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Nobody Has The Time To Play All These Excellent Video Games

Where the fuck did all these bangers come from?

My last couple of weeks have probably been much the same as yours: a succession of people asking you "hey, did you play [game], it's a surprise GOTY contender!", to which I have to say "no, sorry bud, I was too busy playing [other game], which has also come out of nowhere to be a potential GOTY candidate". There are only so many hours in the day a human being can be doing stuff!

This unexpectedly bumper spring has (so far) blessed us with Hades 2, Little Kitty Big City, Crow Country, Manor Lords, 1000xRESIST, Animal Well and Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. All these games rule, all of them dropped within a few weeks of each other, and I'm going to be honest here and say I hadn't even heard of half these before they came out, let alone got excited enough to look forward to them.

But they're here, and we're suffering. In May 2024 there are simply too many good video games to play and talk about. Which is a little frustrating for me, someone who has spent almost 20 years working thousands of miles away from colleagues in his own home! One thing I love about online communities--and "things I love about online communities" is a very short list--is when we can all come together to passionately talk about how much we love one very specific thing. Some of my fondest memories as a remote writer at Kotaku were when everyone on staff was playing Persona 5, or The Witcher 3, or Zelda at the same time. Sharing those experiences was the closest I ever got to talking around a water cooler!

There's no way in hell that's happening any time soon, because most of us can't find the time to play even half these games, let alone all settle on the same one. All of us haven't even caught up on 2024's previous must-plays, from Infinite Wealth to Balatro to Dragon's Dogma II to Helldivers 2. And it's only May, what the fuck! I honestly don't remember a time in video games quite like this, where we've been so swamped with so many excellent video games, each worthy of our time and discussion, and so many of them have just come out of nowhere.

(If you're reading some of these game names and thinking "huh you guys haven't even written about some of these yet", yes, that's my point!)

Of course it's not actually a problem. This is an exciting time for video games in terms of the games we're playing. It's also a glimmer of hope for what the future of the medium could look like. The last couple of years have felt like nothing but doom and gloom, a never-ending procession of layoffs, depraved AAA budgets, idiotic platform holders and greedy publishers. If that kind of bad news is the only video game news you read, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the sky was slowly falling, that we might even be in for some kind of repeat of the great Video Game Crash Of '83.

You'd be wrong, of course. You can't kill video games. Parts of it may die off, but other parts will evolve and endure. The industry might be struggling, but the medium is going strong. The last month has felt like a glimpse of what a possible (I'm sorry) aftermath to a second great video game crisis might look like. Most of the games I've mentioned above are small in comparison to their bloated AAA counterparts. They're mostly available on PC, mostly insulated from the whims of large publishers and platform holders.

Most importantly, though, all these games we've been getting excited about are just video games. The people making them wanted to make a game, release it to the world, hope people enjoyed (and paid) for it and...that was that. None of these are live-service games, they're not chasing online trends or in-game economies, they're not trying to attract esports investment. They're all just cool and interesting video games that have come from the heart.

The fact there have been so many of them this month--and so many people loving them to the point so many of them are front-and-centre in their discussions--is wonderful. If there's one thing I'm going to cling to for the rest of the year as a bright spot for video games, it's going to be this. 

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