How To Game Affordably

by - May 28, 2018

In case you haven’t noticed, gaming has become incredibly expensive. Right now on Amazon the latest Xbox costs about $500. A brand new game for such a console now costs about $60, or in some cases even a little more. And for those who want to get into the biggest new thing in the world of gaming––virtual reality––a high-end headset is going to cost about as much as that Xbox One X (not to mention you also need a modern console or high-powered PC to enable it to run). Granted, some of this can be accounted for by inflation. But we’ve come a long way in just a few years, and there’s no getting around the fact that gaming has become a more expensive hobby. Unless, that is, you get creative about it. To that point I have a few hacks that can help you to keep up with your gaming habit without destroying your bank account. 


While it’s not possible to recognize an exact point at which it happened, an expectation developed over the years that mobile games ought to be free. There are so many hundreds, if not thousands of free and easy downloads––and many of them are excellent games. Over the past year or two, however, it’s become clear that a sort of premium tier of mobile games is developing on a pay-to-play basis. The top paid mobile games include versions of Grand Theft Auto on mobile, beloved puzzle adventures like Machinarium and Monument Valley, and even old classics like NBA Jam. It’s easy to view games like these as ripoffs simply because many alternatives are free. But in many cases, the $5-10 you spend on a paid mobile game is more than made up for by quality (not to mention you’re less likely to be harassed for in-app purchases!). 


I mentioned above that high-end VR headsets cost about as much as major gaming consoles, and require those same consoles, or PCs, to work. This might not be the norm for much longer though. New headsets are still trickling into the market, and some of them represent decent quality for more affordable prices. You’ll still need to dive pretty deep into your wallet to afford something like an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but you can at least dabble in VR with some of the newer and slightly more affordable options. And in some cases even simpler VR is more effective in exploring the medium anyway than the big, expensive games you’d play on better headsets. 


Online, browser-based gaming feels more and more like a forgotten medium. But if you just want to play games for fun without spending a ton of money, it remains a great option. Plenty of the old arcade sites (Addicting Games, Crazy Games, etc.) are still worth visiting. Additionally however, a huge variety of casino games has made its home on regular internet sites as well––and you might be surprised how appealing some of the titles are. Take NetEnt for instance, one of the bigger names in the genre. A Canadian platform with a section devoted to the developer has slot arcades based on vampires, cinematic monsters, popular rock bands, Ancient Egypt, and the Wild West––all on a single web page. Basically, online gaming remains boundless. 


Too often, Steam is advertised or portrayed as a platform meant to facilitate downloads for new video games on PC. And to be perfectly clear, that’s what it’s for! However, Steam also hosts a lot of retro games and games from previous generations of consoles. Usually you can find some old favorites for very low prices, download them in minutes, and enjoy all kinds of fun games straight from your computer or tablet. Plus, being a member in the first place costs you nothing!

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