When big name titles on the horizon are few and far between, I have found that checking out some of the lesser known budget games can prove to be rewarding at times. While these games exist on the same shelves among the more expensive and more anticipated games, they're often described as being found in the bargain bin. Many bargain titles are easily dismissed as cheap in price and even cheaper in value, but you can sometimes find a diamond in the rough. In this series of articles, I'll explore the depths of the bargain bin and bring you the goods (and not-so-goods) on some of these underappreciated PC games.

With each round of games I present, I will have spent no more than twenty bucks per title, each one purchased blindly without having read any reviews prior. As I did with these first six games, I will simply march into my local retailer and make selections based on the appearance of the retail boxes and their descriptions of each game, all the while trying to provide a fair mix between genres. The games I choose must also have been released within the past twelve months, give or take a month or two. For my first round, I have selected a tactical first-person shooter, a straight up adventure title, a puzzler, an arcade style space combat sim, a survival horror game of sorts, and an off-the-wall shooter that we'll look at first. I won't be including any hardcore analyses as most of what I've found can be played on low to mid range machines. Instead, I'll focus on functionality, playability, and above all the fun factor. At the end of the article, I'll give you my pick of the litter. All set? Let's begin Round One.

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    Honestly I think it's got to be a balance between something creative and something functional, I try to blend the two as much as I can whenever I write - sometimes I get it right, other times I don't.

    I've never been a fan of forcing pageviews on an article, my thinking is always that if an article is good enough it'll attract its own traffic, regardless of how it's structured.

    Thanks for the feedback, while I can't always guarantee that we'll be perfect - we'll definitely try :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • boboko - Monday, September 08, 2008 - link

    >"I've never been a fan of forcing pageviews on an article, my thinking is always that if an article is good enough it'll attract its own traffic, regardless of how it's structured.
    Thanks for the feedback"


    If you would like some more feedback, it is the ability to "print" an article on one web page, rather than being forced to click through it one paragraph at a time, that has made me a regular on your website, and a VERY seldom visitor to a certain site whose initials are T'sHW.
    Reply
  • EglsFly - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    I think you left out the best Bargain Bin game that is FREE...
    America's Army
    FPS Shooter developed by the Army based on the Unreal Engine.
    Has over 9 million registered users, and ranks in the Top 10 Online played games. AA is available at:
    http://www.americasarmy.com/">http://www.americasarmy.com/

    There are also FREE stat tracker sites where you can track your frag rate, map time, compare to other users in the "User-Top" lists etc..
    such as, http://aaotracker.com">http://aaotracker.com
    Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    Most everyone knows about America's Army, so it really wasn't qualifying for this kind of article. Also, I don't think you can find America's Army on shelves - but I might be wrong on this.
    As for now, a random sampling of 5 low cost games shows that they are mostly worthy of their cheap price.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    I should mention that I have never in the ~4 years I've been with AnandTech heard him complain or discuss traffic for a type or class of article. I've also never heard him say, "that idea for an article suck...." At the end of the day, we write about what we find interesting or pertinent, and hopefully we're similar enough that our interests pass on to the readers. Passion for a subject tends to be the bigger concern than what the topic happens to be.

    I think if readers like an article, and more importantly tell us they like a type of article, it's something we will continue to do. If you absolutely hate certain types of articles, sound off on how they should be changed and we'll try to accommodate. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. We can't please everyone all the time, of course, but we try.

    (I'm just sad the first couple of people hated my little quotes for the pages. I mean dang, I spent like 30-60 minutes trying to find something appropriate on some of those games! *Sniffle*) ;-)
    Reply

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