How To Save Money On Games

When you buy computer games in a store, the typical price is either $20 or $30.  Several years later, a game MIGHT be re-released in a very small, flat box the size of a CD case, with the price marked down to $10.  Nice, but still pricey, if you want to play a lot of games.  At those prices, six games will cost you between $60 and $180!!!  Yikes!  And… you can’t test them before you buy them, so how do you know if you’re even going to like them?

That’s where Big Fish Games comes in.  They are a game distributor — the biggest, I believe — and they sell more games than you’ll every find in any store — more games than any store could ever display — thousands of titles — and all of them (with very few exceptions) can be tested beforehand!

Big Fish games are the same as the games that the stores sell, but without the disks & boxes.  You just download the game onto your computer.  You can download it again if you get another computer (I believe up to five times, but I’ll have to check that).  (And by the way, if you want a hard copy of the game, Big Fish will burn one for you for $1 extra, but I’ll tell you more about that later because I know a secret.)

But back to saving money…

To get the best prices, you should become a Big Fish Member.  This is how it works: You give them a credit card or debit card number, and on the 28th of the month they charge you $6.99 and give you a Big Fish Game Credit.

You don’t have to use the Game Credit right away, because it doesn’t expire, so you can search at your leisure, or you can wait for a new game to be released that you might want more.  You can also save the Game Credit and combine it with next month’s Game Credit to buy a special Collector’s Edition game.  (See “Frequently-Asked Questions” under “Tips For Newcomers & New Game Players” for an explanation of the Collector’s Edition games).

But it gets better… because for every game you purchase, you get free punches on a virtual Punch Card.*  One punch for any Standard Edition game and three punches for any Collector’s Edition game.  Collect six punches in a calendar month and you automatically receive an email with a special Code* enabling you to get a FREE Standard Edition game of your choice.  (Standard Edition games are the regular games that the stores sell, and since every Collector’s Edition game has a SE version, that means you can get a version of any and every one of the thousands of games in Big Fish’s inventory.)

And it gets even better… Every day, Big Fish Games offers two different Standard Edition games, for just $2.99 each!  One is called a “Daily Deal” and is found on the right side of your screen, on the PC Games page,   Big Fish Games – PC Games   and that one lasts for just a day; and the other is called the “Catch of the Week” and is found on the lower left side of the page, and that one lasts through Sunday night.  (All prices expire at midnight, Pacific Time).  And even though you get those games for less than half the regular Big Fish price, you still get a Punch Card punch!

But hold on, there’s more…

Remember those Collector’s Edition games?  They cost 2 Game Credits but they earn you 3 punches!  That’s half a Punch Card, right there!

I think this next part is fascinating, and I can’t believe they do it, but they do, and you’re not going to believe it either, when it happens to you:  When you redeem the Game Code that you got for filling a Punch Card with six punches, you get a FREE game, for which they give you another Punch Card punch!!!  Are they crazy?!!

And here’s where it gets absolutely amazing…

I buy, on average, one game a week.  I’m on a tight budget, so I keep a list of the games I want, and I wait until they go on sale.  In fact, I watch those Daily Deals like a hawk, because $2.99 is a great price, if you ask me — that’s just three bucks a week.  That gives me 4 punches at the end of the month, and if I get 2 more, I get a free game, so I’ll make sure I’ve purchased 6 of those Daily Deals by the last day of the month, you better believe it… because that’s not 6 but 7 games for $18!!!  Remember, 6 games fills a Punch Card and gets you another game for FREE!  That makes 7 games!

I could go on and on with examples that have amazed me, like when they had a “buy one, get one FREE” sale on Game Credits(!!!) at which time I bought as many as I could afford, and hoarded them until they had a “buy one, get one FREE” on Collector’s Edition (CE) games.  This was the best ever, and I hope it happens again, and soon: When I used those Game Credits I got on sale, the first $13.00 CE game cost me $6.99, the second game was free, the two together filled an entire Punch card at 3 punches each, and that got me a Game Code, that arrived the next day in my email, for a free game.  So, for $6.99 I got two games worth $13.99 each, plus a $6.99 game for FREE, giving me total of $35 worth of games (actually worth $80 if I’d bought them in a store!) for just $7 !!!  I couldn’t believe it.

So of course I blew my entire stockpile of Game Credits, and got so many games that it’ll take me a year to play them all!




* Please note that there’s a difference between Credits and Punch Card Codes: You’ve paid for the Credits and they’re yours to use as you wish, on any games of any category, Standard or Collector’s Edition.  And Credits don’t expire until you use them, no matter how long you’ve kept them.  Punch Card Codes (“PCC”), on the other hand, are like free thank-you gifts, and they have restrictions attached: they can only be used on Standard games, and they will expire, two months after you receive them.