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  1. Ah, June. Summer is here, E3 shows us all the games we should be excited for, and it's the last month of the second fiscal quarter. As such, this month tends to be the most abnormal in terms of releases. This month we have some much anticipated titles such as The Last of Us and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but June certainly isn't bursting to the seam with tons of AAA and niche titles. Were the Junes of the past much like the June of the present? Let's take a wordy trip down Memory Lane to find out! 2003 In June of 2003, there wasn't too much going on. However, racing fans got a great treat in the form of Midnight Club II. The nighttime racing sequel was well-met by critics and fans alike, offering multiple locales the race along and many secret shortcuts to discover. In addition, the online multiplayer helped the game out a lot; back in the day, it was a pretty big deal! Other notable releases: Wario World 2004 When the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past come with a second game, Four Swords, gamers that got together and had enough link cables were in for quite the adventure. Later, Nintendo decided to make a sequel to the novel idea and released The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure on the GameCube in June of 2004. Sure, you still needed a fair amount of GBAs and some link cables (to hook up to the GameCube), but the beefed-up adventure was well worth it for those who could get some friends together. Other notable releases: Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2005 In June of 2005, the Nintendo DS had only come out a few months ago, and new games using the system's touch screen in innovative ways were still trickling out. One of these titles was Meteos, a puzzle game that required quick reactions and the use of the stylus. Meteos offered a lot of modes and content, making it a perfect addition to the DS's growing library. Other notable releases: Kirby Canvas Curse, Yoshi Topsy-Turvy 2006 Even compared to other Junes of the past, June of 2006 was pretty bare bones. The start of that summer would have many gamers working on their backlog... unless of course they owned a PlayStation Portable, and instead got the treat of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. This prequel to the smash hit Grand Theft Auto III offered a similar gameplay experience on the go... which was more than enough for many gamers to take the plunge and buy a PSP. Other notable releases: Titan Quest 2007 June 2007 was the month of the remakes. Tomb Raider Anniversary was a remake of the very first Tomb Raider for Lara's 10 year anniversary, and it ended up being a relative hit. This remake faithfully took the entirety of the original and updated the gameplay and visuals, giving a whole new generation of gamers a chance to enjoy the series. Other notable releases: Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition 2008 In the middle of 2008, nothing of real note came out. Well, except of course Metal Gear Solid 4. The highly hyped new entry to the stealth series was one of the reasons to own a PlayStation 3 in the early days, and 4 does not disappoint fans. Whether you were there for the crazy story or the fan gameplay, Metal Gear Solid 4 was your game of June. Other notable releases: Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World 2009 June 2009 had many smaller releases that catered more to target audiences rather than AAA releases. One of these titles was Prototype, a tale of a man with strange powers in a city that's losing control. Prototype often gets compared to inFamous, which may or may not be a fair comparison, but the new IP still scratched that free-roaming, super-power itch that many games could not. Other notable releases: BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, Rock Band Unplugged 2010 Like most Junes, the June of 2010 was a little light on the releases, but the games that came out were a pretty big deals. This sixth month gave us the sequel to the N64 title Sin and Punishment, in the form of the Wii title Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. The sequel stayed true to the original's roots, offering an on-rails shooter that fans could be excited to grab. Other notable releases: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker 2011 Alright, alright, Duke Nukem Forever is not actually the best game to come out in June of 2011, nor was it the most hyped release. However, this new release to the somewhat raunchy franchise was very, very long in the making--at least two console generations! Therefore, good or bad, we have to at least celebrate the game's release... hey, at least it was a little entertaining? Other notable releases: inFamous 2, Alice: Madness Returns 2012 Last year was a bit odd. Most of the releases were portable based, of varying amounts of how anticipated it was, but the only big console release for June was Spec Ops: The Line, which in itself was quite the oddity. Those that have played the entry may know what I'm talking about, but for those that don't... Spec Ops touted itself much like a Call of Duty or Battlefield clone, but ended up being quite different and thought-provoking. Someone that stuck through with the single player until the end got quite the deep experience. Other notable releases: Pokemon Conquest, Gungnir, Unchained Blades That's a fair amount of old June releases! Some are more memorable than others to be sure, but you can't deny the impact these releases had on our gaming history... even if a few weren't in the right way! Which June releases did you enjoy the most? Are there any I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
  2. Ah, May. A time to go out and enjoy the Spring weather before it gets hot and muggy... or for those a little less unfortunate, stare outside the window waiting for all the snow to melt. It's also a time to catch up on our gaming backlog before the hot and hazy months and their wave of games hits! With a few smaller releases such as Metro: Last Light and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, May won't be completely dry, but it certainly isn't the deluge of releases that March was! It leaves one to wonder... how about the past? Are all Mays considered 'break months' for the game industry, or is this month just a fluke? Let's find out! 2003 May of 2003 was a rather boring month. Few new games came out during the month, and even those weren't particularly big releases. However, this month in particular introduced us to a new IP: The WarioWare series. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! gave us the frantic pace of quick and quirky mini-games... and really, what else could we ask for? Other notable releases: PlanetSide, Burnout 2: Point of Impact 2004 The month of May in 2004 was a bit of a dull one for gaming. This time, the biggest release is one that's mainly known as a PC release, which wasn't as common in the gaming industry as it is today with distribution services such as Steam. Thief: Deadly Shadows is exactly what a stealth game should be: You have multiple tools at your disposal, and failure to keep hidden and silent is likely to lead to your death. It's intense and nerve-wracking, but also a lot of fun. Other notable releases: Samurai Warriors 2005 The fifth month of 2005 was very slow. With no big console releases during the month, gamers had to turn their portables to get their gaming fix. Thankfully, one portable release was bound to keep a lot of gamers busy for the month, and that was Pokemon Emerald. The updated version of Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, Emerald offered a new legendary to catch and other updates to keep Game Boy Advance owners occupied. Other notable releases: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones 2006 Earlier on in these years, there seems to be a bit of a trend. While console gaming seems to take a break and slow on the releases, portable gaming steps in and gives us a great release to keep us occupied. During this May we received New Super Mario Bros., Nintendo's attempt to return the Mario series to its roots. It was well-received critically, and no matter what you think of the 'New' moniker now, you have to admit that the original DS game succeeded well in its mission. Other notable releases: Hitman: Blood Money 2007 Again, May 2007 is a dry month for console gaming, and again, portable gaming stepped up to the challenge of giving gamers something to entertain themselves. However, Etrian Odyssey doesn't have the same wide-spread appeal as the previous entries--a throwback to first person dungeon crawling of old, this game (and series) is brutally difficult. It isn't for the faint of heart, but for those that stick through it are given a great experience. Other notable releases: Penumbra: Overture 2008 It's said that April showers bring May flowers... well, in 2008, it must not have rained much, since there were few flowers blooming. However, this gave niche and indie titles a chance to shine. Amongst the May releases was Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1, which was a well received Arcade title. It was Penny Arcade... in a game! Also, the game itself was pretty good, and the small amount of competition during the month certainly helped its exposure. Other notable releases: Boom Blox, Luminous Arc 2 2009 If there is anything that can be considered about May throughout the years, it's that many new IPs come out. 2009 gave us inFamous, the PS3 exclusive that put us in the shoes of a man with an incredible power. Being able to explore the free world with the power of lightning at your side, you could wreak havoc or help the population. The combination of aspects we've seen before with new mechanics helped make inFamous a smash hit. Other notable releases: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, Punch-Out!!, Killing Floor 2010 Surprisingly enough, May 2010 had many great releases, both triple-A and niche alike. However, nothing beats the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2, the much anticipated sequel to the Wii classic. Giving more of the greatness that fans loved, and new mechanics that kept the formula fresh (like everyone's favorite dinosaur, Yoshi), Super Mario Galaxy 2 kept Wii owners entertained for May... and even beyond! Other notable releases: 3D Dot Game Heroes, Trauma Team, Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake 2011 In May 2011, two much anticipated WRPGs were released to the world. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings was one of these, and was well received by fans and critics alike. The first game was dark, gritty, and had plenty of morally grey choices, and The Witcher 2 doesn't shy away from the grimdark setting. It's a sequel does does everything right for fans. Other notable releases: Terraria, Fable III 2012 May of last year was a little dry on the releases, though what did come out catered to wide and excited audiences. The biggest release of this month was the MMO Diablo III. Fans of Diablo II had been clamoring for a sequel for years, and they finally got the game they had been dreaming of... even if the aesthetics made it look like a World of Warcraft sequel. Love it or hate it, the MMO certainly made a big splash in the industry when it released. Other notable releases: Max Payne 3, Alan Wake's American Nightmare That's all for this May's Memory Lane. If you were worried about May being a month of low releases, don't be; that seems to be the case most of the time. It helps us prepare for the busy summer months, at least! Next month we'll see how big June typically is (or isn't) in game releases. See you then! What are some of your favorite May releases? Any I missed? Let me know in the comments below!