With games costing upwards of $60 depending on the platform, gaming can be an expensive habit...
While most of these suggestions are with PC gaming in mind, several of them could also apply to console games as well. Here are some ways to cut your gaming budget without sacrificing entertainment.
1) Rent: Blockbuster and Gamefly both have services where you can rent games for your console. You have to pay a monthly fee, but with this fee you can rent 1 to 2 games at a time. There are no time constraints, so you can try these games out and then ship them back when you’re ready. These services also allow you to buy used games at lower prices.
2) Online Sales: With online services like Steam, Origin, and Humble Bundle there are more than a few ways to get cheap games. Steam runs online sales all the time, and have a midweek sale on selected items. Humble Bundle has weekly deals that sometimes include games from some top publishers (and you can pay what you want so imagine getting 8 games for under $10!) Another publisher of games for the PC is called Good Old Games (or GoG.com). You can pick up PC gaming classics for really cheap and they will work with modern operating systems.
3) Discount Stores: While some people are not inclined to go to discount stores, that is where some of the best deals are found. National chains such as Big Lots, Dollar Tree and even 99 cent only stores sometimes have hidden gems. During one of my excursions I bought a 10 pack of games for only 99 cents (and it had PC games such as Jagged Alliance and Septerra Core). So check around your neighborhood as there might be some games lurking in bins you don’t expect.
4) Free to Play: There are tons of games that are becoming free to play online for PC users. From some of the best MMO’s such as Everquest 2 and Star Trek Online to some awesome FPS’s like Team Fortress 2. With so many games to choose from you might want to browse the free section over on Steam to see what is available.
5) Abandonware: There are PC games that were produced in the ’90s to which no game developer has picked up or owns the rights to. These games are called abandonware and they can be download and install right to your computer. However, you will often need an emulator like dosbox to run these games, as they will run way too fast on current machines.
6) Ebay: This is a great place to not only buy some of the games that you want, but sell a few of the classics in your collection. Video games are hot right now on Ebay, and if you have some of the rare ones you might make enough not just to buy some new games but maybe a new console as well!
7) Emulators: If you are a fan of some older games then this is definitely up your alley. With many emulators that can mimic either classic video game systems (Atari, NES, etc.) or computers (Apple, Amiga). There is even a great pinball emulator called Future Pinball that is very easy to use, and not only allows you to play classic tables, but allows you to design your own!
8) Facebook: Other than using it to network and socialize, Facebook has some decent games. There are games that will cater to every individual’s need from slow and relaxed to fast paced games. Varying from strategy, trivia, puzzle, and even fighting games, there is a chance that you’ll find something interesting. The best part about these games is that they are all free to play and only require a Facebook account.
9) Gamestop: Most people bash on Gamestop as they don’t offer great prices on traded in games. However, this is no reason to avoid this place altogether, as they sometimes have some of the best prices on used games. A game that might have been $50 a month ago could be as low as $30 used and the game is guaranteed to work (if it doesn’t, they replace it).
10) Flea Markets / Garage Sales: This is a VERY risky route to take, but then again you can pick up some great games for a steal. They might not even know what they have and at most of these places you can haggle the price. The downside is if the game doesn’t work you can’t return it. So it is buyer beware market, but you’ll never know what you might find at these sales.
These are just some of the ways that you can find some great games real cheap. So get out there and check online or your local stores because you never know what hidden treasures you’ll find.