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25 Ways to beat the Credit Crunch

Feature: ...and play games

The Credit Crunch is all over the news right now and it's having an impact on everything, including your love of videogames. Basically, the Credit Crunch began in America when banks lent money to people without jobs who live in trailer parks and then were shocked when the loans never got repaid. We're all paying for those loans. Nice.

Historically, us gamers are a hardy bunch and recessions (erm, Credit Crunch) don't stop us playing. The last time the country tightened its belt, gamers were still banging on the locked doors of HMV willing to pay over £80 for a copy of Street Fighter II Turbo because it came in a fancy limited-edition tin.

But the hard times are hitting. Pivotal, the UK developer behind the Conflict series, has closed and even super-publisher Activision Blizzard is shedding some of its games line-up for the coming year (with release dates for Ghostbusters, World In Conflict and Brutal Legend all up in the air). So, to help you out (and make the most of the lean times ahead) here are 25 ways to save money and play PS3 games on the cheap, it could help...

1. STAY IN
Unlike other areas of life, gaming has always been fairly resilient to the pressures of a recession. What's the one thing that happens when money gets tight? People stay in. Save money by entertaining yourself on the cheap indoors.

So traditionally, playing games saves you money - a copy of MGS4 is cheaper than a holiday in Corfu. In fact, a family holiday to the Greek isle will set you back £889 on lastminute.com; for that you can get a brand new PlayStation 3 and 14 games. You won't need to come out until the Credit Crunch has run its course with that little lot. 50 Points

2. BUY ONLINE
Don't pay silly money prices for games that are far cheaper online. By and large, the High Street stores aren't cutting prices on PS3 hardware, if you want a cheaper console you'll need to go to online auction sites like eBay.com. You should expect to pick up a second hand PlayStation 3 for under £250, saving vital cash to splash on second hand games and online peripherals. 20 Points

Here are six incredible gaming bargains we found just lying around the internet looking for a new home:

Metal Gear Solid 4 £21 (eBay): Konami's epic last hurrah into the life of hard-ass black ops grump Solid Snake - an essential purchase packed with replay value and a free online game, Metal Gear Online.

Skate £14.99 (GAME): A physics-based control system ensured this plays like no other skate game before it. For the price, Skate is a real bargain and just what you need to get over being holed up indoors.

DarkSector £14.99 (GAME): Another cheapy from High Street store GAME, this time D3 Publisher's horror shooter. It's like a cheap, Emo Resident Evil 4.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune £10 (eBay): A must for any PS3 owner, Naughty Dog's Indy-meets-Resident Evil is a technical marvel. A patch has just added Trophies, making it even more essential.

Ratchet & Clank: TOD £8.49 (eBay): For under a tenner you can't go wrong with this cute, sassy and colourful platformer.
It's more adult than you'd think and looks astounding. You have to play it!

The Darkness £8 (CEX): Only a year old, last summer's must-have horror FPS is already going cheap. Don't be put off by the price as The Darkness is a quality, clever shooter that impressed last year when PS3 was just taking off. Decent.

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