How To Make Sure You Don’t Buy A Crap Game as a Present

How To Make Sure You Don’t Buy A Crap Game as a Present

Alright, so here’s the deal. I know that there are a lot of parents out there who have absolutely no idea what videogaming is all about. Heck, even if you are a gamer, you might be big into shooters while your friends are big into RPGs. No one knows everything there is to know about every video game on the market. Unfortunately, that means that there is always a chance that you’ll end up buying a bum present for a loved one when you walk out of that Gamestop. But we here at Cheat Code Central have come up with a few simple guidelines that you can follow and minimize failures when buying video games as presents. We are going to assume you didn’t flat out ask your loved one what game they wanted, because that would be the easy thing to do.

1. Avoid Licensed Titles

A good rule of thumb is that licensed titles, no matter how awesome the license, blow. There are a few exceptions like Alien: Isolation, but most of the time licensed titles are made on small budgets with huge time constraints. It doesn’t even matter if you are purchasing games for a child who really really really really really likes that Disney movie the game is based on, it’s going to suck, and it might even ruin their love for the original licensed property. Stick to original games unless you know for sure the game you are looking to buy is already a quality title.

2. Read Reviews…. All the Reviews

A lot of people don’t trust reviews these days, and a lot of that comes from people reading one review and being steered wrong. Reading reviews is like doing research. You should read reviews from multiple sources. Read the highest scored review and the lowest scored review to see all the best and the worst the game has to offer. Read fan reviews, no matter how poorly written, to see what initial reactions to the game are like. Then, once you’ve heard every side of the argument, make an informed decision. A universally loved shooter may not be a good decision if your loved one doesn’t like shooting gallery mechanics, and a universally loved cinematic game may not be a great buy if your loved one things cut scenes are boring.

3. Developers are Like Brands

Do a little bit of research on which developers have a good track record. You can be fairly certain that Infinity Ward games will be decently competent military shooters and that Platinum Games will make fun action games. If at all possible, try to find out the developer of a game that your loved one already likes. Buying another game from that developer is probably a good bet.

4. Always Move Forward in Time

I hate to say it, but gamers always want the new and shiny. If your loved one likes Call of Duty and has been playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, going back in time to buy them Call of Duty: Ghosts is probably a bad idea. Conversely, the most recent installment of any franchise you know your loved one is a fan of is probably a great idea. The one exception to this rule is going far, far back in time. If your loved one likes Final Fantasy XIII and never played Final Fantasy VI, that’s a neat gift, but then again you still run the risk of them immediately dismissing a game with inferior graphics.

5. Make Absolutely Certain You Know What Consoles Your Loved One Has

One of the biggest failings when buying video games as presents is simply not knowing what consoles your loved one owns. The PS3 is not the same as the PS4. The Xbox 360 is not the same as the Xbox One. The PSP and the PS Vita are two different things. Most importantly, the Wii and the Wii U are two different consoles, no matter how confusing that may seem. Don’t just say “Xbox,” “PlayStation,” or “Wii” at the counter because that isn’t enough info. A game bought for a console your loved one doesn’t have is basically a paperweight.

How To Make Sure You Don’t Buy A Crap Game as a Present

6. Figure Out What Online Services Your Loved One Subscribes To

To be able to play some of the best games of this generation, you need to have an online subscription. Getting a primarily online game for someone when they don’t have PlayStation Plus is kind of like saying “Merry Christmas, now spend 50 bucks a year forever!” If you are going to go this route, a more tactful thing to do is to purchase a year’s subscription to the appropriate online service along with the game. Yes, this makes the present a bit more expensive, but it’s a guarantee that you won’t put your loved one in a position to spend more of their own money just to appreciate what you gave.

7. Peripherals Are Always a Good Idea

You can never have enough controllers. Chances are, your loved one won’t have 4 controllers for whatever platform they game on, and even if they did having a spare just in case is still a good idea. Not to mention, spare controllers can always be used as PC controllers. If your loved one plays fighting games or shooters, consider getting them special controllers for that genre, like a gaming mouse or KBAM converter for shooters, or an arcade stick for fighting games. Even getting someone a PlayStation Camera or Kinect when they don’t have one will make their console that much cooler.

8. Avoid Used Games If You Can

Used games are a great way to save money, don’t get me wrong, but purchasing them requires a lot of research. You have to be sure that the copy you are getting isn’t scratched or defective.  A lot of stores say they check for this when the game is sold back but, more often than not, tends to be a lie. You have to be sure that you are even getting the game you paid for. There are just too many things that can go wrong when purchasing used games. It may cost a bit more, but purchasing new games let you avoid all of these troubles all at once.

9. Ask Store Workers

Most game store employees aren’t assholes. If you say, “I need to purchase a game for my son,” usually they will help you out. They will ask you questions like “what games does he like, how old is he, what systems does he own?” and generally they will lead you to a good decision. What they won’t do, however, is stop you if you are making a bad decision. If you walk up to them with one of the worst games of the year… like Sonic Boom… and attempt to purchase it, they aren’t going to tell you no. They aren’t your insurance policy but they can be a helping hand if you are confused.

10. Play Some Games Yourself

One of the most satisfying things about giving videogames as presents, is introducing gamers to awesome games they may not have tried. That means that you too have to do some game playing yourself. Maybe you’ll find an awesome indie hit that no one was noticing. Maybe you’ll turn them on to a deeply artistic game they never considered before. Maybe you’ll further their addiction to the point that they start looking at pro gaming. The key to gift giving, in general, is to get something they want but would never get for themselves.

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