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New to PC Games - Where to Buy?


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#1 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:54 AM

I haven't played PC games since Doom and Quake (with X-Men skin mods), so that should give you a little perspective. I got older, got other hobbies, and got boring.

A couple years ago, I got into console gaming, especially Xbox 360. Then I discovered GFWL, and I can earn "Achievements" for playing PC games as well. That's great and provides me with the exact bait I needed to get interested in PC gaming again.

The problem - my home PC can't handle current games. Fortunately, my workplace is giving me a new laptop (specifically THIS LAPTOP). While not the biggest beast on the block, it will certainly handle whatever GFWL games I want to play.

Now the question is, where do I buy my games? I know about Valve's Steam and Direct2Drive. Are there any other places I should shop (download or disc)? Is there any other noob advice/warnings I should know before trying to make the transition back into PC gaming?

Any help is appreciated. :)
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#2 Salamando3000

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:44 AM

Always willing to lend some support to those looking to enter (or re-enter) the world of PC Gaming.

First thing's first. You specifically mentioned GFWL and achievements. The number of games that use GFWL is only a very small subset of PC games. Also, there are games with a Games for Windows label that aren't part of Live, and as such don't have achievements (see Spider Man: Friend or Foe for an example).

It's also worth mentioning that many games on Steam have achievements as well. Only difference is Steam doesn't really assign a point value and assign gamerscores.


Now then, as for where to find games.

You know about Steam already. That's good. They're probably one of the more popular places to get PC games right now, especially since they just got done with a monumentally huge sale, quite possibly the deal event of last year. Most major releases come in Four packs, which contain four passes for the same game, at a cheaper price per game. Usually not to hard to find three other people and grab a game for less than msrp.

Big Lots and Half Price Books are surprisingly good places to score some cheap PC games. You won't find anything too recent, but I've been able to score a number of <10 dollar games there.

Target's clearance section can be a nice place to score some PC games on the cheap. I think most will be fairly cleared out right now, but within the past 2 months you could find Resident Evil 5 and Demigod for ~ 10 bucks.

Every now and again GoGamer.com has some decent games for sale. Their shipping is on the high side, so it tends to only be worth it if you can find multiple titles to get.


#3 SEH

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:46 AM

Steam is by far the best place to get PC games. Most of their first party games (stuff made by Valve) feature achievements, and a lot of other games on their platform do as well. Granted, Steam achievements are pretty worthless as they don't really accumulate.

I'd steer clear of Direct2Drive. Their servers are pretty crappy, and their overall support just isn't there like it is with Steam. Not to mention, Steam has ridiculously awesome sales on the reg.

As for buying stuff on actual disc, any Gamestop, Best Buy, etc... will suffice.

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#4 Psykodelik

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:53 AM

Target's clearance section can be a nice place to score some PC games on the cheap. I think most will be fairly cleared out right now, but within the past 2 months you could find Resident Evil 5 and Demigod for ~ 10 bucks.


Really!?! Damn, I too just got back into PC gaming and I've been really interested in getting both of those games. I guess I'll go and check my Targets tomorrow and see if any are left.
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#5 Megazell

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:11 AM

Check out my thread on Free and Legal PC Games before you start dropping $ on games :)

http://www.cheapassg...ad.php?t=244468

Once you are done there I highly recommend you check out online reviews before purchasing.

When you do decide to purchase these are some of the following retail places where you can get PC game on the cheap but of the highest quality:

Target
Staples
Best Buy

Also many of these stores have coupons in the Sunday paper and/or with subscription to their respective newsletters.

SOMETIMES - Gamestop has deals too.

I would get a free STEAM account and take advantage of their deals.

Since you were use to consoles you may enjoy a Gamepad for your gaming needs. You can get gamepads for as low as $5.00 from Staples and Target for your PC.

Let us know how it goes.

Also you should post up your PC specs.

What OS you on?

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#6 strikeratt

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:52 AM

These are all very good places but also don't forget the trusty flea markets :D Picked up a complete copy of the Battlefield 2 Complete Edition for 5$ a bit back. Tons of other games to of course but that one is a pretty good find :D Oh and Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 with expacs for 5$ ... you know before it went all 3D and not as pretty imo :( Maybe I'll reinstall it and try it again though
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#7 itachiitachi

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:02 AM

You could also go for used games(definatly the route to go if you don't care about multiplayer)in which case ebay/amazon would be the way to go.

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#8 Richard Longfellow

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:02 AM

Big Lots.
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#9 Megazell

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 03:29 PM

Big Lots.


Yeah man! I bought Titan Quest and the expansion as a x-mas gift for a friend for $3.99!

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#10 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:15 PM

You specifically mentioned GFWL and achievements. The number of games that use GFWL is only a very small subset of PC games. Also, there are games with a Games for Windows label that aren't part of Live, and as such don't have achievements (see Spider Man: Friend or Foe for an example).


Thank you for clarifying that. With the help of wikipedia and the gfw forum, I was aware of the GFW / GFWL confusion that a lot of people have. Great info regardless for any PC nobbies that stumbles upon this thread in the future. :)



Steam ... Most major releases come in Four packs, which contain four passes for the same game, at a cheaper price per game. Usually not to hard to find three other people and grab a game for less than msrp.


I stumbled upon THIS THREAD last night, but wasn't sure what they were talking about. So basically if I purchase a game like Fallout 3 on Steam, I could share "passes" with other people that allow them to install and play the full game as well? Is there a time limit or other restrictions?

This definitely sounds like the way to go, at least for newer releases.



Big Lots, Half Price Books, Target's clearance section, GoGamer.com


Great suggestions. It's funny ... I've gotten so used to ignoring the neglected PC game bins at stores I almost don't notice them anymore. This will be a fun new experience. :bouncy:
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#11 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:18 PM

Steam is by far the best place to get PC games. Most of their first party games (stuff made by Valve) feature achievements, and a lot of other games on their platform do as well. Granted, Steam achievements are pretty worthless as they don't really accumulate.

I'd steer clear of Direct2Drive. Their servers are pretty crappy, and their overall support just isn't there like it is with Steam. Not to mention, Steam has ridiculously awesome sales on the reg.


Good to know. I read some Steam vs. D2D discussions on the GFW forums, and Steam definitely seems to be the preferred choice. I already have a great opinion of the service, and I haven't even used it yet. ;)
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#12 Cheaplikeafox OS X

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:21 PM

The Steam Passes are access to CERTAIN Steam games for a limited amount of time. I got a Steam pass for Counterstrike: Source and it allowed me to play the full game for 3 days only.

It is a way to let friends try out the game and buy if they like it.

Passes are not available for all games and are usually available only for games with a focus on online playing - like FPS like Killing Floor, Counterstrike, etc.

I do not know what other games it is available for but I do not think Fallout is one of them.

#13 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:53 PM

Check out my thread on Free and Legal PC Games before you start dropping $ on games :)

http://www.cheapassg...ad.php?t=244468


I also saw that thread last night. Great work on that, Megazell. I'll definitely be downloading all of them, except maybe the racing ones (not a big fan).



Target
Staples
Best Buy

Also many of these stores have coupons in the Sunday paper and/or with subscription to their respective newsletters.


Good to know. I'll be signing up for some newsletters.



Since you were use to consoles you may enjoy a Gamepad for your gaming needs. You can get gamepads for as low as $5.00 from Staples and Target for your PC.


I have a few cheapy PC controllers that I've used for emulators in the past. But I am in love with the Xbox 360 controller (minus d-pad).

I've been using my MadCatz Street Fighter 4 pad to play the free game Tinker (my first GFWL game), and my regular Xbox 360 controller to play my PSP games (first-gen PSP + RemoteJoy). I love it, and it definitely makes me more comfortable transitioning into the PC platform.

I also plan on connecting my laptop to my living room 42" LCD (via HDMI), which will make it basically a console experience. Sitting comfortably in my living room, with an Xbox 360 controller in my hand. I also have an extra keyboard/mouse for the few games I may prefer them for.



Also you should post up your PC specs.

Here's a list of the important stuff. If you're interested, full specs are HERE.

Specifications

Screen Size: 17.3"

Maximum Resolution: 1600 x 900

Memory Type: DDR3

Memory Size: 4GB

Capacity: 320GB

Startup Operating System: Windows® XP Pro

Optional Operating Systems: Windows 7 Professional

Platform: Notebook PC

Expansion Ports: 1 - Express Card Slot/34

Processor Brand: Intel

Processor Class: Core 2 Duo

Processor Type: Dual-Core

Processor Speed: 2.1GHz

Processor Number: T6570

Processor FSB: 800MHz

Processor Cache: 2 MB L2 Cache

Additional Technologies: Intel Centrino Processor Technology

Graphics Description: Dedicated Graphics

GPU/VPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330

Video Memory: 512MB DDR2

Video Interface: HDMI VGA

Optical Drive Type: Blu-Ray/DVDRW with LightScribe Technology

Battery Type: 8-Cell Lithium-ion

Battery Life: Up to 4.5 hours



I'm happy to bypass Vista altogether. Initially, I'll be using XP unless I find an important need to upgrade to Win7. I know some games were developed specifically for Vista and are not compatible with XP. Will Win7 support games designed for Vista?

It's probably also important to mention I'm a fan of 32-bit systems. I know 64-bit opens up more future opportunities, but I also know it experiences a lot of compatibility issues. 32-bit may not be fancy, but I know it will work with what I use. Right now 64-bit makes me nervous.
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#14 Salamando3000

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:54 PM

I stumbled upon THIS THREAD last night, but wasn't sure what they were talking about. So basically if I purchase a game like Fallout 3 on Steam, I could share "passes" with other people that allow them to install and play the full game as well? Is there a time limit or other restrictions?


Passes was probably a poor choice of words on my part. The steam definition of passes refers to what Fox described - essentially temporary demos.

What I meant to say...Most major releases come in Four packs, which contain four copies of the same game, at a cheaper price per game. Usually not too hard to find three other people and grab a game for less than msrp.

Take for example Left 4 Dead 2 (http://store.steampowered.com/app/550/). On Steam's page you'll see it costs 50 bucks, but you can buy four for 150 (~37.50 per game). You find three other people who want the game, you can get a decent discount. Each will be the full-fledged game, in this case.


#15 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 06:26 PM

Passes was probably a poor choice of words on my part. The steam definition of passes refers to what Fox described - essentially temporary demos.

What I meant to say...Most major releases come in Four packs, which contain four copies of the same game, at a cheaper price per game. Usually not too hard to find three other people and grab a game for less than msrp.

Take for example Left 4 Dead 2 (http://store.steampowered.com/app/550/). On Steam's page you'll see it costs 50 bucks, but you can buy four for 150 (~37.50 per game). You find three other people who want the game, you can get a decent discount. Each will be the full-fledged game, in this case.


Oooooh. That makes much more sense. Still a pretty slick deal though, and probably the way I'll approach new releases.

One more question about "passes". Do GFWL games usually include passes? My guess would be no, but I'd like to know for sure. If so, I bet I could beat a game and get most of the achievements in 3 days if I did it over a weekend. ;)
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#16 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 06:32 PM

Another question:

Is it possible to buy/trade/give "used" digital downloaded games? Example: If I'm done playing a game that I purchased from Steam, can I give the license/key to someone else if I uninstall it from my system?

One of the most attractive things about console gaming for me is the ability to trade my games. I would be more cautious about my PC purchases if I knew I couldn't trade them later on.
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#17 Salamando3000

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:02 PM

Is it possible to buy/trade/give "used" digital downloaded games? Example: If I'm done playing a game that I purchased from Steam, can I give the license/key to someone else if I uninstall it from my system?


With games you download from Steam, they are tied to your account forever. You don't get licenses or keys or anything of that nature, so you can't buy/trade/give them away. If you have a hard copy of the game, you can give it away, as long as the game doesn't try to get you to associate that key with an account. There's a reason why the used market for PC games is really small.


#18 SEH

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:10 PM

With games you download from Steam, they are tied to your account forever. You don't get licenses or keys or anything of that nature, so you can't buy/trade/give them away. If you have a hard copy of the game, you can give it away, as long as the game doesn't try to get you to associate that key with an account. There's a reason why the used market for PC games is really small.


What you could do if you really wanted to sell your games from Steam, is create a new account every time you purchase a game. Its a total pain, but that way if you want to sell a game, you just sell the account info. Not really ideal, but that's the only way I know of to sell Steam games.

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#19 Megazell

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:58 PM


I'm happy to bypass Vista altogether. Initially, I'll be using XP unless I find an important need to upgrade to Win7. I know some games were developed specifically for Vista and are not compatible with XP. Will Win7 support games designed for Vista?

It's probably also important to mention I'm a fan of 32-bit systems. I know 64-bit opens up more future opportunities, but I also know it experiences a lot of compatibility issues. 32-bit may not be fancy, but I know it will work with what I use. Right now 64-bit makes me nervous.


To be honest more games work with XP and Windows 7 - Then with Vista.

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#20 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:12 PM

What you could do if you really wanted to sell your games from Steam, is create a new account every time you purchase a game. Its a total pain, but that way if you want to sell a game, you just sell the account info. Not really ideal, but that's the only way I know of to sell Steam games.

Ugh. That is a pain, and no way would I go through that much hassle. I'd rather wait a year and buy the game cheap than create 100 accounts.

Is it possible to "share" a Steam account with someone you trust that lives in another state (or country)?

1 Steam account per PC?
1 Steam account signed in at one time?
1 game playable at 1 time?
Other?

If I can't trade my games, it would be nice to at least "share" my games with friends and family. That may be asking a lot, console gaming has spoiled me. :baby:
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#21 kilm

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:23 PM

Ugh. That is a pain, and no way would I go through that much hassle. I'd rather wait a year and buy the game cheap than create 100 accounts.

Is it possible to "share" a Steam account with someone you trust that lives in another state (or country)?

1 Steam account per PC?
1 Steam account signed in at one time?
1 game playable at 1 time?
Other?

If I can't trade my games, it would be nice to at least "share" my games with friends and family. That may be asking a lot, console gaming has spoiled me. :baby:


He's only saying create 100 different accounts if you plan on playing then selling individual games/accounts.

Yes, you can "share" accounts with other people no matter where they are, but it is against the terms of service. How will they know? They probably won't. If you want the play the same game on the same account on different computers (but not online, multiplayer together), you could probably sign in offline on multiple computers.

No # of PC restrictions (Have as many accounts you want on as many PCs as you want)
1 Steam account logged in at one time.
I actually never tried running two games at once, but I imagine it is possible.

But yes, it is normal and probably expected to share an account with family, especially if they live in the same household. You just have to give them the account information and password.

#22 lilwiggum

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:24 PM


Not to mention, Steam has ridiculously awesome sales on the reg.


If you are new to Steam, I think this is worth repeating. Steam usually has weekend deals and weekly deals. They just had their big holiday sale where every game was on sale. If you aren't in a big hurry, you can save a lot of money by being patient.

#23 nCogNeato

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:46 PM

If you are new to Steam, I think this is worth repeating. Steam usually has weekend deals and weekly deals. They just had their big holiday sale where every game was on sale.


Yeah. Steam's holiday deals was pretty much the determining factor for me to get into PC gaming again. I almost bought the Eidos bundle ($200+ value for $50), but at the time I wasn't sure if I was getting a new laptop or not. By the time I confirmed I was getting it, the sale was over. :cry:



If you aren't in a big hurry, you can save a lot of money by being patient.


That pretty much describes my entire consumer philosophy. I don't have a lot of time for gaming, maybe 10-15 hours per week. So I usually wait and look for older game deals, unless I am excited for a new release.
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#24 lilwiggum

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:26 PM

I almost bought the Eidos bundle ($200+ value for $50), but at the time I wasn't sure if I was getting a new laptop or not. By the time I confirmed I was getting it, the sale was over. :cry:


Those big bundles were exactly what I was thinking about. If you don't have many of the games (and want them), these are about the best deals around IMO. These deals do pop up from time to time.

#25 crystalklear64

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:55 PM

I often enjoy buying my games at places called "stores."

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#26 Megazell

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:47 AM

I often enjoy buying my games at places called "stores."


Yeah but some stores charge too much.

I will take $2.49 over $30 to $50 dollars anyday....actually I am so cheap I would not even pay the $2.49...I am still getting games free and legal games 50 to 100 a day :smh:

But those sales beat store prices like a dead mule on a long trail.

Edited by Megazell, 09 January 2010 - 03:37 AM.

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#27 msdmoney

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:59 AM

I use Steam and GOG for downloadable games.

My main online stores for physical copies are Gogamer, Amazon and Ebay.

Gogamer tends to have really good deals on slightly older (1+ year old) games in the 48 hour madness sales. I've bought a lot of semi-recent PC games for <$5 over the years.

Ebay can be a good place, because the value of PC games drops fast. There are a lot of sellers on ebay who seem to sell games from overstocked inventories.

Amazon is just always competitive.

#28 Jodou

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 04:53 PM

It depends:

Are you buying new releases? If yes, see Amazon.
Do you enjoy actually owning (i.e. physical copy) the game? If yes, see Amazon.
If no to all of the above, see Steam.

#29 Cheaplikeafox OS X

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 05:12 PM

Half Price Books and Big Lots tend to be the places I go for a quick cheap fix. Big Lots is much less consistent since each location is hit or miss and some have no good games at all. HPB consistently stocks good, cheap games - even if they are a little older.

If you do not have a HPB I would check PCGirl's thread and see if her company supplies any stores in your area.

#30 nCogNeato

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 03:14 AM

Thank you, everyone, for your advice.

I've found some great deals online for physical copies (which I think is best for me at this time), and hopefull I'll find some great deals at my local outlets.

If anyone is interested in an open copy of World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade w/ unused Key, I've posted it on my trade list.

Thanks again. :bow:
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