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Shack Chat: What's your go-to game of summer 2021?

It's summer in the northern hemisphere, so let's talk about what game you've been playing to beat the heat!


It's getting warm in the nothern hemisphere (it's probably actually already quite hot), which means it must be summer time! Nothing quite beats sitting around a pool drinking cool drinks, relaxing in the shade or, if you're like us, chilling out in front of your favorite video game while the air conditioner blows icy cold air over your body. Because it is summer, how about you let us in on what games you've been playing this time of the year? What's got you hooked? Let us know in the Chatty thread below what your go-to game this summer has been.

Question: What's your go-to game of summer 2021?

Pokemon GO - Ozzie Mejia, Senior GO Editor

I feel strange putting a mobile game here. I almost feel dirty doing it. However, there's one good reason that I'm putting Pokemon GO down as my answer. It's solely because of Pokemon GO Fest, which has become the single best weekend to play this game. I was amazed by the turnout in some of my local hotspots, filled with people looking to capture unique Pokemon, take part in raids, or say hello and find like-minded Pokemon lovers. It's rare that I see a game of any kind have the power to bring people together and create this kind of community.

I'm as antisocial as it gets and this game even had me coming out of my cave. I get what the fuss is about now for GO Fest. It's a date I'll look forward to every year from here on out.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart - Blake Morse, Co-EIC

I finally got a chance to sit down and play the latest and greatest installment in the Ratchet and Clank series over my vacation and I was immediately hooked. First off, this game is just flat-out stupendously gorgeous and really makes great use of the PS5’s graphical prowess as well the console’s haptic feedback controllers. And while the game’s levels are structured in such a way that they can be played piecemeal, I could not put my controller down once I started playing. I seriously played this game for over 12 hours and was up until 4 a.m. trying to beat it. I thought I’d just come back the next day and just play for an hour or two but instead I found myself grinding to 100 percent all the in-game collectibles and maxing out all my weapon levels for several more hours before finally taking on the end boss. 

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart ended up being just about everything you’d want out of an action/adventure game and I definitely fell in love with it almost immediately. It’s beautiful, it’s got an amusing plot with some stunning cutscenes that look like they've come right out of an animated movie, whimsical weaponry, and it’s so damn fun to play. Right now it’s second only to PAC-MAN 99 on my personal GOTY list. 

F1 2021 - Chris Jarrard, Has better opinions than his peers 

I haven’t really played any games this summer that were not a part of a work assignment. I handled the F1 2021 review for Shacknews and, while I don’t think it is as impactful as last year’s iteration, it retains the on-track magic that made me fall in love with the series. The addition of cooperative Career Mode is something I am looking forward to playing once I get matched up with friends who will get the game.

Sea of Thieves - Sam Chandler, Bring me that horizon

Sea of Thieves is the perfect game no matter the season. It might be in the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, but a short trip to the Shores of Plenty, and I’m feeling warm and at home in the Caribbean-style setting. The sun glows a different color, the water is a bit more blue, and the sand - oh the sand! I love it all. The thought of it is enough to warm my cold fingers as I write. It’s been my go-to game this season and it likely will continue to be my go-to game for the next.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - Bill Lavoy, Gone Hunting 

Red Dead Redemption 2 is quickly becoming my summer game, but truthfully there are a few of them. I’m always on and off the Destiny 2 wagon, and I’m fully invested in The Sims 4 now that Cottage Living is out. I’ve dabbled in NHL 21 during the summer, and even some Ratchet & Clank. But, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the game I can fire up and pass time in right now. I’ve spent hours just walking around with my horse following me, gathering herbs and looking for pristine animals to craft clothing from their pelts.

Guilty Gear Strive - TJ Denzer, Heaven or Hell, Let’s News

Guilty Gear Strive is the best thing that has happened to me this year. It’s possibly the best thing in gaming that has happened to me in many years. So yeah, I’ve been playing the heck out of it. I’m pretty good at Anji Mito and have achieved the top rank class in the game twice. 

That’s kind of a cool thing about it. Where at one time I would reach a certain height in a fighting game and not feel like going further, Guilty Gear Strive has monthly rank degradation and resets. I never knew it could be so fun, but now, each month, I have a goal to achieve in this game. I want to reach and go back to the Celestrial floor rank each month. And I want to learn and fight and become stronger with every battle along the way.

Add to this the fact that they just announced the first of five Season Pass DLC characters and he looks like a robust hoss I’m excited to learn to play, and Guilty Gear Strive has been a glorious gift that has kept on giving to me this summer.

A Mario Golf/Pokemon/Zelda combo-Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host 

What has been my go-to video game for the summer? That is an interesting question as I haven’t really been playing just one game. The summer started with me going all-in on Mario Golf: Super Rush. I even got my brother to play it and we have had some great matches when he comes over. I could also say that Pokémon Blue has been one of my games of summer as I have been having a great time playing it on the Stevetendo show. Then the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword came out and this game was one that I wanted to give a second chance to as I didn’t care for it when I played it the first time on the Wii. So I think my answer to this question should be “it depends on what is released at the time.”

Guitar Hero 3/Rock Band 2 for the Wii - Bryan Lefler is rekindling his love for plastic instruments

The Guitar Hero craze hit full stride as the first decade of the new millennium waned to an end. Not content with just a meager guitar, plastic peripherals for a full band kit started adorning every living or bedroom equipped with a video game console. The eventual market saturation by publishers like Activision—thanks for killing one of my favorite genres, Bobby Kotick—caused a rapid decline in consumer interest. The synthetic musical machinery faded from the corners of gaming spaces and found itself abandoned in closets, attics, basements, or even trash cans around the world. They would make sweet sounds no more.

Now in the summer of 2021, I find myself longing for the rhythm game genre I loved so much over a decade ago. I have enjoyed similar experiences like Taiko no Tatsujin for the Switch coupled with the Hori drum controller, but the feeling of the original Guitar Hero/Rock Band will always be my favorite. It just so happened that one day recently, I was leaving a local Carl’s Jr. establishment with some chicken tenders and crisscut fries when the Goodwill thrift store located in the same parking lot beckoned me inside. It was there I found a Guitar Hero 5 controller for the Wii, fitting that it would be one of the last plastic guitars made before the series’ eventual failed reboot in 2015.

With my new but old imitation axe in hand, I was quickly able to locate two of my favorite installments from the plastic instrument days, Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band 2 for the Wii. These two games were made during the height of the plastic music pop culture phenomenon and I think they have some of the best soundtracks and gameplay refinements to show for it. They lack the unnecessary tacked-on mechanics and fluff that later installments would use to differentiate themselves. These titles, to me, represent the pinnacle of peripheral-based rhythm games and I plan on rocking out for the rest of the summer.

Street Fighter V - Dennis White, Community Manager

Fighting games usually get a decent amount of my attention but after taking over a year off of Street Fighter, I’ve really found a passion for the game again. What was the catalyst? Well the release of my favorite character from SF4, Rose. She’s extremely versatile in this version of the game and I truly love her design. The Capcom team have been pretty creative with the majority of the DLC roster over the past 2 seasons specifically and I think that the decisions made by the inspired team has really led to something special in a six year old game. Street Fighter has also been the go-to for after hours shenanigans with my friends. We like to throw down in a lobby to see how much each of us is improving with our particular main characters and learning new matchups from time to time with a few random players sprinkled into the mayhem. Turning Spotify up for some sweet jams and zoning out in the training room as I practice some new combos has been a great stress reliever. Hopefully, I’ll have one more solid run in this game at events like Combo Breaker next year. Fingers crossed!

Well, I feel better already. It's certainly been a great summer to play games, and with more games on the horizon, winter is no doubt going to be equally excellent. What video game is currently absorbing all of your summer playtime? Let us know below!

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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