So it’s been a while since my last post, and there are a number of reasons why I’ve slowed down (and hope to speed back up a bit moving forward). One of which is the fact I recently changed jobs, to a job where I now earn less, (because it’s less hours and eventually may be more hours), I’ve bought a loan for a car because I desperately need a new car, I bought a new phone, because I desperately need a new phone. All round my financial situation has changed, where I unfortunately have far less money to spend on video games.
I sat down today determined to write something, and all I could think about was how little I’ve invested into gaming lately because of my current financial situation. However I certainly haven’t stopped gaming. I’ve invested little, but continue to play games as frequently as always. Which is something I think is important. I think people often see gaming as an expensive hobby but I grew up gaming on a budget and only the past couple years have I been fortunate enough to binge on new systems and games etc. However it doesn’t need to be this way, and there are options offered to people these days to play a variety of games for relatively small cost.
So here are my top ten tips for gaming on a budget:
10: Hop off the hype train
In today’s interconnected world it’s very easy to be surrounded by the hype of new games, new systems, the latest accessories etc. There are people who collect and buy as soon as games and systems come out and post it all over Facebook and Instagram. It’s very easy to want to have what everyone else seems to have. However hype trains in gaming tend to come and go, because there’s just so many good games that come out, people move on to the next thing within a month. So as much as you think you need Red Dead Redemption 2 or Spider-man or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey which in Australia are $100 each, maybe calm your jets a bit, remember that not everyone is buying all of these games at once. It just seems that way because people love posting about their new games because it helps justify their expense and so they can talk about it with others. It’s hard, but totally worthwhile because…
9: In one year the games can be found for $30
Patience.. Assassin’s Creed Origin’s is currently only $28 on eBay. Now I appreciate Origin’s is an older game now and not many people are talking about it, but as I’ve said.. You Cant Buy Every Game People Are Talking About Straight Away.. unless you’re rich. Also it’s pointless because people tend to stop talking about new games pretty quickly after it’s release.. hell.. the hype for Spiderman is almost gone and that hasn’t been two months yet! So patience is key, note down the games you want, maybe buy one.. but maybe wait until the rest come down in price, because it only takes a year. Why not browse the specials find some older games at bargain prices!?
8: Good games never stop being good games
A point which I make numerous times on my blog. You just need to think about the NES classic, the SNES classic, the Playstation classic, virtual console, Ataribox, #retrogaming, etc. etc. etc. People love old games, there are communities based around old games. Most are bargains, some have increased in price due to rarity, but old games still are bargains. Now many would say retro gaming is completely different to a game that’s a year old, retro gaming is it’s own thing, games that are a year or two or five years old, are just old.. well, lets be honest. Games on the OG XBOX, PS2, Gamecube and even Dreamcast are only just starting to fall into the retro gaming genre, but the reason for playing retro games and the reasons for playing 2-5 or so year old games is the same. That good games never stop being good games, they don’t all of a sudden start getting good because they’re ancient (Unless you’re particularly nostalgic to some games), they simply are good. I regularly play older games, I recently finished Catherine and read through some forums about alternate endings, and low and behold many people still talk about the game now.
7: Know where to look for bargains
So if we’ve established that good games never stop being good games, that means the entire world is open to us to find good games. Which means go to op-shops, search eBay, Amazon, search clearance sections both online and in-store. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as finding an old game you used to love for $2-3 at an op-shop.. but if you can’t find it at an op-shop, then generally $5-8 at the pawn shop or $8-12 on eBay.. for something like God of War 3, or garage sales are good places to find old games too. Bargains are everywhere, depending on where you live there could be hidden treasure troves full of great cheap games somewhere. Even some retail stores have clearance bins that have some great surprises in them.
6: Zippay and Afterpay are good if you have self control
Many people are a bit dubious about using these types of payment methods. However I’ve never had a problem with them and I think the key is don’t use these methods unless you can afford the things outright, just prefer not to. With a bit of self control they can be very good options which a growing number of online gaming retailers are offering these days! I’ve bought games and systems using these methods, so that I can manage my finances a bit better. As an adult there are alot of expenditures to make, many which creep up out of nowhere like car rego (ridiculous amount of money), and other bills that you can’t pay off week to week. So why not pay off your games or things you want week to week instead. If it means you can afford the bills and the games.. to me, it works.. certainly not for everyone however, and if you’re a little trigger happy with gaming expenditures, maybe just trial it with something quite inexpensive to see if it works for you before moving on to more expensive options.
5: There are alot of hidden gems out there
This is a little bit like the ‘good games never stop being good games’ point, however it has nothing to do with old games. I’m talking about indie games that fly under the radar. That come out for $5 and are great. There are heaps of great, cheap, unknown games, that are worth checking out. Two great sources for hidden gems are BeatEmUps and MetalJesusRocks on Youtube. BeatEmUps is great for Switch hidden gems and MetalJesusRocks is great for basically any console out there. I mean you don’t necessary have to get the games on the platforms they show, it can simply give you idea’s of great games to try out. Most of the time they are relatively inexpensive.
4: Don’t be scared of Xbox Game Pass (and similar gaming subscription services)
I was.. as a collector I always thought “I can’t get Game Pass, it would undermine my desire to collect physical copies of the games.” You know.. maybe it does. Maybe me playing Forza Horizon 4 on Game Pass undermines me getting it physically. However I’m incredibly doubtful of this, because I can always buy it later. Currently on Game Pass I’m enjoying Forza Horizon 4, Ryse: Son of Rome and Gears 4. For $10.95 a month. I’ve also downloaded some indie games through it because why on earth not… and you know, if I like the games I can buy them physically and my progress continues over from the Game Pass copy. I don’t know if this is how PS Now or other gaming subscription services work, but at this stage it’s working perfectly for me.
3: There are more options out there than you know
So you’ve realised, you can’t wait. You have to have Spiderman and you have to have it now!! Then just calm down for a minute and realise there are many ways to get it and get it cheaper than the nearest EBGames or GameStop etc. Now I certainly don’t know about the US or other countries but in Australia there’s the website www.ozbargain.com.au where I go maybe once every couple of days to find out about specials and sales and cheap games that are either brand new or maybe a few years old. We also have a website called Press-Start which is very good at making bargain guides for upcoming AAA titles, letting you know where in Australia it will be cheapest, including retail stores, online stores and digital. It’s not too hard to find new AAA games for $69 AUD or even less at launch and quite often you can find one that does Zippay or Afterpay at that price and then the expense becomes rather minimal.. (but don’t do it too often!)
2: Milk the games you already own
I’m definitely guilty of this one. Moving onto other games once I finish the campaign of a previous game. Nothing particularly wrong with it, unless you’re complaining about having no games to play. Maybe do the new game plus for a change, try and 100% the game, complete the side quests, get all the collectibles. Maybe run through a game you used to love but haven’t played for years, why not, you know you’ll have a good time again! Saving money whilst playing games you know you’ll enjoy is a pretty good combination in my opinion!
1: Explore the world of gaming for free
This blog was founded upon a desire to talk about more than reviews and upcoming games but to explore all aspects of the world of gaming from the history of the companies, to speculating about upcoming systems, to exploring gaming as a hobby and what makes it so appealing. I love reading up about gaming history because SO much has happened in the past 40 years that there is a never ending stream of interesting information out there to soak up and most of the time it’s free. Two good YouTube channels for this are G4Icons and DidYouKnowGaming.
For me the hardest, yet most important thing is to get off the hype train and appreciate the games I already have. There are many I’m still yet to play and it doesn’t cost much to buy even more if they have aged a few years.
Of course I appreciate everything you lose by buying an older game, especially with multiplayer games, but if money’s tight then you have to make a few sacrifices, maybe instead of buying all the amazing games coming out around this time, just buy one and maybe buy a few older games for $4 each to go with it. Then maybe in a few months time you can buy another.
It’s not easy sometimes, but when you’re on a budget you can sometimes appreciate the things you buy alot more, because you worked hard to get them and you have time to enjoy them because it’s the only game you could afford to get, so always look on the bright side and play some great games!