Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii is growing ever so close to release, but as expected the game won't appear in all the regions at the same time. Japan will get it first, then North America, followed by Europe, Australia, and so on. As we all know, the Smash games always have some special secrets locked away. We're all expecting to find some unannounced characters hiding deep inside the game somewhere. Personally, I like the thrill of stumbling upon these secrets for myself. As soon as the Japanese version of the game reaches eager players, however, I fully expect information about these secrets to appear online, thereby spoiling the experience of discovering the presence of [insert favorite unannounced character here]. So how do we keep the secrets a secret until all regions have the game available? I believe I have a solution.
It may well be too late to do this considering the rapidly approaching Japanese release date, but I wouldn't mind if Nintendo were to put the secrets on some sort of time lock. Suppose the game doesn't reach the final region in which it will be released until April 2008 (a date that I'm making up for argument's sake) and assume that Brawl has knowledge of this release date somewhere on the disc. A North American gamer playing in March may well fulfill the requirements needed to unlock a hidden character, but instead of revealing that character, the game remains silent about the matter. So now this player just unlocked a secret character, but doesn't know it yet. Now he or she cannot go online and brag about unlocking whomever, thereby preserving the experience for the next region in line to get the game.
Once the game is released everywhere those time locks would automatically disengage and all the hidden stuff we've been unknowingly unlocking for weeks becomes available. Nobody has the game's secrets spoiled in advance. We're all on an even level worldwide (although if you drag your feet on picking up the game and hesitate on getting to work on it, well, that's going to be your loss). Of course, there will always be people that would get around the time lock by advancing the Wii's system date, but considering that games like Animal Crossing know when people tamper with the clock (and even berate players for messing with the time and date), perhaps Brawl could be looking for that sort of thing as well and not fall for the deception.
This may not be the most practical solution, but I think it's an interesting idea. Some players may argue that they don't want to wait for the game's secrets to become available, but I say that since we've been waiting this long for Brawl, what's another few weeks to wait before unlocking everything? Practice your skills with newcomers like Wario and Captain Olimar while you wait. Plus, think of the replay value involved if suddenly one day three new characters and four new stages became available. Perhaps even the Wii itself could alert you to this news via the Wii's built-in message board. I know I'd drop whatever else I was playing and return to Brawl to submerse myself in the new additions. Play with all the new stuff that's available right from the start and save those secrets for your gaming dessert.