You can lead a gamer to sunshine, but you can’t make him play.
It seems the Summer drought is upon us once again. Each year the release list for games goes almost completely blank for July and August as publishers aren’t convinced that gamers will want to be stuck inside playing over the warm months. Unfortunately for us Brits, these warm months have so far turned out to be fairly damp, grey and cold.
When I was a kid, I never worried about the Summer drought. I’d only be able to get one or two games per year and they would last me all year round. I played games like Mario Kart (SNES) Diddy Kong Racing, Goldeneye and Super Mario World to death, finding every nook and cranny until I had mastered the games. These days I can afford to buy games when I want to and somehow this has shortened my attention span dramatically. Over the past month I have still been playing, although I have negelected writing, but I haven’t stuck with one game for a long time. I completed Spec Ops: The Line (fantastic for the sheer audacity to stand up against the big boys of military shooters); I played a lot of Day-Z (still waiting for it to move out of alpha before I post a review); I picked up Gravity Rush; I bought a plethora of older games on the Steam Sale (Heroes of Might and Magic VI is entirely too hard for me) and finally I started playing a little Theatrhythm on the side.
This all sounds like a huge amount of gaming but none of these games seem to be able to hold my attention. Although I’m not an ‘outdoors’ person I do find myself feeling guilty if I’m inside on my computer (like right now) while it’s beautifully sunny outside. Of course I could take the Vita or 3DS into the garden but screen glare is still such a substantial issue it really stops it from being any fun. I think what I need is some short-burst type games to be released during this period. Or more sociable games perhaps.
Games like Guitar Hero are perfect for the odd ten minutes here and there and anyone can pick it up if they happen to drop by. Sadly they stopped making those when people realised their cupboards were filled with plastic toy guitars and they felt a bit silly. Other than that I’m struggling to think of fun games that can be easily played in short bursts with friends. Racing games seem to be getting longer with individual races taking up to ten minutes (and then you have to face the fact that someone not used to the game will be terrible at it); FPS titles need a bit longer to really get into the swing of things; beat-em-ups just aren’t for everyone and they get dull quickly unless you’re willing to put huge amounts of time in to improve.
I think in conclusion, I want Guitar Hero to come back. Just for the Summer I want to be able to pick up a plastic toy guitar and run through some new music each year. That’s almost the same as going outside isn’t it?