Standards to shop by for computer games.
- Never Pre-order. That is unless you just don’t like your money. That same title will be on sale for 75% off in just six months. A little patience and you can play the exciting titles for really cheap. Plus you will be able to read reviews and then choose to not purchase titles that are a waste of time.
- Never buy the limited edition box. That’s just useless packaging that you won’t want to get rid of, but don’t actually use. Sure, you could argue that it is a collectible, but unless you plan to be hawking your old computer game boxes on eBay in about 20 years, than the “collectible” value is only in your mind. Just like your Beanie Babies.
- Use a cost per hour of play equivalent limit. For example, if you will play the game for 20 hours in the first month you actually use it, divide the hours of play by the cost and keep the cost below a certain threshold. A good starting value could be a dollar (1/15th the cost of a movie ticket!). I personally look for a cost threshold of about $0.20 an hour (I’m cheap.)
- Purchase Safely. Using a DRM like Steam or Origin could seem a bit restrictive. Like iTunes, they keep your game for you, and don’t let you run and play anywhere. And yet, they do. I’ve used Steam for years, and it keeps a very nice library just for me. So when I feel like a little run around the original Half Life game, it’s there waiting for me on my account. I don’t have to go searching for a disk that may or may not still be readable.
- Purchase Games You Will Play. This may seem obvious, but it might be something to remember. As the gaming generation gets older, we are having families and we are starting to game with kids around. Are you really going to play a graphically violent game where your two year old can watch? Or your spouse who doesn’t like any sort of suffering?
Gaming doesn’t have to be expensive. Keep these ideas in mind, and it can be cheaper than watching football. 🙂