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Five Ways To Stretch Your Gaming Dollar

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Posted October 27, 2009 - By Rob Manuel






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Written by: Rob Manuel, X-Play

Five Ways To Stretch Your Gaming Dollar

Let’s face it: Running a Ponzi Scheme is a bitch. Sure, gobs of money pass through your bank account, but you have to constantly make up ridiculous excuses for not being able to pay out the twenty percent on a 30-day contract. And do you know who is going to replace those mahogany doors? Not the FBI agents who kicked them down while you had all the shredders going at full capacity. What a bunch of jerks.

So while you’re in Club Fed trying to come up with enough cash to sway the judge and have a little extra time on your hands, here are Five Ways to Stretch Your Gaming Dollar.

Number 5: Hot Flashes
Typical cost: Free

Werewolf

Stop rolling your eyes. Flash games have come a long way since Snood -- not that I couldn’t still kill half a day playing it again. Developers in the making and even some of the pros tinker with these quick-fix games that you can play just about anywhere. These games range from the very popular tower defense titles, to point-and-click games, and practically everything else under the sun. Honestly ask yourself, "when was the last time I played a good werewolf hunting game?"



Fortunately, there are a number of sites that cater not just to programmers, but also to the fans of these games. Sites like Newgrounds, Armorgames, and Kongregate allow users to sign-up to chat with friends, rate games, and even score achievements while playing for free. And even if visiting new websites makes you a little squeamish, Facebook has become the new Wild West of gaming culture as more developers look to the growing site to find a new audience. Take a chance, what’s it going to hurt? Not your wallet, that’s for sure.

Number 4: Use Your Computer for Something Else Besides Porn
Typical cost: $5 - $20


Old Computer

If you’re like me, then you too have an irrational fear of getting hit by a train every time you step out of your apartment. Thankfully, there are sites that help feed into our phobia by making it easy to download some of the newest titles as well as bringing the savings straight into our padded safe rooms. Applications such as Steam, Impulse, Gametap, Good Old Games, and Greenhouse all provide an outlet for full priced games as well as providing discounts on many titles. Practically all of them have some sort of weekend deals and occasionally will have specials for events for more delicious savings.

I got it already -- enough with the PC love fest. Console gamers looking to save a couple of extra bucks will need to do a little homework. Sites like Amazon or EBgames have also gotten on the savings bandwagon by offering online deals. But if you were into doing extra work, you would probably be making enough money for full price games.

Number 3: Gaming With Balzac
Typical Cost: A little bit of pride


Library

Libraries have a PR problem -- or at least that’s what they call it when no one under the age of 40 walks through the door. To bring in a younger crowd, the paper pushers have turned to tech to bring in the public. DVDs, CDs and, yes, even videogames are hitting the shelves of your local library. Don’t look for Gears of War in the children’s section anytime soon. These public institutions are turning to more family friendly titles like Rock Band and Mario Kart Wii to bring in a new clientele. Think of this as the new version of the arcade without Skee-Ball and sticky floors.

I can see by raised eyebrow that you are skeptical of the situation, and rightfully so. Libraries are generally not known for their gamer appeal, but they’re working on it. Head on over to Ilovelibraries.org to see if your local branch happens to be celebrating National Gaming Day (I’m not making that up). You might be playing shoulder-to-shoulder with a room full of parents, but your wallet will be grateful that you did.

Number 2: Feel That Indie Heat
Typical Cost: Free - $20


World of Goo

With titles like Portal, Braid, and Flower winning over gamers, the indie scene is starting to get some much deserved time in the spotlight. A little experimental and daring, these punk rock developers often design games that the big boys fear to code. Their goals are simple -- to get their games into the hands of as many people as possible. Quality may be questionable at times, but their passion and innovation is undeniable. The mainstream may reach a broader audience, but these quirky titles often reach out to specific groups of gamers looking for something that speaks to them. It’s little wonder that all three consoles have started devoting space to these indie titles.

With a little guidance you can find some great games in the Internet ether. There are full games like Cave Story  and Knytt that won’t cost you a dime. Even the bigger titles such as Machinarium and Plants vs. Zombies cost a third of a full priced title. For their one year anniversary, the developers of World of Goo let gamers pay whatever they could afford for a copy. Wipe those tears little Timmy. You can still head over to the website and purchase the game for less than most games you find in the bargain bin.

Number 1: Finish The Fight
Typical cost: Free


GTA4 Art

You probably didn’t finish GTA IV. It’s fine, I’m not judging you. But desperate times call for desperate measures -- or at least cheaper ones. It’s time for you to go back and go bowling with Roman again…or head out to Tenpenny Tower…or collect that last Masyaf flag. Somewhere in your house is a game that could use a good beating. Pick it up. Play to the end. Get all the achievements/trophies out of it. So you’ve maxed out all your points. Play it again at a harder difficulty. Do something. It’s startling the number of games people own but haven’t beaten for one reason or another. A new game is enticing, but so is being able to feed yourself.

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