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Top Ways to Save Money on video games

Shadow of War
Shadow of War

If you buy a lot of video games, you know that it can add up after a while.  $60 here, $60 there, 10 games at retail price and you’re up to $600 already.  However, there are ways to make it a lot more affordable for you.

Saving Method #1 – Buying Physical Discs over Digital

Buying digital is super convenient and easy, but rarely does it save you money.  For example, say the latest release is $60 and it will take about 10 hours to beat.  If you buy the disc, you can buy it pre-release for $48 through Amazon, play it, then sell it back on eBay for $30 to $40, depending on how long it took you to play it.  That means playing the new game will cost you $8 to $18 roughly.

If you buy it digitally though, new games are rarely discounted.  That means you’re going to be paying $60 for that game with no chance to resell.

After 10 games, you will have spent on average of $13 per physical game and $60 per digital for a total of $130 on physical vs $600 on digital.  That’s a big chunk of change over a year.

Saving Method #2 – Buying pre-release games at Best Buy or Amazon

Games are normally $60 apiece.  However, Best Buy (through the Gamer’s club) or Amazon has new games 20% off ($48).  Good way to save a lot of money.  Amazon only has the discount on pre-release games but Best Buy has it everyday.

Sometimes, this will even stack with the buy 2, get 1 free deal that Best Buy so you can get 3 games for $96, what a steal.

Saving Method #3 – Buying used games off eBay, then selling them back

Older games are usually pretty cheap on eBay.  Everyone has played through them, so buying them is pretty easy on there.  Luckily, it’s just as easy to sell them back on there.  Just buy the games you want, play through them, then sell them back on eBay.  Since the games have already depreciated down to pretty low levels, you can essentially play them for around $5 max if you buy the right auction.

Saving Method #4 – Buying Gaming Cards on sale

There are some games it makes sense to buy digitally like online games you play every day like Overwatch.  For those, I recommend buying a gaming card from a discount site.  If you keep an eye out at slickdeals or other deal sites, you can often get gaming cards for 10 to 20% off, making those digital games a lot cheaper.

Saving Method #5 – Buy Online renewal card for cheap

Xbox Live is normally $59 for a year.  However, if you watch slickdeals, you can get that same year for $40.   Big difference there.

Saving Method #6 – Buy used controllers from Gamestop when on sale

Controllers are expensive.  Gamestop though often runs Buy 2, Get 1 free deals on controllers and other accessories.  Use that to acquire a few extra controllers for your system.  I would say though that you need to be extra careful and test all controllers you buy immediately to make sure that somebody didn’t trade in a bad controller.  I’ve gotten burned by that once or twice, basically the controller appeared to be ok but when used with a game things like stick drift or the d-pad not selecting right would become immediately obvious.

Saving Method #7 – Combine EBates with your purchases

Sometimes games are on sale at certain retailers.  EBates can help you save around 1% to 5% on a game depending on the store, and way more on certain purchases.  My wife uses it to save money at Walmart on groceries every week by ordering online and then doing pickup.  If you’re interested, I’d really appreciate it if you’d do it through my referral link because it would help fund this website (and it costs you nothing):


I think we’ve saved like $50 this year already with it.

Saving Method #8 – Credit Card bonus savings

There are some places which give you an extra 5% back on all purchases if you own their credit card.  I think Target and Amazon are two such places.  My wife has the Target card, and we’ll probably eventually get the Amazon one too.  Where it really comes in handy is when you’re buying a console.  For instance, the Xbox One X is reduced from $500 to $475 with this, a pretty good savings.


Hopefully these will help you save some money on your next video game or console purchase.  If you have any other ideas, please let me know and I’ll update this list and give you credit here for your idea.

Shuffleboard Cleaning and Maintenance

Full Size American Shuffleboard Company Table
Full Size American Shuffleboard Company Table

If you’ve owned a shuffleboard for a very long, you start to noticed that the pucks aren’t working as well in some areas as others.  You may also be getting marks and other undesirable things happening to your table.  I’ve put together a quick shuffleboard cleaning and maintenance guide below to try and help.


The number one thing that usually happens on shuffleboard tables is that the wax starts to get uneven.  When this happens, you can either try and put more wax on, or in a lot of cases, clean off all the powder wax and restart.  You can clean off all the wax with this tool via my Amazon affiliate:

Hathaway Shuffleboard Brush

That makes it a lot easier to get it all clean and is nice aesthetically too.

Once your table is clean, you have a couple choices.  You can either apply the wax at this point, or you can use some silicone spray on the table before applying the wax.  In fact they even sell a combo pack for this purpose here via Amazon affiliate:

Sun-Glo Silicone Spray and Powder Wax Pack

If you’d rather just buy the powder wax, there are a bunch of options.  Honestly, what I’d recommend is getting the 6 pack of different waxes so you can try out various speeds to see what you prefer.  Sun-Glo sells a six-pack that ranges from slow to fast so you can figure out exactly what you like.  You can buy this through Amazon affiliate here:

Sun-Glo Powder Wax Six Pack

If you need to clean just the furniture part of the table, most of the time you can just use your standard furniture polish/cleaner.  You can also use a vacuum to get all the excess wax out of the side channels, just make sure you don’t accidentally pull up the felt from the bottom if your table has it there.


Hopefully this has helped point you in the right direction for cleaning/maintaining your shuffleboard table.  I know a lot of people are confused on what you should do at first, they know the table isn’t playing like it was before but aren’t sure how to fix it.  Luckily it’s an easy fix in most cases.  I will say that occasionally the problem is beyond a wax or cleaning issue, sometimes the table has warped due to improper storing or humidity issues where it’s located.  In that case, it can take a lot of work to fix the table.



Cactus Jack’s Arcade Review

Cactus Jack's Counter
Cactus Jack's Counter

This weekend I got to make my second trip to Cactus Jack’s in Oklahoma City.  For those that haven’t been there, it’s a great place for people of all ages.  I personally go after all their pinball machines while my kids go after all their redemption machines and air hockey.

Pinball Machines

Cactus Jack’s has a ton of pinball machines, the most in any one location I’ve been to outside of the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.  They have most of the new releases and then all the best games from the early 90’s to today.  For new games, for example they have:

  • Total Nuclear Annihilation
  • Aerosmith
  • The Hobbit
  • Rob Zobbie
  • Star Wars

And then many, many more games from the past 5 years.  While I was there, I played The Walking Dead, Total Nuclear Annihilation, Aerosmith, The Hobbit, Star Wars, Attack from Mars, Game of Thrones, 24, and Wizard of Oz.  I tried to play Rob Zombie but it was in some sort of non-working state, as it was lit up but the screen was black.

Total Nuclear Annihilation Pinball
Total Nuclear Annihilation Pinball

My favorite was probably Aerosmith of the games I played.  It was my second time playing the game, and I really liked it the second time around.  I was also impressed by the Hobbit.  Not so much from the gameplay, but the screen was incredible.  I also got a few games on TnA.  After all the raving reviews, I was a little letdown by the game.  The soundtrack is amazing and it’s fun, but it seems a little repetitive for a game to own at home.

Cactus Jack's Pinball Area
Cactus Jack’s Pinball Area

I still don’t like the upper playfield on Game of Thrones, just not very fun.  Attack from Mars was fun as usual, though it’s starting to look a little dated compared to some of the new games.

Personally if I had to buy any of the games I played, I’d look into Aerosmith, The Hobbit, or the Walking Dead.  I want to like Star Wars but it doesn’t shoot the greatest and it’s a little unclear what the heck is going on sometimes.


Only 1/4 of the place is dedicated to pinball, the other 3/4 is full of arcade and redemption machines.  There are 3 pool tables, 2 air hockey tables, some skeeball and basketball machines, and then a ton of arcade and redemption machines.  The redemption area was full of kids trying to win tickets and has all the usual things you’d find at Chuck’e’Cheese or other places like that.  I’m not a big fan of redemption machines and all that stuff but kids love it, so whatever.  I did play some basketball and that was fun.  The games are pretty affordable overall compared to other places I’ve been like Main Event, my $20 card for the kids lasted a lot longer than I expected.

Cactus Jack's Arcade Area
Cactus Jack’s Arcade Area

However, there was one annoying thing that happened and was partially my fault.  For some reason, the redemption machines use cards, the some things use tokens, and then the pinball machines use quarters.  So I bought three cards to use for my family then found out I couldn’t use the $10 card on pinball (there was a sign on one register but not the one I was on).  Regardless of the sign, it’s kind of a crappy to have three different systems going on in one place, something I’ve never ran across ever in any arcade I’ve ever been to.  The cards can be used to buy tokens, but not quarters, so that makes it even more awkward.


The staff was great at the place, top notch.  They were really patient with my kids picking out their ticket items, which I know is kind of annoying.  🙂  They were really good both times I’ve been there, definitely above average compared to most arcades where the staff can be non-existent.


If you’re in the Oklahoma City area, you can’t go wrong checking out Cactus Jack’s.  My one son said it was his favorite part of the trip which included going to the OKC Thunder/Spurs game, so you know he had a bunch of fun.  They’ve both said they want to go back next time and I agree, I definitely want to go back.

Eneloop Battery Review

Eneloop AA Batteries
Eneloop AA Batteries

If you’re a gamer or have kids that use batteries constantly, then the thought of rechargable batteries is pretty appealing.  Xbox controllers and remote control cars go through AA batteries pretty quickly which can add up if you’re a heavy user of those items.  Even Nerf guns are using batteries now.

The question is, which rechargable do you pick?  There are a ton on the market, and it’s not immediately obvious which one you should pick.  I decided to check out one of the most popular and highest rated batteries made by Eneloop.

My main reason for buying them was for Xbox One controllers.  There are about 3 controllers in my household that are used pretty much on a daily basis, so at that rate you go through a couple AA batteries every week or two.  So figure 6 batteries a week and the cost adds up pretty quick.

I decided to buy a charger pack and 16 pack of batteries from Amazon.  You can see them from Amazon through my affiliate link below:

Eneloop AA Battery Charger Pack from Amazon

Eneloop AA Battery 16 Pack from Amazon

I figured that this would be enough batteries for my controllers plus some spares.

Eneloop AA Battery Charger
Eneloop AA Battery Charger

Eneloop Battery Life

I’ve now used these batteries for a couple months.  I wanted to use them for a while before giving my longer term review.  So far, they’ve been awesome.  We haven’t had to buy nearly as many batteries as before, and it’s very easy to switch them out.

The downside so far has been that it appears if you just leave the batteries out they appear to discharge faster than when they’re actually in a device.  I had originally thought I would charge up all the batteries and leave them in a drawer, then put the depleted ones in the charger.  This didn’t seem to work the best as the batteries from the drawer seemed to die rather quickly in my Xbox One controller.  They are supposed to keep 70% charge for up to 10 years but I didn’t seem to have that good of luck with that part.

However, if I used batteries directly from the charger, they seemed to last a lot longer.  I know that rechargables lose charge as they sit, so maybe that was part of it.  I would say on average I’m getting just as long of use out of my Eneloop’s as I was with the Energizer’s or Duracell’s before.  Sometimes it seems like a little more, sometimes it seems like a little less, probably depends on what game I’m playing probably.

You do want to let them charge all the way.  It normally takes 2 to 5 hours to charge them, but typically I let them charge overnight for sure.  If you don’t charge them all the way, you’ll typically notice pretty quickly when you try them.  I think the Xbox controllers are pickier about charge levels than some devices, so whereas they complain some other devices may run fine.


So would I recommend these batteries?  Absolutely, it’s definitely saving my family a ton of money now.  Typically good batteries are about 50 cents apiece, so we were using $3 in batteries a week.  $53 initial investment has already saved us $24 in two months, and over the year it will save us $103.  Do that for 3 or 4 years, and you’ve got some serious savings.

Top 5 Early 80’s Pinball Machines

Firepower Pinball Machine with LED's
Firepower Pinball Machine with LED's

The late 70’s and early 80’s is when pinball first changed from the EM style to digital electronics.  Along with this came some of the best pinball machines ever made, ones that are still lots of fun to this day.  I’ve played a ton of these games, so I’ve made a list of my top 5 pinball machines from the 80’s.

#1 Eight Ball Deluxe

This is probably the most famous game of the group.  Produced in large quantities, this game was a mainstay in arcades and bars for years.  Based upon pool, it has an easy to learn ruleset but is difficult to master.  One of the things people really loved about it on location is the amount of free games and extra balls you could earn from it in different ways.

The basic ruleset is that you want to knock down the drop targets on the right and then hit the 8 ball target for big points.  You can find the complete ruleset here:

Eight Ball Deluxe Rulesheet

Prices on this game is $1500 to $2500 usually for the original version, the limited edition that came with the smaller head is less desirable and is generally a lot less expensive (even though it’s the same game).

Like all the early Bally games, it has great artwork.  It is also one of the first games to feature speech.


#2 Fathom

Probably the best looking game of the early 80’s, it features a fantastic backglass and playfield of an ocean dive.  I restored one of these about 5 years ago, it was a great game.  I actually regret selling it quite a bit now, but not much I can do about that now.  It’s also one of the most expensive games of that era, Fathom will cost you at a minimum $3000 and probably closer to $4k for just an average example.

Fathom like Firepower features a 3 ball multiball.  I think Fathom’s is better though, because it doubles and triples the playfield depending on how many balls are remaining.  It also has a 1, 2, 3 target bank up front that if you hit them in order and then hit the standup target to the right, you can earn an extra ball.  Fathom is like a lot of the Bally games of that era, it’s very bonus heavy.  The best strategy is to try and get all of the blue and green multipliers to 5x and then get that bonus elevated for major points.

There isn’t a rulesheet online for Fathom unfortunately, but there is a good tutorial video:

#3  Firepower

Firepower is one least attractive early games but also one of the best playing games.  Featuring a three ball multiball, it’s a pretty hard and fun game to have at home.  I owned one for about a year, I really liked it other than the fact that the electronics on it were a little flaky at times.

The basic ruleset is that you need to complete the bank of targets 1 through 6 to light 2 of the 3 lock locations.  From there, you need to lock a ball in both of those places to start the Firepower multiball, which is a pretty cool sequence.  Depending on which of the locks lights up, it can be pretty difficult to start the multiball.  The lock in the back of the game in particular needs strong flippers to reach.

The rulesheet for Firepower is below:

Firepower Rulesheet

The one good thing about Firepower is that it’s cheaper than a lot of other 80’s games.  They made a ton of them and the general unattractiveness of the game compared to other games has kept the price at a reasonable $1000 to $1500 range for the most part.  Sometimes you can even find them cheap broken since the electronics weren’t the greatest.

#4 Black Knight

The first multilevel game ever created, the Black Knight was a huge hit when it was released in 1980.  I owned this game for about a year as well.  I liked it a lot but not as much as Firepower or Fathom, mainly because the music was kind of annoying and most of the game revolved around getting the ball to the upper playfield (there is updated code that addresses this issue now).

One of the cool things the game features is a magna save, which is an extra button on the side that you press to save the ball from the outlane.  It works pretty good most of the time, although occasionally it contributes to your demise.

Rulesheet for the Black Knight can be found here:

Black Knight Rulesheet


#5 Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon is one tough game.  It was basically Bally’s answer for Black Knight, their first two level playfield.  Unlike other games of the era though, Flash Gordon doesn’t have any multiball, it’s just the toughest single ball game of that era according to many players.

It has a similar ruleset to most of the other Bally games of the era.  The main focus is you try and hit targets to get double or triple scoring for 15 seconds, although honestly keeping the ball alive that long would be a feat most of the time, lol.  It has the same bonus features of the other Bally games, that’s one of the things I really like about games of that era.

Honorable Mention

There are a ton games that could go below.  Some ones that I can think of off the top of my head are:

Paragon:  Probably the best art package of any game of that era.  The backglass is just stunning.

Black Hole:  Featuring an upside down playfield underneath, it was something totally mind blowing compared to everything else at the time.

Stargazer:  Fantastic Art, good playing game, and very rare.  It’s unlikely that you’ll ever get to play one except for maybe at a show.

Centaur:  A lot of people have this game as their favorite.  It might have the biggest multiball of the era at 5, but I’m not sure 100% sure.  I really like the game, but the art is only so-so for me (although a lot of people love it).

Hopefully this list of top 80’s pinball machines has helped you discover some games you haven’t heard of or pointed you towards some games to aspire to.  I’m looking to add a Flash Gordon here at some point myself, might take a while though.