My brother knows me so well. I recently turned 30 and he handed me the gift that keeps giving – a gift card to buy a game. To me, this is more than a present – it is freedom.

But do you ever get that paralysing feeling when handed such freedom? You may come to learn I have some tendencies akin to obsessive compulsive disorder but not in the “everything’s neat n’ tidy/humble-brag” kind of way. My OCD manifests in a socially-debilitating fashion and evokes judgement from those close enough to see me struggle with even the most elementary decisions.

Like most people, I have a budget which outlines how much I’ll spend each month on my mortgage, utilities, car payments, etc. But I am lucky enough to have a terrific wife who also games, and our budget defines how much we can spend on games – and it’s significant enough to lead to a stress-inducing backlog. So to put it lightly, we usually just buy what we want without much second thought.

But there’s something to the finite nature of a gift card that freezes me.

Oh, the possibilities. (SOURCE: walmartimages.com)

Oh, the possibilities. (SOURCE: walmartimages.com)

Acknowledging my ineptness, I determined the best start would be to compartmentalize; to limit my options to one console. Since my Xbox One is gathering dust, I felt my now-gen console library could use a little love.

Even with this solid plan, indecision took over when faced with the wall of Xbox One games.

What causes this? Is my brain that flawed? Or, is Xbox One starved for games that warrant my gifted money?

To comfort myself (and because it makes for a slightly less pathetic story to read), I’d like to consider the latter.

What are my options?

So when I break it down, my decision making disorder stems from my easy-going demeanour. This causes a paralysing paradox in my cerebellum. On one hand, I am happy with anything as long as I play games. On the other, the game better scratch a specific itch or I might never play it.

Welcome to how my brain works, everyone.

With a new console like the Xbox One, I want to build my library just to have options. So with this in mind, any game would do. But I also want something to showcase the horsepower waiting to be unleashed and many times, the best looking games aren’t the best games. Do you see my dilemma?

So I look at the Xbox One section and see FIFA 14, Forza 5, Diablo 3, Battlefield 4, Dead Rising 3, and Ryse. Actually, the Coming Soon section was larger!

But what do I actually want to play? (SOURCE: consolemonster.com)

But what do I actually want to play? (SOURCE: consolemonster.com)

FIFA 14 falls under the great gameplay, visually impressive but dauntingly time intensive category. Maybe we’ll come back to this one or wait for a sale…

Call me crazy, but I might be the only one on the planet who doesn’t think Forza 5 is overly impressive in the visuals department. The replays look incredible from particular camera angles and with a little slow motion, yes, the game impresses. But I’m a little more partial to the art style of Forza Horizon than the photorealism of Forza 5 – so this one stays on the shelf.

Then, the most tempting title, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition. Oh man, this one almost made the cut. It was so close, I was even talking to the sales guy about playing it. But for some reason, something tells me this game will be better on PS4 – which for those of you keeping score at home – is on its way to my house on September 9 as part of the Glacier White Destiny bundle. The simple thought of playing Diablo 3 on a PS4 kept me from buying this game on Xbox One. Funny, it used to be the other way around but maybe we’ll leave that thought for a future post. Battlefield 4 caught my eye because it would be really easy to jump into without commitment. Everyone needs an arcade-type experience every once in a while, but in the end, it hasn’t dropped in price enough for me to justify the impulse decision I was planning on – and yes, I’m fully aware of that ironic and twistedly insane juxtaposition.

Dead Rising 3 gets a big meh from me. Anyone who was excited for it at launch was simply grasping on to something, anything that resembled a killer app or system seller. The original game got too many chances from me for this one to fool me again. So what if I hold grudges on game franchises? I’m sensitive.

And Ryse. Oh Ryse. Ryse is the kid who grew up being told he has so much potential and just needs to apply himself but never did. When this game launched, it stunk of entitlement. An Xbox One launch title, an exclusive, with great visual fidelity. The cover art might as well have said “you know you’ll buy me” across the top. For a new IP, this game seemed to rest on it’s own laurels even though it had no laurels of which to speak. No laurels I say! Okay, this might be a little harsh on Ryse considering I barely gave it any thought to begin with. So no, I didn’t buy Ryse.

Should I wait for something more worthwhile?

Aside from my PS4 coming in September (which will surely amplify my issues), what else is coming to Xbox One that might call upon these gifted dollars? Being Canadian, I’m partial to NHL 15; even if the entire presentation has been overhauled to an American network (NBC). Sunset Overdrive looks promising, but I worry it could pull a Dead Rising on me.

Halo Master Chief Collection is going to be a must-buy. (SOURCE: mxdwn.com)

Halo Master Chief Collection is going to be a must-buy. (SOURCE: mxdwn.com)

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Halo: Master Chief Edition check off the important boxes in my decision-making checklist for a new console: visually impressive, tried-and-true gamplay, and everyone will be talking about them. When these games launch, they send palpable shockwaves through the gaming community and riding the wave evokes a sense of place unlike any other.

Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Batman: Arkham Knight, and so many others are coming. As enticing as all these games truly are, I think they’re better left to the 2014 Christmas (Holiday, if you must – actually, no, we do Christmas at the Capri’s) wish-list.

Deciding not to decide

Someone once told me the best decision to make is to not make a decision. I’m not sure who it was, but fear they offer bad advice and are likely scrounging for strangers’ change in some scraggly clothes using a mouldy handkerchief – you know, from all the non decision making.

So as much as it pains me to take a pause, the fate of this gift card will have to reveal itself to me at a later time. Perhaps I should go on a spirit walk…

Maybe you can point me in the right direction. What would you do?

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