*This guide is an Australian point of view and may not be applicable in your region*

As this year’s holiday game releases comes to a close I bet you’re all gamed up and playing like there’s no tomorrow. Except you’re reading this. And then you’re probably thinking “boy, this article seems a little late.” But with the announced stream of games being so consistant throughout the first half of 2016, as well as being so jammed packed with games you should consider yourself lucky that I’m blessing you with this guide to give you time to prepare in advance. Ingrate.

1. Look for a bargain
Currently Australian gamers are blessed with amazing launch prices for games. While in years past you’d know you’d be shelling out $100-120 for the standard edition of the game, the new console gen has showered early adopters with prices from $60-80, only to jump higher the following weeks. The idea of “waiting a month for the price to drop” has become a sentiment you’d wait half a year to see. The superstores like Target and Big W are your best bets, and often end up matching each other’s catalogue prices on shelves. While JB were the king of cheap games half a decade ago, they fell from grace but appear to be making an effort to be competitive in this domain on some titles and are worth keeping an eye on.

If you don’t want to bother keeping up with game prices, some game sites will run “Bargain Round-ups”. They also all use the term “Bargain”, probably some deal with Big Vidya. My recommendations* here are vooks.net/ for Nintendo stuff and press-start.com.au for PS4/XBO releases. If you’re buying a PC version of a game, stop using the term “buying” and continue using your favourite torrenting site you lying piece of human garbage.

*the author of guide would like to clarify that the sites recommended are run by people he personally trusts and is recommending them from personal experiences on social media with the sites and the writers. These are not negotiated placements and while other sites offer bargain guides, these are the sites that almost always come out with them first.

2. Preordering
Preordering is a way for Activision to wave their dicks around about how the latest Call of Duty is somehow still selling. My rule of thumb is don’t unless you really want a limited edition item, especially if it’s Nintendo because God forbid they print more than 200 copies of Luigi’s Mansion 2 for a whole nation. You see those ads for “preorder to unlock such and such”? You’ll normally get that stuff from buying day one anyway. Even then, lately it’s mostly some in-game gear or exp boost. Wow, thanks publisher, I’m glad that I could skip gameplay because I love the game so much I spent money on it when it wasn’t even a thing yet.

3. Be discrete
If you’re reading this you’re most likely a gross nerd. Shave that neck-beard and pop those zits, it’s time to get to the store! Now, as a gross nerd I know that you’re dying to go into the store and ask for “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Libertalia Collector’s Edition”. BAM. You’ve been caught out, the sirens go off; “NERDLINGER IN THE BUILDING, I REPEAT, NERDLINGER AT LARGE IN THE SHOPPING COMPLEX.” Instead, say “do you guys have the new Uncharted game?” The store employee will think “who is this cool customer?” and probably want to go and have some cigarettes out back with you. Just don’t forget to include the platform if you’re buying a multiplatform title, as they will, and rightfully should assume that you want the PS4 version.

If you’re shopping off the shelf because they’ve actually bothered to put out the stock the night before or early in the morning, take the game to the counter and give a “hi there, just this today.” You have now established precedence as a cool customer, opening your opportunity to impress.

4. Be courteous
The person working behind the counter is almost definitely working a shift upwards of 4 hours for minimum wage, and depending on the retailer you are visiting may be subject to abuse while management retains the abusers, and ban the employee when they walk away from their awful job. They may also be working extra hours without pay for this same retailer and not have a proper HR department despite being able to host an overpriced, giant ad at Sydney Olympic Park every October. But despite all this, remember that the people you are dealing with are lowly employees of this disgusting conglomerate. They’re most likely gamers who need a little extra cash to keep invested in a hobby they love like we do. So, as it says in the title: “Be courteous”.

Talk about the weather. Talk about the weekend. Ask about how busy the store has been, maybe compare it to the last time you were in. As someone who is reading a guide written by me, I’m assuming you’re not a normal decent human being but the person at the counter most likely is. And normal decent human beings love interacting with others. Well that’s what I’m assuming at least. Hell, why else take a position in retail? But nah, be nice, they’re humans. But always be aware of others that may be waiting. Don’t hold up the queue, depending on the store and time of day people could be much busier than you. Once the transaction is complete, say “thank you” and walk off.

5. Always keep the receipt
It makes you look like a business man.

6. From the store to home
If you’re like me, you’ve realised after buying the game that you need some delicious snacks to keep up your energy while you hit your new game hard. You’re now going to have to walk through the shopping complex with your new game. If you bought your game from Target or Big W just be aware that plastic of their bags is tacky and, while likely to match your outfit, can give off bad signs of your wealth. If it is a JB HiFi bag, it is of utmost importance that you don’t hold the bag parallel to your side. You must hold it adjacent to your body, allowing anyone approaching you to see you shopped at JB HiFi and let them think “Oh wow, that person is a cool son of a gun who bought something at JB HiFi.” If you are in a tight position while walking, ensure that your bag remains in its visually appealing position because you are cool and shop at JB HiFi.

7. At home
Check to make sure the game is in the case. It may seem like this is something you should do earlier on, but if you’re reading this it’s not like you have anything better to do than go back to the store you big nerd. If it’s not, go back to the store and return to step 3 and replace “screte” with “ck”.

Oh, and if you’re going all digital thanks for reading to the end. This whole thing probably didn’t concern you but you stuck through like a trooper. Congratulations.

So hopefully next time you go out to buy a game you’re prepared and ready to be a cool customer. Tell us in the comments how cool of a customer you’ve been. Have you ever broken the air conditioning system in a store from being so cool? Are there any experiences you, a friend or a random stranger you saw with a huge JB bag carrying their discounted Band Hero bundle and thought that they were ice cold? Do you think I’ve over-complicated the most basic part of consumerism? Did this list need pictures because reading is too hard without them?

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