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RPG Deals for 3/15 – 3/21

By Russ | March 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm

The deals; they just aren’t coming.

I did not stumble across anything of importance this week for the deals column. I think the deals are hiding. Or maybe waiting to strike. We’ll have to see.

In the meantime, you can hunt deals down yourself. It is fairly easy, and this column does not just exist to inform; it also exists to teach.

The four top brick and mortar retailers I peruse are Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us, and K-Mart. GameStop is not among them since they so rarely clearance out product. It literally happens twice a year: during their Game Days Sale and around Black Friday. By the way, GameStop’s Game Days sale will start in April this year.

Best Buy is the easiest place to find deals on games. Many of them are at the impulse racks as you check out. Take a moment to flip through them to see if there are any title you’re interested in.

Beyond that, when you head back to the game section there will typically be a rack in the middle of the floor, or a bin full of the games. That bin might be a box, but regardless of what it is check out the games inside of it. Finally, check the gaming endcaps and the section near the front and back of the aisles. Clearance titles tend to group there.

Toys R Us requires more diligent searching. Most of the discounted titles are in the rows proper, but lately they have been using a dump bin to sell most of their lower-priced titles.

K-Mart has two sections: One for cheap games that is just sitting out in their electronics section, and the games in the glass cases. Many times the cased games contain some gems, but for the most part a beeline to the cheap section is easier.

Target hides their clearance stuff in the back endcaps of either the electronics or book sections, but a few clearance titles are in their glass cases as well.

If you’re using the internet, just type the name of the game into Google.

Another thing to be wary of is the aftermarket. Times are financially strained according to the media, so let’s take that viewpoint and run with it.

This year the PS2 dies, RPG-wise. The PSP will live on, but has little shelf space in most major retailers. The DS is excessively popular, but there is a glut of titles hitting the system every week. Each of them has a different scenario, but all have one thing in common:

Low Print Runs.

No RPG publisher will make a ton of copies of a game for the PS2. It just isn’t financially viable, especially when most of the games on the system right now are tie-ins to larger franchises and/or shovelware.

The DS has too much competition to keep producing a lot of the same game, especially in a market where most of the stuff will be ignored in favor of a title containing the words Imagine, Mario, or Brain in it. As noted last week, My World, My Way seems to be discontinued after not even two months of retail shelf life. What of Atlus’ other titles like Dark Spire, Steal Princess, or Knights in the Nightmare?

Finally, PSP games don’t see a lot of shelf action at major retailers like Best Buy and Target. RPGs, still a niche genre on any system not called a PS2, are lower on the financial totem than the latest Ratchet game or EA Sports title.

What all this means in terms of aftermarket is that there are going to be RPG titles cheaper to pick up at launch than later on when they have been removed from the active catalog. There is an equal chance these same titles will also hit the bargain bin, but with so few retailers carrying excess stock due to low income from customers, that chance decreases. Is this a deal? Not really. The MSRP might be a better catch than the aftermarket value, but it is a gamble.

I might be talking entirely out of my buttocks here, but this is a possible situation that might occur in the near future. It has happened in the past, though the financial aspect was more media friendly. I remember in the dying days of the PS1, staring right at a copy of Valkyrie Profile for $20, thinking it would always be there.

Thankfully I never repeated the same mistake with Suikoden II.

Happy Hunting.

Disclaimer: Deals may not be available in all stores. Prices in each store may differ. You can try different stores to mitigate this, and always ask if a store has it before writing them off. You might be
able to get a raincheck. A lot of these deals are in-store only, except where specified.

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