5 Summer Video Game Time Wasters on The Cheap

Summer’s here and that means it’s time to neglect that reading list and playing some goddamn video games. Unfortunately, your job painting houses at ‘College Kids F**k Your House Up,’ has neglected to return any income (“Dude, I totally have the cash but I keep forgetting”), so as usual, your broke.

No problem. Here’s five classic games that you should be able to find in the used/bargain bin section that’ll give you all the excuse you need to ignore other, less important things in your life.

StarCraft (PC)

The holy grail of all real time strategy games. It’s hard to believe the same company that produced World of Warcraft could make a game as balanced as this. You can probably score this and the expansion pack (Brood War) a 10.00 total, and the single player alone is probably 60-80 hours worth of game-play.

Its sequel is on the horizon, so if you never played this Humans vs Aliens vs Another Set of Aliens game, now is the time. Blizzard’s free online match-making service adds additional replay value, allowing you to get stomped repeatedly by people who’ve been playing the game since 98′. The best part: regardless of how good (or crappy) your computer is, StarCraft will run on it fine.

Mercenaries (XBOX)

A sleeper hit when it was first released, LucasArt’s Mercenaries received critical acclaim but managed to avoid any real ‘ad buzz’ or hype. It’s unique mix of a war torn setting, off color humor and Grand Theft Auto brand sandbox game play will keep you coming back for more. You play as a Merc in a war zone, and you can take missions (or travel around killing people, sans mission) at will. Lots of vehicles to jack and different weapons keep things fresh. This game was originally released on the first XBOX, but thanks to the 360’s backwards compatibility, it’ll play on that as well.

SSX Tricky (PS2, XBOX)

GO FIND YOUR PS2, because this is the best game ever. Ok, that’s really more a personal opinion thing, but I’ve logged so many hours on this arcade snowboarder, that even looking at its box makes me gag involuntarily. It’s a snowboarding game with crazy-ass characters and a complete disregard for realism and Newtonian physics–and a complete regard for impossible stunts and enormous jumps. It also has a great soundtrack, and is narrated by human beatbox Rahzel. The sequel is decent but complicated something that really didn’t need to be by adding a weird ‘manual’ system. Accept no substitutes.

Civilization 4 (PC)

Want to feel a little more cerebral? Re-write history and crush Ghandi under your military rhetoric with Firaxis’ Games Civilization 4. This turn based strategy game plays basically like a super-advanced game of Risk. Use commerce, military force, and religion to become the most dominant nation on the planet. A single game can take around 8 hours, so saddle up, scream at your mom to fetch you some chocolate milk, and become the ruler everyone knows you probably would be if someone was dumb enough to give you power.

Dead Rising (XBOX 360)

A newer game, but you can definitely find this for way cheaper than it was originally priced at. Basically, it’s a Dawn of the Dead simulator. You play a photographer who’s trapped in a mall with a bunch of crazy people and 1,000,000 hungry zombies, and you can use anything inside the mall (including garbage cans and traffic cones) to kill them. It has a story, but its better for some mindless zombie smashing fun, mainly because the translation from Japanese is pretty poor.

(Image source: ABC.net.au; Blizzard.com, SMH.com.au)