I buy maybe three video games a year, which is as often as they make games good enough to buy. I find it impossible to pay $60 for a new game, partially because as a child of the original Nintendo, I got accustomed to $40 games, so I always wait at least a couple weeks to get a used copy. And I did the same thing with Assassin’s Creed II, which was worth every penny.
But I’m not going to tell you how awesome this game is, since you’d either like it or you wouldn’t. No, the interesting part is how I almost wasted a bunch of money on it.
I got my used copy for about $45 and spent a couple of weeks playing it on and off until I finished the story. I don’t care much about unlocking achievements or finding every treasure, I just care about being good enough to finish the story. Eventually I was, and I brought the game back and traded it in for a used copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum (which is also very good). I was satisfied, and excited about future sequels.
A little while after that, I saw on the Xbox dashboard that there was new DLC (downloadable content) available for Assassin’s Creed II. A whole new piece of the story was ready to be unlocked for 320 points, or if you want to talk like a normal human American, four dollars. I found myself in a brand new position: I had finished the story, and yet I had not. The satisfaction of finishing the game had been yanked away from me, which would normally have angered me, except that the game is so good that mostly I was annoyed I had sold the game back.
So I did what seemed natural: I complained about it on Facebook. I had given up, and had no intention of buying the game again, that would be absurd. I was just planning on feeling sorry for myself, or at least waiting until I felt like I had the free cash to throw around.
Fortuitously, I have a co-worker that follows me on Facebook, and whose son likes to get in considerable trouble (imagine police officers, broken arms and many fights). She punished him by taking away some of his video games, and lent one to me, the one I needed to continue the story… which I did, and then the next day, there was yet another DLC pack available for the same game. Naturally, I immediately paid another four human American dollars and played through that in a few hours.
So, lesson learned: do some research on whether the game developers are planning any DLC before selling the game back. Unlike the $40 price tag, I’m still not used to the idea that games get add-ons over time, but I’m thrilled that they do. I’m also really lucky that my friend’s son gets in trouble, but hopefully he and I can both learn to make smarter choices.
Published or updated March 15, 2010.