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Why It’s Smart to Be 10 Years Behind in Gaming

Photo: Dado Photos (Shutterstock)The year is 2011; Bethesda has released Skyrim, Nintendo puts out two Zelda titles, and Valve publishes Portal 2. All in all, it was a pretty fantastic year for gaming. Now, in 2021, pretending like its 2011 is not only a fantastic way to forget about this absolutely dreadful year, it’s also…

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Photo: Dado Photos (Shutterstock)

The year is 2011; Bethesda has released Skyrim, Nintendo puts out two Zelda titles, and Valve publishes Portal 2. It was a great year for gaming. Now, in 2021, pretending like its 2011 is not only a fantastic way to forget about this absolutely dreadful year, it’s also a smart gaming strategy.

What I’m proposing is to ignore most modern games and game consoles and to spend your time and money on previous-gen systems. PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii and Wii U (yes, really); all of these consoles have great game libraries, and could provide just as much, if not more, enjoyment and entertainment than the games releasing today.

You will save a lot of money

In order to play the latest consoles, you, of course, need one of the latest consoles. It is notoriously hard to find the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. If you casually browse a department store’s tech pages, you will likely not find one. You can use tracking sites to be alerted to new deals or simply call to see if there are any brick-and-mortar stores that have them in stock.

Sony even has a system that

allows you to sign up for the chance to buy a PS5 during a specific window
(imagine that, the privilege to buy a product). Even Nintendo Switches are becoming harder and harder to find. However, once you find one of these consoles you will have to pay the full price tag for current-gen models.

Now, consider getting into, say, the PS3. You can pick up one of these classic consoles for a fraction of the cost of a PS5, or even a PS4 (the latter is, surprisingly, very expensive to find online). You might even know someone who has stopped using their console. This is a huge advantage to old gaming hardware. Many people let their consoles sit in their basement for a while. They might sell it to someone for a fair price, or they may let you borrow it.

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Let’s continue the thought experiment, and turn to games. You can find used PS3 games for as low as $5 83 c2bb8ea4:g:r AAOSwRSVhuXyF” rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>You can experience gems like The Last of Us for $10, Dark Souls for $9, and Uncharted for $5. Even a sealed copy of GTA V on PS3 goes for only $20 on eBay.

When you buy games for current systems, you tend to spend a lot. Sure, there are deals and discounts (especially on Steam), but brand new, AAA games often charge $60-70, long after a game comes out. Nintendo, for one, hardly drops the price on its main-stays; while Breath of the Wild is currently on sale through Amazon, Super Mario Odyssey costs $50, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still charges $60.

You can learn from the past

Since modern gaming is so expensive, many of us lean on reviews to guide us through the buying process. Pre-orders and early access are a great way to ensure that you don’t spend too much on a game.

You don’t have that problem when you’re a generation or two removed. The games released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 (or the PS4 and Xbox One), have been played, reviewed, and revisited many times over. You can start your collection journey by simply searching the internet. While these lists are not the end-all-be-all, they can be an excellent starting point to find the best games for your Wii U, or to launch your experience with collecting for the Xbox 360.

Sometimes games that were overlooked upon their release gain a following and respect over time; other times, games that were lauded didn’t actually age all too well, and might not be the best place for you to start or to spend your money. You can let both these situations play out so you have the best of both.

The games out today will always be there

I love saving money, and I love having great historical advice on what to play first, but above all, it’s comforting to know that these games will all still be here whenever I finally get around to playing them. There’s no need to track down and pay full-price for a PS5 right now; I haven’t even played all my PS4 games!

I’m not saying you have to wait 10 years to check out the PS5; even one generation removed can make either the console, the games, or the entire package a much more affordable experience. Some of us will want to stay at the forefront of gaming’s best practices, which is fine. It’s okay to be able to look back at the past for those who have a lot of old games that we haven’t started yet.

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