May is nearly here and, unfortunately, that means that the summer slump is upon us. Outside of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Splatoon , nearly every hyped game of the month is a port or reboot. Unfortunately, the coming months don’t look much better, with June mostly being a build up to E3, and July mostly being a cool down from E3. Yes, it’s that time of year again, the summer slump, when video game releases are sparse and people expect us to go outside and face the wrath of the horrible day star. Not to worry! You don’t have to give up on video games all together. Here are ten things you can do during the summer slump that will keep your gaming juices flowing.
Go to a Convention
While the summer may be a time of sparse video game releases, it’s a time of many video game conventions. If you are also an anime fan, consider going to a convention like Otakon and checking into their cavernous gaming room. If you are lucky to be in the Los Angeles area and have some money to burn, try to pick up a ludicrously expensive E3 badge and check out all the new upcoming games for the next year. If neither of these are possible, then just look for a convention near you. As long as the convention has something to do with geeky stuff, it will probably have a gaming room.
Go to a Tournament
Since people are finally coming out of their houses after the frigid winter, tournament organizers are ready to start running huge tournaments again. In fact, EVO, the biggest fighting game tournament of the year, happens smack dab in the middle of the summer. Even if you aren’t particularly good, go to a tournament just for the social interaction. It’s a great experience, whether you are going to a huge national competition or just a small local meet up.
Play Indie Games and Never Stop
Indie games don’t appear to have been affected by the summer slump as much as AAA releases have. In the next few months we are going to see Hiveswap , the Homestuck adventure game get released. Mighty No. 9 , the spiritual successor to Mega Man is coming out, and Mother 4 , the fan made next installment of the Mother series, will finally be coming out. Just keep your eyes on the indie scene and you will have more than enough games to keep yourself held over to September.
It’s also worth noting that the summer slump doesn’t necessarily hit in Japan. Maybe it’s because the Tokyo Game Show takes place later in the year. Keep your eyes peeled for Japanese exclusive games that won’t necessarily be making their way to our shores. You can easily pick one up at a mom and pop shop or download them using Japanese gaming accounts. It’s a huge untapped market of summer releases just waiting for you overseas.
Pick Up an Older Release Really Cheap
We can’t all keep up on our gaming habits. So if you absolutely need to pick up another game for the summer, pick up a winter or fall blockbuster from the last few years that you just haven’t gotten a chance to play yet. If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you. Extra points if you get it in a Steam sale or Humble Bundle and only end up paying like five dollars.
Enjoy Episodic Games
A lot of games are going down episodic route these days. Luckily, the summer doesn’t prevent these games from releasing new episodes. We are going to see the second half of Broken Age , and new episodes of Life is Strange , Telltale’s Game of Thrones , and Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands , probably at the rate of one episode per month. At least that’s something completely new to look forward to, even if they are only 2-ish hours of gameplay each.
Go to an Arcade
In my day, we had to game face to face with other people. I’m old! Seriously, though, some of the best times I have ever had were when I gamed next to the local crowd in arcades. Well, this summer, beaches are going to be opening up their boardwalks, and you know what boardwalks have? Arcades! Sure, most of arcade culture has been absorbed into skeeball and other ticket games, but there are still a few out there that house old favorites like Street Fighter III: Third Strike . Find these arcades and don’t let them go. That is, until you have to hit the beach or something, then you can let them go.
Enjoy Summer Games Done Quick
The gaming community can be really awesome sometimes, and the Games Done Quick marathons, where speedrunners raise money for charity, are some of the best examples of gamers making a difference. Every summer, we get to partake in Summer Games Done Quick, where all your favorite games are beaten in record times right before your eyes. This week long festival is a joy to watch, 24/7, and also great to go to, if you are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
Make a Game
If you are really hard up for a new gaming experience, why not try making one? Some of the best indie games were made in programs as simple as RPG Maker VX . If you really want to get fancy, you can learn Unity, which is a very easy and interesting engine to code in. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the next Thomas Was Alone , or at the very least the next Five Nights at F*ckboys .
Bring Your Games Outside
Let’s face it, the day star isn’t that bad. Besides, you have your DS, your Vita, your mobile phone, your laptop, your netbook, your iPad, your Apple Watch, and your iPod Touch to play games on! So go outside, have a picnic, and play some Smash Bros. for the 3DS . Then, after you get yourself a nice sunburn because your frail skin has never touched the light of day, you can come home and play it for the Wii U in air-conditioned safety.