Editorial: Are gamers shopaholics, too?
It frightens me to think how much money I’ve spent over the years on video games. True, I may not be walking down Rodeo Drive with 20 handbags full of dresses, jewelry and shoes, but I really wonder how many of us could give the traditional shopaholic a run for her money when it comes to the amount of money we’ve dropped on games, guides, consoles, and the like. Considering consoles range from the 2-500 USD when they’re released and games have always been in the 50-60 USD range. Game guides are roughly half that price, as are controllers. Other game peripherals can be as much as twice the cost of a game.
We buy em’ just because they’re on sale
Gamers are like garage salers. They love a great bargain, no matter what it is. We’ve all been bitten, myself especially. During that transition to digital movie rentals a few years back I spent way too much. Video rental stores were closing left and right, marking down their movie and game inventory prices. I bought games I didn’t need: Dark Void, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Bionic Commando, Destroy All Humans: Path of the Furon and many, many more. On a few occasions I even bought more than one copy so my penniless friends could play online with me. So sad. The worst part is I don’t remember any one game from those purchases standing out as great or must-have. Why? Because the great games sold long before the fire sale price drops.
I know a few, ahem, nameless individuals who will admit to doing something similar with XBLA games, too. If it’s on sale and they have a mild interest they pick it up. Some people I know have 100+ XBLA games, many of which have either never had an achievement unlocked or never been played at all. How are they ever going to catch up with their queue?
. . . even if we never going to ‘wear’ them
Man, oh man. I’ve bought so many games on the cheap just because I could. Looking back I often stop and think “Where in the world would I have found time to play all those?” Luckily I’m beginning to settle down in my purchases, but not entirely. Why just the other day I dropped cash on two retail titles simply on that little itch–you know the one. It’s that mild curiosity about a game that eventually gets you to cave in and buy it. You may or may not play it, but more than likely it’ll sit for a long time before you do.
. . . or even if they’re the ‘wrong size’
You know the kind of game that your friends recommend over and over but you have no interest in? Yeah, that one that you bought anyway because so many people were raving about it? That’s the one. You buy it simple on one (or many) recommendation(s), you take it home, you play it, and you don’t see what the fuss is about. Maybe you see it’s a quality game, but it’s just not a game that fits your play style. Too bad, now you’re stuck with it.
I’ve had a handful of experiences with that sort of situation, mostly with retail titles. But I’ve had a few ‘bad fits’ on XBLA, too. It’s like the shopaholic who sees a beautiful dress in the store window. She’s heard all her friends tell her how great she’d look in it. She sees how well made it is. She sees that it’s offered in her size. But then she gets it home and finds out that the size 6 label lied to her. It fits weird in all the wrong places, so she has a friend try it on who looks great in it. Now she’s stuck with a dress that doesn’t work for her.
It was that way for me with Bastion. I bought it on sale without trying the demo. I could totally see the quality in this game. I saw the blood, sweat, tears and love that Supergiant Games put into it. I got why people love it. But for multiple reasons it just wasn’t a game I could get into. I just never caught the vision of what it was. I just kept waiting for it to grab me, but I gave up. Now that’s 600 MSP I don’t have. I could have ‘tried the clothes on’ so to speak before buying and saved myself money.
But some indulgence is fine
But I guess in the end crying about it won’t bring back the money I’ve spent. Besides, a part of me is proud to support the industry I love. I think I’ll just stop buying the games that I consider mediocre and focus on the great ones–the ones that I know interest me, but also have a lot of great buzz around them. That way maybe I’ll keep my wallet and bank account a little more full.
Oh who am I kidding. If I see a sale, I’m caving.