Post Dating

The mind can come up with some pretty wild ways of handling difficult choices. As humans we have the tendency to change our environment when it doesn't suit us, but in the brain things can get a little more complicated. Imagination overrides logical thought creating new, more easily manageable, realities. I pretend that nothing exists but what I'm working on and call it "focus." I excuse myself from failure by requesting ridiculous criteria be satisfied like needing an "extra pair of hands." When Halo 3's release date seems to be dragging slower and slower I claim that time itself has slowed to inconvenience me. Or, if I haven't saved my money I might even claim that I have intentionally slowed that release date to allow for me to collect the currency I need to purchase it.

As a gamer it isn't a huge feat for me to change the perception of real time events in my mind; it's my hobby. As one whose pockets aren't blessed with wads of cash, it's almost become a necessity. I would love to rush out to the game store every time a highly anticipated release rolls out, but with my income and lifestyle it's not a realistic option. It wouldn't take long for me to start slapping down credit cards instead of twenties. After that it would probably be the deed to my car, then maybe some sort of crack cocaine, later a baby.

So how do I, as a gamer, reconcile my small amount of disposable income to a full calendar of releases? I start pretending. I pretended that Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin didn't come out until January. I pretended the 360 didn't come out until the beginning of last fall. I'm pretending, right now, that Lost Planet hasn't shipped yet.

There are alternate ways to get my gaming fix. I could borrow or rent the latest and the greatest, but, if I rent something to simply scratch the Day One itch I run the risk of over indulging in the title. Trying to get as much of the experience as I possibly can in the short amount of time I've been given. It would be like trying to eat an entire pallet of marshmallows. The first few would be good but after a while I'd be doing it just to do it. With no real enjoyment attached to the activity I'd start creating a subconscious repulsion to what I was doing, which would defeat the purpose.

I want something more satisfying that will continue my love for gaming rather than stress it. So I've started to try and push back my entire perception of new releases uniformly. By adding three or six or nine months to the initial release dates to allow for price drops I could get my gaming hobby to an affordable past time without losing touch on the overall time line of releases. My purchases would be a real time representation of the game trends of half a year ago, except for me everything would be in stock and cheaper. The single player campaigns would be untouched and the multiplayer games that are good enough to stand the test of time would still have strong communities to join.

There is also the added benefit of hype-less press. Six months after release is enough time to find some real solid opinions on a game and whether it's really worth buying. So not only will I be buying games at a cheaper price, but I might be saving myself the trouble of purchasing some substandard merchandise. The only thing I have to sacrifice to attain a richer collection at a cheaper price is my thumb on the beating pulse of gaming.

It all comes down to discipline and realizing that just because something is new it doesn't make it better. If Lost Planet is a good game in January then it will still be good in August.

There is no time limit on gaming. It's all perception. There is a store 20 minutes from me where I can buy an N64, Goldeneye, and Starfox 64 like it was the day they came out. They are the same games on the same system and are the same amount of fun they were when they were new. I can't let the hype drive me to impulse. The only thing I can lose by waiting is space in my wallet.

Comments

Chiggie Von Richthofen wrote:

It wouldn't take long for me to start slapping down credit cards instead of twenties.

Hmm I may be in trouble...

Nice article Chiggie!

Except for digital download games, which are immune to retail price competition, screwing over the sane people who can wait a while and save some cash in the process.

I just watched a video podcast that featured people waiting in line for a midnight release of Burning Crusade. In contrast, my evening entertainment was firing up God of War ($20 new!). For PC gaming, I'm still having fun with Gal Civ II.

If I drop $60 on a new game and it turns out to be a bomb, I feel like I've been sucker-punched in the gut.

I was happy to get the perspective of a gamer who, like me, isn't lining up at midnight to grab new releases. Nice article.

I am with you 100% Chiggie. Freedom Force now. Later, Gal Civ II. Later still, Oblivion.

At the rate PC games get price cut and patched, I almost feel silly buying one new, especially single player games.

Chiggie Von Richthofen wrote:

There are alternate ways to get my gaming fix. I could borrow or rent the latest and the greatest, but, if I rent something to simply scratch the Day One itch I run the risk of over indulging in the title. Trying to get as much of the experience as I possibly can in the short amount of time I've been given.

While I get your point, I look at rental like this. I'm getting 3 games for about 180 a year. That's how much 3 games cost. So if I rotate my rental just once in a year, then I'm getting my games at half price. There are very, very few games a year old I yank out of the case. And if I fall that much in love with a game, I can just hit the "buy" button.

Agreed, but sometimes it is fun to get into the whole hype, and get there as one of the first. There is a lot of fun to be had with people just because it is new, a lot of new goofing around to be had. After some time the general tone of a game sets in and it gets somewhat more serious, even the goofing gets serious by recording it in amazing stunt video's.

I picked up Splinter Cell: Double Agent for 35 bucks from EB the other day. The 360 version was cheaper than the gamecube one (which was going for 39.99). Not sure what the deal was, but cheap 360 titles always tend to draw me in. There is a downside to post-dating games though which wasn't covered. Multiplayer. Let's say you waited until now to pick up... oh, let's say "Chromehounds". You may get it at a steal of a price, but good luck finding any goodjers to play with you.

So how do I, as a gamer, reconcile my small amount of disposable income to a full calendar of releases? I start pretending. I pretended that Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin didn't come out until January. I pretended the 360 didn't come out until the beginning of last fall. I'm pretending, right now, that Lost Planet hasn't shipped yet.

And well you did, because I am going to have a used-but-in-excellent condition copy of Lost Planed shortly on my hands just for you!

Great article Chiggie.

The only problem i face is that i'm a gaming addict. I love gaming, whether it's reading about someone else gaming, game design, game critique (hence this site), game technology, imagery, functionality and myriad other spokes on the wheel of games. If i were into sports much more than i am then i'd probably be the same. The problem for me lies in the fact that without gaming i have a hollow in my life.

Some people think all's i can talk about is technology and games. It's not true, but i suppose unless people give me a topic to talk about then i tend to be thinking along the lines of gaming in some form or another leading me to be accused of letting it control too much of my life. Thing is, i see people (well, not many, but there are some) who listen to sports matches, read all about their favourite sport and follow transfers of players throughout 5 or 6 different intersecting leagues... indeed, international transfers as well. I also see those people being more culturally accepted than the people in my "world".

Maybe their sports don't make them seem like hermits, after all, sports are "group" games. Computerised games are usually lonesome things. I suppose the Wii is the mainstream console nowdays..... but i don't game for the company. I game for the stories and art.... the vision that is someone elses idea. If games didn't exist then i'd be heavily into movie-going.

To sum it all up... i agree, there are too many games to buy all the ones i want. But i know, with the way that stores operate and prints of games tend to be one offs, it's much more difficult to get a hold of an unused game after a few months (especially if it wasn't a popular game - eg. Adventure genres) compared with a DVD of a movie - which usually get a reprint...

Great post. I just wish i could "reserve" the games i want for me to buy in the future.

Stylez wrote:

Multiplayer. Let's say you waited until now to pick up... oh, let's say "Chromehounds". You may get it at a steal of a price, but good luck finding any goodjers to play with you.

Multiplayer's a day one affair, unfortunately, and are games that tend to stick around. My library of console games consists almost entirely of multiplayer games, because the single player ones get shuffled off to Ebay.

I love ther idea of waiting for everything to drop in price and to let others sift through the buckets of crap that can look like the next best thing on launch day. I just have no will power :). I know I should wait because I'm currently playing games X, Y, and Z, but I still tend to pick up new games right when they come out because I have an inner urge to be able to play it now, even if I won't touch it for a month. I guess the need to have the best thing out there overwhelms the need to keep my wallet full.

Purchasing a game the day it comes out boils down to a few things for me:

Price: Clubhouse games was $35 CDN when it came out, not exactly breaking the bank.

Reviews: Just how good IS the game? Does it have $70 worth of play time in it? (With two taxes on everything I buy in Manitoba those game prices really go up when you get to the till, so that $60 game on the shelf end up being almost $70). Is it so good that I cannot wait the 3 months it will take to drop down to $40?

Pre-order: Are the pre-order goodies enticing enough for me to put down some cash in advance?

Ultimately it always boils down to price. Now that I'm in my 30s and have more bills to pay than when I was in my 20s I really can't just buy games willy nilly. I read a lot of reviews before I pick up a game. I've been burned a few times by picking up games at 60 bux a pop, only to discover that the game wasn't worth the coin. Even then that can backfire... Beatmania being a perfect example of that

Great article. So much resonates with me. For some reason it always seems to be, I either have the time or the money to feed my gaming habbit but never both at once.

Since I live downtown, I don't really find myself driving at all, let alone past a BB or CC. When I do, though, I certainly feel the temptation.

It's also a happy coincidence that the only times I am near the closest stores that sell games are late enough that they're closed. Also, I'm probably drinking, so that would make things... difficult on my bank account.

I'm playing the latest Sam & Max and replaying ... uh, Deus Ex. My most recent console acquisition was a GBA SP so I can pick up some cheap but brilliant RPGs and platformers. Being a cheap-ass is an art.

I tend to buy new games near their release because I hate the feeling of going to the store months later worrying that the game has been discontinued (has happened many times), or is so uber rare that the price has rocketed up (also happened).

With the game in my possession I know that it doesn't matter how long it takes me to get to playing it. It will always be there, and there is no paranoia of me not being able to get my hands on it.

It all depends on the game for me.

I have a draft budget that's scheduled two to three years out. As I run into cool stuff, I just add it on there. Then, every month when I finalize the budget for the next two months I look through the list for the next three months or so and run through the list of what's in there and see if anything slipped or something.

I do this for several reasons.
- I can budget in new hardware because all that crap tends to come out in November (Wii and PS3 style)
- And don't even get me started on November and March/April every year and game/DVD releases
- Then I can plan in things like yearly tags/insurance ups for the car, kid's birthdays, Holidays, etc
- I can budget in theater movies. The five of us going to the theater even as a matinee is a non-trivial operation. When the biggies that me and the kids want to see in theaters all hit in June/July and November/December and you're trying for five movies in the same month it can get uggghhhhlllyy. Just set the amount aside until the hard release dates come out a few months earlier and adjust accordingly. Like if for example Sam Raimi looses his mind again and sets Spiderman for May again, or we've got TMNT in March.

When I put them on the budget, I categorize them. Release Day, Rental, Budget, Maybe.
- Release Days are pre-ordered as soon as they come into the system at the local gamestore, and watched closely for release date slips and crap. This is something I want bad enough to pay full price for right the heck now. I've got maybe 10-12 things lined up right now that will be hitting in 2007 and 2008.
- Rentals are just a watch the shelves sort of affair and come out of the monthly movie rental budget.
- Used means buy it used when the price gets into a sane range (this goes for new games and also for older library-fillers I'm watching for).
- Budget means pick it up at some point when the box turns silver unless it takes too long and I find a good used deal. This is usually reserved for games I want to make certain I get the artwork for whatever reason. Or if I can't find a used one at a sane price or at all.

Movies/DVD's/books have the same basic categories, except with books replace rentals with "Library" and Budget/Used is the same thing and means "watch the local used bookstore".

With movies this is key when you're buying series anime. You can sink to your eyebrows in a monetary mire you won't believe if you're not careful there because the dates are so volatile outside of a few series like Naruto. Due to slips we got stacked up hard last October/November with FMA, FMA the Movie, Karas, Naruto, and Hikaru No Go all hitting along with everything else.

Stylez wrote:

I picked up Splinter Cell: Double Agent for 35 bucks from EB the other day. The 360 version was cheaper than the gamecube one (which was going for 39.99). Not sure what the deal was, but cheap 360 titles always tend to draw me in. There is a downside to post-dating games though which wasn't covered. Multiplayer. Let's say you waited until now to pick up... oh, let's say "Chromehounds". You may get it at a steal of a price, but good luck finding any goodjers to play with you.

Chiggie's Article wrote:

The single player campaigns would be untouched and the multiplayer games that are good enough to stand the test of time would still have strong communities to join.

I think the gamers that are still buying copies of Halo 2 to play online would disagree with you. You might say that that is an extreme example but why should I settle for something less?

Vrikk wrote:

I tend to buy new games near their release because I hate the feeling of going to the store months later worrying that the game has been discontinued (has happened many times), or is so uber rare that the price has rocketed up (also happened).

With the game in my possession I know that it doesn't matter how long it takes me to get to playing it. It will always be there, and there is no paranoia of me not being able to get my hands on it.

I'm not certified in any field whatsoever so this is just my two cents, but, I think your paranoia might be a much more pressing issue than its results. Why do you feel compelled so strongly by something you do for fun? I love games but lately I've been realizing that when the tension of money and time and hype is removed, I love them even more.

Duoae wrote:

Great article Chiggie.

Great post. I just wish i could "reserve" the games i want for me to buy in the future.

It wouldn't be an article without some sage words from Duoae. Valid points across the board. I especially like the reserve idea. I believe that's called "layaway".

I'd also like to propose this to any body reading. If you wait to buy a game and it becomes rare, so rare you cannot acquire a copy, and you never are able to play it, what have you lost? In the grand scheme of things how negatively has your life been impacted? For me it's not much and maybe that's why this philosophy is possible. Just make sure you're playing for the right reasons.

momgamer wrote:

Lot's of stuff.

A gaming budget you say? My dear, this article is not for you.

Chiggie Von Richthofen wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Lot's of stuff.

A gaming budget you say? My dear, this article is not for you. :)

No, but my response was for you.

It's not like I'm not paying attention to this stuff anyways. The hour or so a month I spend on this stuff is nothing beside the many hours I spend immersed in the Datastream hearing about all of it. I just take better notes than most people.

It's like you told Duoae. Gaming is more fun when you're not worried about it. This way, I can buy what I want, when I want to have it. I don't have the kids on me about X, Y, or Z because they know the score and can plan their birthday money/salary spending accordingly too.

We still get surprises. I about went to Square's local offices with a Bongo Bat over KHII, Dirge of Cerebrus, and Advent Children over their hideous slips last year and the year before. It screwed me up bigtime twice. The girls tried to base their last birthday party off KHII, and when it slipped out we had a very nasty last minute chop-and-change there.

Chiggie Von Richthofen wrote:

I think the gamers that are still buying copies of Halo 2 to play online would disagree with you. You might say that that is an extreme example but why should I settle for something less?

Games that resonate strongly with you may only maintain a large community while the game is "new", especially in the flavor of the month GWJ world. Gotta get 'em while they're hot. See: HL2DM, Defcom, The Ship, etc.

My paranoia isn't anything along the lines of cold sweats in the week before a release, so don't get me wrong. It's simply more along the lines of I feel better if I have the game in my hands so there's no hassle down the road with finding a game that fans realized was worth it after it was readily available.

Vrikk wrote:

My paranoia isn't anything along the lines of cold sweats in the week before a release, so don't get me wrong. It's simply more along the lines of I feel better if I have the game in my hands so there's no hassle down the road with finding a game that fans realized was worth it after it was readily available.

I understand how you feel. It took me months to find a copy of Phoenix Wright once the hype really kicked in. That's why I think I'll pick up Hotel Dusk tonight. The two EBs I called today didn't have any in stock but it looks like Futureshop and Best Buy still have it thankfully.

momgamer wrote:
Chiggie Von Richthofen wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Lot's of stuff.

A gaming budget you say? My dear, this article is not for you. :)

No, but my response was for you.

When Chiggie shows me a budget he's drawn up that has numbers on it, I'll kill him. The old, cool Chiggie would have wanted it that way.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:
momgamer wrote:
Chiggie Von Richthofen wrote:
momgamer wrote:

Lot's of stuff.

A gaming budget you say? My dear, this article is not for you. :)

No, but my response was for you.

When Chiggie shows me a budget he's drawn up that has numbers on it, I'll kill him. The old, cool Chiggie would have wanted it that way.

Are you suggesting that I'm not "cool", sir?

You are a mom are you not?

momgamer wrote:

Are you suggesting that I'm not "cool", sir?

Perish the thought. You have to understand that such planning on Chiggie's part could only be an indicator of some malevolent force at work. Cultists, Martians, or perhaps some kind of infectious, mind-altering organism akin to zombiism.

Yes, I'm more about conditioning than strategy. I'm a twitch-shopper.

Edwin wrote:

You are a mom are you not?

Playin' with fire, man.

Chiggie wrote:

It wouldn't be an article without some sage words from Duoae. Valid points across the board. I especially like the reserve idea. I believe that's called "layaway".

Well, i wouldn't say they are sage words.... tainted might be more of an accurate description, LOL!

Yeah, it would be great to be able to stash away titles in a kind of reverse pre-order thing with an agreed price...

I'd also like to propose this to any body reading. If you wait to buy a game and it becomes rare, so rare you cannot acquire a copy, and you never are able to play it, what have you lost? In the grand scheme of things how negatively has your life been impacted? For me it's not much and maybe that's why this philosophy is possible. Just make sure you're playing for the right reasons.

Although i agree that the "you don't know what you missed" philosophy is true, humans are as they are because they are able to predict and and empathise. We know that there is a good chance that we are missing out on an experience that we would enjoy and while we know that not all titles will be like this we can extrapolate that some might be.

My counter argument to all this is that, imagine if (assuming you're a tolkein fan) you hadn't picked up on Lord of the Rings years ago.... and now could no longer get it.

This is sometimes how i feel about releases on consoles that i don't own. This is why i was excited when Halo was ported to PC, Fable and now Jade Empire... it's just a shame that Halo 2 will be a vista exclusive as i would have bought it.
I really believe that once the PC dies as a gaming platform (i believe that MS is working towards that whilst promoting the opposite) but lives on as a linking platform to the 360 and PS3 i'd really like to see only one or two consoles in the future rather than three different platforms as well as PC.