Despite recent bad financial news, I made a command decision yesterday to spend $110 on video games. Worse, it was $30 over retail!
A coveted item
Some of you may have heard about the SNES Classic. It’s a limited edition gaming console that was released this fall. It comes preloaded with 21 games — including one that has never been previously released.
Unfortunately, it’s well-nigh impossible to get one of these things from a store. It requires a Black Friday-like wait that neither Tim nor I are able to do. And when they’re released online, the consoles are instantly sold out.
Lest you think that last bit was hyperbolic…
I have a business Internet connection, so it’s quite fast compared to the average person’s. Even so — and even shutting down all other programs and adding the item to the cart at the exact second it became available — the console sold out before I could even start the checkout process. It took less than 10 seconds twice.
So yeah, we gave up on getting one from a store. In the past few weeks I’d looked on eBay and considered buying one there. But we’d have paid around $130 with insured shipping* for a $79.99 item. I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it.
Then I realized I could go to my newly discovered (and beloved) secondhand marketplaces, OfferUp and Let Go. Sure enough, there were units for $120, with the added benefit of not having to worry about shipping damage.
Even so, I put off the purchase. I figured I’d see how big the bonus check is this year (or whether there would be one at all) before making the decision.
Then yesterday I realized that it doesn’t matter if the bonus check is as big as I hope. We’re still in deep trouble with the unpaid tax bill. Which should have been sufficient argument against our getting the console at all. But it actually had the opposite effect.
A much-needed distraction
Now that we’re cutting back, we’ll be going out even less than we do currently — which ain’t much.
Meanwhile, Tim has already been getting increasingly easily bored and antsy. If I don’t feel up to going out (physically, mentally or financially), he’ll often get glum and just go to bed. Even when it’s only 5 or 6 p.m. Which, yes, it clearly a sign of deepening depression, but that’s a subject for a whole other post.
The point is that it’s an unhealthy situation. Too much sleep or other lack of stimulus can be bad for depression, but we won’t have a lot of other options in the coming months. So I need something at home to keep him occupied and engaged in the lean times ahead. The console fits the bill nicely.
So I went on OfferUp and found someone asking $110. Taking sales tax into account, that’s about $24 more than we’d pay in the store. I decided that was an acceptable premium, especially considering the potential benefits.
After all, this won’t just be about entertainment. It will be mild occupational therapy for his hands. It’s true that his dexterity and strength have improved over his previous (terrifyingly bad) levels, but both hands are still pretty bad. My hope is that gameplay (done for reasonable lengths of time) will help his grip and dexterity at least a little.
We got the console home, and setup was easy. We then spent about 15 minutes playing before I got cranky at losing constantly and called it a day. He then played a couple of titles for another 20ish minutes and took a break. Later that night he played for about another hour.
He’s been enjoying reacquainting himself with Super Mario World, and he’s eager to learn the OG Mario Kart. Plus there’s Street Fighter and another racing game that should provide hours of entertainment too. (And he’s rusty enough at Street Fighter that I might stand a chance initially.) There are several other titles he’s enthused about, a few more he’s interested in and he’s also excited to play the previously unreleased game, Starfox 2.
So it looks like we should get plenty of hours of entertainment out of the purchase. Obviously, I hope it provides endless hours of entertainment, but I’d settle for 40 to 50. It’s hard to find non-TV, non-physically demanding activity for under $3 an hour.
Of course, I’m well aware that this console could disappoint. That he’ll quickly lose interest or get discouraged by hand cramps. But I think it’ll be okay. His ADD means he should get lost in the games pretty easily, and there weren’t any hand cramps (or at least none bad enough to induce a yelp) last night.
So all in all I think it was a good investment. If not, it’ll be a good lesson the next time I’m trying to find cheap entertainment. Besides, we don’t need any yard work done this month, so it just about evens out.
What do you guys think: good idea or terrible one?
* I refuse to buy anything electronic or collectible without priority shipping or added insurance. USPS is occasionally ridiculously rough with packages.