It used to be that the summertime was infamous for its lack of new game releases, but that’s no longer the case these days. Games are being made by all sorts of folks in all sorts of different circumstances, most of which are not beholden to the fiscal calendar that demands the biggest releases congregate at the end of a given year. It means that at any point during a year, your personal game of the year could blindside you and just release on Steam on a Wednesday. Well I’m here to tell you that I have not had that experience yet this year, and I’m bored out of my mind.

So far, 2021 hasn’t really dazzled me in terms of game releases. Actually, the whole year is questionable at best, but I won’t get into that. My point is that it’s been a really slow year for me when it comes to actually playing new games. I think I can count on one hand the amount of 2021 games I’ve really liked, let alone finished. Part of me worries that this is all just a sign that as we get older we’ll end up treating video games like albums, and only play the things we liked because nothing new resonates with us. That might just be me though.

My gaming habits are starting to feel more like a stringent diet these days, where I stick with what I know and occasionally have a cheat day with a new release or something. It hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing however, because I’m actually trying more games without having to shell out 60 to 70 dollars for it thanks to Game Pass. I just blasted through a cute, albeit unremarkable 3D platformer called New Super Lucky’s Tale, which is an updated and more accessible version of Super Lucky’s Tale, which was an Oculus Rift exclusive for a while. I didn’t know this game finally made it to consoles and was playable, but once I discovered that I basically spent 4 days just blazing through it. I hadn’t played a game that obsessively in quite some time, and who would have guessed that New Super Lucky’s Tale would be the game to do it.

Aside from that, I started a new Skyrim save with the intention of making myself an un-killable demigod who can leap from mountain top to mountain top in a single bound. I feel like I’ve done this exact thing before. But the reason I’ve dived back into the game is because not only is it on both PC and Xbox Game Pass and I can snag some sweet achievements for my time spent in this dreary world, but because it’s super fucking fun to kill a boss so good and so quickly that the game literally can’t progress any further. It’s been this wonderful experiment of “how quickly can I break Skyrim,” that’s quite frankly been one of the most fulfilling game experiences I’ve had this year. It turns out that you just kind of have to cough in the direction Skyrim for it to just implode in on itself. Really a bummer that the Game Pass version of Skyrim doesn’t have cloud saves though.

But yeah, at the risk of sounding like an ad for Game Pass, the last thing I will say about it is that it’s led to me spending a lot less on video games lately. It’s not like they’re out there grabbing the hottest new releases or anything, but they are regularly putting up either new and unknown indie games, or just these titles that I’ve been curious about for a while that I’d never actually pull the trigger on and buy. The service isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s one of those “untouchable” subscriptions that I will gladly continue paying for. Unlike Apple TV, who only remains because of how good Ted Lasso is and how badly I want to watch the second season.

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