I thought I’d follow up my initial post with a tip on how to get access to the most games on a budget. Like most avid gamers, I had gotten into a pattern of getting every exciting game the minute it came out. Obviously, with all the good games that are available, that can really stretch the budget. Additionally, it was easy to get caught up in the hype of a game release and buy into it before the review came out. This led to a few games that did not live up to their expectations and a feeling that I had paid $60 for a game that wasn’t worth $20.
One option that I pursued was to join http://www.Gamefly.com. For those of you who don’t know, Gamefly is the Netflix of gaming. For a monthly fee you can rent any game you want from their catalog for as long as you want it. They have a tiered pricing structure based on the number of games you want to rent out at any one time. Overall the experience with Gamefly was a good one. I got to play through lots of great games. And, for a fraction of the price, I was able to try out games that weren’t worth buying.
In the end, as I met my wife and life got busy, it took longer and longer to get through the games that I was getting from Gamefly. It got to the point where I’d have a game out for months upon months, meaning that I was almost paying more for that one game than if I’d simply purchased it. In order to stay on a budget, I ended up cancelling my service.
That’s when my awesome wife turned me onto another idea – renting from the Library. We live in Clinton Township, MI and so go to the Clinton-Macomb Public Library (http://cmpl.org). Like most people, this had never occurred to me. I always considered the library a source for borrowing books and maybe CDs, but never movies and video games. As I looked into it I discovered that my library had quite the impressive catalogue of games. The list covers the full gamut of genres and styles for Nintendo Wii, PS3, and XBox 360. They also have a program that allows you to suggest games to purchase as they come out. As I’ve browsed the catalogue I’ve seen older games over the last few years as well as new releases. Just recently I searched and found that I could rent Battlefield 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (which I have put a hold request in for), Modern Warfare 3, Assassin’s Creed II: Revelations, and more.
The process is fairly simple. When you find a game you’d like you submit a hold request. This puts you in a queue for being able to check out the game. Obviously, the more popular games will tend to have longer wait times, and it can take a few weeks to get the game, but considering the cost (free!!) it definitely can be worth it. Once your turn comes up, you have a set time when the library will hold the game in their reserve section. At the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, that section is just past the information desk on the left as you come into the library. The holds are organized alphabetically by last name. Simply head on in and pick up your game.
I want to put in an aside here as well – the Clinton-Macomb Public Library has a FANTASTIC checkout method. You take the items you want to check out up to the service counter, scan your library card on the scanner, place the items (all of them) on the scan pad, and the system automatically detects all the items that you’ve placed on the pad. You touch finish on the screen and it then spits out a receipt showing when the items are due back. It should be noted that for video games you have to go to people at the service counter to get the actual disk as they don’t keep them in the cases. Simply show them your receipt and the case and they’ll go in the back and get the disk.
Typically, you have a week to enjoy the game. For many games this is not nearly long enough. You do get to extend the time once on video games, giving yourself 2 weeks to play the game. If your time is limited, like mine, then you may have to rent the game several times to get through a play-through. But for many games that don’t meet the “gotta buy it” qualification (and let’s face it – with limited time and budget you need to be a little choose-y) the fact that you can play these games for free is an awesome option.
I hope that this helps get more games at your finger tips and that you can make use of your local library to get to some of the games you might otherwise have to skip. If your local library doesn’t carry games, you can get involved and help change their mind by showing that the desire for gaming exists in the community.
Enjoy and good gaming!!