Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How To Use Used Games

I love to bitch about the price of games. Andrew loves to bitch about it, too. We all love to cry, moan and rage against the $60 we know we should spend on groceries, overdue bills or something pretty for our ladies, but we spend on games anyway. How dare they charge so much for something that is often so little?

Where there is discontent, there is opportunity – and if you keep tabs on the industry, you’ll know that it’s an opportunity plenty have seized upon. In addition for selling new games at list price, many vendors are now selling used to like-new copies at drastic markdowns. Gamestop, most notably, has made enough of a profit off of used games to draw protest from major publishers. Amazon has made enough of a profit off of used games to put the scare into Gamestop. Now Best Buy is thinking about entering the fray.

There are some incredible deals out there. Hit the jump to see a few.

At Gamestop, the scope of the deals varies. For recent titles, you’ll be better off buying the game new – they have a no-returns, no-responsibility policy regarding used merchandise, and while a Gamestop used game has yet to fail on me, you never know. At the Rehoboth Beach, Del. Gamestop, a used copy of HAWX sells for $54 – might as well have the satisfaction of ripping off the cellophane.

Older games, however, sell at embarrassingly low prices. Though I’m not in love with Grand Theft Auto IV, plenty of curious gamers will find it a steal at $30. Games that were already a steal are even more so – I’ve seen both The Orange Box and Mass Effect in the $10 range.

I recently hopped over to the Rehoboth Gamestop to see if I couldn’t scoop up HAWX on the cheap. $54 was still more than I’m willing to pay for the game, but I spotted another Ubisoft Clancy title on the used rack – Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. One of the first must-have 360 titles, GRAW still looks great today, and for $10, I couldn’t find a convincing reason not to buy it. Better yet, the cashier accidently put GRAW2 in the box. $10, folks. I’ve spent more on a martini.

If you’re willing to wait a week for standard shipping, Amazon is where you’ll find the real bargains. Recently, Amazon subdivided their used games into “Used” and “New.” Under the “New” tab, you can buy games in perfect condition for up to half off. It’s baffling. Recent releases like HAWX go for $26.99 – new. For the miserly, you can buy HAWX for $22, condition “Like New.” The $4 shipping and handling is immaterial – these are simply the best deals in gaming.
Buzzing after reading a snippet of Splinter Cell: Conviction press, I searched for Double Agent, the series’ last installment. When I clicked the “order” button, I had spent a few pennies shy of $12.

When game shopping on a budget, your best asset is an open mind. Remember: games released two or three years ago are as good now as they were then. Flip through old gaming magazines, see what strikes your fancy, and buy it for a song on Amazon.