Can 2017’s Video Games Just Slow the Fuck Down?
You're stressing me out.
A few weeks back, I told everyone they should be playing Yakuza 0 for a simple reason: it's awesome. Then, a copy of Nioh (also awesome) showed up, which meant I put Yakuza 0 (still awesome) on hold. When I needed a palette cleanser from Nioh's death machine, it was time for Horizon Zero Dawn (as it turns out, awesome). I've seen the end of Aloy's adventure, but it doesn't matter: Breath of the Wild (which, guess what, looks awesome) is out at the end of the week.
Here are the video games I've already played in 2017: Batman: A Telltale Series, The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series, Let It Die, Super Mario Run, Gravity Rush 2, Edge of Nowhere, Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero, Resident Evil 7, Yakuza 0, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, We Are Chicago, Fire Emblem Heroes, Night in the Woods. There are already enough games to assemble a respectable top 10 list for the end of the year, but it's still February! The actual game of the year, Super Mario Odyssey, isn't even out yet!
In January, hot on the heels of Resident Evil 7, Yakuza 0, and Gravity Rush 2, I declared what a great time it was for fans of Japanese games. That point stands, but in the weeks since, we can drop the "Japanese" part from that: it's a great time for fans of games. The relentless pace of likely terrific video games shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon; Breath of the Wild, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Nier: Automata, and Ghost Recon Wildlands are all due before the end of March, and that's ignoring quality re-releases like Danganronpa 1 & 2 Reload and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, which are both their own meaty games.
Even if I didn't have a kid eating up my spare time every day, I'm not sure it'd make a difference; there's no way I'd be able to keep pace! Yakuza 0? Thirty hours, minimum. Nioh? How Long To Beat pegs the main story at 26 hours, but it's taken friends of mine more than double, thanks to the endless loot and side mission distractions.
I probably have enough video games to keep my occupied through the end of the year, yet I've barely touched games like Fire Emblem Heroes and Night in the Woods, and been forced to gloss over For Honor, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Sniper Elite 4, and Halo Wars 2. That's to say nothing of various indie gems I've missed.
As a fan of video games, I enjoy keeping pace with the conversation and excitement. There are limitations, obviously, even though it's part of my job. (Contrary to more dreamy interpretations of my work day, it rarely involves playing games, and mostly involves sending emails.) You can't play every game, nor would I even want to. There are loads of games released every day that I have no interest in playing. But at this moment in time, in these early months of 2017, when I could use any and every distraction from many elements of the real-world, the video games being released are absolutely in my wheelhouse.
Don't even get me started on the idea that Persona 5 is due on April 4th. I've been telling myself that I'd find time to play Persona 4 for the better part of five years!
This is, admittedly, a lame complaint, but it impacts how I play games. I find myself rushing through faster than I should, hoping the credits are around the corner. Maybe I don't check out a cool side quest, or dismiss exploring the map to its edges. It's easy to say I'll just get back, but c'mon, there's bound to be other distractions soon enough.
No doubt, people who take their time and dismiss the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out) are happier people, but look: that ain't me. I love going to midnight showings of movies, playing games as soon as they unlock, and chatting with the Internet water cooler when an interesting new thing is out.
As if to pour salt on my wounds, an email I just received declares this: Thimbleweed Park will release March 30 for Windows, Mac, Xbox One, and Linux. Goddamnit.