Last time we looked at the GameCube and original Playstation in our short series about stocking stuffing madness; this week, we take on the clearance world of the PS2 and the X-Box This week’s challenge is interesting, not because of trying to find a clearance title, but, rather, trying to find a gem in the plethora of cheapie titles Never let it be said that anyone can’t find a cheap game for the PS2 or X-Box (including the 360) When digging through the inexpensive titles, keep two things in mind: One, a game that is considered horrible on it’s release is not-so-horrible at $20 Two, there are games that aren’t worth owning, even if it’s free.
More General Advice
Just as we included some advice last week about finding good values, there is advice this week as well Depending on who you are buying for, used games do NOT include the black plague You will not die a slow agonizing death when purchasing a used game You can, however, save a lot of money, but only if you are careful enough to inspect all included materials and the disc at purchase Buying used games for gifts from an online store is usually a bad idea, since most of the packaging is nonexistent and the scratch-monster has a time-share with each of the shipping companies It should also be noted that games, even for the PS2, go out-of-print about as quickly as they are made This means that finding previous titles in a series will often lead one to the used-game shelves Next, keep your recipient in mind when purchasing a used game; it just doesn’t look so good to take a used game to a church gift-exchange party Finally, there is one last, and likely the biggest, reason to seriously consider a used game: The in-store return policy The larger retail chains (Gamestop, etc) that deal in used titles often have an optional ‘extended warranty’ available that is so superior to the original manufacturer’s warranty that quite a few people look for the used games FIRST Between the better warranty, the possibility of finding a rare title, and just plain saving a buck, looking in the used aisles of your local game-store is good-advice anytime of the year-not just for Christmas.
Microsoft’s X-Box and 360
If you are looking for a deal on the 360, look for the GREEN boxes Those green original X-Box titles will save you money, and they work on the 360 Barring that, follow the general rule of shopping around, and always checking the clearance isle The X-Box, like the GameCube, will often have titles, controllers, and memory cards hiding on the end caps of Target, the value-isle of Wal-Mart, and the bargain bin of Circuit City You know where you shop, and how they place their marked down items; if not, then ask your wife (trust her, she knows) There are, naturally, a ‘greatest hits’ line of games, clearance titles, and general markdowns to look through Keep in mind that this list is far from complete, as there are hundreds of low-priced X-Box goodies.
X-Box Skin(s) (stickers to customize your console)
Grand Theft Auto (any)
Destroy All Humans
Star Wars Battlefront II
Half Life 2
Shadow the Hedgehog
Call of Duty
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
Crazy Taxi 3
Spotlight: Destroy all Humans If you’re looking for something a little different, then this is it More than it’s own advertisements illustrate, this game takes design concepts from nearly every b-rated, drive-in monster movie of the 1950’s and 60’s Unlike the 1950’s, you are in control of the aliens that are bent on taking over the earth.
Runner-up: Crazy Taxi 3 There is a reason that a third entry made it into this line up, Crazy Taxi is just plain fun Racing to take your passengers to their destination, listening to a real soundtrack, and performing insane jumps, spinouts, and crashes are just part of the fun.
Sony Playstation 2:
The Playstation 2 is the undisputed king of the last generation of gaming, like it or not This is due to the simple axiom, the platform with the most games wins This also means that more gift receivers have a PS2 than any other console There is another truth about the console king, the console with the most games also has the greatest number of crap-games Let’s face it, the ratio of really incredible games to those that simply reduce shelf-occupancy is not in favor of the good games This is true for all platforms, but when dealing with the PS2, the number of all games, good and bad, is increased exponentially If you don’t want to take my word for it, pick up a copy of ‘Army Men: Green Rogue’ or ‘American Idol,’ and see how bad a game can be With that said, there have been many good games for the PS2 over the last few years; thus, our list can only begin to scratch the surface:
Grand Theft Auto Vice City (Original Version, find it used, see spotlight)
Final Fantasy X
Star Wars Battlefront II
GTA San Andreas
Destroy All Humans
Dragon Quest VIII
Okage The Shadow King
Resident Evil 4
God of War
Soul Calibur II
Virtua Fighter 4
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
Devil May Cry III
Spotlight: Grand Theft Auto Vice City (used) Why a used game as a spotlight? Because after the first year (or so), Rockstar Games gave into political pressure and rewrote the game to be ‘Haitian Friendly.’ The changes went far and wide, changing so much that later versions of the game were mere shadows of the original In case you are wondering, this ‘Haitian Friendly Version’ is the reason why Vice City didn’t make it into the X-Box list at all Time to don your London Fog trench-coat, pretend to be a private detective, and go looking for the original version of Grand Theft Auto Vice City.
Runner Ups: Resident Evil 4 The only reason this wasn’t mentioned in the GameCube list was that every GCN owner has a copy of this game Why? Because just as the wrestler Triple-H used to say, ‘It’s that damned good.’ A GCN owner has no excuse to have skipped this game, and by this time next year-we can say the same thing about all PS2 owners. Also, Okage: The Shadow King Okage is an RPG heavily influenced by the animated movies of Tim Burton, with both a humorous dialog and plot While gameplay is fairly average, the hilarious antics of all the in-game characters will keep gamers coming back for more Making this deal sweater is that it can usually be found new for less than $15.
With the home consoles done, saving for the next generation machines, we can finally look forward to the portable market next week.