When we were kids, the summer was this glorious time of the year when you would suddenly get all kinds of free time. With school finished, the world was your oyster. Sure, you could play outside, but if you were like us, you probably spent a good chunk of time inside playing video games. It’s odd, then, that the summer has historically been a dry period for new game releases. Unlike movies, which seem to drop blockbusters every week in the warm months, games save up and bombard the release calendar all at once in the fall and winter.

Batman: Arkham Knight is the exception that proves the rule, as it releases this week, about as close to the official first day of summer as you can get. However, consider that it was originally slated to release in fall 2014, and that they probably didn’t want to let it sit on the shelf any longer than they needed. The summer makes sense for Rocksteady – the games developer – but why don’t more games take advantage of this “wasteland”?

What were your favourite summer games growing up? What’s the most memorable game that took up your free time and idle mind?

Friday, 8:00 pm – Albert

Thursday, 7:32 am – Ricky

My first console was a Playstation 1 (I had an NES, but welllll after the fact), so most of my “summer gaming” memories come from that generation. Sure, I used to go to a buddies place and play Blades of Steel or Mike Tyson’s Punchout, but I’d do that any time of the year. The biggest PS1 games for me were Twisted Metal and WWF Warzone. Similar to Gavin, I had some PC games thrown in for good measure (Civilization 2, anyone?), but mostly it was console gaming in the summer time.

My weirdest summer of gaming? 2007. It was my first summer in Toronto. I hadn’t officially moved from Montreal, and I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of befriending Albert, so mostly I just stayed in my one room “apartment” and played Viva Pinata and Guitar Hero 2. Man, did I make some pinatas party.

Gavin, Fable 2, so good. I never did play more of Fable 3, and I don’t have any interest in Fable Legends, but Fable 2 was a great title. I felt drawn in by the story, and the game mechanics were solid. Enjoy the playthrough!

I forgot to mention: I escaped the Steam sale with just 2 purchases, and only 1 of those are for myself. I picked up The Witcher 3 despite never having played the first two games myself (I watched the full playthroughs on YouTube, though) and I’m really digging it. I’m only about an hour in, but I’m already getting hooked by the story. The combat is still new to me, so I’ll reserve judgement on it until a bit later into my adventure. The other purchase was Max Payne 3 for Ash. Because, you know, Max Payne! Everyone should play Max Payne 3.

Wednesday, 4:17 pm – Gavin

For me, summer is quintessential Nintendo time.  I haven’t had a summer to fart around and play video games since about 2000, long before I bought an original Xbox, so my gaming was fairly consistently SNES, with the odd PC game thrown in there for good measure.  I keep trying to think of what the “summer game” is, and the one that keeps coming up in my mind is Super Mario Kart.  The soundtrack just drops me right into the middle of July at those times when I wasn’t working or bombing around on my bike.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGuXIKPjwq4&index=1&list=PL5990B46A0E6B1092

I kicked into Fable 2 again last week, just to mess around.  I haven’t played it in a while, so it’s nice to refamiliarize myself with the world.  It hasn’t aged as well as I’d hoped – it is a mid-range 360 game, after all – so that works against it ever so slightly.  Character models look fine from a distance, but look at your player up-close during a job and you’ll see some very rough edges.

The game feels like a warm hug.  It’s welcoming, it’s funny, it’s accessible, and it has this open world that I just love parading around.  The music is ambient and relaxing and the world feels like a place I’d like to be.

My wife is gone to visit her family for the weekend, so I’ll have a glorious weekend to myself.  I don’t care if it’s a beautiful summer weekend and that I should be outside.  These types of days are far and few between!

Monday, 9:34 am – Ricky

I finished up Dying Light over the weekend. It was a long game – probably too long, to be honest – with some of gaming’s more annoying tropes (“You have all your amazing weapons? Well NOW YOU DON’T! AND WE’LL DO IT TO YOU TWICE!”). Still, I really enjoyed my time with the game. Clocking in at 30 hours, with barely any side quests touched, it’s a steal in the Steam sale ending in a couple of hours. I’d recommend it for anyone who liked Dead Island, but wanted the traversal to be more Assassin’s Creed + Mirror’s Edge.  The production value was also stellar – great graphics, a very detailed city, good sound and satisfying combat mechanics.

Now, on to The Witcher 3! I’ll see you all in a year.