Dec 13, 2011

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gamers on a Budget

Holiday Gift Guide: Gamers on a Budget

Judging from the frightful weather outside, it looks to be that Holiday time of the year!  Yes, bells will be jingled, halls will be decked, and presents will be exchanged in the later part of this month.  Now I understand that there are far too many people out there who love video games and are eagerly anticipating a game-related gift.  Unfortunately, purchasing said gifts can quickly lighten our wallets.  Lucky for you we’ve put together some great gifts that pack tons of fun without breaking your funds. Even better, if the gamer on your list is also budget-strapped himself, he may appreciate how many of these games will extend his game time, making your gift truly appreciated.

Points Cards

Giving gift cards is often seen as tacky or lazy, sometimes showing a lack of thought put into someone’s present.  While the same should be applicable to points cards, gamers will appreciate the ability to fuel their favorite pasttime with digital cash.  With the incredible amount of titles released digitally, giving your favorite gamer some points is not only budget conscious, but is definitely appreciated.  Games like Dungeon Defenders, Fat Princess, Castle Crashers, and the Pixeljunk franchise are all excellent games exclusively distributed digitally, so points cards are a perfect fit for any internet ready gamer.  Better yet, no matter the platform (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and iOS) there are point cards ready in various amounts, meaning you can work around what you can afford. You can also consider gifting cards for subscriptions, such as XBL Gold or PSN+, which gamers will appreciate since these subscriptions often include their own discounts and even free games.

Gears of War 3

Video games regularly retail for $60, and many high-profile releases remain at that price point for months on end.  Surprisingly, the highly rated Xbox 360 exclusive Gears of War 3 can be found for at least $20 off the normal price!  I’m sure many of you will still feel that $40 is too pricey, but given that this is one of the top-rated Xbox 360 titles, and arguably the best third-person shooter to date, you may have found one of the best deals around.  The campaign is exciting, though somewhat short, but the real meat of the game is the extensive multiplayer, specifically the horde mode.  If you still have your doubts, alternatively you can pick up the misnamed Gears of War Triple Pack (Gears of War 1 & 2) for as low as $20.

HD Collection Packs

Collection packs and re-releases provide some of the best experiences from last generation remastered in high definition.  The PS3 is rife with great HD collections, providing hours of entertainment for some very low prices.  The God of War Collection, Sly Cooper Trilogy, and the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus pack are all excellent titles worthy of any gamers’ time, and the fact that you can find them as low as $15 definitely adds to their appeal.  Other collections like the Resistance Dual Pack and Uncharted Dual Pack show that PS3 gamers have some of the greatest and most budget-conscious deals around. What make these collections even better, is because they include at least two games, the gamer on your list will be getting double or triple the play time while saving you money.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Another highly rated game that was released only a few months ago, Deus Ex Human Revolution is not only an excellent game, but can also be found for a very affordable price.  Retailing on the 360 and PS3 for as low as $29.99, Deus Ex HR is one of the best FPS/RPG hybrids in years, and shows that Eidos can create an incredible adventure that easily warrants multiple playthroughs.  One of the most brilliant things RPGs do these days (as evidenced in hits  like ME 2 or Skyrim) is that they allow players the choices to play however they like.  Deus Ex HR has so many branching choices in dialogue, reactions, and even combat, that players can go through the game multiple times and have each one be unique from the other.  What makes this gift even better for budget-minded buyers is that you can pick up a copy for PC gamers for only $19.99.  If you still need convincing, read Kyle’s review and see why this remains a GOTY contender (even with the contenders like Batman Arkham City and Skyrim).

Video Game Music

Chiptune music and Dubstep have been growing more popular in recent years, with many mainstream artists taking inspiration from classic video games.  Classic songs from our 8-bit or 16-bit childhoods have heavily influenced many chiptune artists today, like Starship Amazing and Dubstep artist Producer Snafu, allowing them to release full-length albums of some of the best original video-game inspired songs today for dirt cheap.  Though the previous two only have their albums released digitally, other artists like The Glowing Stars and Anamanaguchi have actual CDs available for purchase for under $15 (though their availability is scarce).  If your favorite gamer prefers soundtracks, the Scott Pilgrim VS The World The Game music can be found for under $10 as well as the Bit.Trip Runner series soundtracks, for example.  Still, if you’d prefer songs you can remember from your childhood, the Video Game Live albums can be found for as low as $10.  Finally, Brentalfloss (famous for his With Lyrics series) has his album available for only $10.  This 20-track album has lyrics to classic songs like the Tetris Theme, Mega Man 2 Wily’s Castle, and Duck Tales Moon Level along with some other silly hits.

Gamefly Subscription

If a gamer were to attempt to purchase every big hit released, they’d be looking at spending hundreds of dollars each month just to keep up.  Though there are retailers who are more then happy to take your old games off you, be prepared to not even make half back on what you spent.  Luckily, much like Blockbuster, Gamefly allows customers to rent games for as long as they like and always updates their catalogs with the hottest new releases.  Even better is the low subscription cost starting at only $8 for a trial month and less then $20 if customers wish to continue.  Besides being able to play games without the need to purchase them, there are other incentives to joining, like extra discounts on titles and even free credit used for purchases in the Gamefly used game store (which has used game prices better then any retailer out there).  If your gamer enjoys the game they’re renting, they can elect to keep the title for a discounted price!  This present is perfect for gamers that may not have the funds to buy every game, may not live near a video game rental store, or just love to play multiple titles as soon as they can. Best of all, Gamefly offers several gift certificate choices, depending on your budget, from one month to a full year, and they’re including a 20% discount on all gift certificate purchases for the holiday season.

Gamers Club Membership

Gamestop has been running a promotion for years that allows players to be a part of their Powerup Rewards Pro club letting members take an additional 10% off used titles as well as get a year’s membership to Game Informer magazine.  Recently, Best Buy has been running a nearly identical promotion with their own magazine @Gamer, giving Gamers Club members 10% as well as a years subscription.  Game Informer tends to have better information and coverage, but @Gamer magazine comes with over $100 in coupons to be used per month (which are truly substantial savings on decent titles).  Either subscription is only $15 each, and especially  in terms of the Best Buy deal, they’re both the gift that keeps on giving.

Year-Old Titles

Perhaps your gamer doesn’t have an extensive backlog of games, or maybe there are a few releases that they’ve missed out on.  Games like Vanquish, Singularity, and Enslaved are all great games that released last year and can be purchased for under $20 each!  Alan Wake, Bayonetta, Dead Rising 2 and Fallout New Vegas are all strong titles released in 2010 that remain solid and can be found for dirt cheap now.  If you prefer games released in 2011, games like Bulletstorm, Dead Space 2, and even the hilarious Portal 2 sell for under $30; this year’s hit L.A. Noire can be purchased for just under $25 right now.

Deals can be found no matter where you look, and with reviews available in every form, it’s pretty hard not to find something both budget friendly and fun.  Not having the funds is no excuse now that you’ve got some decent ideas listed above, and as long as you stay away from shovelware often found in clearance bins, your gamer will be pretty happy.  Be sure to check out our Holiiday Gift Guides for Family Gamers as well as Casual Gamers, and stay tuned tomorrow for our gift guide for Gamers on the Go.