Most everyone is familiar with the idea of a New Year’s resolution, but for the last few years I’ve tried to create very specific gaming resolutions to attempt to live up to. For example, two years ago my resolution was to have purchased every current-gen console and handheld by the time 2009 rolled around (and I succeeded!). This past year I vowed to actually open and play a significant portion of every game I purchased (uh…not so successful with this one). Over the last week, as I relaxed with family for the holidays, I racked my brain to come up with a worthy resolution to kick off a new decade.

Last night, as I finally got around to playing Left 4 Dead -- a series I had sadly mostly missed out on until now -- I stumbled onto the perfect New Year’s gaming resolution. In 2010, I am going to devote a steady portion of my gaming energy into catching up on games and series that are woefully lacking in personal play time.

That there is such an overabundance of amazing games to play is both the gift and curse of being a gamer.  As somebody who writes about games for a living, it’s extremely easy to get caught in a cycle of only playing the latest titles and pretty much ignoring any game that I don’t get to within the first month of release. If I’m not seeing a game months in advance, I’m reviewing it. And if I’m not reviewing it, I’m probably trying to play whatever everybody in the office and online is talking about. It’s a vicious cycle that often leaves little time to fill in those troublesome gaps in my gaming knowledge.

But when I read our top 200 games of all time list in issue 200, I felt that familiar desire to expand my “games completed” list. It happened again when I helped work on our top 50 games of 2009 (which you’ll be able to check out in issue 202). Finally being able to devote some time to Left 4 Dead and the original Banjo Kazooie on XBLA this past week cemented in my realization: I need to find more time to play games that I’ve missed.

So how will I find the time for this addition to my already gaming-heavy lifestyle? That’s a good question that I’ll probably spend a nice chunk of 2010 trying to answer. I can say this for sure though: I’m going to get started right away!

Which brings me to: The First Annual Phil Kollar New Year’s Weekend Game-a-thon.

Of all the games I’ve started and never finished, the most shameful for me is Final Fantasy XII. The thing is, I completely loved FFXII for the 10 or 15 hours that I played it in the month after it was released back in 2006. The story was mature, the battle system was interesting, and the huge open world and quest system reminded me of the things I love about MMOs melded into everything I want from a Final Fantasy. In fact, I loved the game so much…that I stopped playing it.

See, FFXII was released right when I’d started writing about games more seriously, and with so much other stuff on my plate at the time, I decided to set it aside until I could really devote some time to it. It was a game I wanted to appreciate on every level, for all it could offer, and that meant playing FFXII solely for at least a couple of weeks. Maybe that would happen during my winter break from college that year? Or the coming summer? Or…

Yeah, it never happened. So despite being an adamant defender of Final Fantasy XII, I’ve yet to actually complete the game. That will change starting this weekend.

Beginning on Saturday, January 2 and continuing through Sunday and Monday (with breaks for sleep and work), a friend and I will begin a marathon session of Final Fantasy XII.  It’s unlikely that we’ll finish the whole game over the weekend, but I’m hoping it will give me the momentum I need to propel me toward completing it before the looming behemoth of Final Fantasy XIII drops in March.

Do you also need to complete FFXII? Want to join in? You should! I’ll be live-tweeting  the Game-a-thon on my pkollar_live Twitter account. I’ll be using the hashtag #ff12live for all posts related to the game, and I’d love to have others joining in as well!

What are your gaming resolutions for 2010? What games or series that I might have missed should I make sure to catch up on over the course of the next year?