As the world is dragged kicking and screaming into December, the rush for the Christmas release schedule is hotting up yet again. Whether it's members of the PC Aryan race creaming themselves over the Day Z mod for Arma 2, or 12-year-old boys thinking they'll be classed as hardcore gamers if their mums buy them FIFA 13, Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 (despite the rest of the gaming world treating them like the worthless children they really are) the gaming industry isn't going to go without this year.
So you've picked through 2012's rather pitiful offering and chosen your game. But then what? Do you play the single-player story mode? Well yes, that's still the reason many of us buy games. But they've made a habit of making single-player suffer in favour of internet gaming.
Or do you hide your common sense away and play online? If you have anything resembling a brain cell in your head then the answer should just be a pitiful laugh and a pat on the head for anyone so stupid as to suggest such a thing.
Trust me, I've been online and let me tell you now that the two most abhorrent acronyms in the English language are PSN and XBL. And why? You remember those 12-year-olds in the casual games section? Well, they've found their way on here too. And they're full of rage because they want to be hardcore but their mums won't let them.
So you're confronted with thousands of pre-teens, all of whom have some variation on the screen-name Pu55ySlayer7000 yelling over their headsets about all the many sexual positions they've tried with your mum. Even the most uninitiated of gamers should guess by now that I am about as interested in playing a game with them as I am in hanging out with James Corden; i.e. not very.
This is why I'm excited about Resident Evil 6 and Dead Space 3. Because there's the opportunity for off-line co-op. I like to be a social gamer, it's always nice to have a human partner there to combat 'thick-as-pig-shit-AI' syndrome. But I'd much rather play with a friend in the same room than play with some 11-year-old American kid named Landon who keeps rage-quitting because of 'fukken campers OMG'.
I know it's probably too much to ask, but I'm sure I'm not alone. Can we maybe, just maybe, find our way back to the golden age of off-line gaming? At least then I can pick which organisms I play games with.
There's nothing that quite matches the thrill of playing in the same room as a friend. Someone I could actually stand to be around. Sitting with a pizza and a beer, frantically slashing at a zombie in Resident Evil 5 with a knife because you used up all your ammo and the damn thing STILL won't die is one of life's few remaining pleasures. Coincidentally, that sort of thing would make me weep out of frustration playing online, but in the same room as good company it seems almost bearable.
I realize the inane ramblings of an angry young person sitting alone at their computer isn't going to make video-game companies change their minds, but it's always nice to vent I suppose. Still, maybe it could be a birthday treat if just one company could come out and say 'yes, I am with you in this fight against the tyranny of internet gaming!'
Until then I'll just try and get by playing a game of Saints Row the Third with some kid from Peru who only shares anything in common with me by virtue of the fact that we both have the same console and game. I look forward to seeing what my mum's been getting up to...