Jul 13 2009

Renting before buying games to save money

We recently purchased a used Wii* on Amazon. Great condition and much cheaper than if we bought one new in a store!

Of course, we’ll want video games to play. But which?

After reading some online reviews and talking with friends, we came up with about a dozen titles that sounded fun. If we got all of them, it would cost several hundred dollars. Not good.

Rather than buying a game and not really liking it, we decided to get a rental membership with GameFly*.

I went to MyPoints.com and saw that by clicking through and signing up, I’d get 1,000 points. That’s a lot, considering many $10 gift cards can be had for roughly 1,500 points.

GameFly works much like Netflix, in that you add titles to your queue and pay a monthly fee to enjoy the movies/games for as long as you’d like.

We signed up for the one-at-a-time plan, which is $8.95 for the first month and $15.95 each month thereafter. The site does offer a free trial period if you’d prefer to go that route. We probably won’t need more than two months to evaluate a large selection of games.

Once we try out some games, we can decide if they’re worth owning. If so, we’ll get the best deal we can by shopping in the Game Stop used section, Amazon, or anywhere else we can locate the title.

Do you have any games to suggest? How do you save money with video games?

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14 Responses to “Renting before buying games to save money”

  1. This is possibly a kid game and I do have a kid but I play this more then her-We Cheer! OMG you do cheerleading/dance routines. I am addicted. Also good workout I think.

    Amazon does have specials you just have to keep an eye out. I got my copy of We Cheer for 10 bucks. I got Hubby a shooting game for 10 bucks. I’ve gotten accessories for CHEAP.

  2. We have several games ( and 9 & 8 yr old in the house) but, my favorite game is Animal Crossing city folk.

  3. Dance, Dance Revolution!

    I think this is the best way to go about buying games… they are simply too expensive to buy without knowing if you’ll like them or not. This is what I did when I first got my Nintendo DS… I ended up not liking a lot of the games that I thought I would. I did go for more than one game at a time with Gamefly though. This was quite awhile ago, so they may be better now, but at the time the turn around took a long time and I felt like I wasn’t getting much for my monthly fee with all of the down time.

  4. My husband fills out surveys using a site where he can redeem for GameStop gift cards. That’s how he gets a lot of his games.

    We’re also Nintendo folk, but I prefer head-to-head games rather than first-person, continuing games. I like Mario Party, WiiSports, Carnival Games, etc. Adam likes Metroid Prime, PaperMario, Zack and Wiki, and sports games.

    E-mail me and I’ll try to remember which survey site he uses to tell you!


  5. Never mind about emailing–it’s e-Rewards. :)

  6. Do you have any friends with Wiis? Could you borrow the games instead of renting, to try them out? It seems like everyone we know owns one- I’d probably borrow their favorite games (or play them at their houses) & get their recommendations to decide which to buy.

  7. We’ve had a similar experience to Jennifer with the turnaround for GameFly – it’s certainly not Netflix turnaround times! I got Hubby a discounted 6 month membership gift certificate for Christmas. It’s worked well as an alternative to buying games, but we’ve also found that he’s held on to some games longer than he would have otherwise just to avoid the turnaround time for a new game.

    They also don’t seem to send games in order quite as well as Netflix – so be sure that everything on your list is something you REALLY want to play because you never know when it will get bumped to the top of the list and show up!

  8. I use bigwords.com–it lets you compare prices on media items: textbooks, DVDs, books, CDs, etc., and tells you whether or not a seller is reputable. Pretty cool!

  9. Joanna — I sure wish I could borrow some games! I don’t know anyone locally who has one. Dang.

    I hope that GameFly will have a fast mailing time for me. Pittsburgh is one of their mailing centers, so maybe that’ll help speed things along.

  10. I’m going to second the Animal Crossing recommendation! That’s pretty much the only game we play now. If you do get it, you may get addicted too! Let me know if you want any more info on it. I’d be happy to tell you all about it!

  11. My husband is playing Boom Blox right now. It is a great game. I loved Super Mario Galaxy and Super Paper Mario. I second Mario Party 8. We play that one when we have people over. Everyone loves Mario Kart.

    I buy a lot of games off of half.com.

  12. Hi Kacie,

    I don’t know about you and Shane, but at the rate Joe goes through video games I would recommend looking for a local store rather than going to GameStop or a big chain like Best Buy. We’ve found a locally-owned trade-in place in Bloomington, and their prices on both new and used games are much better. Becoming a member also gets you better value for your trade ins and occasional coupons and things, and the staff is friendly. They also keep a log of customers’ requests and will try to order in any games you want that they don’t have in stock. Joe and I won’t go to a mall chain video game store again! I don’t know if there’s any place like that in Pittsburgh, but good luck!

    Also, one of my favorite Wii games is American Idol Karaoke Revolution. You can sing by yourself or compete in an American-Idol-style tournament. It’s always a hit when I have people over. You do, however, need to get a USB microphone, but one comes with the game. If you get two, you can sing duets! I also love Mario Kart and Zelda: Twilight Princess, but I am a huge nerd who has loved the entire Zelda series since childhood. The newest game looks beautiful on the Wii though, great graphics.

    Have fun with your Wii!


  13. I understand Wii Sports is supposed to come with every Wii, hopefully it came with your used console. I have been having a lot of fun with just Wii Sports. Oh, and making Mii’s, I love it. I made about twenty Mii’s for people we know – it’s like making caricatures. My disabled son and I have been doing bowling tournaments, and I like playing tennis. There’s also a practice area to get better on the sports. I like warming up with a couple of tennis games, then checking to see Wii “age” (which is based on speed, agility and stamina). I think I would like the Dance, Dance Revolution but I’ve never heard of We Cheer, but it sounds like it would be fun. Oh, and we also found that Ross Dress for Less had some accessories in the men’s gift section – the tennis racket extension, the baseball bat, the steering wheel, the golf club. Much less expensive than the sets available at Costco, or online. But I have to say they are kind of a dud, except for the steering wheel, my son says that makes the driving games more fun.

  14. I don’t have a Wii, but when my roommate did, the game we loved was WarioWare: Smooth Moves for Wii. It’s this one game with lots of smaller games within – crazy stuff like who can “blow up a balloon” faster or “run down a road.” I haven’t played for a while, so I can’t remember them all, but I swear it’s fun and doesn’t have a story to follow or anything like that. It’s fast-paced and would be awesome for parties or for you and Shane to play together.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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