The Summer Games Drought
In over thirty years of gaming, there’s one inescapable truth that has remained annoyingly and depressingly constant: the summer release schedule is dryer than a sun-bathing gecko that’s hungover-to-hell.
As the school holidays begin and that sense of excitement and freedom washes over you, the harsh reality soon slaps you in the face as you stare down the barrel of maybe one (if you’re lucky) ‘must-have’ release – and a few so-so ones that you might lower yourself to if things get really desperate.
And as you scour dejectedly over the release schedule further ahead, towards the festive season, there’s sure to be a glut of stellar titles lined-up to taunt you like a playground snot-face. Hell, this year we even have a whole new generation of consoles to whet our appetites with, making this summer seem all the more barren – no doubt as publishers hold their breath for the impending onslaught.
But why are we stuck in this rut? Why can’t the release schedule be structured more evenly throughout the year? Surely it would be in publishers interests to a) dish out their products in a manner that sustains a steady flow of income, and b) avoid some of the mad-dash competition that any seasonal release surely faces? Perhaps the argument is that summer is usually the time when people go away on holiday? Or that they’re more likely to be outside playing in that strange thing called fresh air? Not me – on either count. As someone whose rubber-band rarely stretches beyond God’s County, and who’s hardly what you’d call the ‘outdoor type’, there’s nothing I’d like more in the summer months than a glut of AAA games to keep me busy whilst the extroverts fill the beer gardens and stumble through the streets in their predictably mundane fashion.
Better than Halo?
And as the Summer winds down and thoughts of school and study return once again, you’re suddenly bombarded with a release schedule that glitters like gold in what remains of the summer sun – as though the Queen had just loaded her blunderbuss with gold and diamonds and fired it, point-blank into the backs her fleeing servants. It’s a cruel joke, forcing you to reflect upon the pain and anguish that you’ve just endured, sat sweltering at home as you stare at that collection of old games you’ve already completed thrice, and can’t muster up the enthusiasm to embrace yet again.
Maybe you forced yourself down the local games shop and found some used title from yesteryear and gleaned a few hours of satisfaction from it, like a parched vagabond shaking the last drops from his can of beer. Or maybe you manned-up and purchased that console you used to bitch and moan about in the forums, just because you know there might be one or two exclusives that will see you through; emergency supplies for desperate times.
Or maybe – maybe you just sat and wrote an article about the whole sad, sorry affair, like some twisted cross between a washed-up agony aunt and a forty-year-old virgin.
Purgatory, I tell thee.
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