The Annual Toys R Us Sale

I walk into the Toys R Us in Bellevue once a year. And that time is when they have their "Buy 2 Videogames Get 1 Free" sale. The sale lasts a week and for each of the past three years, I've always walked out of there with 9 games in hand. Nine! For the Price of six! Oh, what a joyous time those days are.

Today? Not so much.

Those who follow the current release schedule of videogames will already know that all of the really, really good stuff isn't do out for another one to two weeks. I'm pretty sure the head decision makers at TRU know this as well, because their big sale is taking place this week. Nevertheless, there were a couple of games I meant to check out for the Xbox 360 and, if I'm hurting for choices, I might even pick up "Contact" for the Nintendo DS or "Bully" for the Playstation 2. Really, though, I just wanted to browse the aisles and get a good deal on a bunch of games like I always do. Every year I head off to TRU for this sale with a couple of games in mind, but usually end up leaving with a stack of stuff I didn't anticipate owning. Sometimes it works out well and othertimes the games sit ensconced in shrinkwrap for years at a time.

But a funny thing happened since last fall's sale. I became a one-console guy. It's not that I dislike my Gamecube and PS2 (or my PC, PSP, or DS) but I just don't play them anymore. All of my leisurely gaming is spent on the Xbox 360. Part of it is because I only want one console in the living room and that's the one that makes use of my HDTV; part of it is because of the Achievements and Gamer Scores; and part of it is because I prefer the controller the best and enjoy the crisper graphics and audio. But mostly, it's just that I've finally realized that I don't need to own all of the consoles anymore. One is enough, thank you very much.

So, with that caveat, let me be the first to say that picking out games at the TRU sale was a bit tougher than normal. For starters, the games I really want to own for the X360 I either already have or they aren't out yet (and I've played most of those already thanks to work). Secondly, TRU had neither "Contact" nor "Bully" so that ruled out the two non-X360 games I was considering getting.

I thought about buying "Oblivion" for the X360 despite already owning it for the PC, but decided against it. While I was mulling over picking up "G.R.A.W" someone reached down and grabbed the last copy. So I decided to go for variety. What genres don't I already have? Well... I don't own an RPG for the X360, I don't have any team-based sports games, nor do I have much in the way of action-adventure games. Actually, when it comes to the X360 all I have is racing games and "Dead Rising". Well, those and the horrendous "Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires", but I'd rather forget that purchase.

So after much deliberation, I settled on "Enchanted Arms", "Lego Star Wars II", and "NHL 2K7". And I'm happy with these choices (for now), but what I'm not happy with is that even with a buy two get one free sale, I still spent $130 including taxes. Is it me or does that seem absurdly high? I haven't been buying many games this year compared to years past and while I have a small list of titles I want to pick up in the next couple of weeks today's sale was a pretty big reminder that I have a Gamefly membership for a reason. Gaming has gotten too expensive.


ColonelT said...

There's no shame in admitting you left GameCritics because I stopped posting, Doug. Let it all out. :)

You raise a good point about the price of gaming...and it's not just dollars but time. Age (and in my case, parenthood) brings perspective. Priorities become family, friends, travel, adventure, etc. Nothing you don't already know, of course, since you write about it here on a daily basis.

Yes, I still read your blog. You're the west coast Bill Harris.

My Toys R Us purchases (Okami, God of War, and Paper Mario 2) will probably spend months on the shelf before I get around to playing them. At two hours of console gaming a week, on average, I may never get around to them. Sometimes I grow wistful for the days of 12 hour marathon sessions, but not often.

Cheers and keep up the good blogging.

Doug Walsh said...

Thanks for the kind words, Colonel T. Hope the little one(s) is/are doing well. As for being a west coast Bill Harris, that is some lofty praise but I must humbly disagree. That guy is in a league of his own.

As for the TRU sale, funny you mention Paper Mario 2 as it was one of the ones I got from the TRU sale last year and it's also one that I sold unopened at the garage sale a couple weeks ago. If you want a copy of the Okami guidebook, just say the word and I'll send you one.

Thanks for reading!