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The Budget Gamer:
Recovering From A Loss

Written By: J. Michael Neal

Video games can be a pretty risky investment. You may not think of them as such, but they are. You’re “investing in fun”, for lack of a less hokey term. However, not all of your investments will pay off. Inevitably you’ll get taken for $50 bucks; you’ll buy some flashy new game that doesn’t live up to all its promises and you’ll be the one stuck with the bill. Or will you? If you know how to play your cards right you can recover from a loss. It can be tricky, often require a lot of footwork, but in the end it’ll be worth it. $50 is a lot of money after all, and the more of it you can get back, the better…

Return It

Hopefully you kept the receipt. ALWAYS keep the receipt. It’s becoming harder and harder to find a store that lets you return a game you’ve already opened, but you can still, nine times out of ten, exchange it for an unopened copy after some smooth-talking. Often that’s the best you can hope for, but that’ll still put you in a pretty good position for the next option. Just don’t do it too often. Stores require you to leave contact information – name, address, phone number, that sort of thing, when you return an item. If they catch you trying this a little too often they might have a problem with it and hassle you the next time you try.

Sell It

If you weren’t able to sucker a store in to exchanging the game for something else you can always try reselling it. Amazon’s zShop and Auctions, eBay and, and Yahoo! Actions are just a few of the places you can use to recover from your loss. However, you might have to settle for a $5 to $10 hit to the wallet in the end if you weren’t able to swap it for an unopened copy – “factory sealed” items are a lot easier to sell at cost than used. Still a lot better than taking the whole $50 right to the gut however, isn’t it?

Trade It

Let’s say you couldn’t get someone to buy it from you. You’ve still got some avenues to try. This one has a certain degree of risk involved, but it’s still better than being stuck with a game you hate. It’s called Game Trading Zone and it works like a bartering system – you list what game you’d like to trade, and what you’d like to trade it for, and it matches you up with the right people. You contact them, purpose the details of the trade, exchange information, and mail each other your stuff. Now you are taking a chance with this, you might get screwed in the deal, or cheated, or lied to, or wake up with a burly convict standing on your doorstep looking for lovin’, but trust me, these instances are few and far between. You might have to “trade down”, or trade for a game that isn’t quite worth what yours is worth, but there is no limit on how many trades you can make off that initial $50 investment. Eventually you’ll end up getting fifty dollars worth of fun out of the whole deal, and who knows, you might end up with something you really, really like in the end.

Donate It

Ok, you couldn’t exchange it, you couldn’t sell it, and you couldn’t trade it. Maybe you bought a real stinker that no one wants, or you just don’t want to rely on the kindness of strangers, you can always try this near-last ditch effort – donation! Find some tax-deductible charity, donate the game, and write off the $50. Sure, you don’t get the money directly, but you can still sleep a bit easier knowing it wasn’t a complete loss. It’s a little desperate, maybe even a little sleazy, but it’s worth it for the fifty bucks…

Murder the Development Team Horribly*

All hope is lost. You couldn’t return it, you couldn’t sell it, you couldn’t trade it, and you couldn’t donate it. You’re stuck. You’re stuck with a total piece of crap that starts a white-hot fire in you every time you think that it just cost you $50. There’s only one thing left you can do to recover from your loss, and that’s murder the development team responsible horribly. You won’t get anything out of it but a life sentence and some satisfaction, but depending on just how bad the game was you bought it might be worth it. Might I suggest, for a bit of dramatic irony, you use the game disc itself to do the job. A broken CD can be quite sharp you know…

*Don’t be a ‘tard and go around murdering people just because a game sucks. Sure, sometimes people are just ASKING for it (Z-Axis I’m looking in your direction) but some things just ain’t right, and murder’s one of ‘um. Egging the lead programmer’s car, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable, so go nuts…

Posted: 9-18-03
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