Plugged In

Resolutions for Gamers

Plugged In

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Achievement unlocked

While noble goals like losing weight, getting out of debt, and quitting smoking are popular New Year's resolutions, they're not much fun. Do
yourself a favor this year, and make a resolution that'll improve your enjoyment of your gaming time -- and be easy to keep, to boot.

Go achievement cold-turkey

Wait, what? Turn off those neat Xbox popups that give you that nice warm
feeling when you accomplish something in a game? How else are you going
to find out whether you or XMasterChiefX771 is better at Halo? Here's
the thing, see: it doesn't matter. Although the Xbox's achievement
system took the gaming world by storm when it launched, and has since
been imitated on every platform under the sun, many gamers are realizing
they're just an irrelevant distraction. Focus on enjoying your games
for what they are, turn off the synthetic, pointless frisson of the
"Achievement Unlocked" popup via the Notifications section of your
Xbox's Settings menu, and you might well find yourself enjoying your
games more. It can't hurt to try.

Check out EA Sports Active 2.0

Ask ten people what their New Year's resolution is, and you'll probably
find seven or eight of them say something about losing weight. Ask 'em
how they're doing come March, and you'll likely find they gave up before
they even got the Christmas tree put up. If you're among the
weight-loss hopeful, we prescribe an EA Sports Active 2.0 (Buy | Search) regimen;
unlike other exercise games, it includes a wireless heart rate sensor,
so you'll know just how effective your physical exertions are proving.
That means you're more likely to see results -- and you're more likely
to follow through on your good intentions.

Play an indie game

2010 was a superb year for the independant game development scene, and
chances are you missed some of its highlights. For starters, check out
the superb Limbo (Buy | Search), on Xbox 360, or addictive Minecraft (Search), on PC, or Osmos (Search), our favorite iPad release of the year. Indie games are cheap,
they're creative, and they're completely different from the samey fare
you'll find in the gaming mainstream.

Clean out the library

Are you really going to play all those games again?
New Year is the perfect time to overhaul your games library and ditch
those games you're never going to touch again. Stores like Gamestop and
Amazon will give you credit for them, swapping site Goozex will let you trade them with like-minded gamers, eBay and Craigslist will turn them into cold hard cash, and if all else fails your local Goodwill can put them to work for charity. Our piece on getting rid of unwanted game gifts will point you in the right direction.

Finish a game

Any game, really, but preferably one you always meant to finish but didn't.
For an extra challenge, go one step further: aim to 100% the game and
any downloadable expansions it might have, gaining all its achievements
or trophies, and seeing everything it has to offer. Any of the Grand Theft Auto (Buy | Search) series would be a perfect choice; we'd also recommend sci-fi
shooter Borderlands (Buy | Search)and the entire Super Mario (Buy | Search) series. Between them,
they'll keep you going well into 2012.

Play those classics you've missed

It might be the latest-and-greatest that grab the headlines, but today's
smash hits sit atop three decades of back-catalog brilliance. Chances
are, there's a good number of true classics you've never played -- and
the coming of digital distribution means they've never been easier to
find. Try Secret of Mana (Search) on the iPhone, Final Fantasy IV (Buy | Search) on the DS, Majora's Mask (Search) on the Wii's Virtual Console, or Doom (Buy | Search)on just about anything; you're spoilt for choice.


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