8 Cheap Ways to Play Video Games

by Carlos Portocarrero on 6 December 2013 6 comments

You don't have to drop $400 on a console and then $60 per game to enjoy a video game. There are tons of ways to get your video-game fix without breaking the bank — and without having to break the law with sketchy downloads and cracks. From playing vintage games for nearly nothing to going the freemium route, it's easier than ever to play video games without shelling out the big bucks. (See also: Ways to Save Money on Entertainment)

Here are eight cheap ways you can play video games.

1. Steam

Never heard of Steam? From the Makers of "Half Life" and "Portal," Steam is basically an online video game store. You download the Steam client, and then you have access to all kinds of Indie and mainstream games. Not all the games are cheap, but Steam has sales going on all the time, so if you're paying attention you can grab some great games at rock-bottom prices.

A few weeks ago, I nabbed "Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines" and "Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty" for $3. Score!

2. GOG.com

Love classic games like King's Quest and Fallout? Then GOG is the place for you. The games you used to play, obsess about, and pay $60 for are back at dirt-cheap prices. And they're all available to download anytime you want them.

Want to relive "Baldur's Gate"? GOG has it for 9.99. What about "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri"? Yours for just $2.39. But they don't just have old games — you can also try newer hits like "Hotline Miami" ($9.99).

3. Gamefly.com

The Netflix of the video-game world, Gamefly is a subscription service that send you the games you want in the mail. Gamefly charges $16 for one game out at a time and $23 for two out at a time. Your monthly payment not only gets you one or two games out at a time, they also offer unlimited download playing time for certain PC games. (See also: How to Play Netflix and Hulu on Your TV)

4. Goozex

Where Gamefly is like Netflix, Goozex is more like a book exchange — Goozex lets you get new (to you) games in exchange for sending out games you no longer want to play.

Sure, you may have to wait a while to get what you want, but at least you'll have access to some of the latest games out there.

5. FatWallet

True to its name, FatWallet is a site where deal seekers gather and post the best deals on everything you can possibly imagine. If there's a really good deal out there, these guys (and gals) will find it. (See also: 12 Essential Daily Deal Sites)

For gamers, that means you might find a coupon for a discount, certain games on sale, or even a game being offered for free for a limited time.

Either way, staying tuned to FatWallet will ensure no good deal passes you by.

6. The Cheapskate

CNet is one of the best tech sites around, and Rick Broida writes the fantastic Cheapskate blog, where he posts a fantastic deal every day of the week (sometimes two… and he usually posts a bonus deal as well).

I've scored all kinds of crazy deals through Rick's blog, including getting the classic "Bioshock" for free.

7. Free/Freemium Games

The latest trend in mobile gaming (we're talking apps here, where your phone is your console) is something called freemium. That means you get the game for free but if you want to unlock additional features or don't want to wait to keep playing, you have to pay. (See also: Top 5 Smartphones)

Forget about how they make money off this model… all I care about is that you can play some great games for free. Games like "Fifa 14," "Real Racing 3," "Temple Run," "Bejeweled," and "Candy Crush Saga."

8. Go Old School

Technology is great and everything, but there's something to be said about hooking up the system you grew up playing games on and reliving the olden days.

You can pick up an old Nintendo NES on eBay for $40-$60 with a bunch of games. Heck, you might even get one for even cheaper at a yard sale or something.

Either way, you can't beat this option when it comes to cost and the nostalgia factor.

Video games don't have to cost a lot, you just have to know where to look.

Let me know in the comments where else readers can find a great deal for their gaming fix.

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Guest's picture
Guest

Hey, you should definitely check out the Humble Bundle sales. Those are pretty much the best way for me to purchase games.

Guest's picture
ElwoodJD

Never heard of FatWallet or the CheapSkate so I'll definitely check those out.

But besides Steam and GOG's regular deals, the best community for getting tips on console gaming deals on physical products is:

CheapAssGamer.com

Your welcome!

Guest's picture
Coop33

Goozex doesn't work how you described. You "sell" games for points. Then exchange the points + trade tokens for other peoples games. Points can only be gained by "selling" games. You never get your game back, ie not lending.

Meg Favreau's picture

Thanks for the heads up! We've updated the piece.

Guest's picture
David

Meg, you can have Carlos update this article to be twice as long. :) Gamer's Gate and Desura are Steam alternatives; Humble Bundle, Indie Gala, Indie Royale, Bundle Stars are game deal sites that occasionally have gems (many of which can be activated on Steam).

Slickdeals.net (probably like FatWallet- never used it) and Kotaku.com's daily moneysaver posts are what I primarily use, and cheapassgamer.com is apparently another go-to place. Gamefly.com and EA.com also have occassional sales. For Steam, use the enhanced steam extension and/or steamgamesales.com to make sure you get the best deal.

Guest's picture
Guest

Atari reissued its old console with a huge number of games. Those are old (over 30 years old now), many are now corny and outmoded -- but they are basic and often classic -- for under $50.