Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

Craigslist.org: it's not just for whores and drug addicts anymore!

Have you been to a store lately? More accurately, have you been to a video game store recently? Jeez, games are expensive! Honestly, how many people are lining up outside of Gamestop to pay $50 for a copy of Champion Jockey?

If you aren't bound and determined to own the latest in cutting-edge horse racing simulations, there are plenty of ways to get more giddyup out of your 50 buckaroos. My favorite way to save is Craigslist.

For the uninitiated, Craigslist, launched in 1995 by San Francisian Craig Newmark, is essentially the Internet's garage sale: mostly a bunch of baby clothes, picture frames with photos of people you don't know, and outdated furniture. But every now and then, you'll find something you can actually use, like video games. And whores.

Since this is a blog about video games, I'll stick to the former.

Your first step is to find the Video Gaming section of your local Craigslist page. It's the very last link in the for sale box.

Give it a click and you'll be innundated with local ads for consoles, games, and accessories. Don't be shy--start clicking.

This is where it pays to be a little flexible. Sure, you can use the search box within the video gaming listings if you're looking for something in particular, but that sort of convenience often comes at a premium. That's why Champion Jockey costs $50 at Gamestop. Instead, shop with an open mind. (By the way, Faxanadu for the NES is totally worth $3 if you stumble on it.)

The more cost effective strategy is to keep an eye out for lots of games--or even better--a console with a bunch of games included, like this ad:

This guy's selling an Xbox, five controllers (seriously...five?) and 12 games for $75. That's a pretty decent deal, but what if you already have an xbox and a reasonable amount of controllers? How much do you think he'd take for just the games? $30? Assuming they all have their cases and manuals, that's not a bad deal for 11 decent games plus the Matrix.

Here's what I do. Email. Always email.

Click the "reply to" link at the top of the page and fire off an email to the seller. Be explicit in the subject line (like "Xbox-and-games-for-sale-on-Craigslist," explicit, not "Hot-beef-injection" explicit), state what the email is in regards to, ask if he'd be willing to sell the games separate from the system, and how much he'd be looking to get.

Don't make an offer yet.

When (if) he gets back to you, you'll be in the envious position of being able to make a counter offer. Now you're bargaining down, and not up. See how that works? And if he wants way too much for the games or won't split the items up, you haven't insulted the seller with some lowball offer.

Assuming you can come to a mutually agreeable amount, this is the point where you get to go pick up your stack of games. In my experience, people are usually good and honest, but generally, you'll want to meet in a public place to make the exchange. Sometimes it'll be necessary to meet at their house, like if you want to see something working before you buy.

After you're done trolling the Video Games section, swing by the general search box on the front page before you leave. It looks like this:

What you're searching for here are games, consoles, etc. that aren't categorized in the video gaming category. Like this:

Ads like this are awesome. These are people that have what you want and don't care enough to categorize it correctly, or value it enough to list it separately from the other junk they're selling. I searched for "Dreamcast" and it turns out that this lady was selling a Genesis, Saturn, and a Dreamcast at her garage sale. Nice. 

So go forth, conquer Craigslist, and be cheap! Sure, you're going to get plenty of unresponsive sellers or deals that generally just fall apart, but I guarantee that your determination will pay big dividends.


  1. To be fair, it wouldn't be the WORST thing in the world if you did, occasionally, have an article on finding whores on Craigslist. CLOSE....but not the worst. I'm just sayin'.

  2. I would totally pay $6 for Faxanadu for the nostalgia value alone. Wasted way too many hours of my already mostly-misspent childhood on that game.