Video Games Too Pricey? Rent Them.

At some time or other, every kid has seen a toy that looked so awesome on the store shelf that they just knew they would love it and they just had to get it. Then they get home, open up the motion-activated, talking robotic fish with color-changing LCD eyes and they revel in just how cool it is for about an hour. Then they’re done with it. And it never gets played with again. It’s bad enough when this happens with a $20 plastic toy, but the same thing happens a lot with video games that can run up to sixty bucks a pop. This is why I think GameFly is, for the right families, worth its $16/month membership fee.

If you haven’t heard of it, GameFly is essentially Netflix for video games. With your membership, you can rent a game for as long as you want and then return it through via snail mail once you’ve either beaten the game and all its many challenges – or when you’ve decided that it’s not worth the time it takes you to eject the disc from your Xbox. There are plenty of games out there that are worth the full sticker price; ones that kids will play over and over and think of as the best $60 they’ve ever spent. But you can feel a lot better about your kids’ purchasing decisions once they’ve already spent a week with a rented game and come to the educated conclusion that its one they want to add to the permanent library. Now, if you're the kind of family that only plays games two or three times a month, a membership is not going to be cost-effective. But if you have kids that could burn through (at least on a trial basis) two or three a week, then GameFly is worth thinking about.

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