What Should I Consider When Buying a Video Game?

wiseGEEK Writer

There are a number of considerations when purchasing a video game. A lot depends, of course, on whether the video game is a gift, or for personal use. More considerations include cost, system requirements, and personal taste.

Family-friendly video games are rated E, meaning "everyone."
Family-friendly video games are rated E, meaning "everyone."

If you are buying the video game for big fan of games, you should check to make sure you won’t be duplicating a game the person already owns. If you can’t depend upon a parent or spouse to give you this information, you might want to research a few games and strike up, as casually as possible, a conversation with the giftee. Something like, “I heard Frank say, that ‘game title’ was an awesome game. Have you played it?” You will probably only be able to get away with a few queries. So when dealing with a single adult who plays a lot of games, try to research by asking mutual friends who are video game fans.

Computer video games often require high-end graphics cards.
Computer video games often require high-end graphics cards.

When you can’t be sure, never purchase a used game. Return policies on new games usually allow one to exchange unopened games for others. Alternately, you could purchase a gift certificate so the person can chose a video game for him or herself. Most new video games cost between 40-50 US dollars (USD).

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If you are purchasing a video game for a child, you should definitely consider video game ratings. E rated games are usually quite tame, with little to no violence. An E-10 video game is suitable for children above the age of ten. T games are for those 13 and older. Avoid games that are labeled MA for mature, or AO for adults only. Also, consult the parents’ wishes, as some teen games may have mild cartoonish violence that the parents find unobjectionable.

Of great importance when purchasing a video game is whether the video game will play with yours or someone else’s gaming system. Major gaming systems include the Nintendo Game Cube, the Playstation 2, the X-Box, and of course a video game can also be purchased for play on the computer. Most games are labeled with the appropriate game system. If you are looking for a computer video game, be certain that your computer has the correct memory and system requirements, or the game is useless. For example, if you have a Mac computer, read the fine print on the back of the cover to be certain your computer meets the minimum system requirements or is even usable on the Mac.

If you are trying out a new system, the Internet has terrific sites with video game reviews so you can select the type of game that will be most appealing to you. As well, there are video game review magazines that can guide you toward a good choice. Solicit reviews from friends who are avid gamers, as they will also be an excellent resource. Most of the current systems are several years old. Both Nintendo and Playstation will soon release new gaming machines, but older machines mean more game choice. Some of the oldest games for a system may be the best ones to choose.

Many companies resell used games, which translates to less expense to the consumer. Usually video games that are resold are of good quality, though they may be missing instruction manuals. Price difference is significant, with most used games selling for half the price of new games. So before advancing 50 USD for a new game, check to see if you can get the game used. Even stores like the Internet Amazon.com, offer used games for reduced prices.

Some console gamers consider how the game might look on their television.
Some console gamers consider how the game might look on their television.

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