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The Budget Gamer's Repair Kit
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The Budget Gamer's Repair Kit
Written By:
J. Michael Neal

If you’re a discount shopper, you should know that some of the biggest saves can be found while searching the world of the pre-owned; trade-in stores, auction sites, and swapping services can harbor some truly sweet finds, but dealing in used goods bears it’s own risk. Let’s face it, not everyone takes great care of their stuff, and sometimes the real reason why you are getting Kingdom Hearts for $15 is that it’s in total ruin. It’s fairly easy to clean and repair a game, though. With a little effort you can make even the rattiest used game look brand new, and here’s what you’ll need to pull it off, the five things no used game buyer’s “repair kit” should be without:


The first thing to check when you get a used game is the integrity of the disc surface. Is it scratched? Is it dirty? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you’ll need to consult the Doctor. A SkipDoctor, backbone of any used gamer’s repair kit, will repair just about anything you throw at it, allowing you to buy just about any used game without worrying about the condition of the disc.

Goo Gone

Screw Anne Sullivan, this stuff is the real miracle worker! This stuff is a definite “must have”. It removes just about any “crud” that can accrue on a jewel case or DVD holder: adhesive residue, ink, stickers, you name it! Just put a few drops on the spot, let it set for a few minutes, and wipe it off, swear to God it will look like whatever-it-was was never there! Plus it smells like lemon oil. It use to be one of those infomercial products, but you can find it in just about any local “dollar store” type chain for, you guessed it, a dollar or less.

Alcohol and Cotton Balls

Don’t go stocking up on Jägermeister just because I said you need alcohol on hand, like you actually need a reason to stock up on Jägermeister; I meant rubbing alcohol, the kind you can pick up in any drug store. A couple cotton balls soaked in alcohol can clean up even the grimiest of cases, and let’s face it, a lot of used game cases are just plain filthy! I know not everyone is as anal about their possessions as others, but for the love of God do you care at all about the cleanliness of your stuff? Anyway, after you’ve removed any major funkiness with the Goo Gone, wipe the whole thing down with alcohol, go over it with dry cotton balls a few times, and case should look good as new.

Spare Cases

If there was more wrong with the case than just dirtiness, you might need to replace it with a new one. To the best of my knowledge there is no way to get your hands on empty PS2, Xbox, or GameCube cases, so you might have to settle for blank cases like the kinds they offer at Sleeve City. That is, unless you have the last thing on our list…

Negotiation Skills

Some sort of Persuasion + equipment would be a help… You can get a lot done by knowing where to go, who to talk to, and how to play a good hand. Smooth talk the right people and you can get a lot done. For example, find some cool guy behind the counter at a game store and he might be willing to let you switch a really messed up case or insert or manual with the display box. Never thought about that one, huh?

With those five things you can turn just about anything into a near mint copy. Throw the disc in a SkipDoctor, set some Goo Gone on the price sticker crud, wipe the whole case down with alcohol, swap the manual or insert or case with a newer one, and you’ve got yourself a brand new game practically, and all for the cost of a castaway! You can then take that “investment” and sell or trade it for more than it was previously worth because of it’s crappy condition, or just make it a part of your permanent collection, whichever you choose!

Posted: 11-26-03
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