Friday, August 21, 2009

Choices of the poor house

I remember a time when I could buy any game I wanted. Sometimes that could mean 3 or 4 a month. Money was no object. Time was the only problem. I never seemed to have as much as I wanted to play video games. Now it seems both are in short order.

Ever since I started saving up to buy a house I've taken a closer look at the money I spent on video games. That doesn't mean I curtailed what I did spend . . . it just means I looked more closely at the game and my desires and THEN bought it. There might have been one two I didn't buy, at least right away, instead I waited for the price to come down to a more reasonable level of what I thought the game was worth.

Since I bought my house, and wiped out my saving to do so, my video game purchases have almost dried up completely. I've still bought a game or two here and there by making the sacrifice to my food budget. Or relying on lower electric bills in the winter time. But now that summer is here and my electric bill has doubled in recent months my gaming budget is running in the red. Or at least it would be if I bought everything I wanted to get.

First I couldn't decide between buying Ghostbusters or Red Faction: Guerrilla and then I heard about Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. Now I only had money for one game but there was three of them to buy. I went into research mode and started asking my friends their impressions of the game, read reviews, watched trailers, etc. If I could only afford one (and even that was a stretch) I was going to make sure it was the right one. After a couple of months I finally narrowed my choice down to Sacred 2. But by then I heard of more games coming out that I wanted.

So far the list of games I'm lusting after is thus (in no particular order): 1) Modern Warfare 2, 2) Assassin's Creed 2, 3) Little Big Planet (PSP), 4) Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, 5) Red Faction: Guerrilla, 6) Ultimate Alliance 2, 7) Wolfenstein. All of these are either out already or will be by the end of the year. Back in 2007 I would have had the money to get them all on street date and then some (and I'm sure there are more games out or are coming out that haven't made it onto my radar yet). Unfortunately that isn't the case here in 2009. I know I can squeeze one out of my budget and maybe a second one too. Or I could wait until the price drops and pick it up as a bargain (or used).

But the problem with waiting until the price drops to pick up a game is finding out that the online community for that game has moved on as well. I have several older games that I would love to play online, but I'm not sure if there is anyone playing them any more. Games like: Burnout Revenge, Quake 4, Call of Duty 2 and 3, and co-op in Kameo. If there are achievements tied to online or co-op play and nobody is playing those games anymore how will I get those achievements? Kind of like what's happening to Chromehounds in January.

Metallicorphan gave me a link to an article that says Sega is shutting down the Chromehounds servers on January 6th 2010. After that, no more online play. Although with Chromehounds I've given up on ever getting the online achievements. There is too much boosting going on in the game for anyone to earn those achievements legitimately. If you want 'em you've got to cheat in order to get them. I'm not a cheater. But the thought that I'll have a game that's worthless to play (once I get all the single player achievements) annoys the crap out of me. And what's the point of selling it back since the game will have no resale value. It was a niche game and now that niche is being shut down. So what about other games?

Is is worth it to try and play online matches in the original Gears of War? Or how about Rainbow Six: Vegas? Or Marvel Ultimate Alliance? I have seen several people pick up MUA in anticipation of the sequel coming out, but as for the other two the sequel is already out. And that's not even considering Call of Duty 2 and 3. Those have been eclipsed by 4 and 5.

Should I be spending my time playing those older games while there still might be a chance of enough people playing them online? Or should I just stick with the newer games that I already own where I know there will be people playing online? And what if I do wait to get Wolfenstein or some other game 6 months or a year or two down the line? Won't I be in the same position with that game (or others) that I'm in right now with the ones already listed? Should I just buy a game, play the hell out of it when it first comes out, and then sell it back so I have the money to get the next game on my list? I'm pretty sure several of my friends are doing that. But what happens when new DLC comes out that makes me want to pick it up against, but I've already sold it back? Would I have the money to buy the game all over again AND the DLC? I don't think so.

I miss those days when I could walk into GameStop and buy any game I wanted (and then some). I can't do that now, but not because of the economy. This is of my own choosing. So no matter how bad a day I'm having I will continue to drive by 3 GameStop stores all within 2-3 miles of my house (along with 2 more directly on the way home from work) and not walk in for some retail therapy. I will continue to do my research on the right game for me and hope that when I do eventually buy a game there will still be people playing it online. And if you are one of my few friends that still own any of those older games maybe we can get a match going online sometimes. You never know, we might single handily bring new life to an old game . . . especially for those of us who can't afford the new ones.


metallicorphan said...

i am struggling as well,being unemployed,i have had to dip into my games collection now and then to go and trade in the games for newer games,which i hate doing,my collection of 50+games has dwindled down to 20

this month,i got Wolfenstein,and i will be able to get Batman..then that's it until perhaps Operation Flashpoint the first week of October..there are plenty of others i want,but that is priority at that time

FWIW-Call of Duty 3 you should still be able to find online games,i was last on it a month or two ago,plenty of people then

Call of duty 2-pretty much no one is ever on that now,which is a shame as its my favourite COD game...i found a game with about 3 people in,after waiting for 10 minutes :(

Zak said...

Have you looked into renting games? I get one free rental a month from blockbuster and thats how i see if games are worth buying. That Red Faction was good. I like blowing up stuff. Today, I have another free rental, see what they have. I might have to rent COD 5 for I can play with you guys.

Pengwenn said...

I'll play COD2 with you orphie. It would be nice to have someone to play with.

Yes, Zak, I've thought about renting games, or at least GameFly or the likes. But sometimes for me the hunt of finding just the right game is almost as much fun as the game itself. If I could have anything sent to me with little effort, where's the fun in that.

Anonymous said...

Im with Metallicorphan as well. I at one time had about 90 or so 360 games. Now the last couple months I have about 50 or so. Today I am getting Batman so I will trade in some more ( word to the wise , Wolfinstein is a flop like turok was last year).
I do agree with you Pengwenn as well. The hunt of a game is fun. I like reading online reviews and learning from people. Beside wolfie I bought a game called Call of Juarez that turned out to be a 15 dollar used game. Today things will change with batman!

Anonymous said...

Sorry , it was max with the last messsage :)

Zenra said...

Well, I picked up Sacred today, so if you ever want to co-op...

Pengwenn said...

After Monday night's play didn't you agree to send me that game because you hated it? Or were you too drunk to remember? In that case you were also going to send me $100 for every day you've known me. :)