Summer Gaming

Perhaps LittleBigPlanet should have been released in the summer?

As we move into the summer months the release of major games becomes a trickle, much like a water supply during a summer drought. It’s a phenomenon that has been synonymous with gaming for years, as publishers put all their efforts into pushing their titles for the Christmas market. Unfortunately this glut of games leads to some gems getting left on the shelves as uneducated parents flock to buy the latest entry in the FIFA or Call of Duty franchises.

Games like LittleBigPlanet, Mirrors Edge etc have all suffered due to coming up against the Christmas big hitters. Christmas may be the time when people spend the most money, but there’s only so far hard working parents’ cash can go, and when faced with the dilemma of buying popular games like FIFA, or buying an unknown but critically acclaimed title like LittleBigPlanet, then the choice is simple. They’ll go for the known quantity every time. As an example of a lost sale, I recently purchased Dead Space second hand on a well known online auction site, as it’s a game I was always keen to play; but at the time it was released my Christmas budget could only stretch so far, and so a sale was lost to the developer. If it had been released a couple of months later the story would have been quite different.

Red Dead Redemption should flourish during the summer drought, like predecessor GTA IV.

Last Christmas saw several big games feeling the pressure of coming up against the COD juggernaut, and moving their release dates into 2010. Games like Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption were sensibly shifted to the first half of the year and I’m sure their sales will get a boost as a result. They could easily have been lost in the Christmas wilderness, and then found a couple of months later at bargain basement prices, but sensibly the developers chose to bide their time and release them when the competition wasn’t so fierce.

While these moves are a step in the right direction, I still feel mid and late summer has a dearth of decent titles, and goes completely against what the movie industry do, when the biggest blockbusters are released during the summer months. A game like LittleBigPlanet would flourish during the summer, and as Nintendo have shown with Mario Kart Wii, sales can be very strong during this period, with the classic karting game still in the retail top 10 throughout the summer months. They are also releasing Super Mario Galaxy 2 this summer, which should hopefully see it doing good business. If more companies showed this kind of forward thinking then we wouldn’t have to rely on our Christmas games to see us through the summer.

So what can you do when the AAA titles dry up? Well you could trawl the games stores for bargains from previous years. How about Fallout 3, the aforementioned LittleBigPlanet, Far Cry 2, or Okami? All these games can now be found for bargain prices in most stores, and are well worth picking up if you’re bored with the games you have. You could also check out your own collection, as I’m sure there is a title in there that you haven’t played much, if at all! I know I have several titles that I need to delve back into, that I have only played the odd 10 minutes of. There are also countless games to download from Xbox Live and PSN which are well worth a look. Games like Braid, Flower, and LostWinds are all great, original titles, and have a lot more to offer than some so-called blockbuster titles. If you feel guilty playing games indoors when the sun is shining outside, take your PSP or DS with you and enjoy the best of both worlds. You could also use this time of year to try a different genre than you usually play. FPSs like COD and Halo are great, but you do get jaded with them after a while. Why not try an RPG like Fallout 3 or Persona 4? A strategy game like Settlers 7 or Advance Wars, or a puzzle game like Professor Layton? There is a lot more to gaming than FPSs, and you might be surprised to find a game that really sparks your gaming Mojo.

What to do? Cut the grass or play a videogame? Tough choice!

So what are your plans for when the drought finally hits? Personally I’ve got Fallout 3, Dead Space, Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption to tide me through the summer months. It’s either that or I’ll be out cutting the grass. Now whatever happened to Lawnmower Simulator?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Kevin M

I’ve been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70’s. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

5 comments

  1. Krazyface /

    AH HA! You mean Hover Bover! Now that is Old Skool, I remember playing that when the sun was streaming outside and belive me, the irony wasn’t lost on my mum. I do feel guilty now when I’m inside playing and it’s glorious outside, much like this morning; I was having a quick blast on Burnout but it was so nice out that I even felt fidgety just sitting there playing! Trust me, when the sun shines in Scotland, you’d better get your arse out there and enjoy it!

  2. half_empty80 /

    What annoys me about summer gaming is the guilt trip, you feel guilty playing games rather than going out. Even if you take your handheld out you can’t see the screen at all because of the glare. I’ve taken my DS out with me on walks etc and unless you find shade you can’t see a thing.

    Inside the sun streams through the windows onto the telly, meaning you have to play with the curtains drawn on a nice sunny day, feeling like a smelly teenager.

    • Krazyface /

      Exactly, playing something like Arkham Asylum on a beautiful summers day with your livingroom in darkness really gives you an insight onto how an Emo must feel perminantly, eh?

  3. AH HA! You mean Hover Bover! Now that is Old Skool, I remember playing that when the sun was streaming outside and belive me, the irony wasn’t lost on my mum. I do feel guilty now when I’m inside playing and it’s glorious outside, much like this morning; I was having a quick blast on Burnout but it was so nice out that I even felt fidgety just sitting there playing! Trust me, when the sun shines in Scotland, you’d better get your arse out there and enjoy it!
    +1

  4. steven g /

    Well it’s interesting that by having these multiplayer Betas, the xmas games are in effect trying to get a slice of the spring/summer market too. Im thinking Halo Reach!

    As you state, its no surprise that Mario Galaxy 2 will be out in June and that, on the Wii other hardcore, but minor games like sin and punishment 2 and No More Heroes are spring and summer releases to avoid the hardcore ‘end year’ established on the other consoles.

    We could see the biggest release jam of recent years this xmas, with an even busier january-march period with all the games which wanted to avoid september-november, all ironically being released together early 2011!

Leave a Reply