I’ve never held Gamestop in any higher esteem than other electronics stores, but my most recent outing there has softened the stone cold glare I would often pay the various establishments I drive by on a daily basis. I was always of the opinion that buying used games was a foolish cause, especially when I’ve always believed the stereotype that every used game has been beaten up, tarnished and not cared for, only to be shelved on those unsightly stands and boxes of to the corner of each store, waiting for the cycle to repeat with another gamer. Why would you take a chance on a used game that’s still considered new, when they could be in any type of condition, just to get your hands on it for $54.99? How many of you out there are so thrifty that you wouldn’t consider putting forth another five dollars for the same game, knowing for damn sure that what you paid for was never touched by another person’s grubby little hands? Gamestop thinks a lot of you would, and so, the Used Game business is booming. I think Used Games are a lot like Certified Pre-Owned Cars. The undercut prices will instantly draw you closer, and you’ll get bombarded with promises of how well they work, and there won’t ever be any problems. You’ll always have that lingering thought, that someone else enjoyed this game, or car, before you did. Too bad there isn’t Carfax for used games. One can only wonder.
I was never plagued by such trivial matters, as I took pride in getting games when they were new. Obviously, this has always been a pricey way to get games, but for me, it’s always been the only way. Under my firm but loving dictatorship, every single cartridge, CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray I own is in impeccable condition. In another twenty years, my children will have their own virtual dynasty of video games to keep them busy. In addition to that, all of my consoles function perfectly, even my SNES that somehow has accumulated a few dollars in coins inside the casing. Oddly enough, it still works just fine. No, I don’t think I’m very meticulous, but I just have a certain standard when it comes to keeping things in good condition. Don’t get me started on trading in games, that’s just ridiculous. I suppose the real gift comes into play when you’re buying a bunch of used games for cheap, because trading in a bunch of games for chump change really is a slap in the face.
As many of you know, I’ve been enamored with the Star Ocean series, as most of my summer in gaming has been devoted to completing Second Evolution in full. I’ll save First Departure for when I’m back in school, so I’ll have something to keep me busy while I’m on my PSP. As a new fan of the series, I’ve been cruising Amazon for quite some time now, checking prices for Till the End of Time, the third game which was released on PS2. It came out in 2003-2004, won numerous awards, and eventually reached Greatest Hits status while I was busy playing who knows what. It’s been a good six years since it’s release, so I figured now would be the best time to strike and find the game for a reasonable price. However, buying used games on Amazon just does not work for the way I shop for games. As I browsed the short testimonies of a number of potential sellers, it became more and more difficult to differentiate one from the next. Some were in good condition, others lacked a manual, and one was never opened, but cost over 70 dollars! After a while, every offer began to look the same, and it all boiled down to the fact that I couldn’t see any pictures and (obviously) couldn’t personally inspect anything. Many of the prices were very lucrative, because most of them were barely over ten dollars before shipping was taken into account. Those were some mammoth deals, but I didn’t want to put any money down for a product I couldn’t inspect with my own eyes and hands.
I was out with some friends and we happened to step into our local Gamestop. After a few moments of circling the stands, I found myself on my hands and knees, searching high and low for that precious used game case with Star Ocean 3 on the spine. I eventually did find it, and was first in line at the counter. I got to inspect the game disks, which weren’t as bad as I expected for a used game. As an added bonus, I was also able to negotiate the actual case the game came in. The only thing I got screwed out of was the manual. For $12 dollars, I was hard-pressed to say no. I swiped my credit card so fast, and was out the door, feeling as if I stole it. Twelve dollars for a good game in decent condition was a steal!
As the years go by, games of the older generation will slowly fade away from the front racks of game stores and will have two possible destinations. First, they could reappear in various hobby shops that happen to have games “from way back when”. If they’re really popular, they’ll continue to get circulated until their influence wanes. If the game in question fits into the latter, you’re likely to catch them among the ranks of the used bins in places like Gamestop. For anything coveted, an individual will go through great lengths to get their hands on the object of their relentless pursuit. For once, I had to swallow my pride and fall back on purchasing a used game. In the end, I should consider myself lucky more than anything, since coming across a diamond like Star Ocean 3 in a field of rhinestones is a blessing, especially since it’ll keep me busy for a very long time. When it becomes difficult to get your hands on that one game you’ve been searching for, what lengths will you take to get it?