Well, we've just had a pretty intense November. As usual, November is the euphoric month for gamers, when a plethora of high-profile titles pummel us (and our wallets). This year was especially fruitful, with the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One. Even Nintendo played a solid hand on the software front with Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soaring to the top of the charts. Yup, homework got brushed aside, plenty of people were "sick", and family members got ignored, as we gamers had more pressing matters to take care of.
Now here we are in the middle of December, and as is the case every year, game developers have gone into hibernation for the winter, leaving us poor gamers depressed and going through a serious case of withdrawal. Why does this happen every year, and why does it keep getting worse? Well, there are plenty of reasons.
It's the holiday season for one, so chances are you've been completely tied down with the formalities that come along with it: cleaning the house for company, and shopping alongside people who don't seem to embrace the holiday "spirit". Perhaps you've been busy getting things packed for a trip to visit family, forced to leave your precious consoles out of the suitcase because you know there will be no time for play. Or, you're cramming for those December tests, essays, and other school garbage that will leave you will an ulcer before the break.
Then of course there are the presents. If you were on a tight budget in November, you likely loaded your wish list with the games and (if you're lucky) systems you wanted. So while you are beaten down by the internet showcasing reviews and videos of other people enjoying their shiny new titles, or constantly getting tweets from inconsiderate friends who've picked up a PS4 or Xbox One, you're stuck waiting for the procedural order of opening a present on a predetermined day. The agony!
Yes, it is the time of giving gifts and receiving them, but by the time you finally glance at your newly unwrapped games and systems, there's still dinners to attend (and clean up), and more visiting. By the time you finally sit down for a good long game session, it's January.
But let's say you did have enough money to buy all the games and systems you wanted in November. You probably went on a two week gaming binge, racking up plenty of hours on your new titles. So now December has just begun, and you're looking for something new to play. Well, good luck with that. Gran Turismo 6 is the only big game in December, which received decent reviews, but is only available on the PS3. Vita owners may want to check out the just released Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God, but that really is about it on the December release schedule, besides a few indie titles that aren't exactly knocking my socks off.
This wasn't always the case. I remember years ago when we were able to enjoy games for months on end, but now we've gone through an extreme social paradigm shift, and our interest is fleeting. We breeze through campaigns, enjoy a few online matches, and then, like bloodhounds, try to sniff out the next game worth our time. Even if a game is good and has hundreds of hours worth of content, we still put it down, picking it up only now and again for a brief craving fix.
So what do we do in this dark age of December desolation? Unfortunately, not much. If you're lucky and still have a game or two from the November launches, or some cheap buys during the Steam Autumn Sale that haven't been touched, savor them with every free minute you have. With little time to spare it might be a good idea to choose a game that is easy to pick up and put down. Or perhaps there's a game that you really enjoyed but had to step away from prematurely, or one that you barreled through to finish but would like to go back to for 100% completion.
December is only the start of the frigid and thin winter season in the gaming world. So, rather than eyeballing the next AAA title, why not take a step back and look at what you have, literally. Chances are when you pile up your game boxes or scroll down your digital game library, your eyes will stop at something. Don't hesitate. Grab that gem and get playing, and maybe you'll even find a smile during this dreary December.