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Published September 30, 2009

Between all of the TGS news, 2010 delays and podcast alterations happening in my gaming life recently (we’ll miss you Garnett), I’ve found myself struggling over one large issue in reference to the traditionally strong fall lineup of games set for release: Rocktober.



Is it just me, or does anyone else get the vibe that October has become the new golden month for holiday gaming? Out with the family vacations “stuffed” with new titles, in with ignored trick-or-treaters, doorbells drowned out to the riffs of the newest Activision “exploitation” or gunshots of the latest Halo “sequel.”

Let it be clear that I’m not complaining – for once in a blue moon I feel as if I’ll finally be able to plan out my order of play (ala Penny Arcade) for the fall, and possibly even get through most of the noteworthy releases in the few vacation days I have. Unfortunately, there’s still one tiny little snag in the whole operation – fitting that it falls upon the most unlucky day of the month.

That’s right, two of the biggest fall releases, Tim Shafer’s heralded Brutal Legend and Naughty Dog’s epic sequel Uncharted 2 both hit retailers on the 13th of October – and there’s nothing more frustrating for a hardcore gamer than having two amazing games come out on the same day.

Despite the fact that I’ll be dropping over a hundred dollars for both games on day one, price is not the leading dilemma in this situation – the problem is which one first? Even though Brutal Legend has been through development hell, the amazing demo and stalwart resolve of Schafer and Double Fine productions has an entire generation of SCUMM-hardened psychonauts salivating for the sure-fire win of a rock opera the game will be. Uncharted 2, on the other hand, has already found itself standing in front of a sold-out crowd, chants of “KILL-ER-APP” deafening among the flowing PS3 banners.

And then there’s me, eyes darting back and forth between tickets for two opening-night shows with identical times, refusing to TiVo either one but desperate not to lose my seat among the cult of the new. The few questions that have raced across my mind (Which needs my support more? Which will be shorter? What should I play to diversify games among the podcast crew? Which will be just as thrilling a month down the road?), have done little to help me decide. It’s a good problem to have, but a frustrating one nonetheless.

It’s not as though we haven’t run into this problem several times before – remember having to choose between the Dreamcast and Final Fantasy VIII? Was it really fun for the DS crowd to pick between Scribblenauts and Mario & Luigi a few weeks back? Picking a suitable release date, especially with regard to the competition, has become such a determining factor to a game’s success (and fuel for the fanboy-fires) that I’m still a bit shocked that we’re running into this situation. Even a one-week jump can make a big difference (see Infamous vs. Prototype), but perhaps Naughty Dog and DoubleFine don’t see each other’s product as a threat to sales. I really hope that’s true.

It’s easy to get caught up in the flow of fantastic-looking releases the fall has to offer – my only hope is that neither of these purchase-worthy titles thrives at the other’s expense. Although I’ll have to come to grips with the fact that I’ll probably end up preferring one of the two, I have to wonder why I’m left scrounging for change in the couch and becoming sleep-deprived a month earlier this year.

Trick or treat?

Either way, get ready to rock.


and get ready for rocks…

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