No matter which way you swing it, video game consoles cost a lot of money. Even the more bargain-priced systems like the Wii and the Xbox 360 Arcade still leave a dent in your wallet at the end of the day, but most people just accept that as part of being a gamer. The Bargain Bin is here to disprove that idea. This week, we’re going to look at some hardware options that will allow you to play your game with some change to spare.
AV28G 2GB Portable Gaming System
Never heard of this bad boy? Neither had I until recently, but I’ve been itching to get my hands on one and it’s not hard to see why. The AV28G sports a whole slew of features such as MP3/MP4 capability, built-in DVR, camera, and camcorder capability, a voice recorder, and best of all, a built-in library of 960 retro games. Yes, you read correctly. 960. Now rest assured that this collection, which is essentially a third of the entire NES library and is dominated by trashy games that only a collector could appreciate, also includes a number of the best games Nintendo’s breakthrough console had to offer. Some of the finer titles include:
* Bubble Bobble
* Castlevania 1-3
* Double Dragon 1-3
* Dragon Warrior 1-4
* Final Fantasy 1-3
* The Legend of Zelda
* Life Force
* Mega Man 1-6
* Metal Gear 1 & 2
* Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!
* Ninja Gaiden 1-3
* Ultima 1-5
Quite a list, huh? And that’s only a fraction of the total list. The best part of this handheld is its unbelievable price. The AV28G sells for a mere $69.99 and it’s all legal and legit. If you’re looking for any sort of gift for fans of retro gaming, or just gaming in general, this wouldn’t a bad idea.
Game Boy Advance
While the original Game Boy Advance was replaced by the superior SP version of the handheld, it would be good for the various bargain shoppers out there to remember that the Advance has essentially the same capabilities, just planted in a different design. And I know, it might seem a bit silly to be talking about the values of the Advance when the DS has already been the standard for several years, but it’s important to remember the Advance’s high quality game library, and better yet, that many of these games still are even in mainstream game stores. Furthermore, the ability to play games from the original Game Boy era is a nice feature. It is a bit redundant nowadays, but it’s still nice to have for those gamers who don’t mind older graphics. The original Advance is available at Amazon used for a little less than thirty dollars as of this moment. Of course, if one would prefer the SP, it is still available, as is the Micro (though it lacks the Game Boy backwards compatibility), but the original is the cheapest model on the market and still does the job pretty well.
A lot of people have criticized the Wii for its severe lack of hardcore-tailored games. That being said, the Gamecube had more than its fair share of quality titles and if you’re that type of person who would rather not spend two hundred and fifty bucks on a console that will probably spend more time collecting dust than being played, but still want a taste of Nintendo goodness, the Gamecube is still available in many GameStop and EB Games stores for around thirty to fifty dollars. Additionally, you can pick up a slew of the best Gamecube games for around the same price you would pay for a single new current generation game. A lot of people tout the price point of the PS2 and its stellar library, but forget about the Gamecube and how insanely cheap it has become.
It might seem odd to have the most expensive console on the market featured in the Bargain Bin, but as a happy PS3 owner, it saddens me a bit that the four hundred dollar price tag has been holding so many otherwise interested gamers back from experiencing the numerous quality titles unique to the system. With sales less than stellar — though not really bad — a price drop is probably on its way eventually, but for the moment if you want a PS3 the price is still too much for too many people. That being said, depending on where you buy it, what model you’re seeking, and moreover, how you feel about used hardware, you can easily lop anywhere from 50-80 dollars off of the price.
For instance, I’m looking at eBay as I write this, and a new 40GB PS3 can be found for $320. An 80GB runs about $350. If you’re more interested in some of the older, and arguably superior models, a 20GB model with backwards compatibility can be bought now for $330. My point is that if you really want an affordable PS3, there are options, and while the above-mentioned 20GB hard drive might seem a bit scant, one of the selling points of the PS3 has long been the ease with which one can replace the hard drives depending on their personal tastes.
A price drop is expected for the PS3 but not guaranteed, and with a slew of great exclusives already released and on the horizon, it would be a shame for gamers to be denied access because of a price tag. So for those with the interest, but lacking the cash, shopping around might be the answer. Amazon and eBay alone are often great alternatives for better prices.