A Gamer Guide to Battling the Summer Doldrums

In nautical terms the Doldrums is the region of calm winds, centered slightly north of the equator and between the two belts of trade winds, which meet there and neutralize each other.

In the world of video games there are two very distinct times of the year that present the outlook of gamers as polar opposites -- a time of feast during which gamers are very excited, and a time of famine when they are very apprehensive.

The former takes place during that golden 8 weeks that have the Thanksgiving holiday smack in the middle in North America -- a period during which a significant number of the titles that are being positioned to dominate Christmas sales get released. The latter is the period we are entering now -- the eight weeks that make up most of July and August, a period during which (traditionally) no AAA games are released.

There is no need to explain the golden period of the run-up to the Christmas Holiday; the reason behind its importance to games publishers is obvious on the face of it, with the Christmas Holiday being traditionally when gamers acquire new consoles and gaming PC's and when, no surprise, more games are purchased or received as gifts than any other time of year.

The Summer Doldrums on the other hand do require some explaining -- mostly because while the average gamer is aware of that period of gaming drouth, the details of the why and how of it largely escape notice simply because it is not something that gamers look forward and so do not focus upon.

Revisiting games you already finished might be the way to go -- especially if they have an online side to them like Call of Duty: Black Ops that you have yet to explore. Summer 2011 could be the summer you remember for unlocking the online Trophies and Achievements you never did before!

The Summer Doldrums

The phrase has long been used -- both by the game industry, the press, and gamers -- to describe this unfortunate period; examples of its varied use and meaning can easily be found online, in articles and news pieces like 'Declare Independence from the Summer Doldrums with New Game Downloads' (6 July 2010, Nintendo), 'No summer doldrums in this year's game market' (Earth Times 10 May, 2009), 'The Guild Counsel: Surviving the summer doldrums' (2 July, 2011 Joystiq's Massively) to name just a few.

A common theme in the game's press in the last few weeks of June include a focus upon what are generally called "The Games of Summer" but are actually the games released during late spring and early summer that must fill the summer void, helping gamers to get through the hottest months of the year (in Australia this period is known as the Winter Doldrums).

Before we get to tips on how you might survive July and August with your spirit intact while fending off boredom, perhaps we can have a look at just what the Doldrums are?

Posted: 6th Jul 2011 by CMBF
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