Holidays are expensive. You have to buy gifts for everyone, you have to fork out cash for dinners and decorations and trees and all things festive, and frankly it can get a bit hard on the wallet.

How then, to make sure you get the best gaming experience while still managing to have a real holiday?

Jump in, I’ve got you covered.

Uninstall Steam

You already know this, but you need me to tell you anyway.

No good can come of the Steam sale. “But Chris!” you exclaim in an absurdly high-pitched voice, “I’m waiting for Hatoful Boyfriend to go on sale!”

Sure you are. But while you wait to make that regrettable purchase, you’ll buy at least twenty-seven games in between, none of which you’ll play. But hey, they were “only” a few dollars.

A few dollars becomes a few more dollars which becomes a smaller and then bigger heap of dollars, and before you know it it’s Christmas time and you’re wrapping a hard-boiled egg for your mother in tear-stained newspaper.

Don’t be the egg guy.

Wait Two-Three Years Before Buying a Ubisoft Title

This is a mistake I see a lot of people make. They rush out on launch day to buy the latest Assassin’s Creed, install it, and then wait two years for all the bugs to be fixed.

Why pay full price now, when you can wait a few years until the game actually works and get it for much, much less?

That’s just like, you know, science.

Ubisoft titles are like a fine whiskey – you need to lock them in a barrel for several years before they’re useful. As a reminder, they thus make horrible Christmas presents (if not given time to age).

"Quick, close the barrel! IT'S NOT READY."

“Quick, close the barrel! IT’S NOT READY.”

If You Spent More Than R200 on Your Setup, You Might be Overpaying

Scratch that – you’re definitely overpaying.

Games these days are trying to do too much – they want to have excellent graphics, AND good gameplay. This is absurd, and you have to pay an absurd amount to play those games.

Back in my day, we either had great graphics or great gameplay. Great gameplay could be found on a R100 (in today’s currency) console, while great graphics could be found at the cinema. Who needs both?

Here’s my pro-tip. Hit up your local Chinese store. Every city/town has one, you may just not have found yours yet. You should be on the lookout for red and gold perpetually waving cats, BB guns, fireworks, cheap colourful clothing and an impressive knife selection.

Head towards the back and you should find some or other NES knockoff, colloquially referred to by veterans as “TV games”.

Buy that, and then spend another R50-R100 on a cartridge. You’ll only need one, because it has 99 games on it (another preposterous hallmark of modern gaming – one game per purchase).

If you’re the kind of guy who enjoys the Kinect, you can pick up the console with the bundled plastic pistol as well.

Look at that PS4 now – don’t you feel silly?

Get Addicted to A Game, Don’t Eat

Have you ever woken up, started playing a game with friends (DotA works well for this), and then looked at the clock a moment later to see that in fact, eight hours have gone by?

The dog has long-since given up on pestering you for breakfast and is now trying to sleep the hunger away, your girlfriend has left you a break-up note after trying unsuccessfully for three hours to get your attention, you open your curtains to see the sun has been replaced by a pale moon and a friend has just messaged you asking if you want to go to dinner.

Dinner? What about breakfast and lunch?


Haha, get it? "Hunger Games"? Get it? Holy shit I'm funny.

Haha, get it? “Hunger Games”? Get it? Holy shit I’m funny.

Do A Gaming Secret Santa, Be Corrupt

Secret Santa, if you’re not familiar with the concept, involves a group of people putting their names into a hat, everyone draws a name, and buys a present for that person. Everyone gets a gift, and everyone only buys one gift. Sounds frugal, right? Not enough.

The way to think about Secret Santa is like it’s a game. A game you have to win. Forget all that “Christmas spirit” bullshit, that’s for hippies and filthy casuals. There are two ways to win at SS:

First, and most effective, be the one in charge of the “hat”. Put your name in twice. Make sure you draw from the hat first, because if you draw your own name you’ll have to say that and pick a new name – awkward if someone has picked the second copy of your name already.

In the days leading up to Christmas, work on your surprised face. “Oh geez, what a mixup, haha, how funny” – then excuse yourself to the bathroom and leave.

The other tactic you can use, best used in combination with the two-name strat, is buying the wrong, conveniently cheaper thing. What I like to do is pick up something like Snakes and Ladders or magnetic Chess, something in the R20 range, and wrap that baby up. Again, work on your act before Christmas.

“Ohhh, you guys meant a VIDEO game”…

“Oh geez, what a mixup, haha, how funny” – then excuse yourself to the bathroom and leave.

Disclaimer: This only works once per group of friends, and you may need new friends. Results may vary.

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