Are Games Worth Their Cost?

One of the biggest debates recently has been over the standard $60 price tag that goes on pretty much every game. A lot of gamers feel like the amount of content they get is diminishing. Others feel as though the game isn’t worth it due to the trade value offered by multiple retailers. Other players wonder if the pre-order system is nothing but a ploy to make fast cash of unsuspecting gamers. This article takes a look at the facts around the value of games in 5 different categories that will help you decide if you want to invest in a new title.

Replay Value

One of the biggest things you should care about is a game having replay value. Even if you are a person who plays a game once and tends to not go through it again replay value still applies to you. A game that has no replay value is generally not fun. Even story driven games should make you want to relive parts of the story again. If there’s nothing memorable that sticks out or gameplay that makes you want to keep going then the game generally isn’t something you want to put your time into.

If you’re playing a game and you aren’t having fun then you probably should put it down. While there are parts of a game people dread through going through there’s generally a part they will go through it for. This means that the unfair boss is worth beating because your favorite level comes after him. You should even look for ways to beat him quicker just to get to your favorite part. If a game only has a few good parts or you find yourself dragging through it then it doesn’t have replay value. Why would you play a game you could never see yourself playing again?

Games Vs. Other Media

Gaming is a unique form of media that borrows heavily from others. Games are story focused cinematic experience that at times can go for 50 plus hours. For the sake of argument, we are going to only take the standard campaign time of 8-12 hours to compare against other media. This means that we are going to judge the price by the amount of story or interactivity not related to bonus content or missions as well.

Movies: A new movie usually runs around $20 to pick at your local store. In hindsight picking up a movie is a cheaper alternative to a game right? Well, you should count the amount of time you spend watching the movie. While bonus features are nice a lot of people simply don’t get that into them. A normally sized movie runs generally around an hour and thirty minutes with the occasional movie running around two hours and thirty minutes. That means if you mix these together for $60 you would get a bout five and a half hours of content from buying movies. With most short campaigns hitting at around 8 hours you easily get more entertainment value from games. This still applies when you go into discounted movies and games as generally a game will always have more content than a movie.

Books: Books compared to games is a little be trickier to gauge. First, we have to consider the cost which will vary based on the series, length and cover type. Next, we have to find a median read time it takes to get through a book. When it comes to something like Graphic novels you generally will get about 3-4hours out of $60 making a game a better entertainment purchase. When it comes to good old-fashioned thick books you may be able to pick up a six book series that will take you 20 hours to read through for the same price. With books, it all depends on what you like to read and the price per time spent on each book. In a lot of ways books are a much better entertainment purchase compared to a lot of other forms of media and give video games a run for their money.

Music: Music is also a little bit tricky to judge against games. Generally, music is one of the things that you will have the most reuse out of. A cd can be bought digitally and replayed literally hundreds of time over the years. If you just take a purchase at face value though than the average cd costs around $9.99 with about 35-40 minutes of songs on it. For $60 you are getting about 4 and a half hours of music. Which is a lot less than a game with a long campaign and a huge level of replayability. When it comes to music vs. games I think that it really depends on how long and how many time you can stand to either listen to the cd or play through the game.

Shop Smart

To get the best value out of any purchase research is always key especially when jumping into a new series. This means that you should use all resources available to you before you make a purchase. Generally, once you play a game you can’t return it to a store just like a movie or cd. This means you either get less than you paid for it back via trade in or you are just stuck with it till you trade it with a friend. We are going to list out a few gaming do’s and don’ts to give you the best idea of what to expect out of a game you are looking to purchase.

First off, always check out the trailers for the games and never just go off the story trailers. One of the biggest problems with movies and games is good looking story trailers. These trailers are meant to look good and use the most exciting scenes in the game. At times the story will deter from what’s even talked about in the trailer or only start out that way. This can leave a lot of gamers feeling betrayed. When possible always watch gameplay trailers to get a feel for how the game will actually move. You can also check out the world of the game to determine what type of story is most likely to emerge and if you would enjoy it.

Second, Never go off of one review. Reviewers are notorious for being opinionated and some of the top games right now like Ark actually don’t have a glowing score from top sites. The best thing you can do is find a reviewer that lays the information out or read multiple sources. If you can find a reviewer with similar tastes to you then you may want to follow them to decide what games you like most. Generally, know yourself and what you can and can not stand in a game. If you hate puzzles and a reviewer states the game is full of puzzles most players would find frustrating then it may be best to skip over that game for now.

Last, see if there is a demo available for the game whether online or at your local game retailer. Demo’s allow you to try the game out for free to get a feel for the story and gameplay. A lot of multiplayer games will even have beta’s you can get into by pre-ordering the game. If you use a retailer like Gamestop then you can easily put $5 down without being locked into the game if the beta turns out not to be to your liking. If you’re feeling iffy about a demo it may not be best to buy the game a lot of the time demos are made to show off the features in the best way possible. This means if it bores you then the main game will probably put you to sleep.

Extra Tips

Watch for fast price drops in games. A fast price drop usually signals that not many people are buying the game. This is an attempt to move inventory faster. In this case, always gather as much info on the game as you can. Generally, niche titles keep their value for a good amount of time even with slow sales. So, if a game drops that’s a signal that they’re not expecting it to sell for retail price and you should probably look into why. Forums with other gamers can give you a great look into the problems the game may be having to hinder it. At times they may even say the games fine, but it’s best to wait to it hits a certain price to get your value out of the title.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.