June 2021
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The Best Laid Plans

So I’ve started going through what has basically become an annual ritual of mine around this time of year: determining which of the many Fall releases I think will be worth picking up at release, and which ones I’ll choose to wait on.  As an added wrinkle, I’m holding myself to a stricter standard this year.  Since May 1, I have only spent $0.45 cash on a video game.  Everything else I’ve picked  up – and there have been quite a few – has been paid for with store credit.  I’m planning to stick to that if possible through the end of the year.

Assassin's Creed 3

Assassin’s Creed 3

Usually around this time every year the Fall release schedule is more-or-less set.  Sure, there may be a last minute change or two, but for the most part the release dates we know now will hold.  So every year around this time I start looking at the schedule in an effort to determine where my time and – more importantly – money will be best spent.  I take several things into account when determining what I want to pickup at release.  I look at what games are releasing close together – there’s no point in getting several games when I can only realistically play one or at the most two at a time.  I look at which ones have release-date deals attached to them – this year, Best Buy is offering a $20 credit with the preorder & purchase of quite a few of the big games of the Fall.  And finally, I look at which games will probably get a quick price cut after release.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

Then I try my best not to throw all of that information out when the hype sets in.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.  This year there are a few that are definites for me that I’ll be working the others around – Borderlands 2, the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection and Assassin’s Creed 3 are all set in stone for me.  Some others are more contentious.  The first big challenge for me will come on August 14th, when both Sleeping Dogs and Darksiders 2 will release.  As of right now, I’m planning to just pickup Darksiders 2 & wait on the other to drop in price – but I’m weak.  Some games later on really have me interested, but they are still a bit of a question mark for me.  Dishonored, Hitman: Absolution and FarCry 3 all look interesting, but I don’t know enough about any of them to make a decision yet.  And finally, Need For Speed: Most Wanted has me chomping at the bit because from everything I’ve seen, it’s basically the spiritual successor to Burnout: Paradise – one of my favorite games this generation.  But I’m going to try to hold off on it, because the last several NFS games have seen steep price cuts very shortly after they released.

In the end, this may all seem silly to some, but is part of the fun for me.  To a video game enthusiast, anticipating upcoming games is probably about 40% of the hobby.  It’s fun to look ahead, to imagine what might be, and occasionally to have those expectations be surpassed in ways you didn’t imagine.  And if you can do all of that while spending as little money as possible, then that’s just icing on the cake.

So what games are you anticipating the most this Fall?  How do you determine what you will pick up at release (or do you really think about it that much)?

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