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Community Discussion: Blog by mgspada | A Call for More Seasonal Games!Destructoid
A Call for More Seasonal Games! - Destructoid




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About
I am MG Spada, but go right on ahead and call me Mike. I love video games and have since an early age. I currently hold a Bachelor's of Science in Game Art & Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Online Division. Don't worry, it was totally not a "tighten up the graphics on level 3" kind of school.

Ultimately I would like to write in relation to games somehow. Be it writing the stories of games, writing reviews and editorials, or updating my Facebook status about video games professionally, I just want to write.

My Top 10 Games of All Time

1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of Liberty
2. Portal 2
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
4. Banjo-Kazooie
5. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
6. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
7. Super Mario World
8. We <3 Katamari
9. ToeJam and Earl 2: Panic on Funkatron
10. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

I'm also a rapper, sketch comedy actor/writer/producer, and I host a wrestling podcast. None of these things are successful.

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Months ago, when I first heard of Double Fine Productions’ Costume Quest, I kind of overlooked it. I don’t know why; it’s something I tend to do from time to hear about an amazing game but completely blow it off, only to randomly get hyped up months later. A few weeks ago, I saw an ad for it on the Xbox 360 dashboard and decided to look into it fo' realsies this time. Once I found out that the game was basically about being a kid on Halloween, I was instantly entranced.

I love Halloween. I loved it as a kid, and somehow, as an adult, I love it more since I’ve gained the ability to construct incredible costumes and show them off in the Halloween mecca of Salem, Massachusetts every year. But Halloween is something that’s never really been featured in any videogames (at least any that I can think of). Which, of course, led me down a wild path that led me to we need more seasonal videogames.

What do I mean by seasonal videogames? I mean games that are meant to be played at a certain time of year, to get you in the mood for a holiday or a season. Movies are one thing that certainly have it. Halloween h
Months ago, when I first heard of Double Fine Productions’ Costume Quest, I kind of overlooked it. I don’t know why; it’s something I tend to do from time to time: hear about an amazing game but completely blow it off, only to randomly get hyped up months later. A few weeks ago, I saw an ad for it on the Xbox 360 dashboard and decided to look into it fo' realsies this time. Once I found out that the game was basically about being a kid on Halloween, I was instantly entranced.

I love Halloween. I loved it as a kid, and somehow, as an adult, I love it more since I’ve gained the ability to construct incredible costumes and show them off in the Halloween mecca of Salem, Massachusetts every year. But Halloween is something that’s never really been featured in any videogames (at least any that I can think of). Which, of course, led me down a wild path that led me to realize: we need more seasonal videogames.

What do I mean by seasonal videogames? I mean games that are meant to be played at a certain time of year, to get you in the mood for a holiday or a season. Movies are one thing that certainly have it. Halloween has (besides any horror movie, of course) classics like Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus (shut up), Monster Squad, and of course, the Halloween series. For Christmas, damn, we’ve got Home Alone (my personal favorite), Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, even Die Hard gets me in the Christmas spirit. Hell, even New Years has the legendary Money Train.

But what do videogames have? Not too many that I can think of. Sure you can argue that, for Halloween anyways, you can play any number of horror games that evoke that great feeling. The Silent Hill games give off a great fall/Halloween vibe, as does Resident Evil 4, and many, many other classic horror games, but none are really about Halloween. And Christmas? Shit. Besides when you save Santa in Secret of Mana and Christmas Nights Into Dreams (which I have never played but would love to), you’re lucky if you even see Christmas mentioned in a game.



There are some really good reasons for it, of course. The primary reason, of course, is that I cannot see too many developers making a game that can only be played at one time a year. Not saying they have to be, but come on, I would never watch Home Alone in May. In today’s gaming climate, games are made to be played any time by anyone. Games are also a lot harder to get out on time. You see games being delayed all the time. I can tell you right now that if Costume Quest had been put off until January I would have been a lot less likely to play it, at least right away.

While developers have their reasons, guess who doesn’t care? This dude right here. Play Costume Quest and tell me that there shouldn’t be more games that take place on or around certain times of year. The game takes place on Halloween, with you and your twin sibling (either male or female, depending on which character you choose) setting off to trick or treat. When a monster answers the door to one of the first houses you go to, and spots your sibling in a candy corn outfit, he mistakes your clone for a real piece of candy and sets off to bring him or her to his morbidly obese candy loving overlord, Cadaverous Big Bones. The game puts you and two other friends you meet throughout the course of the game on a quest to save your sibling and still get a ton of candy on Halloween.

It’s a classic turn-based RPG that plays like Paper Mario with its timed button presses. But the best part? Your Halloween costumes come to life for battle. Suddenly your cardboard robot outfit turns into a towering mech that fires rockets at monsters. Your black kitty suit turns into a ferocious, lightning-shooting panther. YOU CAN BE A UNICORN. As you fight your way through monsters in your town, mall, and a far-off harvest town, you complete side quests for other trick or treaters, bob for apples, and even compete in a costume contest. It’s all incredibly Halloween themed, and truly makes you feel like a kid on Halloween. And since it’s a Double Fine production, you can count on some incredibly funny dialog and characters from start to finish.



The best part? It’s a $15 downloadable title and can be completed in six hours. And that, my friends, is the solution.

Developers don’t want to waste their time on a game that people will only play and remember for a few weeks at a certain time of year, maybe only once. They want to create a game you’ll play over and over, all the time. That’s why we see multiplayer tacked on to every game known to man, including ones that don’t need it *cough*BIOSHOCK*cough* and games with tons of desperate attempts to stretch out content and warrant multiple playthroughs using cheap ploys.

But the downloadable scene is different. These games have shorter development times (with the exception of incredible indie games put together by teams of like, two dudes), are cheaper to produce, and are typically shorter experiences. I think we could get a good thing going if these smaller developers made these more personal experiences true to the season. Imagine a game playing AS Santa, having to deliver all the toys in time. Or a game playing as a bunch of kids on an adventure during their summer vacation. How amazing would it be to be able to have games that you can pop in once a year, get in the mood for the season, and then happily play next year? Costume Quest made me feel so awesome, like a kid on Halloween, that I would love for more games that give me that vibe for different times of year.

I guess it all depends on the success of Costume Quest, not that it’s this high profile title or anything, but success could definitely lead to more games like it. And that would be OUTSTANDING.

With that out of the way, let me open this up for discussion. While there aren’t many games designed to evoke that amazing feeling of certain times of year, we all still have games we play around certain times of year. I always play Super Mario Sunshine during the summer, and do my best to crank out a long RPG in the winter time. And it’s looking like Costume Quest is going to be a mainstay for me for Halloweens to come. So do you guys have any games that you love to play at certain times of year? I would love to know.



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