Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Holiday Guest Post: Your video game habit, your unemployment and your lack of cash

It is the holiday season which means that major publishers like EA and Activision are pumping out AAA video game titles like there's no tomorrow. The problem, however, is that you're light on cash and a new game costs anywhere between $40 and $60...

How can you afford your video game habit?

1. Discounts: There are always discounts on video games. There are nearly countless stores in America that sell video games and they're all competing with each other over you. Just a couple of weeks ago, 3 different retailers offered the same discount of 'buy two get one free' on select titles, and Amazon followed shortly after with a 'buy two get a $40 gift card.' You can check (a video game blog) before the weekend for a rundown of sales that are happening at different stores and online retailers. Remember, a game will be just as good years down the road as it is now, so you could buy older games you haven't played yet for a fraction of the cost of current ones.

2. Trade-ins and reselling: I know it is tough to get rid of your old games, but honestly, if you're not going to play them again then why keep them? The longer you hold onto a title, the less it will be worth in trade-in value at locations like Gamestop. Also, try selling your games on Amazon and Ebay, where you can often get much more than trade-in value, though it is not always a gauranteed sale.

3. Rent before buying: Renting games is not always a great option since renting from places like Blockbuster can be expensive, plus you don't get to keep the game for very long. However, consider this scenario: You have a few days or a weekend available to play a game and there's a new game out that you know only takes 10-20 hours to beat. In that case, you would be much better off just renting the game for a few dollars instead of buying it for full price. Also, if you're not sure whether you want to buy a game or not, renting it (or borrowing it from a friend) can help you make up you mind about whether you really want to pony up that cash or not.

4. Replayability: If you have to limit yourself to just one or two purchases over the next few months, what you really want to find is a game that will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Replayability is the value over time that a game has. Multi-player games typically have good replay value since each game you play online is going to be different and they often involve competitive leader boards that encourage you to practice and play more to increase your standing. Single player games like sports, racing or role-playing games also offer the same value since they encourage a player to go through the game multiple times, trying different strategies each time, so even though you're getting the same product, each time it is slightly different.

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