Buying Big in America

It’s day x for my trip in the States. From Burlington, Vermont to San Francisco, California, my shopping spree for games has not quite ended. Why? Simply because choices were abundant and prices were ridiculously low.

It has long been an issue that Australian gamers have been paying too much for their games. In Australia you easily pay from $99 to $119 for a game. In the States, they are mostly on sale for US$59.99. So it is just too good a price for me not to dive in. This is even truer if you are looking for games that you know had come out in the west but never made it to the Australian shores. This usually happens to a lot of cult games that have a good following but were never determined mainstream enough to release in all markets. Some of the examples include games from Nippon Ichi and Atlus, who are famous for their cult franchises.

During this trip I picked up three Nippon Ichi games – ‘Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle’ (US$9.99), ‘ZHP: Zetai Hero Project’, (US$19.99) and ‘Generation of Chaos’ (US$3.99 Used). None of these PSP games came to the Australian market even though they have been released for quite some time. Among them I only previously knew of the PSP version of ‘Phantom Brave’. A fellow Gameolian – Vampiric, who listened to our ‘RPG, RPG!’ podcast informed me about the ‘ZHP’ game. I accidentally found ‘Generation of Chaos’ from a GameStop PSP shelf. PSP games have been hard to come by in Australia simply because they have not been doing spectacular numbers. Major releases such as Tactic Ogre, Parasite Eve – the 3rd Birthday did come out in Australia, but other more non-mainstream games such as the above are not that lucky.

On top of these games, I also picked up a DS game called ‘Ragnarok’ (US$19.99) that I have not seen in Australia. It is another non-mainstream RPG from Atlus. I personally have not played it yet but it is always great to find games on the shelves that I have been interested in for a while. As for my trustful PS3, I picked up a second hand copy of ‘Samurai Warriors Gundam 2’ for less than US$10. This game is hard to come by in Australia, and even if you managed to find a copy, it is not cheap at all. I also picked up a copy of ‘Record of Agarest War Zero’ for US$19.99. I have thought of getting the super uber edition but then decided that it will be too much for my luggage – I still remember the stress I had when I tried to bring special edition games back from Hong Kong in February. At the moment I am still contemplating getting a copy of ‘Tales of Graces’ as I cannot find a copy in Australia anywhere. However, I am holding back at the moment because it is still in full price – US$59.99.

Being a gamer is such a joy in the States. Most of the time you have the chance to spoil yourself with choices in both hardware (yes I am looking at you Midnight Purple 3DS) and software. I am not saying that we are always worse off. Some great wins in game releases in Australia include ‘The Last Story’ and ‘Xenoblade Chronicles’ appearing here before the States and we did have the Dark Aeons in the PAL version of ‘Final Fantasy X’ that do not exist in the US version. However, when you go overseas, you really get annoyed by how much more we are paying for our games and how lacklustre the choices are in terms of game collection. If you are an RPG person like me, there are hardly a lot of games for you to choose from in Australia. Even for the Tales series, we only had limited release of the two ‘Tales of Symphonia’ games and an extremely limited release of ‘Tales of Abyss’ on 3DS. Although I decided not to get one, there was no shortage of ‘Persona 2 PSP’ on the shelves. There is another PSP game that I am trying to track down – ‘Lunar: Silver Star Story’ – a remake of the PSOne original that I have seen once here but then missed out when I went back, which I have never seen in Australia.

So here I am, on my crusade to track down some of my favorite rare RPGs – to a point that I am now thinking of getting a job here in the States just for my gaming. I heard that Australia is now looking at the price issue for games and electronic products, but what we need also are choices – without choices, price is just a label on the box.

Featured image credit and thanks to Robert Couse-Baker

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!