6 Strategies to Maximize Your 2011 Winter Release Playtime

Winter Games Lineup

It’s that magical time of year again: the fall video game season, the time of the year that most gamers have been waiting for on clenched hands and held breath. The time where all of the news, screenshots, videos and reviews finally mean something once the game is firmly in the hands of the player. The only downfall is… there is just so much to play - and it’s pretty easy to get bogged down.

Between Batman: Arkhan City, Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and everything else in between releasing from here till the new year, there is a lot gameplay to get through. Plus, even if the average gamer has the monetary means to grab every triple-A title, the offerings are still enough to get overwhelmed. To offer a little “co-operative support,” we’ve supplied a list of some easy and interesting ways to not only get through the winter holidays, but to possibly reinvent how some release titles are played. It might take some magic, wonder, and simple malarkey - but in the end it will all be for the greater good.

Write It All Down

Admittedly, there are enough games between October and December that it’s hard to keep them all straight. With one of the big-sellers releasing just about every week leading up to Christmas, it is important to prioritize.

Jot down which you want, and then establish an easy schedule - as to when you could play them. It may be that you want to play Uncharted 3 while ranking up in Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer, so see how you can split your time. You’d be amazed how much time your controller is left untouched each week.

Duality is Causality

Speaking to “splitting time,” some titles like Forza Motorsport 4 and upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic, may take more of an extended timeframe than just a week or two. For those there is something much easier to do while you plug through the rest of the releases.

It’s called Moonlighting for a reason, and it even applies to gaming. Simply let those games be the titles you fall back on at night, when you fall into a rut, get annoyed, or just want a day of something different. This isn’t to say that these titles are any less important - but they will get the time they deserve in the long run.


Stick To The Story

It may come as a surprise, but all those extra Side Missions in games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Batman: Arkham City are really there so that it stays on your shelf a little bit longer. There’s nothing wrong with it when it’s done right (and it was done masterfully with both Deus Ex and the more recent Arkham City Riddler Missions), but it only adds hours and Achievements.

So when trying to get through a batch of games, stick to the main story so the focus can be aimed at enjoying the title. Now, that’s not to say don’t go after that extra blinking dot, but at least don’t make it a major priority (especially when there’s a stack of games building up).

Co-op Isn’t For Quitters

This may be a new one for some (or a welcome answer for others), but co-operative play isn’t just for co-op and multiplayer titles like Battlefield 3. What that means is, there is always that option to trade off the controller to your best friend, and take the journey together - even on a single player endeavor.

Go back to those days of sitting in your parent’s basement with the Nintendo 64, and enjoy witless banter, the MST3K jokes at the story or characters, and creating an experience together. Better yet, get a group together and make a night of it: with some of the highest-impact storylines to come out this year just within reach, it might even beat the movies.


Midnight Mayhem

You don’t have to be in college to pull an all-nighter. For some of these titles, it’s entirely possible to get a hefty chunk of the game out of the way - just within the first 24 hours of purchase. So, if the time is available, then why not use it to your advantage?

Grab your favorite beverage, get some handy snacks and batteries, and settle into a marathon gaming session. In fact, inviting those friends over and letting them join in as well may be the turning point in getting to the final mission, and having to go to work to agonize over the ending.

Wait It Out

Ultimately, there will be those gamers out there that just won’t have any luck formulating a plan of action: work is messing up their schedule, they don’t have the financial means or their friends don’t want to hang… the list goes on. If that’s the case, the best option is to go blackout and wait.

There's no shame in it - and it might even work in your favor. Give most of the winter releases a month, and their initial bugs are ironed out, prices are potentially reduced with deals, and there’s a good chance that the title you’ve been waiting so patiently for, isn’t as good as you hoped.


No matter which strategy you employ, by the time the dust settles, you may have made it through more games than your Achievement and Trophy counters know what to do with.

Then again, it may also be that it changes nothing and only makes the games more entertaining. Whatever the final outcome is, the choices are yours to mix and match and find one that can help in the search for gaming nirvana. Then again, if there’s a strategy that we haven’t thought of (or one that works especially well), feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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