Saturday, July 4, 2009

Games Of Summer

'09 Edition!

So Summer is always an interesting time of year. It is when all the young ones return home fresh from having their brains perforated with vast quantities of information. It is when the not so young, but still pretty young ones in college get to work day jobs so that they might have their brains riddled with ludicrous amounts of information that will plague them until drunken one night stands replace them. And it is the time when the old folks scream and yell at their summers consistently remain ruined by the blight that is the collective youth ruining their nice days.
Oh and summer is when the gamers shun the sun and embrace the warmth of Liquid Crystal Displays (or plasma if you swing that way!) to spend all their precious free time on games, having squirreled away their gaming time like delicious nuts.

So enough with the rambling! The games that define this summer are interesting and seems to be forming a pattern which I shall now explain.

- To start with we have lots of kids friendly movies out in theatres, this means the arrival of the great blight. The licensed game! (booo hiss!) Yes, the annual summer blockbusters bring out the crap that is games made with no desire to further gaming as a medium of entertainment, but rather purely as a cash-in. This should not be expected from the source material however, I mean that basically all summer blockbusters are for anyways. Games of this ilk include, UP!, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Transformers 2, Harry Potter 6, Ice Age 3, Terminator Salvation, etc... there is pretty much 2-3 released every week, and almost all can be safely skipped. One possible exception might be the Wolverine game, this is however a mere exception that proves the following rule. Licensed game = Shit.

- Up next we have the time sink games. These typically are the type of games that have large open worlds to explore. GTA IV emerged this time last year. And this year we have at least 3 more similar titles in Infamous, Red Faction Guerrilla, & Prototype. Brownie points for those who will also know of Monster Hunters Freedom: Unite!, although it is rather hardcore it seems. Of course this year also sees the release of Arma II, perhaps one of the most realistic war games ever to simulate your monitor. These are the games that require a lot of time to chew through and fully digest, so an arrival in summertime seems apt to me. In addition their arrival against opponents that are chiefly movie tie-ins means they stand head and shoulders above the competition, and should do fairly well, monetarily speaking. Their quality can be all over the place, some can be superb, others are meh, or even bad. But the standard thus far seems to indicate a tendency to being better on average, with scores appearing to be over 80ish for most titles mentioned. 

- The next cage on our tour is the Beta... a vicious and savage juvenile animal, that only reaches maturity through sacrificing thousands upon thousands of not so innocent souls. The the ritual of the beta test is the only known way for it to become the final cute gold masters disc that will ship to your door. Beta's thrive in the summer months, when the developers too release that they can harvest the extra bodies that the summer holidays produce. I have seen at least half a dozen betas open in June (Section 8, Crimecraft, Aion, and Huxley to name a few) July seems to be keeping the pace with the rumours of the behemoth at the gates, Starcraft II. Who knows what others will appear to have their gaming gaming-ness refined through the tribulation of the beta beat. 

So, that's the summer of games for this summer. There is quite the eclectic mix of games out. Most crap, true, but then that happens regardless. Keep your wits about you and you'll do all right. Now I hear the Americans are celebrating something about independence from British dominance, whilst still utilizing the English language. Seems like somebody did not fully commit. 

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