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Friday, August 03, 2007

Under Pressure

As the weather becomes a whole lot less soggy, I'm reminded of an archaic term that the indigenous peoples of England would use when referring to this time of year. As late as AD2006, the racially diverse natives of the realm would celebrate the coming of fair weather as the 'some-uur'. They would cast away their ceremonial garb - the cagoule - instead, parading with a red chest and peeling nose to the local shrine of Bir-Gaadon. Every year, a drought was expected by those who work and play in the field of gaming; presumedly because the marketing executives - whose job it was to maximise sales of computer games - were all overcome with the duties of looking after their kids during the school holidays: when younglings had a lot of free time and very little to do. The drought signalled low yields in the seasonal harvest. The year's Big Brother game would herald a lull in quality that would persist until proper gaming weather (that's sleet and gales) resumed around October, or sometimes mid-June.

Summer need not be a drought. There's a rollicking repertoire of rich gaming heritage, fertile furrows in which your interest and talent may take root. I've only recently come into ownership of a PS2. It's wonderful to approach my local games store and to look upon the shelves with the wisdom that is conferred upon oneself through being a long-time gamer. I know exactly which games I'd like to buy and I can weigh my opinions against those held by the community. I can be assured that my purchases won't disappoint, and, what's more, the select plucking and purchase of great games from an older format is the embodiment of choosing gameplay over graphics. A flashy game will likely cause tremors when it explodes into the public's attention, but only a truly classic game will emit ripples of pleasure with permanence. So I encourage you: try something new this Summer, buy something old!

This is all not to say that there's nothing new worth playing right now, in fact, this is one of the best Summers of gaming in living memory. With only a minor whiff of favouritism, I'll gladly declare my viewpoint of PC gaming to be on the precipice of the Gobi desert, staving off the arid expanse with the rejuvenating aquatic Bioshock (released later this month) and relocating vast quantities of sand with Colin McRae DiRT (Splines review very soon - promise); I can't think of anything equally olympian on the consoles besides the PS2's God of War 2 - so there's another reason to go out and buy yourself a seven year old artefact of awesome.

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