Management of time is crucial during the busy holiday gaming season. So much so that it’s nearly an art form. A constant war must be waged between wallet, free time and the game of choice. Rarely a restructuing of events occures. Most major decisions regarding purchases have been made long before now. This year unfortunatly, is a little different.

In previous seasons, developers have released games for the holidays in close proximity to each other but not on top of each other. For example, last years mega hits Call of Duty 4 and Assasins Creed hit in November and December respectively. That gave me time to play both.

This year, apparently the gaming gods have seen it nessisary to launch every major title in Novemeber, save a couple for October who were in turn released on top of themselves. So, we’ve already seen Fable 2, Fallout 3, FarCry 2 and DeadSpace, all within a week. Those are already hard choices I’ve had to make. I’d love to try all of them. This week we get Gears of War 2, quickly followed by Call of Duty, Mirror’s Edge, Need for Speed, Tomb Raider, Left 4 Dead, 2 different snowboarding games AND Prince of Persia at the end of the month. Then, nothing. A completely blank December.

I have to admit, I’m a little confused by that. Nothing right before Christmas? No one saved a big release for the “after Thanksgiving” shopping season? Really?

Does that seem odd to anyone else?

Either way, I’ve made my choices and changed one of them significantly. After playing the new Call of Duty beta and being very underwhelmed by it, I’ve decided to leave that for an after Christmas sale purchase. I had very high hopes for it but it seems little more than a COD4 mod with less impressive weapons and slower game play. I’m also very much done with the WWII genre, at least for the moment. Need for Speed and Mirror’s Edge will also get the axe, but not for a lack of effort. The Mirror’s Edge demo was interesting and proved it a valid concept. Alternatively, I think I’m going to pick up Gears this week in their place. Something I was going to wait until December to get. It’s not that I’m expecting it to be great, but it’ll pass the time until Left 4 Dead, my true choice for the season. Then, my next big purchase won’t be until Skate 2 in January. Everything else will have to be picked up later, probably while on sale. It’s not that I don’t want them, but seriously, how would I find the time to play something like Fallout if I haven’t finished Fable 2 yet and I’ll be battling zombie hordes inside of two weeks. That’s a very small window to squeeze 80+ hours of RPG into.

Anyway, it’s not like it matters. Everyone has their own list. What are you guys excited for? What will you be playing between now and the holidays?