Gaming for the Impoverished Scholar

November is a hard month if you're into videogames. All of the big new releases are coming out within three weeks of each other, and for an impoverished college student, it's impossible to pay for all of them. Between Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, and Skyrim, this year's no different. I've been a gamer for a long time though, and I've learned a few tricks for getting new games on the cheap, or simply finding older good games to bide my time until I make a little scratch. Here are some easy ways to get videogames on the cheap for the baller on a budget:

Amazon.com (and other online retailers)
Man, I love Amazon. Using Amazon, I've been able to get unopened games for a lower price than buying them used at Gamestop. Games that are a few months old will get marked down 10 or 20 bucks sometimes, and even brand new games often get a five-dollar discount. And if you preorder a game, and then the game's price gets knocked down, you get the lowest price even if you preordered before the price drop. Also, preordering from Amazon will get the game shipped to your house on the release date.
Here's a really good tip that will net you a lower price: if you're a student, you can get a student version of Amazon Prime for free. This will give you free two-day shipping for a year on any product (not limited to videogames, of course).
You can probably tell that I'm a hardcore fan of Amazon, but that's no reason to shy away from other big online retailers. Newegg.com is also a great source, and retailer websites, such as Walmart and Target, can also have good deals.

Craigslist and Glyde
Yes, Craigslist can be a wee bit shady. But lemme get anecdotal for a moment: I got a brand new PS3 slim, with Call of Duty: Black Ops thrown in, for 220 dollars. I saved more than 100 bucks. It was awesome. There’s really no limit to what games you can get, and chances are you’ll be getting what you want significantly marked down. Sure, this might take more work than simply stopping at a store. But if you’re willing to go the extra mile in your penny pinching, I can guarantee it’s worth it.
Glyde’s a different story. Glyde’s a relatively new website that allows an easy way to buy and sell used games (in addition to DVDs and CDs). Basically, you look up a game and select a condition (new, good, okay, etc.). Older games give you a lower price. Glyde’s interesting because you can also sell games as well. Basically, you create an account, list the game you want to sell and name your price. You want the game to sell faster, set a price lower than market value. Then Glyde sends you a mailer and you put the game in and send it out. Glyde lets you cast a wider net than you might be able to selling on Craigslist, and you’re likely to save more buying from Glyde and make more selling on Glyde then you would at Gamestop or any other retailer that sells used games.

Games for PC
Was your computer manufactured sometime after 2007? Then you should probably download Steam. Steam does crazy sales pretty much weekly, and you can get some awesome games for ten bucks or less. For a while on Steam, they were giving away Portal for free (Portal’s awesome, you should play it). To get anecdotal again, I got Civilization V for around ten bucks. Ten bucks for a Civ V! Did you know that a single round of Civ V can last longer than a Call of Duty campaign? That’s value right there.
If you want to go even cheaper, you can check out the Humble Indie Bundle. Every couple of months, a new bundle will come out where you can pay whatever price you want for a few indie games. Yes, that includes paying one cent. Usually, there’s a reward for paying above the average, but the average usually hovers around five bucks, so don’t let that hold you back. Sure, these indie games can be unconventional, but they’re never bad games. They’re always a good value.
Hopefully, these pointers will be enough to steer you away from starving yourself for the next big game.

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Jack Ozment's picture

Jack Ozment

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