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Dec 09 2011
By: PapaWarlock PlayStation MVP 11160 posts
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Budget Gaming

8 replies 309 views Edited Dec 9, 2011

Every year there are many great games that show up. Some are well known and others are generally passed along by word of mouth. It's likely that you will miss a few here or there. The purpose of this post is two fold: to offer money saving tips and a list of great games that can be found cheaply. It is rather lengthy as it contains a list of generally agreed upon great games. If you are mainly interested in the list of games, feel free to use the Ctrl + F option and input Great Games to head directly to the list of titles. All the titles listed can be found for under $30. Most are available as Greatest Hits.

I also want to express my thanks to the following MVPs for their contributions to the game selections: Moose-Steak, SweetPoison13, Tross88 and ResidentZoidberg. Also a thank you to GreyGargoyle and MastrGT for their views on the PSN games, even though they did not make the final list, buying games off the PSN was part of the suggestion for budget gaming.


As any gamer knows, our hobby can get quite expensive, especially during the holiday season. Many developers know that the Christmas season is the prime shopping season and will often release many big name games during this time in an effort to grab your money. The economy has been rather painful over the last few years. Many gamers are young and don't have steady jobs. Other gamers, like myself, have families to support, children to raise and between the car, the mortgage and daily living, we don't always have a lot of money to plunk down. Or heck, maybe you don't feel there's anything new coming out this holiday season. Whatever your reason is, saving money is never a bad idea. Here are some money saving tips I can offer.


1) Sales and price drops. One of the best ways to save money is to scour the newspaper (or internet) for sales ads. When sales figures for some games slack off, often you'll see a price drop in an effort to boost sales. Sometimes this is only a few months after a game's release, sometimes it's closer to a year. I'm sure we all have games that we've been meaning to pick up but haven't for one reason or another. But instead of paying $60 for that brand new game coming next week, why not pick up 2 of those older titles you've been wanting instead? Take a look at Sony's Greatest Hits collections. You won't see a bad game among them. Often when a new batch of Greatest Hits games are announced, you'll see the price drop in the stores shortly after.


2) Gift certificates. Over the past year, I've noticed some companies, like Target, have begun offering gift cards or certificates with some of the more highly anticipated games (and often many other products). Best Buy has a program called Reward Zone. It's a free program that will give you a $5 gift certificate for every $250 you spend. Running alongside of the Reward Zone program is their Gamer Zone program that nets you a $10 gift certificate for every $250 you spend on games, consoles and accessories. Often Best Buy will run bonus points offers that will double your point totals. Early this year I replaced my laptop with a new computer. I ended up with $15 in gift certificates from that one purchase alone. These certificates are usually good for a few months. Save them up and use a few at once. Hey, $10 off is $10 off.


3) Trade ins. This is an area that is likely to get me booed by a few posters. But there are many places now where you can trade in your old games for credit towards new games. Amazon.com and Best Buy.com now offer their own trade in programs in addition to many local or national New & Used game stores. Game Stop has a program that will give you 10% off used games & accessories, as well as an additional 10% trade in credit. They also often run bonus trade in offers. Such as Trade in 3 or more games and get an additional 20% trade in credit or Trade in games towards the purchase of an upcoming big name game. These bonuses add up over time and while you'll never get the $60 back you paid for the game last week, it can add up to a lot over time. I've gotten over $120 in store credit for trade ins before.
 

4) Buy used. This is the other side to the trade in concept. Again, many gamers will tell you that you're ruining the market by buying used games. After all neither the developer nor the publisher will see a dime of that used game sale. But I have seen new games at $49.99 and the used game at $26.99. Add in the 10% off from Game Stop's program and you can save more. True, with newer releases (games still selling at $59.99 and are less than 3 months old) that difference is $5. ($7.50 with Game Stop's program). Many will tell you it's not worth saving $5 for. But there is one distinct advantage to buying the game used at a New & Used store. Most of them will allow you to return the used game if you're not satisfied with the game within 7 days. While reviews are often helpful in avoiding bad games, there's nothing worse than taking the advice of friends on a game, only to find out you hate it and have wasted $60. You can't return new games.  

     As was pointed out by Amir29, a possible drawback to buying used is that many new games now come with free DLC or online code. If you buy used you might have to pay to play online.


5) Renting. Renting games is not a new idea. It's been around for at least a good 25 years or so, along with renting movies. I'm not sure how many stores like Blockbuster still offer game rentals, and I know the selections are often far less than what is out there. But recently game rental has become popular. The only one I'm aware of off the top of my head is Gamefly. They offer different plans but the lowest plan is $15.95 a month for 1 game at a time. There is no limit to how many you can rent in a month, but you can only have 1 at a time. When you're done with the game, simply return it in the pre-paid envelope and the next will be sent out. This is not a bad way of playing games and of testing out for yourself some of the games you've been on the fence about. The good thing about this is that when you know you're not going to need Gamefly's services you can suspend your account until ready to use again. You won't be charged during that time.

6) PSN and PS2 games. There are many great titles that are available on other Sony systems like the PS2 and the PSP. Rarely will you find any of these titles for more than $30 unless brand new. The PSN not only contains many unique titles like flOw and Pixel Junk Monsters, but also add-ons for many games, some "mini" adventures or expansion packs (like Laura Croft and the Guardians of Light or  Ratchet & Clank's Quest for more Booty) and many great PS1 classics like Final Fantasy VII or the Resident Evil series. This is always a great way to get great titles for cheap.

7) Collections: This isn't a very common practice but it seems to be growing in popularity. Sega released Sonic's Ultimate Genesis collection a while ago. The Orange Box is a collection of 5 games. Sony released a God of War collection last year. There's a Sly Cooper collection coming as well. Game Collections are a great way of saving money. Even with a $40 price tag for the upcoming Sly collection. With collections you get 2 or more games for 1 price. Hopefully more companies will do the same in the future.

Great Games:

This list is a list of games that are often recommended by gamers here on the forums. There are a couple of things to bear in mind with this list. First, all of these games can be found for less than $30. Second, I listed the Metacritic score for each game, but only used the "Critics" rating, not the "User" rating. Most user and critic scores are relatively close. Sometimes a game is scored high by critics and the average user is lower. But these games are generally accepted by the community as worth playing. Third, I included extra information like genre and Trophy difficulty as well as whether the game has online multiplayer. I even listed if there was no online or No Trophy Support. I also linked MVP reviews for each game that had one. I hope this list will help you find some great titles that you might be missing from your gaming collection. I hope to periodically add new games to this list as today's newest games become tomorrow's deal.


  • Battlefield: Bad Company - Metacritic Rating: 84/100 Platinum Difficulty: 9/10 Online? Yes Genre: FPS
  • Borderlands - Metacritic Rating 83/100 Platinum Difficulty 4/10 Online? Yes Genre: FPS/WRPG
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Metacritic Rating: 87 Platinum Difficulty 6/10 Online? No Genre: WRPG
  • inFamous - Metacritic Rating: 85/100 Platinum Difficulty 4/10 Online? No Genre: Action
  • Bioshock - Metacritic Rating: 94/100 Platinum Difficulty: 6/10 Online? No Genre: FPS/Horror/Adventure
  • Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection - Metacritic rating: 80/100 Platinum Difficulty: 3/10 Online? NoGenre: Mixed (collection of 40+ games from the Genesis system)
  • Deadspace - Metacritic Rating: 88/100 Platinum Difficulty: 6/10 Online? No Genre: 3rd Person Shooter/Horror
  • Fallout 3 - Metacritic Rating: 90/100 Platinum Difficulty: 5/10 Online? No Genre: FPS/WRPG
  • Ninja Gaiden Σ - Metacritic score 88/100 No Trophy Support Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Soul Calibur IV - Metacritic Rating: 85/100 No Trophy Support Online? Yes Genre: Fighter
  • Devil May Cry 4 - Metacritic Rating: 84/100 No Trophy Support Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Brutal Legend - Metacritic Rating: 83/100 Trophy Difficulty: 7/10 Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • The Orange Box - Metacritic Rating: 89/100 No Trophy Support Online? Yes (Team Fortress only)Genre: FPS, Puzzle
  • Burnout Paradise - Metacritic Rating: 87/100 Platinum Difficulty: 3/10 Online? Yes Genre: Racing
  • Grand Theft Auto IV - Metacritic Rating: 98/100 Platinum Difficulty: 9/10 Online? Yes Genre: 3rd Person Shooter
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Metacritic Rating: 88/100 Platinum Difficulty: 5/10 Online? No Genre: 3rd Person Shooter/Platformer
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Metacritic Rating: 94/100 No Trophy Support Online? Yes Genre: Stealth
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum - Metacritic Score 91 Platinum difficulty: 6/10 Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Little Big Planet - Metacritic Score 95 Platinum difficulty: 5/10 Online? Yes Genre: Platform
  • God of War Collection - Metacritic Score 91 Platinum difficulty: 4/10 Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Warhawk - Metacritic score 84 Platinum difficulty: 7/10 Online? Yes (100%) Genre: 3rd Person Shooter
  • Resistance: Fall of Man - Metacritic Rating: 86/100 No Trophy Support Online? Yes Genre: FPS
  • Resistance 2 - Metacritic Rating: 86/100 Platinum difficulty: 3/10 Online? Yes Genre: FPS
  • Demons' Souls - Metacritic Rating: 89/100 Platinum difficulty: 8/10 Online? Yes Genre: RPG
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction - Metacritic Rating 89/100 No Trophy SupportOnline? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time - Metacritic Rating: 87/100 Platinum difficulty 3/10 Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Valkyria Chronicles - Metacritic Rating: 86/100 No Trophy Support Online? No Genre: RPG
  • Killzone 2 - Metacritic Rating: 91/100 Trophy difficulty: 8/10 Online? Yes Genre: FPS
  • Eternal Sonata - Metacritic Rating: 80/100 No Trophy Support Online? No Genre: RPG
  • Assassin's Creed - Metacritic Rating: 81/100 No Trophy Support Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Assassin's Creed II - Metacritic Rating: 92/100 Trophy Difficulty: 4/10 Online? No Genre: Action/Adventure
  • God of War III - Metacritic Rating: 92/100 Trophy Difficulty: 6/10 Online? No Genre: Action Adventure
  • Heavy Rain - Metacritic Rating: 87/100 Trophy Difficulty: N/A Online? No Genre: Interactive Drama/Thriller
  • ModNation Racers - Metacritic Rating: 82/100 Trophy Difficulty: 7/10 Online? Yes Genre: UGC Racer
  • Uncharted 2: Honor Among Thieves: Metacritic Rating: 96/100 Trophy Difficulty: 4/10 Online? Yes Genre: ActionAdventure
  • Bayonetta: Metacritic Rating: 87/100 Trophy Difficulty: 6/10 Online? No Genre: Action
  • Mass Effect 2: Metacritic Rating: 94/100 Trophy Difficulty: 6/10 Online? No Genre: RPG/3rd Person Shooter hybrid
  • LittleBigPlanet 2: Metacritic Rating: 92/100 Trophy Difficulty: 5/10 Online? Yes Genre: UGC Platformer

*Updated 12/09/2011 to include more titles from the last year*

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Treasure Hunter
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Re: Budget Gaming

Oct 22, 2010

What an AWESOME OP!!!!!! 

 

 

Some things that I feel might help though...

 

Mention should be made under used games, that some used games may require an additional fee for online access. I know EA and THQ have done this. Not sure of others. People buying used should check that out first so they can accurately weigh the used price over the new game price.

 

Also, I haven't done this, but my friend has been pre-ordering games from Amazon this season. Shipping is only $.99 to get the title on release day, AND (you're not going to believe this) once your game is shipped, you get $20 towards your next game purchase!!! This is also not limited to certain titles. He got Fallout: New Vegas, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and Medal of Honor. All of them got a $20 gift certificate. I'm not entirely sure how it works, but anyone willing to do the research can definitely help fellow gamers find a bargain this holiday

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Treasure Hunter
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Re: Budget Gaming

Oct 24, 2010

Great thread. This seems like something that would be or should be stickied in the Playstation Lounge area, though.

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PlayStation MVP
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Re: Budget Gaming

Oct 24, 2010

 


iTzScotia wrote:

Great thread. This seems like something that would be or should be stickied in the Playstation Lounge area, though.


I'd thought about posting it there but figured it'd get lost too quick. I may just copy this and re-post there too. 

 

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Survivor
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Re: Budget Gaming

Oct 25, 2010

Trading in your old video games is definitely one of the best ways of getting some money back, but you have to do it early because their value decreases over time. At least that's what happens when I trade them in on Amazon. I know some folks who just let their old games collect dust in a corner and never touch them.

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Shinra Executive
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Re: Budget Gaming

Nov 3, 2010

yes Blockbuster has the best online service..  I get either 2 games or 2 dvds a week for 15 bucks a month...  

 

Owning all 3 systems this is key... 

(((())))))))))))))))))==================================-----
*New Game* Infinite Undiscovery
*New DVD* Protest The Hero
*New CD* System Divide - The Conscious Sedation

(((())))))))))))))))))==================================-----
LoTGD ~!~ RBN ~!~ got xheevos? ~!~ XNA Club ~!~ ** PS Past #1** ~!~ twitter
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Shinra Executive
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Re: Budget Gaming

Nov 3, 2010

Hosnor wrote:

Trading in your old video games is definitely one of the best ways of getting some money back, but you have to do it early because their value decreases over time. At least that's what happens when I trade them in on Amazon. I know some folks who just let their old games collect dust in a corner and never touch them.


thats me but i do touch them...   If friends are stopping by theres nothing like popping in Karnov on the NES and watch their eyes light up as I blow into the cartridge..   some things never get old....  just us  =)

(((())))))))))))))))))==================================-----
*New Game* Infinite Undiscovery
*New DVD* Protest The Hero
*New CD* System Divide - The Conscious Sedation

(((())))))))))))))))))==================================-----
LoTGD ~!~ RBN ~!~ got xheevos? ~!~ XNA Club ~!~ ** PS Past #1** ~!~ twitter
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Wastelander
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Re: Budget Gaming

Nov 3, 2010

I still feed my video game habit with quarters.

 

Seriously, spare change can go a long way for the budget minded gamer, and you're never too old for a piggy bank. I've made a practice over the years of saving coins and the occasional dollar bill, and cashing those in a couple times a year toward a game purchase. At just $10 a month in coinage, that's two new games or even more if you buy used or wait for price drops.

 

These days, I have a savings account just for this. You don't need to roll coins anymore, the bank will count that stuff for you and add it directly to your account. It's a little easier to keep track of that way too. 

 

Now, you may be thinking: Who uses cash these days? Yep, plastic is king for many people. But I've also found that paying for normal purchases in cash actually helps with my every-day budgeting as well.

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PlayStation MVP
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Re: Budget Gaming

Nov 5, 2010

That's a good list PapaWarlock. Obviously this can't be an all inclusive list I think Bioshock 2 could very easily go onto your list. It's currently listed at $22.51/new at Amazon. Bioshock 2 has a metascore of 88 from 62 critical reviews. 

 

Personally, having just finished the game, I find it superior to the original in many ways.

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