Merry Recession-mas!

Being a full-time college/university student for a little over 4 years now, I really learned to pinch my pennies. That shiny $60 game released today may well be worth $20 a few months from now if you’re willing to wait it out. Instant gratification is all well and good… but there’s something to be said for frugality.

My current favorite of the lot: Mechanarium.   Sure, completable in one evening, but a real feast for the senses and with puzzles that are just right in terms of difficulty.

Indeed, between Direct2Drive’s “21 days of Christmas” sale and Steam’s Holiday sale, it has been a very good month to be a frugal gamer.  I suspect I can blame the recession for a lot of this – with everyone’s wallets being a bit tighter, purveyors of fine digital entertainment have been forced to make compromises.  Some of the more interesting deals I picked up:

  • Genre-rocking immersive behemoth Grand Theft Auto IV for $7.50 (75% off).
  • Quality medieval games Drakensang and Mount and Blade for $5.00 apiece.  (Over 80% off,)
  • Excellent indy games Audiosurf and Braid for $5 each.  (75-80% off).
  • Innovative if forgettable genre breaker Mirror’s Edge for $5.00 (75% off).
  • Indy city builder/RPG hybrid Hinterland: Orc Lords $6.50 (75% off).
  • A city builder RTS with RPG undertones, Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim for $7.50. (75% off)
  • Turn-based strategy RPG hybrid King’s Bounty: Armored Princess for $9.99 (75% off).

In addition to the “wow” deals above, I also pulled some pretty decent 50% off deals such as:

  • Quite good indy-made Mechanarium and Torchlight for $10 apiece.
  • Behemoths of yesteryear, Prototype and Command And Conquer Red Alert 3 (including Uprising expansion) for $20 apiece.
  • Quality indy adventure games of Samorost 2 and a package of Zombie Cow adventure games (“Ben There, Dan That!” and “Time, Gentlemen, Please!”) for $2.50 apiece.

This is to say nothing for the gifts I received this year, including the complete Lucasarts adventure pack, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Borderlands Zombie Island DLC, and Left4Dead 2.

Overall, my gaming cup runneth over once again. Through, like many aspiring game designers, most of these games won’t get more than a few hours of play from me, it seems I’ve now a goodly amount of research materials.

5 Responses

  1. As a former student myself, and one who is debating the pros and cons of going back to school (Especially in this downtrodden economy) I have a question for you:

    How do you find value in college, when the current costs for college have been scaling up so much faster then the comparative job wages that go with the degree?

    just one of the articles I’ve been reading lately:

    • Well, it’s easy enough for me on the grounds that I’m just attending a local community College/University while still living at home. Furthermore, being without an income means that I’m qualified for the maximum level of financial aid. From what loans I have taken out that financial aid doesn’t cover, in my ~4 years of attending college, my debt has come out well under $10,000, most of it government subsidized (suspending interest charges until I’m out of school). I am way under the typical case you’ll see on that graph because I cut all the corners short of getting a scholarship.

      You’ve a harder path ahead of you to return to school if you are living on your own or have a family, but not out. I urge you to speak to the financial aid department at the college of your choice (local college is much cheaper if it offers the skills you want) to see what assistance you may be eligible for. If you are a displaced worker through no fault of your own (as many of us are these days) you may even find a special retraining program awaiting you.

      Of course, whether or not college grants you an economic advantage in the long run is no new debate. Fact of the matter is that whether or not you land a good, well-paying job has more to do with who you know and if you find the right opportunity (and the right opportunity finds you) than your qualifications. Accreditation opens more doors, sure, but it makes no guarantees – some companies might even turn you down for being overqualified!

      When push comes to shove, you go for yourself, to hone your critical thinking skills and improve your confidence. You may never get paid back for that but, as far as being an investment goes, educating yourself offers value other than monetary.

  2. You are definately in an enviable position in that regard, I agree with ya there 😀

    I was a dislocated worker (laid off, would re-hire if possible) but unfortunately I missed out on the unemployment-funded worker retraining by 4 weeks, simply because I wasn’t aware that it was an option.

    Even more unfortunately, when I was employed I did well enough for myself that I qualified for 100% loans (ugh) and no financial aid.

    Even after talking to my prospective schools’ financial aid department, their entire solution for me was to take out more loans (NOT a solution, IMO). I definately am considering my options at this point, and honestly I wouldn’t go back to school right now except that the career I am looking at right now REQUIRES a BA, and there isn’t any guarantee that I’d be able to land a career there either.

    The job in question is working as an Officer in the US Air Force, and the gov’t is pretty intractable on their requirements, no matter how silly or dubious in value.

    I wouldn’t MIND going to school and getting my BA (I’m looking at an Information Systems & Security degree) just for the knowledge, but I hate the non job-related courses that most colleges force you to take.

    It seems completely out of place that I be required to take several history, english and math courses, for a non historical, english, or mathmatical field.

    The biggest thing for me is the $$. At this point I’m probably going to wait till I can file my FAFSA for this next year, and hopefully I’ll qualify for some sort of financial aid at that point.

    Until then I’ll keep putting cash into my savings account, and not going to report it on my FAFSA forms 😛


  3. Well, I couldn’t tell you if FASFA would audit you or not, but aside from that it sounds like you’ve a pretty good plan. Best of luck with it!

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