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Video Games: Digital / Splurge
Digital: Deepak Chopra's Leela, THQ. $39.99 for the Wii version, $49.99 for the Xbox 360 version. http://www.deepakchopraleela.com/
If achieving spiritual enlightenment is on the 2012 self-improvement list, check out Leela, a game by self-help guru and trained endocrinologist Deepak Chopra and published by THQ. Instead of blasting your way through a level, players progress by mastering seven "chakras" through yoga exercises. Instead of making a superhero avatar, players create a personal "mandala," a visual representation of their spiritual status. For those who have Kinect motion-detecting cameras attached to their Xbox 360s, the game monitors players' breathing by tracking subtle body shifts to guide them into a "flow state." Turn on. Tune out.
Splurge: Rocksmith, Ubisoft Entertainment. $79.99 for the game, $199.99 for the game bundled with a Les Paul Jr. guitar. Available a major retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon, as well as Gamestop. http://rocksmith.ubi.com/rocksmith/en-US/home/index.aspx
Who says video games are bad for you? There's a bumper crop of games this holiday that promises to help people make good on their New Year's resolutions. Rocksmith enables players to plug in any standard electric guitar into their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game consoles and start doing a Keith Richards imitation to the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." Unlike Guitar Hero and its many clones that required little more than syncopated button-mashing, Rocksmith's ultimate end game is to have its users play the actual guitar parts of famous rock songs. Tracks in the game include Eric Clapton's "Run Back to Your Side," David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," and Radiohead's "High and Dry." Don't have a guitar? A deluxe version of the game comes with an Epiphone Les Paul Jr., complete with a guitar strap and two picks.