Should old acquaintance be forgot…

New Year’s is almost upon us, which is traditionally a time to make a bunch of optimistic promises for the following year (and then break them somewhere around January 3). Instead of going with your old stand-bys like “lose ten pounds” and “get that restraining order lifted,” why not make some gaming resolutions you might actually stick with?

We’re not saying it will be easy. Like any good resolution, some of these will take some real effort, whether mental, physical, or financial. But if you can check these off of your lists by the end of 2013 you’ll find that you’re better gamer–and isn’t that the most important thing of all?

7. Don’t get too excited for games that will be delayed (or cancelled)

We’ve all been there. We marked our calendars for the release of Duke Nukem Forever again… and again… and again. We bought Nintendo 64s awaiting Mother 3. We pre-ordered Starcraft Ghost. Sometimes, games just don’t come out when we want them to; sometimes they don’t even come out at all. It’s time to stop jumping on the hype train when very little evidence exists that an anticipated title will see the light of day in the near future.

Yes, we’re excited for the potential of The Last Guardian, and we hope that we’ll actually be playing Grand Theft Auto V before summer rolls around. But we’ve also been through this too many times to keep repeating the same mistakes. It’s fine to show a healthy interest in an announced game, but curb the overwhelming enthusiasm until you’re within range of a probably release date.

6. Avoid buying launch hardware and software

There’s something wonderful about bringing home a brand new game or console on launch day–knowing that you’re among the first to try something out is a very special feeling. Financially, however, being a day-one adopter can be a disaster, and with the successors to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 rumored to be launching in 2013, this resolution is more relevant than ever. Despite the hype, launch is typically the worst time to own any sort of hardware. The features may not all be intact, launch line-ups may be sparse, and your shiny new system may get a price drop or better model within a year.

And while software may not take the same bite out of your wallet, it’s time to stop buying every game on the day it comes out–typically, there will be sales within a few weeks, and by then a few patches will have ironed out some day-one bugs. Yes, this is going to take a lot of willpower, but you’ll still love a game just as much if you buy it a month after launch. You might love it even more if you buy it for $20 less.

5. Don’t expect a franchise to change

Though Call of Duty makes bazillions of dollars for Activision and is typically one of the best-selling pieces of entertainment in any given year, there will always be complaints that it’s too Call of Duty. This happens with every major franchise; for each positive comment or review, there’s another criticizing the game’s similarity to its predecessor.

So… what did you expect? A publisher isn’t going to change a winning (read: profitable) formula just to please a few forum-goers. If you’re sick of the basic premise or gameplay of Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, or any other franchise with frequent releases, stop buying those games. And don’t be upset when your complaints fall on deaf ears; believe it or not, some people buy games from the same franchise every year because they like the way the game is played, and those fans don’t care that you think Madden should really be more innovative.

4. Stop being a fanboy/fangirl

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will admit that at some point in our lives, we displayed some sort of irrational favoritism towards a console, publisher, or series. Not only that, but our love of that particular brand made anything else automatically suck, at least in our minds. It’s okay if you spend your childhood collecting anything Nintendo-related, even if that meant defending the Virtual Boy through game-induced headaches. Or maybe your teenage obsession with Final Fantasy made you curse any non-Squaresoft RPG. Admitting it is the first step.

And once you’ve taken that step, it’s time to move on. The difference between being a fan and being a fanboy (or girl) is that the former doesn’t have an unhealthy, irrational bias. It’s okay to not like the PlayStation 3 because you personally prefer the Xbox 360; insulting all PS3 gamers to defend your own console preference, on the other hand, is silly. And if you’re an adult doing all these things, this resolution is a must for you. Let 2013 be the year that you stop writing things like “Wiitard,” “M$.”. Otherwise, you’re just letting people know that your opinion is irrelevant and your statement should be skipped.

3. Attend a convention and cosplay, because YOLO

Gaming conventions are an incredible experience. As a gamer, you feel like an outcast because of your geeky preferences, but at PAX you’ll never feel like you don’t belong. In fact, you’ll fit in like never before. Of course, there aren’t too many major conventions a year, and most of them probably don’t take place in your area, making it difficult to attend them.

2013 is the year to make it happen. If you’ve always wanted to attend a convention, start researching! Find out what’s closest to you and arrange travel. If hotels are needed, book a room and find some friends to split it with. And find a costume, because if you’re doing this, you want to do it right. Cosplay can be a lot of fun–you’ll get to show off your geek pride while meeting like-minded fans who just want to tell you how awesome you look. And after the convention’s over, you’ll always have the perfect Halloween costume ready to go.

2. Complete a co-op game with your significant other

Cooperative games can be the ultimate relationship test. It takes timing, communication, and patience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Whether or not your better half is a gamer, 2013 is the year to complete a co-op game together. And that doesn’t mean getting two levels into Portal 2 before throwing a controller because he got you crushed again seriously how the hell can he call himself a gamer and fail so horribly at picking up a freaking block–we mean playing from start to finish.

If your partner isn’t a gamer, this is a great opportunity for him or her to get a better understanding of your hobby (just be prepared to return the favor). And while it might make things easier if your significant other already enjoys video games, choosing the right title to play together still requires some thought; you’re probably not going to make it to the end of Gears of War with someone who hates third-person shooters, chainsaws, and aliens. You’ll have to make time to play together and progress at a speed that works for both of you, and we’re not going to lie, it might get tough at times, but you’ll come out of the experience a stronger couple. Probably.

1. Play a genre or franchise you hate

Maybe you love shooters but hate RPGs. Or action games are your favorite but stealth titles bore you to tears. Perhaps you’re a fan of a multitude of genres, but you’ve never understood the Halo hype. Why keep playing games in your comfort zone? 2013 is the year to branch out.

You might be asking, “Why would I waste time doing something I know I’ll hate?” Because first of all, you might not hate it. Maybe you dislike that one genre because you just haven’t found a game that suits you, or your impressions of a popular series are based on a snap judgment or something you played a decade ago. Branching out is a great way to discover old titles you may have missed, which will make you a more well-rounded gamer. And even in the worst case scenario, in which you despise every second of playing something different, you’ll at least be able to make a more informed argument for why that particular thing sucks.

Happy New Year!

Have you made gaming-related resolutions in the past? Will you be making any this year (aside from our helpful suggestions)? Be sure to let us know what your favorite gaming resolutions are in the comments.

For a look back at 2012, check out the quotes that defined 2012 and the most overlooked games of the year.

By Sarah LeBoeuf