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Waiting for momentous events in our lifetimes, whether patiently or apprehensively, is something we can all relate to. You’re twelve-deep in line at a coffee shop. You’re checking the mail day after day for that package. You’re waiting for just the right moment to ask her (or him) out on a date. For gamers especially, I started thinking recently about that unique journey we take when waiting not minutes, weeks, or months, but YEARS to play those next iterations of our favorite franchises. As I sit and write this short essay, in the back of my mind is the realization that in little over 24 hours I will be placing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim into my gaming console and booting it up for the first time, a moment I have looked forward to for a long time. But I pause to wonder and ask myself a few questions: Is this feeling I get waiting for great games to release unique to well-established series, or can the same be felt for new intellectual properties (IP’s)? Do gamers feel the same about the waiting period even if they know a publisher is poised to release iterations of a franchise annually, and update it consistently with downloadable content? Is it possible to “turn off” my sense for those impending release dates, and, if so, what can re-ignite them?


At this very moment, doing a little reflection, I can feel the excitement creeping back in for Agent 47’s return in 2012. And Commander Shepherd, and Dante, and Max Payne, and Link, and even good old Deckard Cain carrying his wealth of Horadric wisdom about the world of Diablo III. Franchise favorites like Mass Effect, Devil May Cry, and those others mentioned above drew us in completely with their characters, settings, and enduring themes. Once the credit reels finished, so began the long and painful wait to be drawn in again. For most of us, it’s that feeling that encouraged an immediate second (or multiple) playthrough. But, maybe sometimes, when you’re dropping the disc onto the tray for the first time, before the title screen even loads, that feeling is already there. Somehow you can just tell that this game will be so good the developers must surely already be working on its sequel.


I get that feeling about Dishonored. About Dragon’s Crown. About The Last Guardian. But the feeling is not as strong. That list of titles I just made is twice as short as the list of characters in the previous paragraph, though it honestly took me twice as long to generate. Why is that? It’s because those titles have not yet drawn me under their spell, if there even is a spell. It’s because I don’t know yet who or what they’re about. Reading the first reveal of a new IP is usually not strong enough to make me obsess over it. However, I have full confidence that they will prove themselves to me in time, and sure enough, as soon as I plunk each of those discs into my tray for the first time, I’ll already safely assume those talented teams of designers and artists will be hard at work for a follow-up.


As gamers we are surrounded by a constant sense of our own culture. This feeling of excitement waxes and wanes over the years between a good-looking game’s announcement and release, but with each new video or game preview released online or in the magazines, it’s instantly reignited. We can’t escape it. We tweet, we follow, we like, we comment, we post, blog, read, view, and of course if we can make our way through a few yards of sunlight we’ll meet up and talk face to face about the buzz set off by the latest info in the industry.  It’s enough to hold us over and make the waiting a little more bearable.


If you’re feeling a little skeptical about this feeling’s existence, consider this: A few days ago, Rockstar – a studio that can do no wrong in my opinion (irony!) – released their trailer for Grand Theft Auto V, and instantly the tweeters, facebookers, and trolls were afire with anticipation and speculation. Only in this, our beloved medium of video games, is such a fever pitch possible. We’ll be waiting at the very least a year – 365 long days of work and responsibility – before we can play in the sandbox that is Los Santos. Thankfully, we’ll have plenty of reminders in the form of new trailers, screenshots, and speculations about games on the horizon to keep us occupied. We’ll have plenty of games to keep us up all night and playing.


In a little over 24 hours, I will be placing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim onto my console’s tray for the first time and I will think, “the wait is finally over…  Holy s#*t, I’m playing Skyrim!