Writer’s Note: This guide is for the more mature gamers, the ones out on their own in college and those who are proud members of the workforce. For those of you lucky enough to still be in high school, be happy and play as much as you can before your mommy makes you stop and go to bed.

Bungie has cursed the gaming community with the release of Halo 2. Gamers have become addicted and have condemned themselves to spend countless hours chained to their Xboxes, hands gripped tightly around their controllers, eyes locked on their TV’s, competing nobly in a struggle to be crowned the king of the console. With the holiday season now upon us, we are reluctantly forced to spend unbearable amounts of time with our families and less time with our friends playing Halo 2. This problem is compounded when there is a “significant other” involved, which poses a difficult question: How do we as gamers find time for Halo 2 and still keep all of our “loved ones” happy? Well if you don’t have a time machine at your disposal, you may find this guide of some use.

Surviving your Girlfriend/Wife:
It is a well known fact that less than 1% of American women ages 18-30 understand and appreciate the sense of satisfaction that comes with pwning noobs on Xbox Live. So chances are your girlfriend’s idea of a quiet night together doesn’t involve a Halo 2 marathon. All women have an internal timer that dictates the amount of time you must spend with them weekly. Unfortunately there isn’t much that you can do to lessen this time requirement. However they have very few restrictions on when this time can be spent.

  • Try designating a night for just the two of you. Let her plan the activity so she feels more involved.

  • Go out to eat with her during your lunch break. Your coworkers might tease you for being “whipped” but at least you score some points with the “old ball and chain” (which can easily translate into more Halo 2 and non-Halo related action).
  • Claim to be shopping for the “perfect” Christmas present for her. Then just order some roses and give her a framed picture of the two of you together.

Surviving Work:
You may have the most understanding boss in the world, but if you aren’t a Bungie employee I don’t think you can use Halo 2 as a valid excuse for missing work, and calling in sick for three straight weeks probably won’t be very effective either. Try a few of these suggestions:

  • Volunteer for the less glamorous tasks. They may not be fun, but they help the boss forget those early morning hangovers.

  • Work hard. Radical, I know, but if you finish what you need to do early you won’t have to stay later. Hard work = more Halo 2.
  • Become Zyos. Play all day and all night and make Halo 2 your job instead’ Good luck with that.

Surviving School:

As for college, well there is nothing like paying $500 in tuition to sleep in class, even if it is during Professor McBorington’s lecture on the wonders of field mice. If you don’t want to spend another semester in Calculus II and you can’t afford to hire someone to take the test for you, try out these tips:

  • Don’t take more than 16 credit hours a semester and try to limit yourself to two labs.

  • If you are going to play all night anyway you may as well register for the later classes.
  • Understand that sometimes it is more important to pass that test than to gain an extra level in the Team Slayer playlist.
  • It is probably not a good idea to start your term paper at 2:00 in the morning.

In General:
Gamers must understand the concept of time management. Every minute wasted eating, sleeping, or using the restroom is a minute not spent playing Halo 2. Besides, moving your television and fridge into the bathroom is not a viable time saving technique. Though there is not much you can do about your own personal waste disposal system, and sleep is already hard enough to get, eating can be made to take far less time. Try munching on finger foods during the post game carnage report (I personally enjoy Hot Pockets). Also, you can save precious time by ordering out. No matter where you live there is always an abundance of pizza and Chinese food places eager to bring food right to your door and directly into your mouth.

Understand, gamers’ Halo 2 is fun and very addictive, but you must learn that there are some things that are more essential than trying to catch up to the Ogres in the standings. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t do a few things that will help you free up more time for Xbox Live. Happy holidays and good luck!