How to save money when you buy computer games

Computer gaming can be an expensive hobby, especially if you're looking at paying over $500 for a latest generation console, or around $90 for a latest release game. But there are ways to cut costs and maximise your investment in games - as was pointed out in a great post today on The Simple Dollar blog.
It recommends shopping around for games with high replay value to maximise the number of hours of entertainment you'll get for your money. It also recommends buying used games, and older versions of games:

Gaming reviews often refer back to the “cream of the crop” from earlier generations, so if you read a review of an exciting game and find that there’s a predecessor out there, try seeking that one out first. I found the original Advance Wars (for the Game Boy Advance) for just a couple dollars and played that one to death before getting the newer one for the DS.

I would add a couple of tips of my own too:

  • *Don't be afraid to see if your friends are interested in loaning or swapping games.
  • *Many popular games which are released "exclusively" on one platform eventually get ported to the others - so wait and see rather than convincing yourself you need to buy a new console just for one game.
  • *Some of the console manufacturers are more keen on building backwards compatibility into their hardware than others. Support them. For example, Nintendo Wii can play all GameCube software, and works with GameCube memory cards and controllers. The Simple Mind also gives a shout out to Nintendo's DS - in part for its large back catalogue of games since it can play old Game Boy Advance titles as well.

A lot of this advice may cut against the grain if you like to play the latest and greatest games out there - but if you don't mind foregoing the latest in 3D graphics, you may find older games very satisfying. Some PC games which I personally think stand the test of time include first person shooter Half-Life (and all its sequels), citybuilding game Pharoah and the Baldur's Gate RPG series - all of which you can probably pick up for under $20 these days. Check the bargain bin at your favourite games store!

And of course there's a swag of free and open source games out there too. We told you about APC's Top 5 free open source games previously, and commenter Nephesh also pointed us to the Open Source Gamer website which has 150 free games available for download. Thanks for the tip,  Nephesh.

Video Games and Frugality [The Simple Dollar]


    One thing to note: Buying used games does not benefit the game creator at all. When you buy a used game, no percentage goes back to anyone related to the game's creators. You might as well be pirating it.

    Sorry Tony, but your comment struck a real wrong note with me. Comparing buying second hand games to piracy is not right. Buying second hand anything is money to the reseller, not the original producer. Is buying second hand car equivalent to theft because the money is not going to the car maker?

    For mine, the big name games are ridiculously overpriced anyway. More people buying second hand might send the message to lower prices and actually increase first generation sales.

    Hey don't forget the best bang for buck is to hire them from your local video store. You pay less than $10 for a few days hire, and should be able to tell by then whether you like it enough to shell out the big bucks.

    buying them online can also save you some dough, although i tend to avoid sites like ebay since you can end up with games which have used serial's (you may not be able to play online). is a good start for online games.

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