Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Winter Blockbusters

With another holiday season upon us, all things gaming are being released in force. This year is a particularly busy one on account of the launch of two new systems. In addition, some of the best games of the current generation are being released. I have already spent many hours playing Okami, Bully, and Final Fantasy 12. On the PC side of things, Company of Heroes, Guild Wars:Nightfall and Neverwinter Nights 2 all sound appealing. On the portable front, I'm playing Contact and looking forward to GTA:Vice City Stories, Lumines 2, Every Extend Extra, and Gunpey. For next-gen systems, I'm eagerly anticipating Gears of War, Zelda:Twilight Princess, and possibly additional Wii games. If I can get my hands on one, I'd also like to try some of the Playstation 3 games. It's certainly an eventful holiday season. It's also one that is sure to be followed by the usual lull in releases, especially since the Wii and PS 3 will be so young.

Not that I'm the first to bring it up, but I have to ask - where are those summer blockbusters? I'll settle for late spring/early fall - basically any season outside of winter. I love those times because they have been ripe for some amazing and occasionally unexpected games such as Eternal Darkness, Diablo 2, and Starcraft. I remember reading once that the window of sales for a hit title was twice as long during the holiday season as for any other time of the year. I also remember the winter of 2004 when Halo 2, Half Life 2, World of Warcraft, GTA:San Andrews, Doom 3, Metal Gear Solid 3, Metroid Prime 2, and the Nintendo DS all came out in close proximity. Why on earth would any other game launch during a time like that? Fortunately for 2005 we received Resident Evil 4 in January and God of War in March. I was still in WoW-land for many months of 2005 and trying to finish or at least play the other holiday releases. When summer rolled around Battlefield 2 was about the only major release to make it out before the 2005 holiday season. Outside of the Xbox 360 and Shadow of the Colossus, it was largely uneventful. And so it goes for many gaming years.

Now granted, I spend a lot of time traveling in the summer (making key portable titles enticing). I still believe I could plug away at two to three 10-20 hour games or one bigger RPG. I suppose the other thing I could do is catch up on all those amazing titles that slipped through the cracks. For some reason a stale air seems to begin gathering around a game the day after it comes out. It's quite hard to fight that. For now, it seems like the buzz is all about a little gem called Halo 3 - coming...wait for it...holiday 2007. At least I can take comfort in the arrival of my Playstation 3, presumably before summer 2007.