How to Be a Thrifty Gamer

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My gaming has always been on a budget. When I was a kid, I bought videogames about three times a year. This has led me to do three things ever since:

1. Research games that had the longest amount of gameplay.
2. Achieve a certain level of cognitive dissonance by enjoying every game I got, even if it sucked (I’m looking at you, Sonic ’06).
3. Become the thriftiest gamer out there.

Now, I come bearing the tips and tricks you need to game on a budget. Here’s what ya gotta do:


Wait

When it comes down to it, this wonderful hobby of ours is just that: A hobby. So when Bioshock Infinite comes out, do you really need to buy it same day? Think about that enormous backlog of games you already own! There are tons of games that could tide you over in between AAA releases, and most of them are much cheaper. And by the time you finish all of them, that AAA title will go down in price. That being said…

Playstation Plus

My most recent thrifty obsession. I was skeptical of Playstation Plus at first. I am always cautious of anything that comes with a subscription fee. But Playstation Plus is worth the $50 a year.

Playstation Plus appeals to the patient gamer in me. I haven’t bought Playstation 3 games very often in the past few years. With one $50 purchase, I have access to the best titles that have come out on the system. Take this month, for example: For $50, I have access to LittleBigPlanet 2, Vanquish, Darksiders, Ratchet and Clank All 4 One — and I still have 11 months worth of games to get! All the titles you get are accessible at any time you have the subscription. For someone who rarely buys titles when they come out, this is an amazing deal. Hell, LittleBigPlanet 2 is worth $50, let alone all of the other great games you get.

“But what,” you ask, “do I do if I don’t have a Playstation 3, Samer?” Dear Reader, you have other options available for a cheap, but quality, gaming experience.

Indies
I started delving into Indie games when I entered college, and wanted to game on what was essentially a $20 a month budget. Indie games let me do this easily. Most Indie games are $15 or less. And they usually come with many hours of gameplay. Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine was recently released for $15, and comes with great bang for your buck. I’ve played Cave Story for more than 20 hours, on repeated playthroughs.

And Minecraft. Don’t even get me started.

Not only will you be paying a small price for what is usually a quality gaming experience, you will also be supporting a constantly growing and constantly improving industry. If you’re new to indies, check out Tigsource to find something to play.

You want to go cheaper? I think we can do that! Now we come to the creme de la creme.

Sales

If the internet is operable, the chances of a videogame sale occurring are very high. Keep a look out for them. Amazon currently has a MAYham sale going, with some ridiculous price drops ($10 for basically every good Sonic game ever? Sign me up!).

If you’re a PC gamer, you probably use Steam, and if you use Steam, you need to know about Steam sales. Steam sales are both my Energy Tank and my Kryptonite. The ludicrous price drops are fantastic, but you have to be careful to not cross the line where you’re spending more than you would buying games regularly!

Lastly, if you’re still going for Indie games, try the Humble Bundles. They occur regularly, and give you a bundle of games at a pay-what-you-want price. The games that are picked are always top notch, and best of all, a portion of your purchase can go to charity. Now you can play games without feeling like you’re being totally unproductive!

There you have it. I hope these tips will help you start off on the right foot when you go shopping for games from a thrifty perspective. Happy hunting, and don’t go crazy!