SO YOU THINK VIDEOGAMES ARE EXPEN$$$IVE???

Another great title for this article would be "How To Instantly Convince Your Parents Into Buying You A New Game Console And They'll Think It's A Steal" but unfortunately that title wouldn't fit above.

Games are expensive. Game consoles are expensive. Heck the Xbox and PS2 still retail at over $200. Videogame software retails at $50 or more a pop. Ouch right? The new Xbox 360 will surely retail around $300-$400 when it launches later this Fall, thanks to absolutely no competition from Sony or Nintendo in the immediate future. Bill Gates wants his investment money back and he's going to personally allow YOU to put up the cash for it. Trust me on that. No one will be getting a deal on the Xbox 360.

How do you convince Mom & Dad, just Mom, just Dad or any other responsible guardian to release their hard earned dough to upgrade you from Uncle Larry's alcohol and nacho stained SNES to an Xbox, Cube, PS2, PSP, DS, GBA or any other system that strikes your fancy? It's not easy. You've tried I'm sure and their answer has always been "Let's wait until those prices drop. I'm not spending $200 on a videogame system...that's RIDICULOUS!"

I'm not spending $200 on a videogame system...that's RIDICULOUS!"

Ridiculous? Is it really? This is the part where I come in. You see, a little known secret is that videogame systems have always been insanely expensive. And surprise!! Those really crappy game systems your dad keeps waxing poetic about, like Pong, Atari VCS (2600), Intellivision, Colecovision and Sega Master System....those were the most expensive videogame systems in history!! Seriously!!

Remember Pong? I do. You could hook it up to your TV and play the first home videogame ever released. It was in black and white, cost an arm and a leg, and as an added bonus the image would burn itself into your set and you could watch a virtual Pong match forever! Of course only kings and queens could afford such luxuries such as these newfangled techno entertainment time wasters.....or is that true? My family owned a Pong game and we weren't rich. But I have since figured out that the reason we weren't rich is because we owned a Pong game system.

"Taking inflation into account a Pong game system that sold for $199 in 1975 is equal to $745.38 in 2005 funds"

Check this out. Taking inflation into account, a Pong game system that sold for $199 in 1975 is equal to $745.38 in 2005 funds. Think of how many powder blue polyester suit jackets or Avacodo Green kitchen drapes that cash could have bought! Dad & Mom really did do without, didn't they? Do you want proof of these insane prices? Check out the screenshots of the catalog scans.

Did your parents have Pong? Maybe not. But I bet they had Atari or Intellivision or Colecovision or maybe even an NES. Well, toss this information into your arsenal and march right into the living room, swat the Hustler mag out of dear old Dad's hands and let him have it with both barrels. He probably thinks those games didn't cost all that much back then, after all, he wasn't buying them...your grandparents were! Imagine dear old dad, wasting his life away on Space Invaders, Adventure or even worse, E.T.!

An Atari VCS system in 1979 sold for a whopping $289!! And the most popular games like Space Invaders were $46.99! Once again using inflation, that $289 and $46.99 in 1979 is equivalent to $818.37 and $133.06 respectively! And they think an Xbox and Halo 2 is going to break the bank today? They totally owe you dude! Your grandparents were dropping loads of cash on your parents videogame habits and now you're getting the short end of the videogame stick. Tell them, for shame! Did the Atari play DVDs? Could it go online? Could it do anything but sit there and suck all day?

Same deal with the Intellivision, the Colecovision and that gameplaying albatross that connected to it, the Adam computer. My dad bought the Colecovision system for me for Christmas in 1982. He spent $300 on it. The following year he bought the Adam computer for, are you sitting down? $900!! In todays cash that would equal $2327! Almost $2500 was spent so I could waste my life playing BC's Quest For Tires and some lame ass Buck Rogers game, on tape! Yeah, the coolest games were on tape casette back then. Man...that takes me back. Good times....good times....

In a completely bizarre twist, ask your mom or dad if $78 was a lot of money back in 1980. They'll probably say "No." Then go in for the kill and tell them that a game system that sells for $200 today would have sold for $78 in 1980!

Faithful readers of my stuff might remember me mentioning numerous times over the years that I paid exactly $321 for the right to play the cool new Sega Genesis system in the fall of 1989 and $350 to nab a SNES in 1991. I was making about $8 an hour back then, which even today is pretty good since the minimum wage isn't there yet (17 years later). Using the same model of inflation, in 2005 terms, I paid $500.35 for the Genesis and $493.00 for the Super Nintendo. A little known fact, when Phantasy Star II came out in 1990, I paid $108 for it. No word of a lie. That's $160 today!! And I didn't even like it! What a sucker.

Let's fast forward to 1995. The PlayStation retailed for $350 US when it hit stores. While inflation hasn't really bumped up that price ten years later, it's still a considerable amount of money for something you wouldn't probably use as a doorstop today right?

But that's the whole problem with technology, isn't it? What's expensive today, is tomorrows garage sale fodder. In 5 years the Xbox 360 will look like old technology and chances are you won't even be able to look at Halo 2 without wanting to puke because the graphics will suck so hard and the gameplay will be lacking compared to the what you're playing in 2010.

In the grand scheme of things, game systems today have never been cheaper and they offer much more functionality than they ever have. Using a reverse inflation model, that Xbox 360 that might retail at $500 would have sold for $164 in 1978, the year the Atari VCS appeared. As we already know, the Atari system retailed for $290 in 1978 and we know that mom or dad had one of those at home. But maybe you're going to the wrong people here. Mom and dad probably didn't know how much cash grandma and grandpa laid out for them so they could rot their brains with Asteroids, Combat and Space Invaders. Maybe it's time to hit up your grandparents.....they obviously had no problems dropping cash on such frivolous expenditures.

So now it's time for you to be creative. I've armed you with enough ammo and information to frighten an accountant (albeit a very nervous and not very smart one). If you play your cards just right, you might be able to convince the powers that be that gaming has always been an expensive pasttime, but it's never been cheaper than it is today. Good luck!

By Vaughn