Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Thrawn Experiment

I'll get to the title content in a minute, but I have some thoughts first... I read Hammer's blog and saw the news of 1up/EGMs demise... I guess they won't be getting back to me on an informational interview, as they understandably have other things to think about. I'm sad to see one of the big gaming sites/mags go. There's one less place where I could work, and one less source of information and entertainment for all of us. Hopefully everyone who lost their job from this buy-out is able to find work in the industry elsewhere. You can find the article here:

On the gaming front, I continue to work on ROTA and Condemned 2. I've found there are actually just enough people playing it online to get into real matches, and I've been able to earn several of the MP achievements legit. I'm even half of the way to Serial Killer. There are still several I'm going to need to boost, including MP overachiever, anything that has to be done in ranked, and most of the Crime Scene achievements. I don't really want to talk about gaming progress today, however, so on to the title content!


I was thinking one afternoon, and came up with this social experiment/challenge for gamers. The challenge is to see if a person can make it through an entire year without spending ANY MONEY from their own pockets on games, and yet be happy with their gaming activities. Here are the rules of the challenge:
  1. Not a single penny of a person's own money may be used to buy video games, game guides, Microsoft points, or accessories for 365 days. No Gamefly or Blockbuster rentals, or renewing magazine subscriptions... unless someone else pays for them (and no "I'll pay you back next year" deals, that's CHEATING)
  2. The person MAY trade games, using services like Goozex, social networking, or Gamestop, as long as they don't pay for anything. They would need to find someone else to pay the Goozex $1 per trade fee, as that counts as spending your own money.
  3. A person MAY sell their games on ebay, and use that money to purchase other games, as long as the amount of the purchase is less than or equal to what they earned. Even going 1 cent over (including tax) disqualifies you. Anyone going for a truly hardcore challenge should not allow themselves any use of ebay.
  4. Microsoft points already in a person's account at the time of the challenge starting may be spent. Any additional points must be donated by someone else, or purchased from cash earned by selling games.
  5. Gift cards received for birthdays, x-mas, etc. can be used on games, as long as you're not spending any of your own cash. That's someone else's money being used for games, not your own.
  6. ADDED RULE: You can debate the legality of spending your own money to get SOMEONE ELSE a game, like as a birthday present. This is not to be used as a loophole where you "give someone" a game, and they conveniently "loan" it to you two days later. Respect the spirit of the challenge.
As you can see, in this version, people are allowed to spend money, as long as they're not dipping into their pockets from it, but instead recycling from their collection. A stricter version of this would allow for trades only, with absolutely NO cash transactions of any kind.
There are several interesting things I would expect to see in this:

  1. It tests a person's resourcefulness: How good are they at getting the maximum return from their games?
  2. It tests social networking: Can this person utilize their existing collection through trades for new games with others? How will they secure games they have not played before? What methods are used?
  3. It questions gamer generosity: Will anyone loan or give away games they no longer want? Or Microsoft points?
  4. It tests what type of gamer you are: Could you play Gears 2, CoD, or some other game online forever and not feel the need to get a new game? Would you get itchy for that newest AAA title, or need to play something you don't already have all the points in?
  5. It would work as a study of sorts of the used-games market.

I know anyone in the industry would hate me for thinking this one up, since it means that person isn't spending on their products. With the economic challenges people face now, I expect a lot more people to become ever more thrifty, even if they don't go to the extent of not spending a penny on games.

As a Sociology major, I would find any reports or results of this fascinating. It's certainly food for thought. How would you handle the Thrawn Experiment? What would you do?

So far, I actually haven't spent any money yet in 2009 on games, and could therefore subject myself to my own experiment, if I really wanted. With RE5 coming out this year, I'm not sure I would last very long. I don't think I could wait several weeks, let alone months, without playing that game, once it's out. I also have no idea how I'd get to 100k this year doing this challenge. I'd have to hit Operation Jedi REALLY hard, and have a fair amount of help from others.

I'll leave you to ponder that challenge while I go try to get some more grant work done, and try to get deeper into Condemned and ROTA. I originally wanted to have the ROTA review done before I head off for the weekend, but I don't think that will happen now. I have a few questions left on ROTA, which I'm waiting until the end to see how they are resolved. Since writing one of my reviews takes the better part of a day, the only way I'd be done by Friday night is if I plow through the rest of ROTA tonight, and I can't do that... There's probably 5-6 hours left at least, and I can't hold my attention to ANY game that long without doing something else (possible exception being Fallout 3). New goal is to be done by Tuesday night.


No comments:

Post a Comment