10 Videogame Resolutions for the New Year
Gaming is no longer a mere pastime or a hobby. It's a bona fide lifestyle now.
Which no doubt explains why, when I sat down to mull over my New Year's resolutions for the New Year last week -- picture me gazing for several hours at a patch of carpeting in my apartment in dire need of vacuuming -- I realized that the majority of my 2010 promises to myself, with the exception of that one about eating Whoppers while driving, were centered around gaming.
Here's a list of resolutions that I'm personally going to try to abide by for the next 12 months.
1. You will not buy any Collector's Editions, no matter how beautiful their deluxe, metallic casing is, or the quality of the paper stock of their art books. Instead, as you pass by your local game store, you will lash yourself to the mast of your ship, if need be, and save yourself -- and around $80 -- from their siren call.
2. You will engage in more meaningful hours of gaming in the New Year. Example: Playing The Bigs 2 or LEGO Rock Band at 4 a.m. on a Wednesday night, while fun, does not qualify as "meaningful gaming." But playing Dragon Age: Origins for two hours each night before bedtime? That's meaningful gaming.
3. You will laugh dramatically and heartily each time a GameStop/EB Games cashier asks if you are interested in purchasing "disc insurance" for the game you are buying for the low, low price of $3. Once you have finished with your hearty laugh, you will take $3 from your wallet and hand it to the clerk and suggest that he purchase himself a Whopper along with a side order of dignity.
4. If you are having a difficult time with a section of a game, and have encountered a boss or puzzle that is getting the best of you, take this as a cue that it's time to hang up the controller for the night. (And not as a cue to load up The Bigs 2 or LEGO Rock Band.) As the famous 1980s poet Kenny Rogers once said in his sage chestnut about self-preservation: "You've got to know when to fold 'em."
5. You will finish at least one game in 2010 that is several thousand miles outside of your comfort zone. It might be a season of Madden NFL 10, or Final Fantasy XIV, or Modern Warfare 2, or the original Katamari Damacy. Save the painful groans. Truth is, there are glorious pleasures to be had in every genre. Just because something doesn't feel familiar to you, or you haven't played all of the other Final Fantasy games, doesn't mean it's too late to understand and enjoy it. Be more open-minded.
6. You will spend at least $10 each week on downloadable games and content. And, in most cases, you will get a hell of a lot more bang for your buck than if you had put that $10 toward most $60 games. There are a slew of original games in Apple's App Store, Nintendo's Wii Shop, Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade that are worthy of your time and money.
7. You will finally get around to creating a standing multiplayer night one night a week, so that your friends/enemies/family can gather online. That night might be a Wednesday or it might be a Thursday. You might shoot one another, or you might heal one another. No matter what happens, even if your divorced friend Bill keeps forgetting to defend the flag because he's in the bathroom peeing out his alcohol (or, as he calls it, his "forgetting juice"), all of you will develop a bond so strong that it will last through the ages. Or, at least until next Wednesday night.
8. You will not engage in any pointless debates this year about how this game has better graphics than that game, or how the PS3 "roolz." If any person does try to engage you in such a debate, hand said person $3 and suggest that they purchase themselves a Whopper/dignity combo meal. On a related note, you will avoid silly pissing matches on message boards and in comment threads. You are better than that.
9. You will once and for all cease comparing/contrasting XBLA Gamerscores with friends, enemies or family. Playing through Farty McFarts Wobbletastic Adventure Karts 2 just for those low-hanging 1,000 Achievement points is no way to spend your life. Seriously, just look at yourself. Pathetic. For more information: See #2. See also: Kafka.
10. You will play a videogame that is at least 10 years old (the cutoff year is 2000) for no less than one hour once a week. It's essential to know your history, and the best way to know your history is by consuming these older games on a regular basis. Spend an hour or two each week playing Diablo II, or Satan's Hollow, or Majora's Mask, or Syphon Filter. Never heard of these games? Get thyself to the nearest Googling station, stat. And if you happen to find an arcade not named "Dave & Buster's" -- a rarity, I know -- put down your Whopper, drop whatever you're doing, and spend an afternoon inside. This is the gaming equivalent of taking one of those speak-French-in-one-day immersion classes.
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