Dear J-

I bought a used game for twenty-nine cents (with nearly fifteen times that amount in shipping, but still less than five dollars total) the other day and yes, this is the advantage of being a laggard in the world of video games, but no wonder companies like GameStop can make a killing on the sale and trade in used games: they can set just about any price they think the market will bear and folks will line up all day long and sideways besides to sell off their games. I’m not sure how you would be able to redirect those monies into the hands of the people who made the games, though, which is why I’ve been surprised by the vitriol directed towards Microsoft for doing something to control used games on their new console (to the point where they reversed direction completely).

Look, I get it: you like games and you like saving money, right? I’ve bought a lot of used games myself, as it was the only way to get most of the titles I wanted, or just because it’s a fun treasure hunt sometimes: what do they have lurking on the shelves? But if you like games, then we should support the people who make games, because then we’ll get more games. Reward good behavior. I know it’s the same game, only used, but consider where the money goes for a used game: let’s see, back to the corporate coffers of the used game store and … yeah. That’s it. It may be fun to work at a place like that (I applied once) but generally these are minimum wage jobs held by people lured in by the prospect of a corporate/employee discount.

And to be honest I already have too many games as it is: no way I’m getting through all of them in this lifetime or the next, not when I’m limited to a few hours each night after the kids have fallen asleep. So here’s how you save money: buy fewer games (this goes against the doctrine of buying games to support game companies, but hear me out here: three new games or five recent used titles? It’s about the same, right?). You spend less time. The money’s about the same. You get to support the publishers/developers that you like more directly (for instance, I will probably continue to buy everything in the DoubleFine catalog until or unless they go under; the same goes for BioWare). And if you go digital download, you have the benefit of less junk cluttering up the house. All wins all around.



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