Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Video Game Abyss!!!!

Ok, here’s the prickly, semi-poisonous thorn in my tushy (no, it’s not Obama!). Four kids of video game age and two working their way up. The oldest gets $20.00/wk allowance, the next two get $10/wk each and the 4th gets $6/wk. Every week, if not several times a week; then again, sometimes everyday, the trip to the various video game stores. It’s vital that one with a gaming system have the latest game; especially when it’s one of the LEGO or COD franchise games (above all though, one of the 150,000 GTA games). This part of life I can deal with. It’s the math that’s killing me.

In recent years I count 29 gaming systems I’ve either purchased outright, or assisted in buying for the kids:

Nintendo 64 (3)
GameCube (2)
XBOX(5 - conservatively)
XBOX 360(3)
DS[i](7 – no joke)

That’s $4,295! Today’s Kelly Blue Book on my 2003 Ford Ranger is $2,034. $4,295 doesn’t cover the colossal quantity of controllers, the mega mega-bytes of memory cards, the big, bloated bushels of batteries and least not, the vast, voluminous library of the very video games themselves. I’d hate to think what the total would be if I added gasoline to the equation for going to and fro the video store.

Ok ok ok. I know! What if I didn’t have geeks for kids and they were all into sports. I could probably come up with the same figures for sporting equipment, travel expenses etc.. However, I don’t think I’d be spending most of my waking hours scheming with kids about what they can sell/trade to come up with enough money to get the next “thing”

The big part of the story… the thorny math!!!!

Last weekend my eldest wanted to trade some video games so he could raise the monies for a DSi [that’ll make number 8]. We calculated what we paid for each of games (some new, some used). We came up with $100ish. After looking online we found that buying them used, at the lower average bottom prices from various sites, today’s cost would be $46 for the collection. From there we estimated that the trade-in-value would be about $20. So, off we went to the video game store. To our shock, awe, dismay, bewilderment and puzzlement, the sales clerk at Bullmoose, with platitudinous perfection, offered $4. $4? I say. “We’ll, not really” she replies. “$4 in-store credit or, $3.20 in cash”. I watched the blood drain from my son’s face.

Alright, I wasn’t really in shock and awe. I’m witness to these stores plundering my kids’ video game assets like vile, hungry, wicked wolves who’ve just come across a wildebeest in the Alaskan tundra after 30 days without food. But, how do I really feel? Every business has a right to make a profit. So, here’s my solution:

I’m putting together a site where kids can sell, buy, or swap, even steven, their video game consoles, games and accessories. The fee: $1/yr to cover the cost of maintenance.

I’ll gladly take your opinions on this idea.

For my family, I think if I spend two weeks coding and designing the site, I’ll be financially ahead of the game by summer. From there, I’d think families from coast to coast would save oodles.

Ok, so why not eBay,, Craigslist, etc.? Well, eBay has become the poor-white-section of the internet. is a place where you can find some good and honest deals. For kids trading games though, it’s not really set up for that. Craigslist… sure, it’s just hit or miss for video games and accoutrements.

So, why not