Thursday, October 23, 2008

Game Season

Game Season is well and truly here, and my wallet is shuddering in fear.

For those who do not know, Game Season is the time of year right before the start of the holidays when the big games come out. Already huge titles like "Rock Band 2", "Fable II", and "Saints Row 2" are out (and in my home), and there are more coming.

Other huge games expected before the end of the year? "Mirror's Edge", "Little BigPlanet", "Fallout 3", "Guitar Hero World Tour", etc are call coming out in the next month or so. It's ridiculous, because gamers feel compelled to buy all of the big titles as they come out, and they all come out at once!

"Ah!" you say, "But didn't 'Grand Theft Auto IV' and 'Super Smash Bros. Brawl' come out back in the spring, and not during 'Game Season'?"

You are correct sir/ma'am, but both of those huge games were intended to be out by last Gaming Season. Both GTA and SSBB were delayed for whatever reasons, and were only released in the off season as a result.

The reason for Game Season is obvious. People buy stuff during the holidays to give as gifts, and that should boost sales, right? Of course, but this glut of games can cause some games to maybe not get the attention they deserve, and this is bad for the gamer and the developer.

Off-season games like "GTA IV", "Smash Bros.", and 2007's "Bioshock" are able to get a lot of attention because they came out by themselves, only fighting with crappy shovelware games like "Petz" and "Imagine" titles to fight with on the new releases list. Sure, all of these titles would still have received attention if they had come out during Game Season, but would they have received as much?

I know I am nt going to be able to give all of the games coming out now the attention they deserve. "Mercenaries 2" was pushed aside for "Rock Band 2" was pushed aside for "Saints Row 2" has been pushed aside for "Fable II". When I get "Fallout 3" next week, I'll end up putting aside "Fable II" for that.

I'm not saying that I will not go back and finish these games (except maybe Mercs 2, which has been a little dissapointing in the actual gameplay). I will definitely be playing SR2 and FII to completion, and RB2 is probably going to be get regular use until they release an RB3, as it is a game that Osaka actually likes to play, but none of them will be getting the attention they deserve right now.

For me personally, the biggest drawback of Game Season is simply money. I am not rich, and have to choose what I buy carefully, as there are still holiday presents and gas for the car to buy (food = ramen, so no problems there). Due to the Game Season glut, I will be skipping "Mirror's Edge", the new "Red Alert" game, "Dead Space", the new "Spider-Man" game, and a lot of other stuff that may be really good, but just does not fit in my budget.

I have made a list of games that I will be getting this Game Season, and barring any really good sales (Black Friday for example), these are going to be it:

"Rock Band 2" (purchased). I already have the big plastic instruments, and for five bucks I was able to transfer almost all of the original RB songs over, giving me a huge playlist to choose from. RB2 is basically RB with almost all of the bugs worked out, which makes it a lot more fun to play.

"Saints Row 2" (purchased). Again trying to be more GTA than GTA, the ultra-violent sandbox titles returns for more gang violence. Forget the sympathy you may feel for someone like Niko Bellic, your character in SR2 is a peice of crap through and through (your first mission in the game is to kill your doctor). With tons of side activities to do, and a character creator that shames "The Sims 2", this game is a must-have for fans of the sandbox crime genre.

"Fable II" (purchased). Even with most of the promised features missing, the original "Fable" was still a great game. This time the features have made it into the game, but the Collector's Edition extras didn't. Ho-hum. I've only been able to play through the tutorial, but I am already in love with this game.

"Fallout 3". A Fallout game made by the people behind "Oblivion"? Sign me up! I still play Oblivion, and a Fallout game in that style is almost certain to be win. I'll find out next week.

"Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4". My love of the SMT games, and "Persona 3" specifically is no secret. P3 is pretty much the perfect JRPG, so I have high hopes for P4.

"Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories" True, it is a card battle game, but it is also a KH game. A re-imagining of the GBA title that bridge the first two KH games, this and P4 are the reasons I will still not be retiring the old PS2 this year. It's too bad Sony doesn't want to make the PS3 backwards compatible, as that it one of the main reasons I have not bought one.

That's it, that's my whole list. As you can see I'm planning to skip a lot of stuff that I may pick up on sale/clearance next year sometime. Maybe if "Mirror's Edge" was coming out in February, I would pick it, but when it's up against "Fallout 3", it just cannot compete.

Of course the reason suck of Game Season is that I will not be able to play any games really during November because of NaNoWriMo, but I have future plans for the book I plan to write for that which should allow me more game time in the future.

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