Crispy Gamer

How to Save Money on Gaming

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With the global recession showing no signs of slowing down, millions of people are looking to save money any way they can. That doesn't have to mean giving up the game you love, though. Here are some simple tips for stretching that gaming dollar further.

Playing free games

How To...

Hey, have you heard of this thing called the Internet? It's full of games, and a lot of them are absolutely free (legally free, I mean. If you're looking to pirate games, try another article). The trick, of course, is finding the good ones amid the thousands and thousands of awful ones. Some good resources for picking the wheat from the chaff:

  • 365 Days of Free -- GamesRadar's big list is all over the place re: quality, but should take a while to slog through regardless.
  • Jay is Games -- The best of Flash and downloadable casual games. Great time-wasters, all.
  • IndieGames.com, The Weblog -- Mostly free, entirely inventive games from small-name creators.

    Renting

    Why spend $60 on a game you're going to beat in 10 hours? $15.95 a month -- less than a third of the cost of a single game -- can get you a GameFly subscription that lets you rent out one game at a time, delivered straight to your mailbox, with no late fees. The selection is pretty wide, although you might have to wait a bit for delivery on the latest releases. Hey, no one said saving money would be pain-free.

    If you don't like waiting for the mail and have a well-stocked Blockbuster Video (or three) nearby, the Blockbuster Game Pass might be more your speed. $21.99 a month lets you blaze through games as fast as you can, with no need to put anything in a pre-stamped envelope. Just make sure there are a few games you want, first...

    Buying used

    It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people spend full price at Target or Toys "R" Us when perfectly good used copies are available nearby at decent savings. GameStop is the obvious choice, but used record/CD shops often have a games section, too. Check your local thrift stores/pawn shops/flea markets/goodwill -- the selection can be hit-or-miss, but you can find some real gems if you're willing to look. Don't forget eBay and Craigslist, where plenty of people are getting rid of their unwanted games. Which brings us to...

    Selling/swapping games

    Really, how often are you going to play that old copy of Crash Bandicoot 2 sitting on your shelf? Unless you're a serious collector, free up the shelf space and get some money towards a shiny NEW game.

    Again, GameStop isn't the only game in town. Amazon.com now accepts used-game trade-ins, and Wal-Mart and Best Buy are testing out programs in retail locations that should be going nationwide soon. Or, cut out the middleman with sites like Goozex and Game Trading Zone let you trade directly with other people (for a small fee).

    Downloadable console games

    When you can download addictive time-wasters like Everyday Shooter, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Crystal Defenders, Peggle, Mega Man 9, Castle Crashers and more for just a few bucks, why would you ever leave the house?

    Check out more How To... columns.