A brief guide to cheap gaming
Bridie Adams, Editor, offers advice on how to game on a budget
Although gaming has a reputation for being a very expensive hobby, there are ways to make it more affordable. Especially if you are new to gaming, chances are you won’t want to fork out hundreds (or thousands!) of pounds on high-end tech. So here are some ideas to start gaming on the cheap — whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
If you don’t yet have a gaming console, you can get cheap ones (albeit ones that are getting on a bit) like a mini SNES, NES or Mega Drive on eBay and delight in some genuinely great games. If you haven’t delved into the world of video games before, even picking up an older PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii and a bundle of games at a jumble sale will give you an idea of whether you like gaming or not. This way, you can get a feel for the hobby and decide whether or not it’s worth splashing out on a newer console.
Although newer consoles are usually very expensive and getting one for a good deal may feel like an impossibility, it’s worth being alert – sales appear right through the year; you just have to look. Also, with newer Xboxes and PlayStations, if you pay for a subscription, you get to download games each month with no extra charge, and you retain these for as long as you’re a regular subscriber.
Sometimes you don’t even need a dedicated console for gaming — if you have a relatively new smartphone or tablet, you can download a lot of astonishing games to enjoy solo such as Monument Valley, a puzzle game in which you lead a little girl through captivating buildings.
Another way to make gaming more affordable is by using digital distribution platforms. GOG.com (previously Good Old Games) is a good bet; it is an electronic store with an organised collection of the greatest computer games and films. However, Steam is the largest digital game distribution service. Because of the sheer amount of years it has been around, it is larger in size than GOG, shown beyond doubt to be reputable, and backed up by individual reviewers. Therefore, I would recommend Steam first and foremost, but it’s definitely worth giving both platforms a try.
If you’re passionate about building your skills on a budget, hopefully these ideas have given you inspiration to access affordable routes into gaming.
And if you are still after further guidance, The Guardian and Gamespot have some particularly brilliant articles on the topic.