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Jon Hartley's blog

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Jon Hartley avatar 4:42 PM on 11.05.2012  (server time)
Putting the "No" in November

I'm definitely in the minority when it comes to my complete and utter lack of excitement over what most consider to be a huge month for videogame releases. I'm unswayed by the prospect of jumping into the moonboots of Master Chief, uninterested in pwning noobs or shooting zombies in another Call of Duty, and unmoved by the prospect of assassinating colonial fools in the most recent Assassin's Creed, which just missed the November release window. I won't be getting a Wii U yet, so the only thing I'll be anticipating regarding Nintendo's latest system will be the reviews.

You can toss December's releases in there, too. Far Cry 3? Meh. I know this may seem crazy, but my most anticipated game for the rest of 2012 is not the sequel to any blockbuster FPS. It's likely Midway Arcade Origins.

Coming in a close second, the ToeJam and Earl Collection

Yes, I'd rather have my childhood sold back to me in a nostalgic cash-in than venture into any science fiction shooter or dystopian future where I must infiltrate the something-or-another and make sure Nefarious Bad Guy 32 doesn't do various acts of terrible villainy that will endanger the world as we know it somehow.

What does all of this say about me as a gamer? Well, like so many of us, I'm sick of first person shooters. I've never been a huge fan of them anyway, but I've gotten jaded enough that even the most excellent representatives of the well-worn genre don't excite me very much. Of course, under the right circumstances, I'll happily plunk down some cash for the latest cynical sequel or soulless blockbuster (*cough* Gears of War *cough*), but these particular franchises leave me feeling as bored as an unsatisfied housewife, though without the accompanying desire to read the Twilight novels.

The games of the rest of 2012 are asking a lot of us, though. Even a game like Hitman: Absolution, which despite its puzzling marketing campaign promises to bring some creative thrills to the usual videogame tasks of murdering lots of people, has a hard act to follow after we just saw the "stealthy murderer" genre get turned on its head by Dishonored.

Anyone who reads my blog (all four of you, in other words) knows of my love of all things XCOM, too. How am I supposed to get excited for games like Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 when no matter how much further the quality of the gameplay, visuals, and writing (ha!) get pushed, they will still have an unmistakeable sameness to them? Even a great Halo or Call of Duty sequel is still very much more of what you played the last time out, and for a guy like me who has never been particularly enamored with either franchise, that spells doom. Or at least, it spells "apathy".

It's a good start, but um, where's the rest?

Even the Wii U features a launch lineup that is unlike any that we've seen before in that many of the biggest games coming out with the system have already been featured on other systems. Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed III, Skylanders Giants, Madden 13, FIFA 13 (which is really FIFA 12 dwarf the original exclusives like the unfortunately-titled ZombiU, which are in short supply.

The message from the release schedule the rest of this year seems to be, "Okay, original IPs and genre-defining reboots: you've had your fun. Now it's time for the big boys to play." Well, in my case, anyway, the big boys don't elicit much more than a skeptically raised eyebrow and a weary yawn.

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