Playing Catch Up

One of the difficulties I face in trying to review games is that games are expensive. I am not particularly wealthy, so I don’t often purchase new games, making my efforts to review games somewhat more difficult. Eventually many game reviewers enjoy the opportunity to receive review copies of games prior to release from the marketing departments of game publishers and developers, but until GameFamily reaches a level of recognition where those publishers and developers begin to take interest I must rely on my own ability to finance my continued endeavors.

The Solution?

 

A few months ago I was turned on to GameFly, a game rental website often described as Netflix for video games. For a nominal monthly fee GameFly allows me to rent games for any of the current generation of game systems and keep them until I have am ready to return them. I’ve found that this is a great way to play through games that I wouldn’t normally have the funds to purchase.

The Down Side

While GameFly carries all of the latest games for all of the current generation systems it can be very difficult to get those games shipped to you. The availability of newer games is relatively low, as GameFly obviously doesn’t have the resources to provide copies of the newest games to all of its members, and while the site currently boasts that it currently is shipping 93% of its members a game in the top five of their queues, that has not been the case for me. In some cases I’ve been shipped games from deep in my queue, due primarily to the top of my queue being filled with recent releases.

An additional downside to the GameFly service has been the dreadful turn around time. On average it has taken six days from the day I return a game to the post office to the day the next game arrives. I have been lead to believe that this is a failure on the part of my local post office, as GameFly has recently addopted a Rapid Return program that registers the game as returned as soon as it is scanned in at the post office, but only if your postal service is quipped to handle the program. My last game drop didn’t register as returned until four days after I dropped it off. When you are paying for a month of service, a week without a game is a large chunk of what you are paying for.

On the Bright Side

While there is really no upside to being without a game while you continue to pay for the service, I can at least look on the bright side of not being sent the newest games in my queue. There are a LOT of great games that have come out in the past couple of years that I have not had the chance to play yet, and GameFly has given me that opportunity. While waiting for some newer releases to become available I have had the opportunity to catch up on the Gears of War series, play the dreadful Epic Mickey, and enjoy Bulletstorm slightly more than I should have.

The Conundrum

Where this leaves me with an issue as a game reviewer is that I am consistently playing games that have been out long enough to have books worth of reviews written on them. I am left with the decision to risk writing reviews on games that parents have either already made decisions on or that game players have already moved past, or to write reviews only when I am capable of getting the latest games. At this point I am not sure where to go from here.

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Author: AxiomXIII View all posts by
  • Anonymous

    Josh,
    The perfect solution to you conundrum would be for you to have a fundraiser of your own, You could put up a free game as the winning prize to whoever sells the most. I happen to know a great fundraising campaign through Celebrating Home. Sign up all your gamers for a chance to win some free stuff and you would get a nice profit to go toward purchasing new games. Everybody wins.