Game Collecting on a Budget

MAY ISSUE: POST #11

Presuming you have little money to spend, how do you get all those games you want? I for one, know what it’s like to have little to no money spare for leisure, but I still go buy lots of cheap stuff anyway. I’m a cheapskate, to be honest, but at least it saves me a lot of money when I want to play games rather than look at how pretty they are.

I’ve compiled together points on how I tend to shop for games, and I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to buy a lot of games on release date and at retail price, but until my bank isn’t crying, I won’t be doing that. So what’s coming next is probably all obvious stuff, but I think it’s nice to get an insight to basically how I live my life.

Preowned Game Shops

If you live in the UK like I do, you’ll know of a shop called CEX. This is a preowned media shop where you can buy used games, electronics, movies, and CDs. It’s really useful, and I’ve bought a handful of games from here for 50p or a pound a piece. It’s definitely the place to go if you want a lot of options. Not everything is super cheap, but it’s probably cheaper than most places.
In the UK, there’s also Cash Converters, which is another brilliant preowned shop, which actually tends to sell more retro gaming items (not much, but some). I got two pretty good games the other week for 50p each, and the shop has cabinets full of consoles, games, and anything really- it’s not just full of media, after all, I’ve seen bikes and fishing rods in there before.

Charity Shops (Thrift Stores)/Antique Stores

No matter where I go, I always go into charity shops. Even if it looks like they’re just full of clothes from the outside, I tend to go in and walk to the back, where usually all the movies and games are held in secret. Usually, you’ll just find an array of sports games, but sometimes, you can be really lucky, and this is the trick here. Just take the time to look, or even ask what they have, you could stumble upon a treasure. I for one found Tomb Raider Anniversary: Collectors Edition for cheap in a charity shop, along with Dragon Age II. You really can’t go wrong, and once you get used to it, going into every single one you find gets addicting.

Also, surprisingly, a few antique shops I’ve been in also sell video games, which is really neat. I’m not saying that they’re cheap though, only that it’s worth a look.

Car boots (garage sale)

I admit that it seems that the content you find at car boots is way better in the US. But, there are still your handful of good people who’ll sell off their games for cheap in the middle of a field. There are usually those few families that bring their entire DVD collection and sometimes there are some games thrown in the midst of them. So you really have to master the ‘quick search’ skill through tubs and boxes. I remember I got DeBlob on Wii for 50p, so I was pretty happy with that. It’s definitely possible to find something that’s a treasure to you but trash to someone else. Whether that be games, consoles, or even that guitar you’ve wanted since your tenth birthday. You can find it.

Sales

SALES SALES SALES. Sales are a savior. Whether that be online sales or sales in shops. I’ve made a habit of popping into game shops such as GAME (an imaginative name, I know) or independent games shops and seeing if they have anything for cheap or for on sale. You just never know, and it’s best to look because you might miss something. I got a bunch of strategy guides and books in GAME for ridiculously cheap, and I mean it was close to being free.

Then, there are sales on SteamHumble Bundle practically on sites all over the internet. You have to keep searching, and adding stuff to your wishlists so you get notified when the price is reduced. It can really help you if you’re patient.

Humble Bundle/GOG/G2A

These aren’t the only three sites, there are probably hundreds of them- sites that sell keys and all that for cheap. Humble Bundle, of course, is the most trusted source, and I recommend signing up to receive emails and updates since they have given out free games before and also their bundles are pretty darn good. You can choose between three tiers, and usually, the first tier consists of four to six games which you can get for around a dollar in total. I never usually pass up the bargain.

Also, follow these sites on Twitter! GOG actually gave away a bunch of free games the other week, and I only knew about it because of Twitter. Follow a bunch of them. It makes them happy and then you’ll be rewarded at some point with a tweet saying ‘like this for a free game!’ Hopefully. Maybe. Don’t hold me to that. But you should be more aware of cheap stuff, and who doesn’t like cheap stuff?

Steam/PSN

These two places are where I get a lot of my digital gaming items, even though I’m not much of a digital gamer. There are sales all the time and pretty cheap games if you’re not looking for anything in particular. Again, it’s good to make a wishlist so you can see when the item you want is reduced.

eBay/Amazon/Depop/Gumtree

Gumtree is like Craigslist, for anyone who doesn’t know. I was browsing gumtree for hours yesterday and was surprised at what I found in my local area. Sometimes you can find really great stuff right on your doorstep (maybe not that close, but your neighbour could be selling something). There’s even a free section, on which my partner found a free shrub. I mean, it’s not really up there with video games, but shrubs are nice. I’d take a free shrub.

eBay and Amazon and Depop all can be pretty bad when it comes to trying to find games for cheap. But this is why searching regularly is a good thing. You never know what’ll be listed tomorrow. Nearly everybody searches or uses eBay and Amazon, and there must’ve been a time when something was cheaper than you thought. So, make a wishlist, or look up all those games, and see what you can snag.

Depop is good because you can actually haggle if you’re good at that, too. I personally did it only once because I’m too scared to do it most of the time, in case I upset or anger someone somehow. But yeah, see how long something has been listed for. Maybe if a products been unsold for a year the seller might be a little kinder about giving it to you.

Borrowing

If you really can’t afford to spend anything, then these next three will help you. Why not try borrowing games instead? I’m not sure if libraries let you borrow games for free, I don’t think so, but if you have friends, why not see if they have some games you can borrow for a while? Or maybe even your enemy? Then you don’t have to give it back. (I’m joking of course. Maybe. Don’t tell anyone I told you that.)

Presents and Gifts

So what do I do if I want a more expensive game that won’t be lowered in price for eternity? I wait until my birthday or Christmas. I’m fortunate enough that I have family members who will get me what’s on my wishlist, and I’m very thankful. If there’s something you really want that you can’t afford, waiting for these special occasions is probably the best thing to do.

Don’t Buy Games

As much as it pains me to say it, this is the harsh truth. If you want to save money when buying games, just don’t buy games. Simple. Get all the free stuff, and then browse everything you can’t have. Or watch videos of gameplay. I know, it sounds like torture. But you can get that game one day, I’m sure. In time. If you’re lucky.

Or maybe you can switch this advice around. Buy nothing, and spend all the remaining money on games. You might not have any furniture, but at least you have video games. (Now I’m serious, don’t trust every piece of advice I give).

So there we go! This probably didn’t help anyone because it was all fairly obvious and you probably do most of this anyway, but that’s how I collect games. Practice being a cheapskate, but don’t be stingy either, and keep your priorities straight.

Thank you and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

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