the time in that I've seen some shit, and I've dealt with loss, and I know all too well that too many of us take life for granted. I could die in a car accident tomorrow — who knows?"
He added that, for him, an early copy of a game like No Man's Sky is gaming nirvana. It's just him and the game. No spoilers, no tips from friends, no temptations to seek help.
"I'm a gamer that enjoys the journey," he explained. "For me, the idea of secrets and puzzles that lack google-able answers is super thrilling. I love it. My best gaming experiences have been when I've received games before street date, knowing I was truly on my own in the universe of that game, and no matter how tempted I might be to ask a friend for help or check a website for a tip or cheat, I CAN'T because it doesn't exist."
No Man's Sky, though, has the weight of the gaming world's curiosity on its shoulders. Over the past couple years, it's been subjected to such ludicrous levels of hype that, if said hype were gamma radiation, we'd all be Hulks by now. People want to know what this game is really like.
So Daymeeuhn decided to share his experience with people. Per ancient Internet tradition, he started with your standard unboxing video. At that point, he wasn't even sure if the game he bought was real. He had to be certain.
He popped it into a PS4. It worked.
By that point, communities like Reddit were losing their minds. Despite initial reluctance, Daymeeuhn caved and decided to post some videos of the game itself. "I kept my first vids short intentionally," he told me via DMs. "I didn't want to start delving in to new spoilery stuff too quickly, and I wanted to experience some of that myself first before posting videos to make sure I wasn't going too far. It was never my intention to fully spoil the game, but rather just give the 'every man' vibe of the game that so many people wanted to see."
YouTube and Twitch, of course, were no-goes for Daymeeuhn's videos. Even on sites like Dailymotion, they didn't stay up for long. Still, they spread to various corners of the No Man's Sky-obsessed Internet, and people picked them apart like vultures mixed with hyenas mixed with the little grabby tool from the boardgame Operation (which is probably a creature that can actually occur in No Man's Sky).
Other fans weren't too happy that somebody had busted open a potential spoiler pinata more than a week before the game's official release. But some of the folks watching the videos countered that Hello Games has been too hush-hush with No Man's Sky for them to make an informed purchasing decision. Unedited footage like Daymeeuhn's is exactly what they needed.
Hello Games founder Sean Murray took to Twitter to express his disappointment with the whole situation.
Take a break from reading about it, and picking vids apart. You can experience for yourself so soon.
— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) July 29, 2016
For Daymeeuhn, that was a sort of breaking point.
"I expected Sean to tweet negatively about it because, let's face it, it's his job to," Daymeeuhn told me. "Obviously developers of a game don't like that early copies make their way out. But I'll admit, after watching so many of his interviews and knowing how cool of a guy he seems, it did make me feel a bit guilty. It wasn't the sole reason for my decision [to stop posting videos], but it was certainly a factor."
Shortly after Murray tweeted about the whole incident, Daymeeuhn edited his post on the No Man's Sky subreddit to explain that he was done being the big bad bearer of spoilers.
"HG and Sean don't like it, it's giving me a headache dealing with the fallout, I don't want to be the guy that spoiled all this cool shit and I'm just leaving it at that!" he wrote. "I hope you like those first videos! But for now, I'm going to just play the game, keep to myself and enjoy it."
"I'll say this," he added. "Spoilers will come, one way or another. It may not be from me, but it will be from someone. But I wish no one ill will. I just wanted to share the discovery with you all."
Daymeeuhn still plans to post written impressions at some point, but they will be spoiler-tagged and nowhere near as revealing as a boatload of videos.
I asked Daymeeuhn if, after all the hubbub and hassle, he's still happy with his purchase. He replied:
"Absolutely not regretting it, and even if the game was an absolute bomb — which it is not — I still wouldn't regret it. This isn't the sort of decision where you make it and hope you get your 'money's worth' out of it. The journey on finding out just how good the game is is all part of the experience. Even if it doesn't live up to your wildest expectations, you have to know that coming into it and accept that's all part of the process. So far, I'm having a lot of fun playing it."