… it’s because I’m busy playing video games.

If, for some Godforsaken reason, you still don’t play video games, let me tell you something: Winter is gaming season. The summer blockbusters have been and gone. The warm, hazy friend-filled nights spent outdoors have dissipated with the first chills of September. Slowly but surely we retreat to our warm, cosy caves, fall to our sofas, plump our pillows and… turn on the TV! Autumn is when most big games and TV shows are released — no big surprise, considering that’s when the biggest, voluminous-backside-on-seat audience is available!

Now, historically this time of year wasn’t a problem — far from it! There used to only be 2 or 3 big games a year. I could stagger them and start one every few months. But now with the industry ballooning and game budgets growing to the size of feature films — because they are that profitable — there’s simply too many games. There used to be one big FPS a year, one or two RPGs, a sports simulator and… that would be it. There’d be other oddball games that could entertain you for a few hours, but nothing big. Some years you might not even play a single stand-out game!

That’s not the case nowadays though, and I suppose it never will be again. Just in September alone, I have the following games that I need to play through: Guitar Hero 5, Rockband: Beatles (well, I might give this one a miss…) AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! (really a game), Murumasa and Batman: Arkham Asylum. That’s just on the PC and Xbox360. If I include the DS/Wii… well… you would probably never see me again. I’ve never been able to pull myself away from the Cake Mania series of games…

October’s even worse, but I won’t bore you with the specifics. All I’m trying to say is: if you’re the kind of person that keeps track of at least five TV shows a week (or four, if you’re a True Blood fan and you’ve just watched the finale — please don’t spam me with comments on how you want to have Cullen’s babies. Wait, that’s Twilight! Ahh, I can’t keep up…) — anyway… if you watch a lot of TV, perhaps you will now understand why it will almost feel like hard work being a games player this Autumn. Think about it: an average, big-budget game takes between 20 and 60 hours to finish. That’s the same length as a standard 24-part drama season on the short end, and three seasons on the long! And I have to play three games a month if I want to keep up with all of the releases this Autumn/Winter! That’s a minimum of 60 hours a month, or as much as 180 — or 8 solid days of gaming…

But the best thing? The caveat and saving grace? It doens’t even make me a nerd any more! Video games are now part of popular culture. They are as much a consumable commodity as movie DVDs or TV box sets. In fact, I laugh derisively at those people with LoveFilm or NetFlix subscriptions! HAH!

The point of this entry was actually to warn you that you may get an awful lot of games-related blog entries over the next few weeks and months. But that’s healthy. I’ve been ignoring the gamer side of me for much too long. And there are actually a lot of gamers that read this blog: so these months are for you, gentlemen (and lady).

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Incidentally, if you’re not a gamer, but you are interested in playing them, you should read my guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Gaming. It will walk you through from the very beginning (it doesn’t tell you how to hook up a console to your TV, but everything else!) Think of gaming as ‘interactive TV’, or ‘entertainment for the intellectual’, where you give a little of yourself to make it a much more interesting (and sometimes fulfilling!) experience.

There is a reason it’s the only growing segment of the media industry.

Thoughtful Tuesday: Have you ever felt EVIL?
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I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.