Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Some holiday game shopping tips



by Zach Walton

Black Friday is a huge day for shoppers, but it’s just as big for gamers who want to score a great deal.

Whether or not you want to brave the crowds of Black Friday is up to you, but for those of you who brave that most holy day of commercialism, here are a few tips to keep you and your wallet alive.

First, arrive early. I don’t mean “arrive a few minutes before the store opens” early. I mean “camping out like it’s a console launch” early. Games go fast on Black Friday. You could show up right at 5 a.m. to get that nice dinette set, but to get that “Fable III Limited Edition” at half-off, you need to show up at 3 a.m. It’s going to be cold out there. Bring an electric blanket and perhaps your significant other to share some hot cocoa and a game of “Pokemon Heart Gold” or “Soul Silver” on your DS systems while you wait for the store to open.

Second, be smart. There are going to be other gamers there looking to score those limited doorbuster deals alongside you. If there are five people and only three copies, two people are going to leave disappointed. Don’t be one of those two people. The employees are going to tell you not to run and not to shove. They’re right, don’t do that. Go to the store a few days before Black Friday. Chart the quickest route to the shelf that has the deal you want. Stick to that route Friday morning; it will make you seem like a non-threat to the competition, and you will get there first.

Third, ask around. Chances are the employees at whatever store you go to will have information on where placements of games will be and how many they will have available. Most game sections will have a gamer employee who will help you out. This ties back into being smart. Reconnaissance is not only for the army. It’s for those who want to score a copy of “Black Ops” 30 percent below the asking price. As an aside, if an employee is being uncooperative, ask somebody else. They may not know exactly about game placement on Friday but they will have a general idea of how the morning is going to go. Just be nonchalant about it, and you will get all the info you need.

If all else fails or you just don’t want to go out on Black Friday and get run over by grandmothers trying to find Furbies or whatever kids are into these days besides video games, check out Cyber Monday. For the uninitiated, Cyber Monday takes place the Monday after Black Friday and is essentially Black Friday on the internet. Every major online retailer is going to be having deals. Better yet, the deals are Cyber Monday are generally better than they are on Black Friday. The only danger is that you can’t physically see how many units of a game any online retailer has left. Amazon will usually tell its customers how many units are left, but it’s hard to judge.

Surprisingly, a lot of the same rules apply for Cyber Monday as they do for Black Friday — just in a different form. Log onto Amazon early in the morning for the best deals as Amazon will begin their Cyber Monday festivities at midnight Pacific Time. That’s 3 a.m., for those of us on the east coast. Bookmark the pages for the games that you want to buy. Trust me, the URL isn’t going to change, and they will all be on sale. If you can get to that product page before the next guy, you’re good. Enabling one-click shopping that’s available at many online retailers helps too. You can bypass entering in info and getting it locked away for you in seconds.

Regardless of whether you shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, game deals are going to be everywhere. They’re going to go fast though as many poor gamers like myself will be looking out for those killer deals. With these tips, you will hopefully be able to score a copy of that one game you have been wanting for the past few months.