Impulse Buying and Buyer’s Remorse

Yesterday I did something I rarely ever do – I picked up a game on a complete whim. Madworld for $8 at EB Games? Surely I’d be insane not to buy it!

Impulse buying is incredibly risky, it has it success stories as well as failures. Why do we buy on impulse? Random curiousity, the simple urge to buy something new, recommendations from a friend. The way I see it, impulse purchases eventually fall under one of three categories. You have the success stories, the games you fell in love with. On the opposite end are the failures, the ones you sincerely regret buying because they were completely unenjoyable. Then there are the forgotten ones, the games you buy but never touch, that sit gathering dust in what might already be a massive pile of shame.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to have little income. It means I can’t run the risk of impulse buying as often as others might. But it doesn’t mean I’ve never done it before, and in that regard I’m incredibly lucky that the games I have bought on impulse have been really good. I’m really hoping Madworld will fit that pattern.

Of course, $8 isn’t much of a risk. The game’s bad (it won’t be)? Whatever! It’s only eight dollars down the drain. Sales are simply a great time for impulse buying, and through them I’ve picked up some games that I’ve enjoyed immensely. I picked up the original Mass Effect for $20, for example, simply because it was cheap and I’d heard a friend say good things about it. Now I’ve devoted multiple playthroughs to the trilogy.

Sometimes we take bigger risks, though. I bought Max Payne 3 on impulse for full retail price. It turned out to be a great game, an astounding game, and one of my favourites of the year. Sometimes we need that impulse, that urge to just buy something new, to get us out of our comfort zones and playing games we never thought we would before.

In terms of my three impulse categories, I’ve never had a failure, but I have bought a few games that have quickly gone to the pile of shame, and some might argue that that’s close enough to a failure. Dragon Age Origins and Fallout 3 sit at the top of that pile of shame, two games I bought simply because I could, that were each played for maybe an hour or two before just being forgotten entirely.

That’s just me, though. I don’t buy as many games as others do, and I’m not too prone to impulse purchasing. I’m very curious about other people, friends with 1000+ games in their Steam libraries, for example (hello Cakesmith). Where does the urge to buy come from there, and what kind of regret (if any) do they feel about buying a lot of those games.

What are some of your success stories? What’s the worst game you’ve ever bought on impulse?

3 comments

  1. My biggest impulse buy failure was probably Mercenaries 2, which I only put two hours or so into. It’s not terrible, it just wasn’t that interesting, and having played a bit of Just Cause 2 since I won’t go back

  2. I’m impulsive when it comes to digital stuff like Steam, eShop or XBLA. I have made bad decisions in the retail sector in the past, but most that have been on a whim and turned out to be OK or even great. No More Heroes was bought on a whim at launch and that’s become one of my favourite games ever.

  3. I’ve had bad ones: WarioWare Smooth Moves, (bought with my Wii) I didn’t care much for. But something like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on GBC was bought purely for the fact I was young and liked the franchise, turned out to be one of the best RPGs I have ever played, and a brilliant adaptation of the book’s story.

    I bought MadWorld for under $10 too, and it is pretty damn fun. I really need to get around to finishing it! I hope you like it!

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