.With this season’s hot video games for kids like Super Smash Bros., Minecraft, and Pokémon games topping so many kids’ wish lists, we’re offering tips for parents to help them with shopping for video games. As the mom of 5 kids, I’ve spent a lot of money on video games and game systems. Time and again, I do my video game shopping at Gamestop. They have an incredible selection and a fantastic return policy.
I asked my resident gamer, my 18 year old son, Matt, to offer tips for making the most of buying new and used video games and equipment at Gamestop. Not only does he have several game systems, he also stays on top of the video game industry news.
WAIT! Before you head to the Gamestop site to buy video games and equipment, go through Ebates to cashback on your purchase. You can get up to 2.5% back for a Gamestop purchase.
5 Top Tips for Shopping at Gamestop
While big chain stores such as Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc. carry a decent selection of games, they will usually only stock the big titles – Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed, or The Legend of Zelda, then they will most likely have it. However, if you want a more obscure game, such as Earth Defense Force, then you’re going to have to head to Gamestop. With a large selection of both new and preowned titles, along with the ability to trade in games, consoles, and accessories towards purchase, it’s little wonder that many people that enjoy video games make their merry way to Gamestop.
Here are 5 tips to lessen the burden on your wallet that buying video games will bring.
Get a Powerup Pro membership
The easiest way to save money at Gamestop is to buy a Powerup Pro membership. Now, it might seem counter intuitive to spend money to save money, but bear with me here. A Powerup Pro membership costs $14.99 for an entire year, giving you:
- 10% off preowned games and accessories
- 10% bonus trade-in credit
- points towards free rewards with every spent dollar (shared with the basic membership)
- a 10% point bonus over the basic membership on every purchase
- access to their newsletter (also shared with the basic membership)
- a year’s subscription to their Game Informer magazine (physical and digital are both available)
A pretty good deal, especially if you buy a lot of used products or trade in a lot. If you spend over $150 per year on used video games, then your Powerup membership will have paid for itself, plus change. Even if you don’t spend $150, there’s still the additional free subscription to Game Informer, a good monthly read.
Buy used Video Games
Buy used to save money on video games. There is usually at least a $5 discount off of the new copy price, more if the game has been out for a few months. With the Powerup Pro membership, it’s even more of a discount.
Say you want that shiny game that came out a few weeks ago, but you don’t want to pay the full $60 price because you’re not sure if the game is worth it. If so, then you are in luck: by that point, Gamestop should have gotten a few used copies in. Normally, they would charge $55 for this pretty new game; however, with your 10% discount, you are paying $49.50 instead. It’s very possible that you might have gotten a coupon recently with your Gamestop newsletter, or enough points have accumulated in your Powerup membership for you to exchange for a coupon: do so.
Let me give you an example of what can happen: a few weeks ago, I bought a copy of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U. Normally, this would be a $50 game. However, I bought a used copy, so they were charging $45. I had a $10 off coupon from their Powerup program, which decreased the price to $35. Then, my Powerup Pro discount was applied, bringing the price down to $31.50. Now compare the two prices: which would you rather pay – $50 or $31.50?
Look through the Gamestop Newsletter
Signing up to either Powerup program gives you access to Gamestop’s newsletter. They send it out through email twice weekly: one on Monday, to announce whatever deals they have going on for the week, and another on Friday, to announce their weekend deals.
These deals could be related to anything going on at the time, such as Buy 2, Get 1 Free type deals, or trade-in value increases when traded towards upcoming games. This latter deal is usually only 20% or so, but that would be stacked onto your Powerup Pro membership to get 30%.
The emails Gamestop sends out are always at least worth a look, even if you don’t find anything that you’re interested in. That’s okay, though: when it all comes down to it, they’re just advertisements.
Gamestop has four basic types of trade-in values assigned to games: evergreens, hot new titles, sports titles, and everything else.
1. An evergreen title is a game that is always in demand, no matter how much time passes.
Nintendo games, such as Super Mario 3D World and Pokémon are good examples of this type of game. Because they are always in demand, their value stays high, even after several years pass. This means that even if you trade in your Mario game in two years, it will still have almost the same trade-in value that it had when you bought it new.
Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo Wii U
Just Dance 2015 – Xbox 360
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
2. Hot new titles: something that just came out, and is in high demand.
They have the potential to become evergreen, but usually don’t. The ones that don’t end up as bargain level titles after a year or two. A lot of western-made games with yearly releases, e.g. Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, are this kind of game. These games are best traded in within eight months or so of initial release, to get the best value. Gamestop will still offer at least $10 for a year old Call of Duty, but not much more.
3. Sports titles: games based upon various sports.
These are usually released yearly, and therefore rendered obsolete quickly. Millions of copies are sold and almost as many are traded in within a few months; therefore, sports game values tend to drop like the proverbial stone.
4. And then there’s everything else: movie tie-in games, party games, obscure games released without much fanfare, these games will be offered very little trade-in value almost from the start.
Thankfully, various Gamestop promotions will increase their value by a certain percentage under certain conditions. However, it will never be very much. Gamestop also gives out less the worse condition your trade-in is. If you try to trade in a disc-only game that looks vaguely like it was run over by an elephant, you will get maybe 50 cents for it if they even take it. As merchants, they need good-quality products to sell, because it’s their reputation at stake. To put my point into words, be smart with your trade-ins, and take care of your stuff.
Check the shelves thoroughly at Gamestop
The eternal proverb “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies here too. When you look at a Gamestop wall, what you will see at first glance is a wall of video games. And that is true, it is a wall of video games. However, pay close attention to the used section; specifically, the prices.
Every vendor, no matter what they’re actually selling, will offer different prices for the same product, especially if the product is used. Gamestop is no different. Going through their used game section will usually reveal some surprisingly good deals. The more obscure games in particular are usually priced to sell.
Going back to a previous example, Earth Defense Force, a game where you shoot invading giant bugs as a video game interpretation of a 50’s era B-movie. The most recent game in the series, Earth Defense Force 2025, came out in spring 2014. In October 2014, I found a copy used at Gamestop for $18. I bought it, took it home, and subsequently had a blast, both literally and figuratively. However, this technique can be hit or miss: you take a gamble on a game you don’t know much about, and you will either strike gold or miss altogether.
Used Disney Video Games for Kids
Other Used Video Games for Kids Reviews
- Kingdom Hearts (Playstation 2) and Super Mario World (Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance, Wii, Wii U)
- Sega Genesis, Mega Microgames, and Toy Commander
- Lego Racers (Nintendo 64), Pac-Man World 2, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Game Boy Color)