Cheap ass gamer

I’m still around. I had planned on posting the new Crypt Shyfter today but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I still have too much work to do on it before it’s ready, and I don’t wanna post a half assed game.

So… Delayed. Again.

I’m struggling to find a happy balance between being a creator and a consumer. Some days I just want to write and make shit. Other days I just want to relax.

The problem comes when relax days overwhelm the create days. Well, the problem for you, if you’ve been waiting for a new game, anyway. It’s not so much a problem for me- I’m equally enjoying my time whether I’m writing or hiking or playing video games.

But I totally get that it’s frustrating to wait for the next installment in a series you like and find out it’s getting delayed.

I guess sometimes my “cool down” times between adventures is longer than others.

But regardless, I wanted to make a post. Since I’ve been in video game playing mode lately, I wanted to talk a bit about gaming. PC gaming in particular.

If you follow me on Newgrounds you’ve probably seen plenty of my posts about money. I’m a pretty frugal dude and I save and invest a large portion of my income, and I really enjoy talking about money.

I also enjoy playing video games, which cost money. So I want to talk about how video games are a great hobby for all you money-savers out there.

First things first- we gotta talk equipment. I see tons of posts on Reddit and other forums talking about how expensive PC gaming is. They see the up front cost of a PC as prohibitive and a waste of money, but that’s not looking at the big picture.

I recently purchased a new PC. It was a prebuilt VR ready HP Omen Desktop. I got it on sale at Best Buy for $716.

That seems like a lot, but I was actually budgeting $1500 thinking I had to get an even better computer. Turns out I didn’t need “the best” PC out there- this one already plays every game I own in Ultra HD graphics and runs like a beast.

Now, I could have gone with a PS4 or Xbox or even a Switch and paid about half that. But that’s not thinking long term.

Once I set up my new PC, I immediately had access to every game I already own. I have games all the way back from the 90s- Diablo and StarCraft, and they still both run on my PC.

Had I purchased a PS4, I’d be starting from scratch. Gotta buy all new games. And since the current consoles are all relatively new, that means all their games are also by default new. That means high price tags.

Console games go on sale far less frequently than PC games, and in most cases they still rely on hard copies. So on top of the $60 price of the game, I’d need to take a trip to the mall to buy a game.

Not the case with PC games. Virtually every PC game from the beginning of time is available to be played. This offers a huge selection of cheap old games.

I checked my spending from 2016 to 2017 on games. I purchased 35 games for $130. That’s freaking insane how cheap it is gaming on PC. Almost every game was under $5 and I even picked up a few under $1.

If I bought 35 games on Switch, I’d be fuuuuucked. ALL the games are new and $60. Even if I was super savvy and found sales that put every game at $40 (so $20 off, or enough to buy 3-5 PC games at my current rate just based on the savings), I’d still be paying $1400 just for games! That’s almost how much I thought my PC itself would cost!

Another benefit for PC gaming is that (in general) you don’t need to pay to play online. There are exceptions, of course. Games that have subscription models where you pay monthly, but those are individual game developers choices. In general, I can hop on an online multiplayer game for free with PC.

With Xbox or PS4 I would need to shell out another $60 every year to access their online multiplayer network.

You can see already how the upfont cost of the console vs PC shouldn’t be a primary factor if you’re looking to save money.

Another great thing about PC gaming is that you get to be minimalist! No more game cases cluttering your shelves or closets. All the games are digital! (Unless you have some older games like Diablo lying around).

Digital distribution is awesome because you can purchase games instantly and at a much cheaper price since you are no longer paying for packaging and manuals and other printed materials.

You can also get games on sale constantly- just keep an eye on humble bundle, steam, gog, greenmangaming, origin, etc.

I frequently pick up games 70-90% off. Nice!

But here’s the real trick if you want to save money as a gamer. All these sales are great, but you can’t confuse not spending money with saving money. They’re not the same thing.

For example, today I bought Brutal Legend for 75% off. The game was less than $4 and I “saved” $11.

But if I don’t actually save that $11, I didn’t save any money. I just didn’t spend it.

So step 2 after purchasing your discounted game is to save the saved money!

As soon as I made my purchase I moved that extra $11 into my savings account. I tricked myself into thinking I paid the full price of the game when in reality I only paid a fraction of the price. The extra amount now actually did get saved, and my savings account thanks me for it.

This is a fun game you can play with every purchase you make. If you were expecting to spend $50 at the grocery store but your mom gave you a $25 ShopRite gift card, you’re only paying $25, but put the extra $25 you would have spent without the gift card into savings since you were going to spend it anyway!

You’ll be pretty damn happy with the results after doing this for a few months.

Anyway, as long as this PC doesn’t conk out on me in the next year or two, I should have a solid gaming machine that lasts me for a good couple years.

Assuming I can use this PC for the next 5 years and spend $130 on games each year, my total cost after 5 years comes to just under $1500.

If I’d gone with say, an Xbox One X and bought my $1400 worth of games a year plus paid my yearly online fee, I’d have come out to around $7600 after 5 years. Yowza!

Since I’m a few year behind on games anyway, I have no urgent need to buy new $60 games anytime soon. By the time I’m ready to buy Nier Automata or the new Tomb Raider game I’ll probably be able to get them on sale for under 10 bucks.

And then that extra $50 goes straight into savings. The joys of being a cheap ass gamer.

*Quick edit- These numbers aren’t totally accurate. I haven’t included the price of a PC monitor, controllers, VR gear, or any additional spending that may come along with the hobby. I do plan on buying a VR headset this year so my total after 5 years will be higher than $1500. However, adding in a new monitor for $150, and Occulus Rift for $300, and budgeting an additional $200 for extra cords or adapters I’ll likely need to hook up the VR gear, I’ll still be paying less in one year than just the cost of games on a new console. In fact, I could rebuy my PC twice every year and come out to roughly the same spending amount as I would by buying 35 new console games every year (and every game I buy has to be new because old games on new consoles don’t exist yet!)