As a cheapskate with an interest in older games and a massive pile of untried titles sitting in a cupboard under the stairs, I don’t tend to buy too many new releases these days.

Sports games are an exception, however. More specifically, a new cricket game will more or less represent an essential purchase on the day of release.

Unlike football fans, who can count on a new FIFA and Pro Evo per year, followers of cricket normally have to wait a couple of years for a new title. Which means that almost as soon as a new title is announced, a dedicated hardcore of fans begin speculating what the game might be like, and as details start to trickle through, speculation begins to grow about whether this one might turn out to be quite decent.

By the time the game is released, there’s feverish excitement and a great clamour for a verdict on whether this game is indeed ‘the one’. Cricket games aren’t really a priority for ‘the professionals’ and magazine reviews are normally brief and ill-informed, so you’re left with a choice of either finding out for yourself or trusting the word of forum dwellers.

So, Ashes Cricket 2009 is the latest, released tomorrow. Already people are on Planet Cricket sharing initial thoughts based on relatively little gameplay time.

I’ll wait until I’ve played it myself, but it already sounds like it’ll be the usual mixed bag of half-decent ideas on the one hand, and bugs and oversights on the other. (Sigh).