When I was a kid, I remember lugging around a case of 20 or so NES games with me to my day care during the summer. The place that my brother and were imprisoned at had one bonus about it: a row of NES systems to keep the kids occupied, herded like sheep and left to stare bleating in front of small television screens.
Oddly enough there’s only thing to me that’s strange about this scenario. And no, it’s not the fact that I can’t even remember anything else about this period of my life except beating Mega Man 3 in front of onlookers, or the fact that the day care had all these NES units in the first place. The weirdest part of the whole thing for me? As a little kid, how did I afford to buy that many NES games for myself?
If there’s one drawback to this otherwise beloved hobby of ours, it’s that video games don’t grow on trees or drop out of the sky for our enjoyment. These little boxes of contained and bridled joy are ass expensive, especially when you add them up over time.
The reason that I’m even thinking about all this is because just this week, I got an E-mail from GameFly that troubled me. You see, I’ve been a member of the online game rental service since its early days. The E-mail was thanking me for this loyalty, which happened to be a term of 78 months. At just about $22 bucks per month and multiplied up, that comes out to a hefty sum of about $1600 dollars Americano. I could really only do one thing at this realization of my own investment: I vom’d in my mouth a little.
However, when you break that down to 6 1/2 years, it turns into about $240 per year, which really isn’t that awful when you think about it. Gaming can easily run between $500-$1000, depending on what kind of releases are out. Hell last year alone could have been one of those on the higher end, for instance. Complicated, no?
But it gets even more convoluted when I considered the fact that on top of this GameFly money-sink, I’ve also been purchasing anywhere between 4-6 games a year. Granted, some of those are chained together to form ultra combos of trade-it-in juice, but that still means I’m easily spending about $500 annually to play video games, or more. Even for a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) beneficiary like me, this is a stretch, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like for students. Come to think of it, I can’t even remember how I afforded to buy and play so many games back then.
As a result of all of this mathmetical-ism I’ve started to take a look at how I spend my money on video games. I’m convinced that I could be much more economical about the whole thing. Really, I’ve got lots of different options at my disposal. I could ditch my GameFly account altogether or simply lower it to one game to ensure that I still get to play those titles I’m curious about but don’t feel like buying. In addition, smart folks like JJ are good at finding great deals on Amazon or other used game outlets and turning them back around to produce more cash flow for the next purchase. I even have one friend who buys nearly everything he wants to play, beats it in week and immediately trades it back in, getting nearly full value for it.
I guess I’m writing all this because I’m still trying to decide what to do. It’s crazy how expensive it is to be obsessed with gaming, particularly if you like to just sample everything that’s available to you in order to find the right taste for your gaming palette. So basically, I want to know if you guys have a particular video game buying strategy, and what that happens to be? How do you handle the buying of your games, and on average, what would you say you spend on them?