Being an unapologetic gaming snob I do savour being there at the front of the queue when the brandest, newest, spankingest games come out. I enjoy greatly tearing off the cellophane of the latest GTA instalment or Sam Fisher’s newest adventure and cracking open the box for the first time to have my nostrils met by that familiar and intoxicating smell of chemically treated paper from the instruction manuals. The highlight, of course, is slipping that disk into my 360 ready for my latest gaming extravaganza. Yes, there is indeed something pleasurable about the purchase of your newest game that surely cannot be matched by the rather scruffy, underhand practice of buying someone else’s cast-offs from the dreaded “pre-owned” section. Or so I used to think.
A few months ago, during a weak moment and with very little money to spare, I was browsing in my local gaming retailer when I strayed into the pre-owned section. Feeling slightly itchy I started to glance at the odd title that I had missed avoided or simply not had the time to play. With a mere £10 to spare and two days to wait until pay-day a little voice in my head urged me to bite the bullet and pick up a second hand game. At first I was surprised and the perplexed at the seemingly random pricing. Resident Evil 5 was there for a whopping £35. This for a SECOND HAND game, I mean for a few more quid you get a brand new one. But then I was drawn to some older games that were priced much more appealingly. My eye was caught by Lost: Via Domus. Now, a very good friend of mine once said that the only reason he bought this game was for the achievement points (as he is the biggest points whore I know) but, although I do value his opinion when it comes to games, this did not deter me for two reasons; I greatly enjoyed the first two seasons of the TV series (before it got too weird) and it was selling for less that £5.
Now committed to my seedy dive into this second hand world and en route to the cash desk I noticed another title that I had not yet played marked at the same low price of £5. This was The Darkness, a mafia/horror shoot-em up/chew-em up. I remembered seeing it advertised a while back and wanting to give it a shot but, being distracted by the likes of Call of Duty: World at War and Fable 2, I had missed it at its release and never come back. For those of you who might be thinking that there is time to get through all of the 360 titles that hit our shelves on a weekly basis I should point out that I work very long hours and am away from home, and my beloved XBox, for weeks and months at a time.
So it was that on a pleasant summer’s afternoon I finally succumbed to the draw of the pre-owned world. I am not writing to review the titles, I’ll just go as far as to say they were not great but they were not bad and they helped waste away a few hours and kept me entertained for just ten English pounds…bargain (especially Lost, just for the nostalgia of that first few episodes which held so much promise). I am writing this to let anyone who may care to read it know that I am a changed man. I no longer look down upon the pre-owned section as a poor man’s option, but as an opportunity to revisit some older, and some not-so-older, titles for a lot less than one would pay for brand new. It even lets you play some not-so-good games without that nagging feeling of having wasted your money because, lets be honest, even a cinema ticket costs over £5 and only lasts a couple of hours (and films can be hit or miss too), a second hand game can last for many more and cost less. Undoubtedly I am far behind the curve with my revolutionary discovery but, to those of you who discovered this land of plenty before me, know now that I have arrived and I have set up camp.