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I like playing video games but as any gamer knows (or family member of a gamer for that matter) it is an expensive hobby. With new games costing $50 - $60 apiece and used ones running $30 - $50 (WTF Gamestop?) nothing hurts more than buying a game that sucks or you beat in a weekend never to play again. Sure, you could rent the game at Blockbuster (if they even have it) for a small fortune but if the idea of going to a rental store is as passé to you as wearing Jams and Hi-Top sneakers is to me, what can you do? Thank goodness for Gamefly.

If you are familiar with Netflix, you already know how Gamefly will work. Go to and sign up for an account. Once that it done you can create a queue of games you want to play and Gamefly will mail them to you in a returnable envelope. Just like Netflix, there are no late fees and you can keep the game as long as you want. If you decide you want to keep the game, you can click Keep It on the site and they will sell you the game at a discounted price and ship you the manuals as well.

I’ve only been a member of Gamefly for about 6 months now. Previous to Christmas ’09, I was working full time and finishing my masters degree. The only game system I had was my Nintendo Wii and didn’t have much time for it. Once I graduated, my lovely wife, MiAmoreNYC, got me an Xbox 360 for Christmas. After I beat most of the games I owned and a few I bought, it didn’t take long to figure out that buying games to play wasn’t ideal. If you have never been robbed at gun point and want a similar feeling, I suggest buying a new game for $60, beat it and trade it in to Gamestop after a month for less than 1/6 of the price you paid (selling college books back to the book store is pretty close as well).

Unlike Netflix, Gamefly isn’t a complete homerun. Let’s start with the good. You can get games for almost any system; Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS, PS2, PSP, Xbox, Gameboy Advance and Gamecube. They also have this awesome system (that they don’t advertise) where after 3 months of membership they give you $5 towards the purchase of a used game. After 6 months they give you another $5 and 5% off a used game and after 12 months you get $5 every 3 months and 10% off used games.

But like I said, not everything is peaches and cream. First off, it takes longer to get a game in. I’m sure this is due to the fact they don’t have as many shipping centers as Netflix does. Second, they don’t have as many copies of a game as they should. It could also be the nature of the beast in that users play games and keep them longer than movies but it seems like it takes forever to get a new release game. Third the $5 credits expire and do not accumulate. This means you never get more than a $5 credit towards a any given time; Sure I’m the type of guy that would let them accumulate until I could get a free game but at $5 every 3 months, it would take years of me paying into their system to get there so they would already have my money.

Finally, the service is a little expensive. At $15.95 a month for one game at a time, it is not as cheap as Netflix. Sure, games cost 2 to 3 times more to purchase and their envelopes are more padded than Netflix’s raising the shipping cost but still. I’ve had Resident Evil 5 for 3 months now meaning I spent $45 on renting it, ¾ the price of buying it.

While I like the service, this isn’t a clear winner. I’m actually thinking about suspending my account until this summer when I will hopefully have more time to play. If you on the other hand have lots of time to play games, I would give it a shot; in fact you can sign up for a 2 week free trial. Between home, work and running this site, gaming has been put on the back burner and I need to get back to it; not just because I love to play games but also because Cy finally beat my Gamer Score, but not for long.

Optimusgene is the chief editor and founder of He is also the co-host of the Group Therapy weekly podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @optimusgene and on Google+

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