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The Blockbuster Season: Too Much

 

        This will probably be the stupidest thing you've ever heard a gamer say, but I'm gonna go ahead and say it anyway; I am sick and tired of all these great games. I realize I may have to turn in my controller and forfeit my XP, but it had to be said. In what's becoming a yearly tradition, the last 4 months of the year were jam packed with the best of the best; or, if nothing else, the biggest of the biggest. It' not that the rest of the year is exactly devoid of useful and enjoyable games, but when you look at the year as a whole, September through December weighs down the tail end of the calendar like riding a see-saw with Fat Albert and the entire extended Fat family. There are a vastly disproportionate amount of big budget console games released in those last 4 months of the year, so much so that someone like myself is absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of great games sitting on my shelf. You'd think that as a gamer this would make the holiday season truly 'the most wonderful time of the year', but at the end of yet another rapid-fire release schedule I'm feeling a lot more weary than wonderful.

        Most of this exhaustion is my own fault. I am after all a mainstream console gamer. This means that those titles that release in that short window between late September and early December are generally the only ones I'm looking forward to playing. Things are beginning to change and I am drifting further from the pack than I used to, but as it stands, everything that released this past blockbuster season was everything I'd been holding my breath for all year. This doesn't mean I sit around from January to September with absolutely nothing new to play, because for the most part, the previous season's games hold me over until the next. This is, or I should say was, mainly because I was a FPS-only fan. With the release of Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, this meant that my 2011 to 2012 gaming calendar was full on booked. Between MW3's monthly bombardment of maps and BF3's absolutely incredible gameplay, I hardly even noticed as March turned into April. Outside of that day in day out battlefield grind though, there were two other games that not only made 2012's gaming year fly by, but also revolutionized my entire gaming decisions.

 

 

        Skyrim wasn't exactly a 2012 release, but since nothing outside of FPS's existed in 2011, I didn't pick it up until sometime in March. I laughed this thing off last year. Swords, shields, bows, dragons, elves, and magic; who in the world plays these things? As it turns out, I do. I don't know if it was my general battlefield fatigue or Skyrim itself, but after almost 3 or 4 months of nothing but Tamriel, my idea of what gaming was went from a one way street to an entire country of winding neighborhood avenues and interstate highways. To call it a paradigm shift is putting it mildly. Skyrim made me a completely different gamer altogether. Without it, 2012 would've been the slowest gaming year on record since the great drought of 2002 (not a fact). And as if Skyrim wasn't a big enough shock to my gaming system already, another massive redistribution of self came in the form of an XBLA downloadable title called Minecraft.

        For a lot of you, I don't have to tell you what that word means. As far as I'm concerned, Minecraft goes down in the gaming history books right next to classics like Pac-man and Super Mario Bros. Few games ever truly break the mold, and fewer still take that mold and melt it down into a nice ceramic bowl that you can eat your breakfast out of every single day. I go back every now and again and pop in games like Bioshock or an Assassin's Creed title, but nothing will ever get the amount of replay that Minecraft does. I spent every single day and night leading up to Borderlands 2's release doing nothing but digging, crafting and creating anything and everything that came into my mind. I even spent that night building a Borderlands logo. This game is not just a pastime, it's a way of life. Along with Skyrim  and my standard shooters, 2012 was not nearly as gaming free as it might have been. Trials Evolution certainly did it's part as well, but without the absolute daily compulsion to build a better world in Minecraft, or save one in Skyrim, I might have had to do something extreme, like read a book or go outside. Thankfully, Mojang and Bethesda spared me that horrific fate.

 

 

       But this isn't about whether or not we have enough to do throughout the course of the year to keep us off the streets and safe from literature, it's about too much of a good thing in too short of a timespan. Coming out of gaming's summer doldrums I had 5 games in my blockbuster season's queue: Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Assassin's Creed III, Black Ops II, and Far Cry 3. Initially Bioshock Infinite was in that line-up too, but Irrational and 2K pushed it back into 2013 hoping that the impending apocalypse won't prevent us from purchasing a copy of their game (EDIT: Can you imagine how stupid those people felt? There they were sitting in their fallout shelters right next to the 3 year supply of Spam, in between the ammo and the powdered milk, and here comes 6am… Nothing.. Here comes 7am… Nothing. I just want to upload a video of me laughing for 5 straight minutes to one of those end of the world sites). But as it turns out, it was an extremely good thing that they did decide to sit this season out. Those 5 games released more or less right on top of each other, and except for Dishonored and Black Ops II, these things were far too enormous to play through entirely in the couple of weeks we had before the next one dropped.

        This economy class leg room between releases meant I wasn't able to finish a single one of those 5 games before the next one was going into the drive. I had to come back to Borderlands 2 to finish it off once I got far enough along in Dishonored to feel comfortable walking away for a little while. And when Borderlands 2 was completed here came Assassin's Creed III keeping me from finishing Dishonored.  I still haven't finished Assassin's Creed III because by the time I took a break to go back and finish Dishonored, here came Black Ops II. As little as I was excited about it, once I had it in my hands that old day in day out shooter side of my gaming self sucked me right back in to that routine; until Far Cry 3 released. I feel like I haven't taken a breath of fresh air since early September. And things have only gotten worse.

        It's hard to really complain, but on top of these rapid-fire releases the Borderlands 2 DLC has been coming out at break neck speeds. I'm at the point where I can't even enjoy the DLC for one of my favorite games of all-time, simply because I'm having far too much fun with Far Cry 3. I want to, and I've even purchased and downloaded that first one, but there's no way to squeeze it in with all the time a game like Far Cry 3 requires. I'm drowning in a sea of digital greatness, and there's no boredom in sight. Last night I came across a Gi.com article informing me that Battlefield 3's third expansion pack just came out, so as a Premium member I had to jump over into BF3 and download Aftermath. By the third game I felt so guilty leaving Rook Island that I walked away from my favorite shooter so I could try and finish off Far Cry 3 (it was made a little easier due to my overwhelming noobness after being away so long). So, here's where I'm at now.

 

 

Borderlands 2

I still haven't played through the entire story with any of the original 4 characters (I completed it with Gaige) and we're about to get the third DLC, making for a mountain of Borderlands 2 content that I still haven't even touched. This is one of my favorite games of all-time and it's killing me to not be able to sink all my time into this.

 

Dishonored

I haven't been able to start my second playthrough to see how a purely evil Corvo affects the world and it's story. As probably the only great stealth game of the last couple of years, there's just no way I'm not going to be replaying this thing as soon as I get some wiggle room.

 

Assassin's Creed III

Still incomplete and apparently they have some sort of evil George Washington DLC available. The sheer size of this thing means I'm looking at an almost guaranteed February finish date. 

 

Black Ops II

I've sunk next to zero time into zombies, and I still haven't even reached my first Prestige yet. Apparently there's some sort of Nuketown Zombie thing too, but I wouldn't know anything about it since I haven't touched the game since Far Cry 3 released. Add to that the fact that I really haven't been able to give their League Play a fair shot in an actual season, and I'm left feeling like Black Ops II isn't entirely complete either.

 

Far Cry 3

Far from finished; and I haven't even had the time to try out it's multiplayer yet. On top of that, if I can't unlock every skill on the first playthrough I'm going to have to run through the Story twice. This thing is more or less my #1 priority though, so I'm hoping by early 2013 I'll get to see what happens to the most dangerous trust fund kid on the planet.

 

The Walking Dead

The article in this month's Gameinformer convinced me to download the series and after that first episode I'm chomping at the bit to get my hands on the other four. This thing ranks about a 1 on the difficulty scale, but a near 10 in the psychologically riveting department. I don't think I've ever been this excited to play what amounts to a TV show.

 

 

        You see? Absolute fun overload. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to finish off all of this before Black Ops II starts hitting us with their DLC and Bioshock Infinite releases. As anyone that's ever done a keg stand can tell you, too much of a good thing can sometimes lead to blacking out and waking up in bed next to your cousin. Though not quite nearly as disturbing, too many great gaming options in such a small amount of time has the very real potential to cause the dreaded 'gaming fatigue'. I don't know if I'm quite there yet, but considering I've written and created images for 3 different blogs in the last week instead of playing the game I was writing about, I'd say it may be nipping at my heels (I do that a lot. I have about 6 or 7 blogs that I just got bored with and moved on).

        There are far worse things in the gaming world then an overabundance of great games and their great DLC. For starters you could've bought a 3DS. The question is still valid though: Is there such a thing as too much? Struggling to finish your favorite long awaited games because Gamestop keeps texting you to remind you that your other favorite long awaited game is waiting for you, can start to overwhelm even gamers like me with all the time in the world on their hands. I can't say that I've reached the breaking point just yet, nor do I know that I ever will. This may all just be the storm before the calm. Kind of like waking up Christmas morning and finding out that Santa's reindeer went feral and took off after your neighbor's dog, leaving him with no option but to give you everyone's presents. Initially you'd be out of your mind ecstatic, but unable to truly enjoy all of these toys individually, sooner or later you'd fall flat on your face drooling out of the side of your gigantic smile. But once Santa finally took your parents' hint and moved off your couch and back in with his wife, there'd be no end to the amount of fun you'd have. Maybe that's where I am now; flat on my face drooling out of the side of my smile. It would certainly explain why those officers kept asking me about my medications.

        But what do you think?

        Is there such a thing as too many great gaming options when they're piling up one on top of the other? Is it possible to get exhausted during or after these blockbuster seasons? Is it ok to put down Santa's reindeer once they've tasted blood?

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