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Video gaming on a budget (Part 1 -- Trading and buying on the Internet)

During rough economic times, people look for ways to trim their budgets. For many, passing on that new video game is a necessary sacrifice when the next paycheck is in doubt. Gaming is an expensive hobby that can stretch a wallet to its ripping point with all the peripherals, accessories, upgrades, and downloadable content in addition to the steep prices of new releases.

Thankfully, gamers have more options now than ever to get the most out of their hard earned dollars. 

  • Cheap Ass Gamer specializes in listing video game deals from major retail outlets like Amazon, Gamestop, and Best Buy. When new releases get priced to own, CAG makes it known with relevant information. The site also posts reviews, lets users show off their collection of games, and hosts a trading section for swaps.                                                                                                                        
  • SwitchGames specializes in game swapping with an easy-to-use interface. Users post game collections specifying which games they have are for trade and what condition the game is in. After creating a list of wanted games, the Switchbot lists all the potential trades that are available. The service is free, but trading can be risky. To help keep trading safe, SwitchGames lets users rate each other and verify themselves with a credit card and a one-time fee of $5.95. Those with serious doubts can opt for SafeTrade which, for a small fee, includes postage and a tracking number and insures the game from theft and loss.                                                                                       
  • Goozex helps users swap by assigning values to video games based on market value. With 100 points being the equivalent of $5, users can gain points by creating a list of owned titles and sending requested items. For new users, points are received after delivery is confirmed, and those points can go towards another game or movie. New releases usually cost 1,000 points with older releases going for as little as 100 points.                                                                                               
  • Good Old Games specializes in nostalgia by selling old PC classics for a fraction of what new releases cost. Instead of going to the store to buy Fallout 3 for the PS3 or the Xbox 360, players can explore the first game of the series for $5.99. Other notables like Myst, the first Rainbow Six, and Descent, award winners and successes in their day, have found new audiences looking for quality games.                                                                                                                                                            
  • A discussion post on the Monterey County Gamers Facebook page lets members list which games they have for trade. Dealing with someone in the area eliminates postage and handling and also makes trading more trustworthy. Membership is free, and gamers can also use the site to discuss other aspects of gaming.

While these Internet options help make gaming more affordable, they also make it easier to enjoy more games by stretching the value of a purchase or making a smaller dent on the old checkbook. Trading helps the value of a game rise by letting one gamer play more by spending less. As more and more players use these sites, the range and availability of titles grows. Times are tough, but there are ways to keep the gaming going.

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