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Video gaming on a budget (Part 2 -- Going local)

While the Internet may be a great tool in trading and renting games, it's not as quick as hopping over to the local video store or getting a bargain deal at a retailer. 

Renting is a hit or miss solution for budget gamers for several reasons. Stores have limited inventories, and they aren't required to meet demand by stocking up hundreds of each title. On the one hand, it means there's less of a chance for a hot new release like Mass Effect 2 to be waiting on a shelf to be rented. On the other hand, a gamer might walk out of the store with a sleeper hit that might have otherwise been overlooked  Those who can't handle the disappointment can always call, and even when a game isn't in stock on the shelf, it's worth asking the front counter whether they have extra or recently returned copies. The main chains offer 5-day rental plans at various prices and also have options for gamers who want to keep their games longer for cheaper.

  • Blockbuster Video offers several choices for renting video games. According to Sam at the North Main store in Salinas, it costs $9 for a 5-day rental on console games. They also have a special two game rental deal at $15. Gamers who want more bang for their buck can sign up for the Game Pass and rent one game at a time with no late fees for the entire month. That plan costs $21.99.          
  • Hollywood Video charges $7.99 for 5-day rentals and also has an unlimited gaming plan that allows up to two video games and one movie to be checked out. The Diamond plan is a part of the PowerPlay promotion and costs $40 a month.  The Salinas Hollywood Video also has an attached Game Crazy store that deals specifically in video games with buy/trade/sell options.

Some games are worth their purchase price, and a 5-day rental just won't do. Big box retailers vary in their pricing, and there are Internet resources to find out when a particular hot deal goes around. Some gamers opt to buy/sell/trade their games at the local Gamestop or Game Crazy. Though it might be advantageous to sell or trade a game through another outlet, some deals might make it worthwhile to trade a game or two for a new release and some cash. Gamestop and Game Crazy also sell preowned games for less than the price of a new game.

  • Gamestop dedicates a portion of their site to trade-in specials that might give some gamers more value for their games. Gamers can also sign up for the Edge card which takes 10% off of the price of a preowned game or strategy guide and tacks on 10% of the value of a trade-in. Membership in the Edge program costs $14.99 and also comes with a year's subscription to Game Informer.          
  • Game Crazy also has a membership plan called MVP which costs $9.99 and gives discounts of 10% on preowned games and accessories. It also adds 10% to the value of a game or accessory that's traded. The only other benefit is free game buffing for those scratched games that could use a little smoothing out.
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