In our previous installment of our Budget Gaming article, we focused on low budget games, and ways you can get your gaming fix for a few pennies here and there. We’ve also discussed free gaming, and everyone should be aware of “The Basics” by now, so it’s time we covered the final couple of bases where gaming can be done without smashing open your piggy bank. Today we’re focusing on 2nd hand shops, and retro gaming.
2nd Hand Shops
2nd hand shops are hugely popular now, and while they often sell new retail titles too, almost every games shop has a trade-in or a pre-owned section. This gives you ample opportunity to pick up an older game for well below list price, or if you wish, trade in one of your own to get the funds to buy the game you want. Beware with this though, the shop is purchasing your game in order to sell it on, so will pay less than the game is worth to a consumer. Selling directly to someone who wants it in person or on a platform like eBay, is much more likely to net you the full worth for your game. Or of course, you could swap it.
With 2nd hand shops, always make sure to check what you are actually buying. Occasionally, games will come without instruction manuals, or slightly damaged game disks. These not only make it harder to play the game, but reduce it’s value should you wish to trade it in yourself at a later date. If you are buying a very old game, or one that shows significant scratching or damage, make sure that they test it for you in the store to prove that it works, as nothing sucks harder than heading home to play your new game, only to receive a multitude of fun error messages once you’ve popped the disc in.
If you’re buying off eBay, it’s usually better to buy from a “business” seller, as these companies or people are required by eBay regulations to provide you with a minimum of a 14 day return period. This allows you to send it back should you have an issue with it, though be prepared to pay a couple quid more for one from this type of trader than the average Joe would be selling it for.
Some of the places that sell 2nd hand games are:
Game – Top UK game retailer, often with a huge selection of 2nd hand “pre-owned” games and systems. 2nd hand accessories aren’t so common but there’s usually something available.
GameStation – One of the Uk’s most prominent game sales shops. Most have a wide selection of 2nd hand games but not so much hardware available.
Gamestop – No first hand experience with these guys. Any US readers tell me why they’re good and I’ll replace this useless text with something meaningful.
Retro gaming is something that has grown in popularity in recent years, which has mostly been put down to the inclusion of many old titles on platforms like WiiShop and Xbox Live Arcade. However, even with the popularity boost, retro games can still be picked up relatively cheaply, and although it may mean picking up a console as well, you can pick up Megadrives (Genesis for our US visitors) for £10, N64s for £15, even a Gamecube for about the same now. Games for these systems can range from a couple of quid to £10 or so depending on their rarity, so you might have to pick carefully. However, always bare in mind that these games aren’t going to get cheaper, as they become more rare, their value will rise; you could look at this as an investment.
Retro games can also be picked up in a variety of places, from car boot sales to ebay, they can be found everywhere. Some shops even specifically sell retro games now which makes it even easier, as not only can you pick up all the accessories, consoles and games in one place, but you can get expert advice on what to buy and what you need to get certain things to work. This is especially important with retro gaming, as older TVs are necessary for certain accessories to work, and a lot of modern televisions don’t even have the connectors necessary for the very old ones. Fortunately there are lots of modern conversion cables that can be purchased that fix this problem. For example, there are Megadrive conversion cables that go from the console with a composite out, and others with a VGA output. This makes it far easier to hook up to your modern LCD Tv, and also means you won’t have to spend time tuning like you used to do with the aerial connector.
Obviously there are several pit falls with retro games, namely the fact that they are going to be a lot older than your average games. Old CD based ones are the worst as they’re not built to last like the chunky plastic cartridges of old. If you plan to buy lots of these, it might even be worth purchasing a CD/DVD repair kit, and investing in some compressed air for cleaning out stubborn cartridges.
Some good places to pick up retro games are:
R-Games – Gotta plug the local boys. These guys supply me with all the Megadrive and N64 games I want. They have an extensive library and sell all the consoles and accessories you need, including some pretty rare early Pong tables.
EStarLand – US based retro game sales with a reasonable catalogue of games and systems to pick from. No first hand experience of this one so if anyone can let me know what they’re like, I’d appreciate it.
Ebay – Sounds simple, but like RGames, there are tonnes and tonnes of retro games being sold on ebay. From family’s clearing out their cupboards, to fully fledged retro gaming shops. If you havn’t got a local store near you, this is probably your best bet for finding the games and systems that you’re looking for. Like 2nd hand games though, be aware that the retailers have to offer you a 14 day return policy, whereas the Joe Bloggs sellers do not.
This part is the final one in our budget gaming article. We hope you enjoyed the read and that it provided you with some solutions on how to stretch your pounds in this unstable economic climate. If anyone has any tips of their own on saving money when it comes to buying games, we’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, happy gaming.
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