The holidays are upon us, and you’re either excited for the merry feeling of the season or you’re dreading it the way you dread a semi tailgating you on the interstate.
Along with possibly buying gifts for other people, you are no doubt going to feel obligated to drop some hard-earned cash on yourself because you deserve it for putting up with all this shit, goddammit!
Video games can be an expensive hobby, but I have more than enough experience being a frugal gamer. If you follow this guide, you will not only hang on to some dough this season, you will know how to score some good games and accessories during the lull that follows the rush of the holidays. Who wants to know how to be a smart gamer? Read on!
1. Shop Online
This shouldn’t come as much of a shock to people who regularly read about video games online, but stores like Gamestop, Best Buy and the like are becoming archaic. Commuting to a store, waiting in line and paying full price plus sales tax after getting a sales pitch about preorders, game guarantees and a magazine subscription while dealing with others doing the same is no longer necessary when websites like Amazon are readily available. On Tuesday of this week, Amazon is selling Assassin’s Creed III for $33. That’s ridiculous and yet it’s not only real, you can get it shipped to you free of charge if you’re willing to wait a few days.
If you still yearn for instant gratification, you can sacrifice physical copies of your games for digital. Microsoft and Sony both sell full games through their on demand services, and the only waiting you will do is for downloading and installing, some of which you are likely to need anyway thanks to immediate patches. Even better, that money goes directly to the companies responsible for putting entertainment in your hands. AMURRICA! Or…JAPURRN! Or whatever country made the game you’re playing, you get it.
2. Get Playstation Plus
If you have a PS3 and use it primarily to play video games, stop what you are doing right now and buy a one-year subscription to Playstation Plus. I mean it. Stop reading this article, turn on your PS3, go to the store and hand over $49.99.
Now, say thank you.
Some crazy fuck inside Sony’s offices decided that people would love FREE GAMES. These aren’t shitty indie games involving cat toys, either. I was late to the party and just got a subscription last week. I immediately downloaded Bioshock 2, Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2, Double Dragon Neon, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One and Outland. FOR FREE. Also available now are Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, King of Fighters XIII, Dungeon Defenders, Bloodrayne: Betrayal and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.
FOR FUCKING FREE!
This is absolute insanity and I cannot believe every single person who owns a PS3 has not signed up for a ridiculous deal like this. Microsoft has done absolutely nothing similar to this with Xbox Live Gold and it has become increasingly clear that Sony cares just a little bit more. The only “downside” is that you may eventually run out of hard drive space and have to decide which FREE games you will have to pass up, but since you can re-download anything you have “purchased” FOR FREE from the store, all you need to do is get it the first time it is offered and you’re set.
3. Skip Out on New Release Pricing
If you’re forking over $59.99 plus tax on an annual release that is filled with bugs and pumped out to the slobbering masses who grab it simply because of the name brand by now, I hope you enjoy your copy of anything with the Call of Duty or Madden name on it. For me, there are very few occasions where I will go out of my way to ensure I get a new game the day it comes out. I would love to play Dishonored and WWE ‘13, but I would also love to eat. This is why I am so far behind on playing games and why I don’t own a fucking iPad.
Six months from now, I will still be clawing my way out of the pile of 22 (by last count) games I have yet to play through, many of which are compilations and 75+ hour RPGs. When the day finally comes that I am ready to add to my collection, both games are probably going to be reduced in price. I’ll still be giving my money directly to the publisher and developer while not having to fret over copies being available. No harm done. If you’re somebody who caves to peer pressure and has to own that hot new thing right this second, go have fun with that. I still haven’t played Final Fantasy XIII-2 and will be able to get it for a few bucks because I didn’t feel compelled to do so on day one.
4. Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and Nintendo Virtual Console Games
One of the best games of not just this year but all time, Journey, is a downloadable PSN exclusive that was released only online for $14.99. It reminded me a bit of Braid, a game I will give similar praise to and which was also originally an Xbox Live exclusive title for the same price a couple years ago. Walk into any retail store and the only way you will even see these games mentioned is if you inquire about digital vouchers for them, in which case you are simply paying someone else for access to a game you can immediately get through your Xbox 360 or PS3.
Furthermore, if you need a reason to pick up your Wii again or if you happen to be in the exclusive club of new Wii U owners, Nintendo’s Virtual Console is the only place to find a hell of a lot of classic NES, SNES, N64 and (eventually) Gamecube titles. The same goes for the 3DS.
And speaking of re-releases…
5. Stock up on HD Compilations
To everyone who badmouths HD collections as simple cash-in opportunities by publishers, I say “Fuck off, hipster.” Just because some people played these games back before they were in HD and had achievements/trophies doesn’t mean everyone had the chance to on the PS2 or Xbox. I just finished the Devil May Cry collection and remembered how awesome the first game was, learned how shitty the sequel was and got my mouth fucked by Devil May Cry 3. That was three whole games for less than the cost of one new one in 2012.
There are a myriad of collections available, and you would do well to check out the collections of Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter if you’re craving some plat forming adventure. The God of War Saga includes every single game released across the PS2, PSP and PS3 for $39.99. Splinter Cell, Zone of the Enders, Metal Gear Solid, Ico & Shadow of the Colossus, Silent Hill, Tomb Raider…take your pick. You’re bound to find something to enjoy, and with a ton of tasks to complete if you’re into achievements and trophies, they are a fantastic investment while you’re waiting for the next game in the series to come out.
So, there you have it. Go out and spend merrily, because I have now given you the power and wisdom to enjoy your games and not go broke in the process. You can remember each of these steps long after the egg nog in your fridge goes bad.
Merry Christmas, assholes!
Evil Gamestop: Alexdefinition.wordpress.com