I just bought my fourth X-COM Enemy Unknown (for Vita this time) because it was on sale.

I bought it used for PS3 a few years ago for only $10 but I didn’t play it much before selling the system. I grabbed it for the Mac during another sale but again didn’t get around to it. I then grabbed a cheap digital version for my second PS3 thinking I would play it more being on the couch. That didn’t happen either so you would think I was done buying it. But how could I pass up $7.99 for the Vita version? Maybe the combination of turn-based strategy and portability would finally get me into this modern classic. We shall see.

This isn’t the first time I’ve double bought because of a sale and I know it won’t be the last. Banner Saga on the PS4 was another discount purchase that I’ve yet to complete. The allure is too strong.

Buying the game is easy. Putting in a dozen or more hours to finish it is much harder. But purchasing is exciting. The rave reviews, gameplay trailers, and whatever top-10 list it graced flash through my mind as I hit the buy button. I fantasize of the grand adventure I could have and the conversations/articles/videos that could spawn from completing it.

But with great games coming out every week that add to the infinite backlog, I’ll likely never finish X-COM and/or Banner Saga. Sure I can imagine a magical weekend or a lucky broken leg that has me polishing them both off, but I can safely assume that won’t happen. I’m pretty confident I’ll finish Deus Ex: Mankind Divided before either of them, and that hasn’t even come out at the time of this writing. It won’t even be on sale, I just love the series and like Uncharted 4, it’ll move immediately to top priority unless it’s a giant flaming piece of garbage. But hey, I even liked Invisible War.

I think the main attraction to buying a game on sale is two-fold. Firstly, these sale prices are often ridiculously low compared to the initial release. It seems stupid not to pull the trigger. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, you know have it in your back pocket for a rainy day. If I ever have the urge to finally dive deep into X-COM I can now do it on just about any console I own. Maybe I’ll get stuck on a long road trip or a new commute. If that happens, I’ll be thankful I bought it for less than the price of two lattés.

Will I learn from my purchases? Do I want to? In a way, we are digital collectors, but our vice has almost zero resale value. Maybe in 15 years all modern gaming will be mobile VR and I’ll be the crusty old man finally completing this backlog. If the PSN Network is still running and I can find a working PS3/PS4 of course.


Can you resist game sales and only use them for good? Let us know in the comments below…….where they always are.




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