REPLY TO ALL: Why Do You Trade in Games?

On this week’s REPLY TO ALL Justin gets us started by saying: I realize I’m a collector and have different rules in my head when it comes to exchange games. More recently, I’ve held onto games more because I hate going into GameStop, but Best Buy and other retailers are starting to take in old games for credit. How do you decide when it’s time to let go of a game?

“Why and when do you exchange games vs keeping them?”


Being on a budget causes me to trade in games. Especially when money is tight for the month, I need justification for a new game purchase so my wife doesn’t get mad. I hate going into GameStop but that’s the only option I have when it comes to trading in games where I live. I would love to have a growing collection of games but it’s just not possible right now.

The decision to trade in a game is usually made when a game is just sitting on the shelf for months on end, especially if I’ve finished the game. If there is no compelling reason for me to keep the game around, I try and trade it in before the value drops significantly. I always feel dirty doing so, but like I said before, sometimes it is necessary.


But how do you choose that game? Have you ever had a game that’s sat on the shelf through a few trade ins, but months later decided now is the time that game has to go?

I try to prioritize my game collection by how unique or fun the experience was for me. A lot of my adventure games are one and dones, but I have trouble letting them go if the stand out in my memory. Sure I’m a bit overly sentimental, but most of these games have no trade in value past the first two months anyway so I’d rather keep them than get $3-5 credit.

If the game sucks. It’s going back and going towards something good. But with my screening process the last few years. Rarely do I pick up a game and hate it. Then again, I can find value in 50 Cent Blood on the Sand. So more and more I just find myself holding onto games because GameStop doesn’t value any of the games I’m willing to part with.

Hey Fiddy, can I find some value in your game?


I have to say, I have a problem when it comes to letting go of games… That problem is that I just plain don’t. I’ll likely keep a game that I’ve beaten or not, until the end of time, “just in case” I want to play it again. I think I just heard too many stories when I was younger of people saying “Oh if only I’d kept that copy of Castlevania III for the NES” and the like. The only games I think I’ve ever returned for credit were games I had never intended on buying in the first place. When I bought my Wii, the only way I managed to get one opening day was buy ordering one from and they were only selling bundles. That bundle came with Zelda: Twilight Princess, and two other games I didn’t want. The only game I wanted at the time was Zelda, so the others got sold… That’s about it. Well, ok, the only other exception is Rock Band since I got all of the tracks off of it for Rock Band 2, I look at that game more as software to play the media, rather than a game on it’s own.

This does however keep me from buying so many games because I know once I buy a game, that’s it, I’m holding on to it for the rest of my life most likely. That’s also why I don’t end up with a lot of games on opening day unless it’s a franchise I have unending faith in. I usually have pretty limited gaming time, so I wait a little longer, and see if I can’t talk myself out of buying a game, and if not, then I know I really need to have it.


I think that’s part of my problem, too. I was forced to sell all of my older games, and I resent that, and I have those horror stories of selling games that I can’t find anymore. As a grown-ass adult, I don’t have to go down that path again.


Since most of my gaming is through Steam, I don’t have the ability to sell back games which is ok since I got most of them at ridiculous discounts anyway. I may never sell a console game back ever again though as I cleared out my Xbox 360 collection thinking I was done with that console, only to have it spring to life and leave me game-less.

When you use Steam, you have nothing to return.

In the past, I sold games because I needed money, especially during college. They only got sold if I’d beat them and literally could never imagine playing again. Multiplayer games usually never go back since they have resurgences every once in a while. I play so many games that by the time I beat them and are ready to get rid of them, the price has dropped so low that it doesn’t make sense to get rid of them.


The decision is usually made for me by the amount of dust on the game box. I definitely have some of the same regrets that you all have about trading in games, but if I can’t imagine myself ever playing a game again, I might as well try to get a little return on that investment. That’s why I look forward to more games being on demand. That way I’m more likely to finish a game I’ve put down for awhile instead of trading in a box copy before I’m done with it (which has happened many times).


I have to go through a little process that determines whether I’ll get rid of it first. My process isn’t unlike all of yours. I start out thinking, “Will I ever play this again?”, if yes I throw it back on the stack. If no, I consider how much I might get for it at GameStop or Best Buy.

At this point it’s all gut feeling as to whether I think it’s worth the trade in value that the dealership offers. If that doesn’t work out, I consider Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and evaluate the private party value. At the end of the day, I typically end up keeping old games around to gather rust in the driveway/shelf because they aren’t worth enough to sell, but I have already put enough time and money into them to keep them around. I coin this proposition the redneck dilemma.


GameStop has not been worth it at all for me in the last several years. I realized I can always get more money if I sell used on Amazon. Usually I keep the game if its either not worth selling back (Crackdown), or that I’ll return to it for story or multiplayer (Halo). Lately I’ve been pretty unsatisfied with alot of the new games I’ve purchased so after I blow through them in a couple days, I immediatley sell them back on Amazon with a return of 40-50 bucks. It’s been working out pretty nice this month. I’ve made about 150 bucks back from my stupid game purchases. A couple of them I may go back and buy again when the price drops, possibly after Christmas.


I’ve never tried Amazon, does it work pretty well? The only issue I have with being a bit selective of which games to turn in, i.e. game’s you’ll get money on vs one’s you won’t, is that your collection suffers. I’d rather have a collection full of Assassin’s Creed sequels than Crackdowns, not to get specific. I do love the idea of the layer of dust determining which games get sent away though.

I’ve also never tried selling through Facebook or Craigslist. I think I’d have an easier time letting go a game I was fond of if I knew it was going to someone who would appreciate it. The overall theme here is I’m much too sentimental to be a game collector, I think.


I just think I’m too damn lazy to sell games back. Its not as much of a prioroty unless my wife makes me do it.


The thing about selling games on Amazon, craigslist and eBay is the legwork involved. Like Ethan said, I’m too lazy to do any of that business. Also, if I want to play a new game right away, those methods are inconvenient.

Ezio caught these guys trading in Assassin's Creed 2 and he was not happy.


Yeah, I wish games would just have the motivation to sell themselves after a long period of disuse. Like when you have a friend that calls all the time and you just ignore the call till they get the point. Wait a second…


Amazon is so super easy. After you’ve created an account, browse for the item, hit the Sell Your Here, set your price and shipping options, and ship it when its sold. Dun duh dun done. Walgreens carries those little padded dvd envelopes for under a buck. If you are too lazy to go to the post office, thats kinda sad.


I’m with Ethan, I think I’ll wait for sentient video game cases that sell themselves. Of course, breaking the news to my copy of 50 Cent Blood on the Sand could get ugly.


Sounds like we need something like a waiting list and pickup service.


I’m on the list of people who don’t really understand the concept of trading in games.  Sure you get money back… but you have to sell like $300 worth of old games to get 1 new one.  Just doesn’t seem worth it to me.  I’m with Justin in the fact that I’d rather just keep something than get $2 for it. Which is why i still own a copy of Top Spin 2 which I blame Robeque for. I love going back to old NES and SNES games that i have every once and a while and figure some day I’ll want to do the same for the 360 when its nostalgic. It’ll also give the kiddies something to make fun of when they grow up.


Top Spin 2 is still a fantastic game. You meant you can thank me for that one.

Apparently this is a fantastic game...

As far as trading games goes… I’m kind of on the fence. I definitely am a collector…. I think to a fault sometimes. I have more games in my house than I’ll ever have time to play. I have some games that I’ve owned for a good while and barely played (if at all.) Then when new games come out that I want to play, I get those and push the other games further down the queue until they get to a point that it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll ever play them. Then there are the games that I’ve played, but probably won’t ever play again… like Darksiders… it was good, but I know I’ll never play it again. I guess those make good lender games. Anyway… sometimes I just feel like I should get rid of stuff I don’t need. I get into a clean house mode. If I haven’t played a game for a year or more I probably don’t need it. if I decide later that I do need it I’ll know where I can find it.

There are some games, though, that I don’t care if I ever play them again or not. I want the option should the occasion arise. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (GC) (although they did just release the hd remake), Wetrix (DC), Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath (Xbox) (also upcoming hd release), and many others. I guess my point is that it really depends on the game. I’ll sometimes take 2 dollars to clear a slot on the shelf while other times wouldn’t even consider it. In general, though, it does piss me off to think about how much GameStop is making off of me. Sometimes I feel I’d get more satisfaction by grinding a disc into the sidewalk in front of the store with my foot and shouting “F*CK YOU!” than taking their 2 dollars while looking at the other used copies that they’re selling for 20.


That’s exactly why I don’t trade to GameStop. They don’t even give you half of its value and you have to give them your entire collection to get one new game.

Also, I take back everything I said about Amazon being easy. You get your money’s worth, but shipping it isn’t always easy. I got a $20- parking ticket trying to buy a box from UPS to ship my Rock Band 3 keyboard, and then at the Post Office, when I requested standard shipping, the guy said “Sure 2-3 days okay?” I said yes, and the bastard charged me for Priority Mail. I didn’t realize this till after I had gotten in the car, and by the time I stormed back in, an entire minute had passed and the man said it was too late to change it. So word to the wise, when you say standard shipping and they estimate the arrival time under Priority Mail guidelines without telling you, you are allowing them to charge you more. I’m having a good day, could ya tell?


Apparently, unlike everyone else here, I do trade in my games at GameStop and I am somewhat rabid about getting rid of games I don’t play/only liked moderately well. The fact that I live within a mile of not one, but two GameStops has something to do with that, I suppose. (In my defense, I did used to try and patronize the local game store, but they never had any games in that I wanted to buy, so I stopped doing that. Wait. That’s not true. I stopped going there when it went out of business. Probably because it never had any games I wanted to buy.) Also, although I love Amazon, there is no way in hell I will ever be motivated enough to sell a game on there and then actually ship it or, if I did, I’d end up using my company’s shipping account and then probably get in trouble. So there’s that.

ANYWAY, the rationale behind trading games in? I play games to DEATH. If they don’t stand up to that kind of play, I get rid of them and use the credit for some other game that might. Red Faction Guerrilla? Sold. Too Human? Sold. Halo 3? Sold. Mass Effect 1 and 2? Never, ever going to get sold. I suppose there are one or two “I might play this,” games, but I know myself…I won’t. I might play HAWX again, because it was sweet. But Fight Night Round 3? No matter how good it was, I demolished that game and I don’t own Round 4. I guess it comes down to the fact that unless the game absolutely blew my mind (BioShock) and I’ll play it again just because of how great it was, I’m probably going to clean out the collection about once a year of games that didn’t blow my mind (BioShock 2).


Some of us are collectors, some of us are traders and some of us are so lazy it’s amazing that games get played at all. We want to know what you guys do with your games, comment below.


Giant Bomb (images)
Geek O System (image)

3 Comments REPLY TO ALL: Why Do You Trade in Games?

  1. Drakkmire

    Renting works really great for some titles too. I just played through Alan Wake for less than $5 last week.

  2. Drakkmire

    There is a video store chain in my city called “Family Video” that rocks. I think GameFly is still around too, isn’t it?

Comments are closed.