On day 3 of guestblogger week we are very happy to welcome Belgian Blogger Matthew to the scene. As an editor of Belgiums biggest online gaming magazine and a gaming aficionado, he gives you seven golden rules for ‘Gaming on a tight budget’
7 rules for gamers on a budget ( By Matthew )
As somebody who plays video games on a professional level, it’s easy for me to get all the latest games without any cost. But I have to admit: gaming is a expensive hobby. When you want to buy a title early after launch, you’ll be charged at least sixty euros. And then we aren’t even talking about the machines we’re playing on. But there are some tricks to game for not even half the price. And it’s completely legal!
Tip 1: Don’t buy games immediately
This is one of the basic rules. While I understand that you want to get your hands on that new title as soon as possible, it might not be a bad idea to wait a while. High prices are set for the early adopters and while some companies give you an advantage if you buy them early, like double experience weekends, free extras or a limited edition, it’s not always worth it. Actually, a lot of games drop at least twenty euros just a month post-release. That’s a 33 percent discount for just waiting. The latest Call of Duty instalment is for example available at 44 euros, while it launched at 64 in November, just three months later. And less than two months after Gran Turismo 6 went for sale for 69 euros, it’s now yours for less than 40 bucks. Waiting is good for you. And the longer you wait, the cheaper it gets. It’s something that you really need to think about. Is it worth to play that awesome title immediately? I sometimes buy my games over a year later at a 80 percent discount. Those games aren’t rubbish just because they’re a year old. Great games stay great. No matter what. So just wait a bit.
Tip 2: Choose the right store for boxed copies
Most people like boxed copies. This way they are able to show off their collection. If you really need your game in a neat case, plastic wrapped and with a instruction booklet included, then you need to find the proper store. First of all you have to know that the game publishers will set a advised price, so that the stores know what is a good deal. But Sony for example sets those prices way too high for their exclusive titles, so a lot of stores will charge you 74 euros for new games. Specialised stores also tend to pick higher prices, because they will charge you there professionally and knowledge. Less known stores who sell about everything else, won’t lower their prices immediately because they have no clue what a game is worth and they just want to make profit. So look around. Don’t buy your games in a single store but compare prices and locate the best deals for your bucks.
Tip 3: Buy online
You might know this already, but buying stuff online is usually cheaper. There are many online stores who sell video games and there’s a lot of competition between each other. So when you check the local online stores, you will definitely find games a lot cheaper. That’s usually because they don’t care about the advised prices set by the publishers and their marketing managers. They lower their prices to raise awareness and sell more stuff. Unlike retail stores, they do not buy their games through official distributors, so their stock prices are usually lower too. They do not need to pay rent for their shops or employees to sell. So they do not need those higher prices.
Tip 4: Why not choose to import?
So if buying online is cheaper, why not choose to use international exchange rates to your advantage? Games in England usually cost 40 pounds when they are just released. But that’s just a mere 48 euros, while here we will pay 60 or more for that same title. To be honest, you will be charged more for shipping, but some international online stores might have some great deals too. The British shop Game.co.uk for example sends everything internationally for just 2,95 GBP. Buy more than one game and you’re good to go. And they even have a points system. You will quickly collect enough points to lower the price sensibly. Importing doesn’t harm your consoles or games. Just make sure your system will run imported games. The PlayStation 3 and 4 both will play games from over the world and are not region locked. The Xbox 360 will play about half of the imported games, but there are a lot of compatibility charts available online. Also make sure your targeted game is available in your language! French and German stores usually sell games only in their languages so please take notice!
Tip 5: Digital is cheaper
When you buy a boxed copy, you will not only be charged for the game, but also for everything that happened until you took the game off the shelves or the mailing service delivered it at your door. So you’ll pay for the employees, the distribution and the boxing. Buying a game digitally – without the packaging – is a lot cheaper. Every available console comes with a complimentary online store with great prices. You might save five to ten bucks on games, you can buy them at home and they will be downloaded to your system immediately. You will need a proper internet connection and some patience though until those games have been downloaded. Some games might take up to 40 GB, so don’t download games unless your internet provider doesn’t shut you down for downloading this much. On PC there are much more possibilities. Steam is a online store powered by the great people at Valve. They sell their games at a much lower prices then you would online, and they drop their prices reasonably quickly too.
Tip 6: Wait for digital sales
Steam also has another advantage: they sometimes tend to throw everything at your face, just because they want to. About every three months they will organise the Steam Sales weeks. Nearly every recent title will have at least a 20 percent discount, with additional daily and hourly sales. It’s sometimes a gamble to choose the right time for buying a game during the Steam Sales, because the amount of discount can really change every few hours. Valve also has weekly and daily sales all over the year and sometimes has discounts on whole franchises, up to 70 percent. There are also other ways to buy games for less. Online stores like G2Play.net buys Steam keys in bulk and sells them with huge discounts, up to 60 percent off! Gamers with a console also have occasional discounts. There are weekly sales for both Xbox and PlayStation, so just check the online stores for the best deals, usually up to 70 percent. Even better are the Humble Bundles and Indie Royale Bundles, where you can buy four to eight games in one collection… and you can choose the price! If you want to, you can buy them for just one cent, but all the proceedings go to charity, so I tend to pay about 15 bucks. Then my conscience isn’t messing with me afterwards. And if you beat the average donation, you will receive more games. Ka-ching!
Tip 7: Streaming and subscriptions
Last but not least, there’s also another option if you do not care about owning games but just having fun. Like Netflix and Spotify, it’s possible to stream video games. Some supercomputer in a datacenter will have the game set up for you, while you will only watch a video stream of it. You actually do not need a powerful PC to play those games. Even better: you can game in your tablet or smartphone. It’s just watching a movie really. OnLive is a great example where you can stream video games. They “rent” some games for just a few bucks a week, but you can also subscribe to the PlayPack for 9,99 a month and you can play over hundreds of games. While PlayStation is busy with their streaming service called PlayStation Now, they also have something called Instant Game Collection as a selling point for their PlayStation Plus subscription. If you pay 6,99 a month (or 49,99 a year), you will get access to about fifteen games each month, selected by the company. And if you think those games will suck, then think again. Most games have been nominated for Game of the Year before, so I can guarantee that this is a must-have subscription if you own a PlayStation 3, 4 or Vita. And even better: you will have a ten percent discount on the PlayStation Store too. The Xbox 360 has the Xbox Live Gold subscription which grants you two free games each month. While they are great too, they are usually older titles. And you can keep them, while you can’t on PlayStation. If you want to quit PlayStation Plus, you will lose your ability to play those downloaded games.
Matthew Deboysere is a video game journalist for several Belgian media. Is the co-founder of G.Mag, a free digital gaming magazine, but left for a new adventure. Previously wrote for GUNK and 9lives. Loves video games with a great story that reduces him to tears. And cat videos.
Its storytime again on the Knightwise.com podcast. We bring together some awesome tunes and two great stories from the blog. Sit back, relax and enjoy our two columns ” I’m not a Gamer ” and ” Privacy is a statement”
– Privacy is a statement (original article : https://knightwise.com/column-privacy-is-a-statement/)
– I’m not a gamer (original article : https://knightwise.com/column-im-not-a-gamer-im-just-retro/)
When I see people standing in line for the next big new console game, I always think back of the good old days when I still had my Atari game console and played classic 8 bit games on a run down TV in a backroom. Thanks to the awesomeness of the internet, I can now do exactly that inside a browser window. So forget standing in the rain for the next GTA game (and possibly being robbed in the cue by a 14 year old ‘gangsta’ who wants your iPhone) .. I’m heading out to the Internet Archive. Over there some brilliant programmers have come up with a way to play classic console games right in your 2014-style browser. The “Console living room” as it is called does not only have the coolest cover picture in existence (Check out the neck beard on dad’s picture there) it ALSO has a full listing a tons of games that you could play on your Atari 2600 and 7800 , but also from some more obscure systems like the Colecovision, the Odyssey, the Astrocade and the very very first Sega.
Instead of having to install an emulator an jump through hoops .. all you need is to “click on the pick” and the game will launch in your browser. We haven’t tried this on mobile devices yet (but its worth a go) and so far results are awesome. You can go full screen if you want to. There is nothing like playing ET on a 52 inch High Dev television and waist a ridiculous amount of pixels, resolution and technological progress on a little alien that looks like a turn on the screen. Its a little tricky to find the right buttons on your keyboard, so thank the matrix there is also support for game pads (YES ! game pads and not those 500 gazillion button contraptions they call “controlers” these days ).
So ground your offspring and plop them in front of the television to teach them “How mom and dad Fragged bad guys back in da 80’s”. Finish that never ending argument with your older brother about “who was best at Desert Falcon” and rekindle hours of time devouring goodness on Kung Fu Master. Its GAME TIME !
A short flashback and history of the gaming industry
Techies and geeks like me tend to play a good game from time to time. In my case, that’s probably because I grew up in an era where the first consoles were making their appearance. So when Knightwise asked me if I could be his eyes and ears at the Press Event where they would tell us everything about the Nintendo Wii U, I didn’t hesitate at all. Suddenly I was getting flashbacks of early gaming experiences …
The Press event started with a presentation from Tom Palmaerts a trendwathcer. In all honesty, I don’t really like trendwatchers. But this time Tom grabbed my attention.
In the beginning there were Pixels and Sprites
So, we started out with a quick trip through the gaming history. First stop was Double Dragon. Oh … the memories … I remember that game from the good old Commodore 64 days. Those days pixel count and screen resolution wasn’t the most important aspect of games, we played because it was new … but times change.
Still I had flashbacks to the days where we had 3 lives in a game, and we had to start all over once we lost the third life. The days when you couln’t save games if you approached a difficult part of the game. The days when we had to wait 30 minutes for our Commodore 64 to load a game from an audio tape. The days when we had a square box with a stick and a single red button. The days when I ‘hacked’ my Commodore 64 using a paperclip and got hold of the BASIC code from the Kentilla game. The days when … oh … time to get back on topic …
What makes the Wii (and now also the Wii U) so unique is that there are a lot of games which are specifically targetted to families and groups of friends. Apparently 40% of parents play video games with their kids on a weekly basis. The main reasons are :
- because it’s fun to play games with your children
- because the kids asked you
- some way of checking the content of the games
- and probably because parents love it too 🙂
What makes the Wii U so unique ?
Thee Nintendo Wii U now comes with a GamePad. The GamePad has a Touch enabled LCD display. The advantage here is that you have a ‘second screen’ which you can use for quite a few things. For example the display on the GamePad cold be something completely different to what you seen on the TV screen. This could add an extra dimension to some of the games.
After the presentation we were invited to the first Game Room where we had the opportunity to test some of the games out. In New Super Mario Bros U the GamePad was used to help other players by placing blocks in the game world. Additionally the Nintendo people told us that you could use the GamePad to play as well. For example … lets say my son was playing a game on the Wii U, but I want to see todays football game. Normally this would mean my son would have to stop playing, but in the case of the Wii U he can continue his game on the GamePad while I’m watching TV.
We also played Mario’s Ghost, one of the 12 games in Mario Land. This game looked a bit like a PacMan clone. The goal of the game is to capture an invisible ghost by shining your flashlight on it. So 4 of us were playing as ghost chasers on the TV while one person was playing as the ghost on the GamePad. The person on the GamePad could see where everyone was running, but the rest of us couldn’t see the ghost on the big screen. I have to say … it was fun.
On to the 18+ Games Room
Enough of the family games, time for some hard core action … so we moved to the 18+ Games Room which was rather dark and spooky. In this room we had 4 more Wii U devices to play with, each with it’s own game ranging from Rayman Legends to Ninja Gaiden 3 and ZombiU. Zombies … now we’re talking blood, gore … and fun 🙂 My first impression … wow …
Actually, I had a few issues with the gameplay at first. Some things in the game had to be done on the GamePad while the TV screen was your first person view of the area. The GamePad was used for your inventory, picking up loot from corpses, seeing how much ammo you still had, sniping, and it also acted as a radar which allowed you to see where the zombies were. And that was where I had some troubles. Not sure if it was only me, but I seemed to have some issues looking at the two displays (TV and GamePad) and performing actions on one while watching the other. But the ZombiU game was amazing and I would love to play that game at home. Great settings (center of London), nice graphics, creepy atmosphere and lots of zombies to kill … what could be more fun.
To finish things up, we were informed that there would be two different Nintendo Wii U packs. The Wii U Basic Pack has a white Wii U system with 8 Gb of flash storage, and of course white controllers and a white GamePad. The Premium Pack contains a black Wii U system with 32 Gb of flash storage, black controllers and a black GamePad. Additionally the Premium Pack comes with some additional accessories like a stand for the GamePad, a charging station for the GamePad and the Nintendo Land game. Both packs should be available in stores on the 30 th of november. As for the price, they didn’t tell us, and we were informed to ask the distributors.
As for the question if the Wii U is truly an evolution of the Game Console, I would have to give you a very vague answer. We did get some time to play with the device, but not enough time to really form an opinion on the use of the GamePad. But surely the GamePad can add an extra dimension to certain games. But if it would allow me to play the ZombiU game then I would probably buy it 🙂
More pictures of the event can be found in my Flickr set and if you are interested in a Dutch version of this article you can read it on my own website.
About the author
Stefaan is a Software Developer by trade, but also active as a Tech Reporter and Podcaster mostly in Dutch / Flemish. You can find out more about him on his blog at iTutor Podcast or check out the Tech45 Podcast.
What game are you going to play tomorrow ?
There is one question that I always ask younger people. Kids who are into games and stuff. Kids who where born after the great eight to sixteen bit revolution of consoles. Kids that don't know what PONG is if it bit them in the behind. You know them. When I talk to these teenagers-blessed-with-technological progress.. who are immersed in some on line game of super strong first person shoot'm up I ask them : What if the graphics in games become photo-realistic tomorrow … what will the next step be.
Kids these days.
As they wipe the perspiration from their forehead they look at me puzzled. Like I just dropped from the sky and have presented them with an electronic aigo version of Santa Clause and if they would please ride this thing across the north pole. " What do you mean .. well .. erm.." they stumble. As I try to clarify myself I mumble " What if the graphics in games are as real as they can be, where we come to the point where there are no more progressions in frame rate, in resolution.. When your gaming environment around you is as realistic as looking in the mirror" .. more blank stares and then a pointblank answer. " We"ll .. we"re done then .. aren"t we".
Asking the same question to older (when you are over 25 on the edge of real and cyberspace, you're ready for the cyber-old-farts-home) they give you a different answer. As they start to memorize about their first game console (an Atari) and the games they played on it. As they talk about chunky sprites that somehow had to resemble ET, Some brown flying blob that was a desert falcon .. And the anger of their mothers as their kids kept hogging the TV with the old game console. Grandpa Simpson is bleak by comparison to this useless banter so I once again post the same question. But this time the answer comes direct and clear : "We'll then we have to work on the content".
Polygon shaped boobs.
And its true. Most games these days (Certainly the ones on the major game consoles) are either shoot"m ups, race games, toombraider-esque games or on p's Massive on line games and varieties of those mentioned before. Once you know how to play one game . you've just about seen them all. Ok , the characters are more defined , their boobs containing more roundness and less polygons, the shading is better, the lighting is better, more detail etc. But nothing really changes. So when E3 came along (the annual game festival where games and console makers show their best) I was not even paying attention. Until I saw this video below.The Nintendo WII was far from the great expectation. It was the underdog.
And then those funky Japanese inventors came up with a revolutionary controller. It looked like a slimmed down version of a tv-remote. "How the hell am I gonna play with something like THAT" I wondered. But while companies like Sony and Microsoft made their game controllers even more ergonomically , letting them look like a sex toy that has been forgotten on the living room table .. Nintendo did something different. I do not know what awed me the most. The revolutionary design of the thing OR what happened if you moved it around ! (see video for details) But WHEN I saw it in action I realized that it offered an enormous creative opportunity for game developers. And THEN I saw what they had done with it so far ! Amazing . The console is BACK .. not only in the center of the living room .. but in the center of the family. The Nintendo approach is turning the WII into the heart of Sunday afternoon entertainment for everyone. With the right games that don"t include shooting people or flip flopping a half naked girl over Popsicle stand, the WII offers something for everyone. An innovative approach , a new vision in game entertainment .. and … well.. See for yourself !