Summer’s here then. I knew this to be true not from a glance at the calendar or an over abundance of palid white flesh on view in the outside world. Nor was it the gradual decrease in the length of my own choice of trouser that had enlightened me to the arrival of the season of the everlasting barbecue, no, the arrival of summer’s warm and increasingly wet embrace was hammered home by a veritable banquet of other little annoyances.
My local surf break is awash with every man and his dog, clad in wetsuits of varying colour and fit, and hellbent, it seems, on making my acquaintance via hurtling uncontrollably and obliviously at my face with their board, all big grins and whooping yells and dangerous abandon.
The car park overlooking the beach that, only yesterday, was free will now cost me ten quid whether I’m parking for the day or for an hour. Not to worry though as it’s summer time so it’s permanently full anyway.
It’s day two of the kids holidays and they’re bored, it’s too hot to sleep, the car’s full of sand, everything we eat is barbecued and despite repeated showings of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ my missus still wants to go camping. Oh and when it comes to my beloved video games, well, to be frank I just can’t be arsed.
I’ve come to the conclusion that gaming is a dish best served in the colder, wetter and darker months of our year. Despite all those little irritations I’ve brought up, Summertime really is a chance to savour other things besides the imaginative workings of the average game.
The developers and publishers know this of course and that’s why July to September have historically always seen a lull in triple A releases, thankfully the odd one will sneak through and attempt to drag us from the beaches and gardens but by and large it’s a downtime for gaming. The money’s gone elsewhere, holidays, day trips, sun cream, ice lollies and of course, charcoal and burgers. There’s nothing left for us to splurge on our favourite past-time and at times it almost feels like the all powerful draw that video games have held for longer than we care to remember, or in my case being slightly older, can remember, is waning.
I actually thought I might be losing a little of my own love for gaming recently. Nothing on the shelf was screaming ‘play me!’, my Call of Duty 3 disc had finally cracked and the whole experience was feeling more akin to a chore than a treat. I’d briefly toyed with the idea of wacking the whole lot on e-bay and was rabidly totting up what the console, peripherals and two hundred odd games might get me, a shit load of charcoal and burgers that’s for sure. Thankfully though that madness passed and my senses were regained sharpish.
Then my own fires were ignited briefly, and from a most unexpected source. Bar a few sessions in the wee small hours my 360 and PS3 had largely been employed over the last few weeks to fire out movies and music, and to gather impressive blankets of dust. Then one balmy afternoon when the heat had brought on another bout of lethargy I begrudgingly let the 360 hum into life, popped in Kane & Lynch 2, and once again felt the excitement rise as I allowed myself to be swept away within it’s story, gameplay and utterly dumbed down, Bruce Willis-esque Hollywood cheese, it was a wonderful and magical moment. The spark was back for a moment and I knew also that my love for the escape into the alternate Universe of video games was alive and well.
Summer will always be a time for me when gaming takes a back seat, to be honest it always takes a back seat when it comes to the truly important people and purposes in my life but in Summer it’s even more pronounced, but it’s nice to know that even when the interest feels diminished the love is still there, sure it’s buried beneath an avalanche of surf wax, beach balls and sun cream but it’s heart still beats and come Autumn I can once again fully enjoy the glory of its light amidst the darkness.
Plus there’s always something to ask Santa for. See you when the leaves fall.