How to Console Game on a Budget

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Who doesn't like to get great things for less money? We all know the digital realm leads to some dirt cheap prices on games (here’s a guide from Elijah to tell you just that). However, I've noticed that most of these guides to cheap games focus almost exclusively on digital content.

So today, I want to share my tips with you on how to get console and handheld games at rock-bottom prices! These tips are general and apply to all systems, for all time. So please make use of them.

Now grasshopper, shall we begin? 

Looking at the picture above, how much do you think I paid for everything in it?

$300? $250? $200?

Actually, everything shown cost me $135 total. Yep - these tips actually work. Before you know it, you’ll be finding great deals yourself! (Yes, that Bioshock 2 is still unopened!)

Leave No Stone Unturned

When I say look everywhere, I mean it. Don’t neglect your neighborhood chain retailers in favor of smaller shops - although those deserve your attention too. You never know what you'll find at the large stores.

I managed to find a Special Edition of Bioshock 2 at a local Walmart and a Limited Edition of Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway at a Best Buy for $25 apiece. Many larger places order special editions of games, yet don’t always manage to sell them. Those stores are usually stuck with the ones which they don’t initially sell, which can lead to some great price reductions.

If you ever go out of town or on a vacation, make sure to check the stores in the area there as well, both large and small. You never know you'll find. Also, never neglect your local thrift stores or salvage stores (such as Hudson's). While more of a shot in the dark, deals can occasionally be found. Just keep your expectations tempered.   

Look Often

As I mentioned, I nabbed a Special Edition of Bioshock 2 from a local Walmart. However, I didn’t buy it the first time I found it. My initial discovery revealed an asking price of $55 - more than I was willing to pay. Over the next month, I checked on the game every time I was in the area. When the price was in my limits, I snatched it faster than a child nabs a cookie.

When you find a game you want, check on it often. You may not always be the person who gets the deal, but looking often and waiting will do you more good than harm. Speaking of patience…

Be Patient

Wolfenstein: The New Order was released on May 20, 2014. In March of this year, I saw a copy in Target with a price tag of $15. While I would prefer the PC version, such a low price was too tempting to resist. So I asked the clerk to confirm the price for me. To my surprise, the clerk informed me the game was actually only $8! Needless to say, I walked out of the store as a very happy gamer that was eager to slay some Nazis!

While gamers are no strangers to waiting for Game of the Year or Complete Editions, it is easy to forget just how quickly and drastically game prices can reduce. Restrain yourself from buying that game you so desperately want. Your wallet will thank you later.

Watch for Missing Price Tags

In keeping with the retail theme, always check for price tags. Sometimes a store may not have a game labeled, due to it being so low or someone simply overlooking the title. Back when Circuit City had stores, I picked up a copy of Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction with a price of $20 and a copy of Beyond Good & Evil which was missing a price tag. I had money to spare, so I went to the checkout. My total?

$23! BG&E was only $2!!!

If a game piques your interest, but has no price tag, do not be deterred. You may just be onto a monster deal!

Ebay!

Once upon a time, Ebay was a questionable place to search for games for a number of reasons. I am happy to report this is no longer the case. Gamers have taken to Ebay to find all sorts of great games for less. Ebay is where I found a pristine copy of Silent Hill 2 for only $5 on top of other bargains. Ebay is also a great place to get those Collector’s Editions you may have missed. I managed to find a Limited Edition of Mass Effect for $20 thanks to Ebay.

The trick to successful Ebaying is to know exactly what you are looking for and to keep tabs on multiple auctions at once. Did that copy of Metroid Prime Collection get too high for your tastes? I guarantee you there are other auctions where the price has not hit that point yet. Keep a close eye on several auctions and their end times to ensure you are the highest bidder.

Your Friends Can Hide Deals

We all have that friend who seems to buy every major release. They always have the newest games and usually within a week of release or sooner. Why not use those friends to maybe land some deals? Now this tip is not guaranteed to work as much as the others. This one relies heavily on your relationship with these people and your communication skills.

I had a friend who purchased Mass Effect 2 on day one. Having the beat the game within two weeks, he was bored of it and was seeking to trade it. He offered to sell it to me for $20. I accepted. He was perhaps more desperate for money and willing to deal, but the principle still applies.

Gamestop gives cash, but at a reduced price, and credit can only be used to buy things in Gamestop. So by making an offer or being approached by a friend like this, you can offer cold, hard cash or maybe even trade titles. Never underestimate a gamer who has grown bored of their purchase. 

Know Your Budget and Stick to It

When game-hunting, make sure you know your limits and stick to them. While it may be tempting to grab that copy now for $50 despite your $40 budget, being patient and looking elsewhere can lead to a better price and money left over for you to do with as you please. Instant gas money!

Combine These Tips

While each tip works individually, combining them all can lead to great success. Being patient while prowling Ebay or bargaining with a friend can lead to massive dividends for you, dear reader. By combining the tips presented here, you will be well on your way to finding plenty of budget-priced games.

There you have it! While some of the tips might seem surprisingly simple, I promise they can work for you too. The trick is to apply all of these and to be tenacious. Don’t be discouraged and press on for the deals! We fellow frugal gamers can reap the benefits of being thrifty.

Use these tips and let me know of the deals you manage to find! Can you think of tips I misses? Sound off below. Happy hunting!

Published May. 8th 2015

Featured Contributor

Editor-in-Chief at artistryingames.com Father. Metalhead. Lover of games, comics, and all things nerd. Slightly addicted to Magic the Gathering. Get in touch! I promise to be nice.

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