Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor (kistaro) wrote,
Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

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Frugal baselines

Yesterday, I spent the entire budget I had been saving up to buy a Nintendo 3DS at release and bought a PSP, a case, a Memory Stick, and several games. Which seems like an odd way to start a post I titled with "frugal", but this actually made some sense. The PSP ecosystem had some games I was interested in, but not enough to justify a $170 console; I prefer the DS' selection of games, because I'm an enthusiastic "casual" gamer, and the DS selection matches that much better.

But yesterday, a PSP (current generation) hit my price point when AmazonFresh dropped it, inexplicably and unadvertised, to $85. That price only showed up in the product listing and in the cart, not on the product page; every time I've seen that in the past, it's a sale that will last one day or less (and is usually a clearance). So I had to make a quick decision, and I decided I could wait for the 3DS to mature before I bought one, and spent the budget. It's not that different from its original plan, just a different handheld console.

It's been the right choice; I've been quite enjoying the games I picked up for the system. (One of which is Hot Shots Golf, which I picked up not so much for video golf- which it does well, and I do enjoy, mind you- as the save-file exploit that makes the game a gateway to homebrew.) The nonzero load times take a bit of getting used to, but not much. (I'm more annoyed by the totally unnecessary 10-15 seconds of brand screens in the PSP build of Tetris, which is otherwise superb.) Also in the category of "the right choice": the PSP Core Pack (without a pack-in game) is now completely gone from AmazonFresh. Sale's over. Madden (the pack-in game) is not exactly worth $85 to me, which is fundamentally the consequence of the price difference...

What's interesting to me is that I'm aware I'm not taking the system "seriously". I bought it on a whim because the price dropped to the point where "I'm curious about the system and I really want to play Patapon" were, together, enough to make me willing to pay the asking price. Even though it's no less an elaborate handheld gaming console than my DS, I'm thinking of it as this discount-priced thing- and setting my expectations for the games accordingly.

It helps that I'm late to the party; much like my not getting a GameCube until it had been out for several years, there's a huge library of good titles collecting dust on used-game-store shelves at $4 each which, coincidentally, is about the price I find myself inclined to pay. Final Fantasy Tactics' remake was $20 and I balked at that, despite my enthusiasm for the series.

Steam's frequent insane sales, my heavy use of, and iPod downloadables have conspired: my sense of "reasonable price to pay for a video game" has been permanently altered. $20 starts to seem a little pricey; $50 is completely inconceivable. ($60 has always seemed ridiculous, honestly.) A year ago, my normal price point for a video game was $35, with $50 not out of the question.

Given that most games actually seem to eventually drop to prices in the sub-$15 range, with a decent percentage of those sliding below $10- and this is for physical-media console games I can resell if/when I get bored- this is definitely a good baseline for me to have. Now that near-release prices seem like a huge slap in the face, I'm simply unwilling to pay them, with very limited exceptions (Wario Ware DIY was definitely a good call, and I do not regret my $35)- which is exactly how it should be, really.

Unrelatedly, I'm spending the morning refreshing my mailbox wondering when/if I'll hear from the various companies I've interviewed with, and waiting for the phone call (with a final interview result) from Amazon that I've been promised. *tense*

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Tags: games, money

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