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Influx of games slows with the end of holidays

December 30, 2011
By JEREMY KINS - Gaming Critic for the Herald-Star , The Herald-Star

Another holiday season has come and gone, and with the end of the year approaching it marks the beginning of a tremendous slog through games new and old alike.

Now into the spring is typically when the gaming "drought" hits, as developers and publishers have pushed out their triple A titles in time for hungry consumers to buy and wrap for underneath the trees.

This drought isn't a bad thing, however, and I welcome it in fact. While you'll never hear me complain about the ridiculous influx of quality gaming that flies in at and around the Christmas months, it's nice to be able to breathe for a minute and revel - and possibly fear - the stack of games that have been ceremoniously added to the collection.

Big games will release during this time, but not nearly with the frequency of past months, and I need that time to catch up a little bit before the likes of Mass Effect 3 hits my apartment with the force of a newborn child, consuming all that I consider free time.

For example, take a look at the titles I have to play, whether started but not finished, or still in the plastic wrapping:

Uncharted 3

Batman: Arkham City

Rayman Origins

Portal 2

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Yakuza 4

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

The Ico and Shadow of the Collosus HD Collection

A slew of indie titles on Steam

I don't even know where to begin, really. Yakuza 4 and the new Zelda will easily eat 80 hours of my life alone. I won't mind a bit, however. The quality of that list astounds me, and I'm thrilled to have to chance to spend so much time with such diverse gaming experiences.

Quite a few of those titles easily rank me into the "late to the party" category, but I'm all right with that. That list is a month's rent worth of finances. While I'd consider homelessness to buy them all at once, it wouldn't exactly be practical because I need a home and electricity to play them.

I've spent half of the past month with my loved ones - friends and family - attending Christmas parties, shopping, being nice and all of that. Now, it's time to spend some time with virtual loved ones, however creepy that might sound to some, but I suspect if you're reading this column you know exactly what I mean.

I wish I was best friends with Nathan Drake, Sully was my uncle and yes, I have a huge crush on Elena. I wish Kazuma Kiryu was my adoptive father. I wish Link was my brother and we could ride horses through Hyrule every afternoon.

Isn't that what the Christmas season is all about? Wishes and hope? That's a bit off track, though.

The biggest obstacle comes in the form of time management. How do I even begin to manage my playthrough of each title? Do I play one at a time through to completion, checking each off a list? Or do I create a schedule and play each for set increments of time? Both have their benefits.

One at a time ensures adequate attention and the increased likelihood of actually completing the game without being distracted, but it also comes with the risk of boredom if the game doesn't grab me enough.

Scheduling requires a lot of work, but ensures a diverse and fair experience. It also requires discipline - something I'm sorely lacking most of the time.

I think the most logical way to go about it, for me at least, is to just play what I'm in the mood for, whenever I actually have the time to do it.

The options I've offered may work well for someone with a normal, set schedule, or someone with less obligation, but my life is hectic and game time is always up in the air, so I've got to play it by ear. Enjoy the time I have and all that.

If I want to be a superhero for the night, I'll thrown in Batman. Japanese mobster? Yakuza. Fantasy romantic? Zelda. Treasure hunting, sly-mouthed acrobatic? Uncharted.

It's a great time to be a gamer, even if it is a little overwhelming. How do you handle your Christmas game overload? Thoughts?

(Kins can be contacted at jkins@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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