Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Media Overload...

Supposedly Christmas time is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" because of all the supposed "Holiday Cheer" and togetherness and all that happy horseshit, but everyone knows it's because of all the cool shit they get from their loved ones and, hell, typically themselves (I know that's how I roll). But honestly, what the hell really comes out at that time of year? Sure, some of the film studios hold out their biggest summer blockbusters for DVD release, and there's a decent rush for video games, but most of the time the more "geek-savy" stuff that everyone truly wants is already out there, it's just got a much more reasonable price tag on it.

More and more in the recent years though, it's looking like the early fall is where it's at. You've got mass releases of all the Television shows on DVD that you can handle, gaming companies are using it as a launching pad to get people amped for the Holiday Sales Season, it's by and far away the best time of the year for film (not movies, there is a difference here), and hell, even some of the bigger movie releases get popped out then instead of waiting for December.

Like, take this year for example. In the past six weeks alone I've purchased five seasons of television (Family Guy, Boston Legal, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, and Veronica Mars, natch) and there's gonna be a copy of Scrubs Season six in my mitts tomorrow even if I have to beat a senior citizen into a bloody pulp to do so... as if I needed an excuse to do that. Oh, and I've added Heroes and Jericho to my NetFlix queue as well, like I've had the time to actually watch them with all the stuff I've spent "real" money on. But that Fall rush, that giant swoop of releases by the Networks to get their product out there to be seen so that they can accumulate new viewers has already made this time of the year pretty daunting on the wallets of media whores like myself, and it gets worse.

Video games are starting to monopolize this time of year too it seems. I remember a time back around when I got my PSone that seriously, there was like four games a year worth looking into, and they all came out about quarterly. You had your big X-Mas game, your "Back to School" game, and then something in the Spring and Summer to gather your friends around (or just spend 100 hours on yourself if you had no friends like me. Good motherfucking times). But now they've all migrated to that area from about the last week of August until dreaded Black Friday, and hell, typically the giant gaming Blockbusters; the Halo's, Grand Theft Auto's, and so on of the industry usually slate themselves right around late September for their releases anyway. I think it's rare to see anything relatively huge come out in the actual month of December. This year I think the highest profile games we're seeing that month are Mass Effect and Burnout Paradise, not exactly the kind of games that shatter records.

In the past three weeks alone I've headed down the Waterfront (one of our entertainment hubs here in the Burgh, and the only place I'll go see a movie) and have seen Eastern Promises, Gone Baby Gone, The Darjeeling Limited, Michael Clayton, and The Assassination of Jesse James. Now, yeah, I'm a huge bit of a movie guy, but usually I only average about one movie a week seen at the theater, and I can tell you half of that average is because of this stretch we're in now. In just three weeks I've seen five movies plus right now there's still Dan In Real Life, Lars and the Real Girl, and Things We Lost in the Fire playing at this moment that I have to see, nevermind American Gangster coming at week's end. Yeah, Die Hard 4 was a great action romp, yeah, Transformers had some good FX, yeah, Pirates had Johnny Depp, but come on, you can have a eight month long summer and the movies out then still can't hold a match to what I've seen in the past six weeks.

Oh, and added on to ALL of that, lets not forget that I've received $175 worth of Comic book Omnibuses and Absolutes deliver to my doorstep in the past three weeks.

Now, why the long diatribe on all that Materialism above? Because it's too fucking much in too fucking short a span, that's why.

You know how hard it is to try and digest all that? In the month of October I have soaked up, no shit and no fucking less than 18 hours of movies (in theater), 50 hours of TV on DVD, a dozen hours of new programming, and spent at least 30 hours of my time trying to get through Folklore and Ratchet & Clank for my PS3. That's almost a week out of a month just trying to get caught up on geekiness of all types, and I've got about the same over in all those categories to go still.

And look, yes, I know I'm a special kind of media whore. I love my stories. I appreciate craft. I thrive to be entertained and seek a distraction. I like to look for revelation in all these different types of art. And I have all sorts of extra time because you couldn't pay women to go out with me (yes, I've fucking tried, don't you judge me. It's a harrowing experience there in the real world trying to "meet someone". I'd just as soon shove two pencils in my eyes and headbutt the bar as I would propping it up praying some desperate piece of girlishness that actually looks to have the ability to think and speak at the same time walk in... fucking blah!) but for fuck's sakes it's not like there's not ten whole other months in the year that could be used for this nonsense isn't there?

Yes, I understand the marketing behind this. Yes, you want a lead in for your fall tv programming. Yes, you want to build some Oscar buzz for your more "art house" flicks, yes, you want to sell systems to go with your software. But why am I, self-proclaimed Media Whore and top loser at life typically sitting around from January to May just rewatching seasons of Deadwood, or rereading runs of comics, or playing through Devil May Cry 3 for the hundredth time and trying to calmly wait for something new to come zooming by my face?

Marketing is great, I mean, there's so many predictable and tasteless people out there that yeah, it's easy to market to them at their own special times, but come now, why take the risk of starving your consumer base to the point where they move elsewhere? In fact, it's a great way to get them hooked more steadily. I remember back when I got my PS2, and much like this newest system release there was really dick all to play for the first year it got to the point that I was willing to try any damn thing. And lo and behold, come mid-summer of 2001 a little game called Devil May Cry came out, and me without having pretty much any knowledge of the thing and sick of cranking out Final Fantasy VII in 25 hours or less took a chance on it and it became one of my favorite game series of all time.

Whatever, it's just the way things work these days I guess. I'm hoping that the tide is slowly changing. It looks like next year a lot of the bigger video games are coming in the Spring instead like Metal Gear and Grand Theft Auto, and now that TV series like Battlestar Galactica and Lost have shifted their programming schedules the DVD sets are following them to the late end of winter it seems.

But enough of that talk, it's time to try and kill a disc of Veronica Mars before I go to sleep despite it already being 6fuckingAM.

Only I could turn all this fun stuff into a goddamned chore.


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