Rant: The Price of Video Games

We’re elbow deep into FALLMAGEDDON* 2011, and the holiday shopping season is so close you can taste the pine needles. Despite that deep-set urge we all experience as capitalists to spend money on new shinies (to improve our chances of mating and continuing the species), I hope that you break free of your base nature so you can save some cash, play tons of games, and still be perceived as attractive to potential mates. Enough bullshit, let’s get started.

I’m not old yet, but I’m getting there. I remember when you could buy two Big Macs for a buck. I remember when gas was under 80 cents a gallon. But for my whole life new console games have always been between 60 to 70 dollars. Why is that? How was that price point set? Well those are questions for a later post. The question I want to ask now is: “Why the hell are you willing to pay 70 dollars for a video game during a recession?” Come on now. It doesn’t take long for that to seriously become a threat to your budget if you’re not careful.

Look at it another way. What would happen if you opened your wallet and found an extra $450 in there? If you were planning on buying just 2 new console games (plus tax, rounded down) a month from now to December, then you already do. Only 6 games for $450 bucks? Who only plays 6 games in 3 months? Feels bad, man.

Here’s an idea: Instead of letting the marketing teams at EA and Activision tell you how to spend your cash, why not spend a fraction of that $450 and really getting your money’s worth? So before you stand in line for 3 hours waiting for that midnight release at GameStop, consider the following tips instead:

  1. Steam. Steam has a different game on sale every day, a weekend sale, and occasional sales events where you can get recent PC games for 60-90% off.
  2. Xbox Live Arcade. XBLA offers some of the greatest console games of all time for about 12 bucks each. I mention XBLA because I prefer it the other console’s offerings, but the other consoles have similar marketplaces.
  3. Good Old Games. GOG brings you an education in the history of gaming. In addition to selling the games for dirt cheep, they offer additional features like pdfs of the original manuals, soundtracks, and art artifacts for each game.
  4. Free Game Empire. One of several sites that hosts downloads of abandonware, but FGE also has some interweb magicks that let you play these now-free classics right from your browser.
  5. Your Smart Phone. If you have a Smart Phone then you have a games marketplace. Go forth and find little chunks of happiness for 99 cents each.
  6. Your Friends. If you’re a gamer chances are your friends are also gamers. Borrow from them for favors, but keep it tasteful.

Bam. See? 6 money-saving tips that will broaden your horizons as a gamer and save you money in the long run. Oh, and don’t worry that you’re going to hurt the gaming industry by not buying on day-one (or month-one, for that matter). A lot of people would have to become a lot smarter for that to happen. So no danger there, right?

Tomorrow I’m going to get all worked up about D&D. Until then, Good Gaming!


*FALLMAGEDDON: The time of year when video game publishers release most of their triple-A titles.


2 responses to “Rant: The Price of Video Games

  1. Pingback: Rant: Don’t Buy Batman Arkham City… Yet | Low On XP

  2. Pingback: Play Abandonware | Low On XP

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