Video games are an expensive past time ($50.00 average per game), you can get the most out of this hobby for a lot less money by doing 4 things:
Some other tips:
http://www.gametab.com - good source of reviews and info
http://www.cheapassgamer.com/ - has info on where the cheapest games are at.
- What the author neglected to state is that you have to be careful buying cheap games. Often at the big retail stores, if the game is cheap and it's not a 'Greatest hit/player's choice' [which means a significant amount of copies were sold] then it's probably a crappy game that was priced low to move product.
- The greatest tool though to do find if a game is good or not though, is to research. [That point can't be stressed too much !]
- Buying used games from eb, gamestop, and blockbuster, or your local mom/pop store can have bargains too - just comparison shop first - as prices between them can be drastically different.
Use http://www.metacritic.com for your review needs. Games, movies, music...
It is a composite of many, many different reviews so you can get a broad overview of the opinions.
A few more tips that I use:
+ Make sure a game is one you want to OWN before buying it. There are a lot of games out there that you will never want to play again after "conquering" it. So why own it??? For those games, I wait until my friends who collect games and MUST have almost every game made, are bored enough with it to lend it to me to play. Then I get to play a great game for free! So find other gaming friends who want to buy the game you want to play and load up on some patience. Letting them borrow games from you also helps. Or doing something else to repay their kindness. My friend's never need games from me (they already have them first!), but I like to do them favors or give them a small gift, especially since I have been known to keep a game as long as a year and they don't mind.
+ No friends and no chance of making any??? Well, renting may be your best option. Go on-line and look up the game. See how long it takes to finish it (on average). Make sure if you are going to rent the game, you don't waste your time for those days doing a bunch of other stuff. Have a "game marathon." Even if you have to rent the game a couple of times to finish it, it can add up to a lot less than a $50 price tag on a game you only want to play once. But make sure you know that. Have a good estimate of how many times you will need to rent it and therefore how much it will cost and know how much the game does cost retail. You may be better off finding it cheap on eBay and reselling when you are done with it.
+ For games I think I want to own, I always try them first. I am usually able to do that at my friend's, but renting is another way. A game that looks great on a commercial may not be so great once you play it. Or, especially after you have played it for 10 hours. You may be bored and sick of it by then and don't want to finish it. So a few bucks renting it can save you a lot of money.
+ If you decide you must have it, look around on-line. My two favorite places are eBay and Amazon. You can get great deals. But make sure you know the going retail price (amazon's) before bidding at eBay. It may seem like a good deal, but it may be actually cheaper somewhere else.
+ And if you eventually get bored with a game (which you will!), sell it. Why let it sit around when you can make money off of it?? Either Amazon or eBay allows people to sell on their sites. Often you can make more on a game then you paid for it! (If you bought it frugally!)
+ And a tip about cheat/walk-through books. Never waste the money buying them!! You may think you need them to get through a game, especially a difficult one, but there are TONS of websites with the same information on-line (many even better than the books!) I can't post a single site, because every game I have played I have found that a different site had what I needed. Just search (use Google), by the game's name AND the game system (ie PlayStation, X Box, etc) you are using. You need to say the game system, because many games are made for more than one, but each system has quirks in a game that another system doesn't. So if you try to follow the cheats or walk-through of a system different than yours, you can get very confused.
Good luck and good gaming!
Update: Since my last post, I have found that Target stores in my area seem to have some of the best cleareance in new videogames. Sure, you can't just show up and expect to find a clearance game, but if you check often enough (I try to check once a week) you might just find some great deals.
And of course, as I stated in my first point "1. Research: Read up on which games are worth your money and then you'll be informed on which are quality and which are junk." and second point "check the clearance aisles for the quality (not junk) titles that may be found there. I'd rather spend a little more for a quality title then less for junk that won't get played after a week or so." It's good to know what is a good game before you pick it up just because its cheap.
Some examples that I've found this week include: $7.48 for Polarium and Trace Memory for the Nintendo DS, and $4.98 for Dragon Ball GT GBA Video. Yes, there were other games, but only these were worth mentioning (IMO). :)
So, check those clearance aisles with a little knowledge and you will be prepared for that birthday gift coming up!
Another Note: Target clearances have been different from others I've been too (Walmart, Kmart, etc.). If a particular item isn't selling, they will clearance it, never mind they have the same item still on the shelf for full price (this has been my experience). They will clearance it just because they have too many in stock, even if its selling fine. It's hard to explain, but I'm sure fellow Target Clearance Shoppers know what I mean.
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