Some of us don't have disposable income that we can easily spend on the latest and greatest games.  I'm one of those people.  I'll admit I get a little jealous when my friends are all playing the latest games, and I'm still scratching the surface on older games, going around picking up games in the used section, and when buying new following a precise checklist for what I need to know before buying.  If you're like me this guide will save you money in the coming months.

With the holiday season coming and developers pushing out all the new games to bolster their numbers for the year, those strapped for cash may find it difficult to effectively manage all the buying they want to get done.  For me the first step in deciding what to buy lies solely in myself.

1. Interest

The most important factor to consider in any video game buying decision is YOUR particular interest in a game.  The factors to look for include what genres you enjoy and the type of game that is being considered.  If you like FPS, for example, then you should look at those games first.  Purchasing a new copy of a game in a "iffy" genre for you can very likely end up in disappointment.  Even certain games that people and critics agree as something to be experienced, can lead to disappointment and ultimately a waste of your money.  Always be sure it's a game that you are absolutely certain you are going to enjoy before buying new.  If you are unsure on a game, then please buy it used.  At most places you can return a used game within 7 days for a full refund for any reason.  

2. Replay Factor

You're strapped for cash, you want a game that after you play and gather all the trophies/achievements that you will go back and play again.  While replay can include Multiplayer, don't count this exclusively as "replayability." Multiplayer may add time to your game time, but ultimately as new iterations of the game come out, there will be casualties to the server list, or you will find that there simply aren't any players available to play a match against. Replay Factor here should include your ability to go back and play through the game multiple times. For whatever reason, you want a game that will draw you in with the story and ask you to play again.  

3. Length

It really should come as no surprise that the length of the campaign should come into play with your buying decision.  A shorter game means less time spent with it, and ultimately means that you're going to be searching for another game sooner than later.  This can be tied to Replay Factor above, the length of the game will be extended beyond your 8-10 hours of gaming, if you don't mind playing it again.  However don't be afraid to invest on a game with a short time period.  Games like Limbo can be played through in one sitting, but at 15 dollars your financial burden is lessened.  PSN and XBLA are a great place to go if you're looking to play a solid game on the cheap.  Even though you might not play as long, the quality for that 15 dollars is well worth it.  Leading into the fourth factor.

4. Professional Reviews

Sometimes a game truly is too great to pass up, and you have to ignore your financial conscious.  Before you go into picking up that new copy of the game, read every review you can find.  Good or bad, people get paid to write those reviews for a reason.  When you do read the reviews, check the source.  A 360 exclusive being reviewed in Official Xbox Magazine, should not hold the same weight on your decision as a review written by a third party source.  Also consider how often you have agreed with the source.  One of the reasons I used GI for my reviews is that I have normally found myself in agreement with what they have said.  There have been times that I shook my head, which is why checking for more than one review is important.  Metacritic is a great site to see how a game matches up, as it provides a look at the positive and negative reviews.

5. User Reviews

Rarely are there games that are reviewed well, that aren't adored by the mass of gamers out there.  However on a rare instance a critic will look at certain aspects of the game from a purely functional and mechanic stand point.  A game might receive a 7 in this case and it's up to you to go out there and talk to people.  Users more often than not are slightly less critical of a games flaws.  They can overlook things such as pop up, or even outdated mechanics, in exchange for the overall fun factor. Combing Professional Reviews with User Reviews will give you a step up next time you're standing in the aisle looking at which game to get at that time.

With these factors in mind, there are a couple of other ways to be a "cheap gamer."  Certain games will probably release with a GOTY edition.  These editions, usually have all the DLC on the disc, or at least a code for buying new, and usually release within a year or two of the initial release.  The editions sometimes are at the full price of the original release, however the deal that you are getting on the DLC will make up for the wait.  

Remember these factors, and you should end up purchasing games without stressing too much about keeping track.  It's important to note as well, that you should never feel like you are missing out on not buying a game on day one.  Those that do are perfectly capable of doing so, but patience is a virtue and waiting won't hurt.  If you fill your time with games with high replay, then you will never feel that itch to pursue every game that comes out.



I can not pretend to not be involved in the recent events surrounding members of this community, however I can say this.  We are a community, we have disagreements and we have differences of opinion.  It's how you carry out those differences that is what is important.  If one side does something offensive, and you fight back then you have done nothing but continue on the conflict.  

I love GIO, but when I see members infighting then I begin to think that the Us vs Them mentality is destroying the site.  There is no Us there is no Them, there is only We the Gamers.  I understand people online will say and post offensive things, but if you handle yourself well, and they don't, then let it go.  Don't push ahead, don't keep pestering the person.  Leave them alone.  

Brony Anti-brony, Gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Jew, black and white.  That is what comprises this community.  Beginning to believe that somehow you are better than anyone else, is the way to separate yourself from the community as a whole.  Love each other, and love life you only get one to live, why spend it fighting with each other.