It was the worst of times..."

I both love and hate this time of year. The love part is easy to figure out. The holidays are nearly upon us, good cheer and merriment abounds. My favorite time of the year is winter, I tend to sleep better in the cold. My daughter's birthday is next month. One more year closer to college (and out of the house) for her. And of course, a couple more months until my annual pay increase, yeah for more money. But, this time of year is not all good. There is a foul and evil side of this time of the year. What is it? The end of year gaming push by every single damn publisher in existence.

It's the same every year, the fall time frame is crammed full of great games, just in time for the Christmas buying season. Sounds good doesn't it? Well it's not, for the simple fact that games cost money. Lots of money. Money that I don't have is what I'm getting at. Sure, I could get a couple of games each month, but which ones. I have a vague idea of what I want, but damn, they all look so good.

The pressure starts on October 14th for me. I know I'm getting Dead Space. This game has had me interested since I first heard about it. Come on, something inspired by Alien, The Thing, and Event Horizon has to be good. I know some of you are looking to get Rock Revolution that day as well. I don't think it's for me though, I'm not really into the whole rhythm game genre, so that's a pass for me. This week also marks the return of a classic series to console gaming, Golden Axe. This is another one I'm not so sure about, and being such, is a pass at the moment. There's just too many good games coming out that I am sure about. Which brings me to October 21.

This is a day that I am dreading. This day marks the release of one of the biggest hits of last year for the Xbox 360 to the PS3, BioShock. I know some of you are thinking twice about this one due to all the press about the graphics, but don't. In my opinion, nothing that I've read is a deal breaker to me. A few textures that are not quite perfect will not deter me from buying a game with great gameplay and a fantastic story. It's still a buy in my book. But, my book also has many, many other games in it that I want to pick up. Here's my short list of must buy games: Eternal Sonata (another 360 port), Fable II, Far Cry 2, Legendary, LittleBigPlanet and Star Ocean: First Departure. Yeah, I'm not getting all those games, I just don't have an extra $320 lying around. I'd love to get them, but it's not going to happen.

Now, the 28th I can handle. Fallout 3 is the only game I have any interest in on that week. That one is pretty much a no brainer. I wish I could say the same for November, but that is not the case. Starting on the 4th I would love to get Resistance 2 and EndWar. Follow that on the 7th with Gears of War 2 and it would be a great month right there. But the cruelty continues. The 10th sees the release of Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, followed by Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Call Of Duty: World At War, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Eternal Poison and Mirrors Edge. ARGH.

Well, that covers the first month, and we're not even to December yet. With so many good games coming out the choices of what to get seem almost endless, and this happens every year. Oh, well. I'll just have to wait until spring to catch up, that being the start of the gaming drought of the year. What about you? What are your must have games for this holiday season?