If you read my post on iPhone games for kids, you’ll realize I’m cheap. I won’t spend much for video games because kids — well, at least my 6-year-old — are fickle when it comes to video games. My son, for example, will play some games repeatedly and others only sparingly.
Plus, as a parent who tries to limit how much time his boy spends with games, I’m not inclined to invest big bucks in video games. (I will open the wallet wide for a basketball, baseball glove or a new bike, however.)
Where can you find cheap video games for your kids? Here are my five tips.
1. Look for going out of business sales. Blockbuster, for instance, is in lousy financial shape. It opened too many stores and has been battered by nimble and innovative competitors, particularly Netflix and redbox. (Redbox is getting into the video game rental business, by the way.) Hence, it is not hard to find a Blockbuster location that is closing. I recently bought three Wii games (all rated E, for everyone) for less than $20. The games ranged from nearly new to two years old, but they were all new to us. I cleaned the discs and they were fine. The Hollywood Video chain is also closing stores.
2. Resellers of used games. Retailers like Gamestop offer discounts on used games — although they could be steeper. There are also used record stores in every major city and many of those also sell used video games. In my Chicago neighborhood, there are three used record stores a short bike ride away.
3. Online retailers. Did you know Amazon offers video game trade-ins? It is a new program, in beta testing, but it could be a promising way to trade the games your kid ignores for the ones he now swears his lifelong allegiance — if only you’d buy it. Amazon will give you a credit for the games you trade in assuming they are in good condition — Amazon even provides a label for free shipping. Amazon clearly states the amount of credit: $20 for NBA2K10 on PS3 or $10 for Super Paper Mario on Wii, for example. Amazon then sells the games to someone else.
Or, you can go to eBay to check out used video games. As of this writing, there were 2,312 “like new games” rated E (for everyone) for the Nintendo Wii, for example.
4. Rent, don’t buy. This is particularly good advice if your kids are really fickle and get bored with a game after a few days. You can rent games from Blockbuster (it’s in trouble but still around) or from Gamefly, a Netflix-like mail service for video games. You can have one game out for $9 a month or 2 for $13.
5. Buy disc cleaning gear. A disc cleaning set like the SkipDr model we have from Digital Innovations is a good investment when buying used games. These systems clean the dust and grime from used discs to help make them play. Besides, if you have kids, your CDs, DVDs and game discs are probably loaded with fingerprints that can make them skip. Those media treasures will thank you after a good cleaning. There are a lot of choices for disc cleaning systems.
This post first appeared on the Mydadnme blog.