Gaming Extra: Want new games? Yes, you do.

Sheehan Hannan, Assistant A&E Editor

With the mayhem of holiday clearance sales over, the season of dull spring releases is upon us.

For most Case Western Reserve University students, this means returning to the strategic slug-fests of “League of Legends” or “Starcraft 2.” Personally, I prefer the incestuous cluster-cuss that is “Modern Warfare 3,” where camping, quickscoping, and copious quantities of immaturity rule the day. Such a return to the mainstays, however, need not signal a descent into the doldrums of actual classwork.

In their final keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft unveiled the successor to their “Summer of Arcade,” entitled “Xbox Live House Party.” Despite the unfortunate choice of name, the promotion contains several promising titles, including the next installment in the critically acclaimed Alan Wake series, “Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.”

If survival-horror isn’t your particular poison, the unparalleled geniuses at Microsoft’s Division of Idiotic Nomenclature have got you covered, with the inclusion of Ubisoft’s post-apocalyptic survival title “I Am Alive,” and a return to Quake-style arena combat with the flashy “Nexiuz.”

Beginning on Feb. 4, the promotion could prove advantageous to Microsoft’s chaotic thrust at purely digital distribution. But unlike me, most people aren’t socially stunted enough to lug their TVs and Xboxes all the way from home just to partake in some cheap downloadable thrills. Luckily, those who wish to avoid hard work and get good grades and solid job opportunities will find solace in the ever-forgiving arms of their computerized lovers, comforted by several upcoming cross-platform releases.

Perhaps the most underrated of these is “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” slated for a Feb. 7 release on all three platforms. A sandbox game, “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” will doubtless have a well-written plotline due to the leadership of New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore. Though promising, “Reckoning” will most likely be smothered by the publicity surrounding the March 6 release of “Mass Effect 3.”

As well as incorporating useless Kinect support, the latest edition of the “Mass Effect 3” franchise will continue the saga of Commander Shepherd with a storyline shaped by the player’s choices in the previous game. Needless to say, the third “Mass Effect” iteration is bound to be the largest and most involved release of the spring season, as well as the only one that anyone will actually remember six months from now.

Though not as exciting as, say, your average weekend at Grandma’s, this season is at least useful for an occasional diversion in moments of rage-quit and should serve to occupy the copious free time afforded to CWRU students for now.