The best part about the holiday season is that everyone you know has some sort of time off of work or school. When you were younger, time off always meant video game marathons with friends.
I’m a grown-up, human, father-type and it still means the same thing for me. And now that I’ve got a son who is as equally jazzed about playing games as I am, time off of school and work means that we are going to turn off all the lights, sit on the floor in our boxers, and play games until our eyes bleed.
Or until dinner. I mean, whatever’s cool.
Since I’m all grown-up and semi-responsible, I’m more interested these days in finding deals on video games. Sometimes, I won’t buy a video game right away because I’m deterred by the price. And especially now, with developers piecemealing games through DLC schemes a couple dollars at a time, discounts help the burn your wallet feels when you shell out cash on games.
Usually, the first thing I do is check the general deal sites. I check Slickdeals and Fat Wallet to see if anything catches my eye. And it doesn’t hurt that they also have other non-gaming items…I might need a new pack of underwear for cheapsies when I find a good deal and accidentally inch out an excitement-poop. It happens.
Second, I check Reddit‘s r/GameDeals and r/ConsoleDeals boards. Here you’re going to find community-sourced links to deals. What I like is that if I see a game I’m on the fence about, I’ll read the topic comments, if any, to see if people think it’s a good or bad deal.
Then, I head to Cheap Ass Gamer. It’s not as cleanly laid-out as the deal sites, and you might have to do a little digging to find a game, but usually you can find links to retail stores’ weekly ads as PDFs and text. And the community is really knowledgeable of the deals within the thread. You’ll get a good idea of whether one retail store’s “buy one get one” deal is better than another’s.
Even though exceptional deals will always show up in one of the above resources, you should also check the Humble Bundle site weekly. They bundle together tiers of Steam platform games, and you “pay what you want” for the bottom tier. So – a minimum of $1 will get you the first handful of games. If you pay more than the average that people have been paying for the bundle, you’ll unlock the next tier of games. Then, usually there are more games available at a set price tier. But even if you just keep an eye on the bottom tier, you can end up grabbing a couple of cool games and you’ll get to name your own price.
If you don’t already have Steam for your computer, you should check it out. You install the Steam client, then you’re able to buy games for your library. You can also add friends and play with them. Steam also offers publisher deals, weekly deals and on-the-spot sales, and you can be notified when a particular game drops in price by adding it to your wishlist. Steam deals are pretty well-documented on Reddit, so check there before diving into Steam’s sale pages – though you might find something good there as well.
(Want to hear about the best video game deal I’d found on Steam recently? Listen to me nerd-out on the latest Nerds, Geeks, Dads Podcast at 22:25)
Finally, for deals on Xbox 360 and Xbox One content, check out Major Nelson’s Blog. For PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita content, check out PlayStation.Blog. And remember that for consoles, some deals are exclusive to Xbox Live and PS+ members. Both platforms offer free monthly games for subscribers, plus discounts on other content.
And that’s it! Nothing I wrote here is a secret, and I don’t have any crazy price-busting tools. These are the resources I use to find deals on games – but my most important tip is this: don’t wait until you want a game to start looking for deals. There are plenty of games constantly on rotating sales. Keep an eye on these sites, and you might find an old game you used to love but haven’t played in years. Or, maybe you’ll find a newer indie game that people have been buzzing about.
Have fun, game responsibly and teach that kid of yours that it’s just as sweet to play an old, nostalgic sale-priced game as it is to play a shiny, new next-gen title.
What are you guys going to be playing with your kids over the upcoming holiday breaks?