Black Friday: What to Avoid and What to Buy

Let’s not beat around the bush here: The week of Thanksgiving in the United States is ridiculously slow as far as news is concerned, with the odd exception of a major release (GT5!!). Instead, it’s usually time to focus all of our energy on scouring the internet for the absolute best deals on the games we want on the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday as it’s so lovingly known.

Unfortunately, said scouring can be downright exhausting. That’s why your pals at PlayStation University have weeded out deceptively good deals and pinpointed the real bargains elsewhere. While the stores below might not always be an option, we’ve tried to look for deals that should be within reasonable reach for most people.

From hit games to PSPs, here’s what you should be looking out for later this week.

EDITOR’S NOTE: These offers are valid in the US only, and the dates/times are as specific as I could find. Doorbusters start at the specified time, and if the offer is valid all day then I simply wrote Friday and/or Saturday. If you have any doubt whatsoever, do not hesitate to call the retailer in question.


$149 at Best Buy, Kmart [Thanksgiving Day for both, with Kmart opening at 6am]

Instead: PSP 3000 Core Holiday Bundle (LittleBigPlanet, Karate Kid UMD, 1GB Memory Stick) at Target [4am Friday, while supplies last] ($127), RadioShack/Sears/Kmart [Friday/Saturday] ($129, Kmart + $15 game coupon)

If you’re new to the system, you’re much better off going with the PSP-3000 bundle being sold just about everywhere. While Target, RadioShack, and Sears all offer the bundle, Kmart is offering the best deal by throwing in a $15 game credit along with the bundle.

While PSP Gos still offer three free games to download (LBP, SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters), Sony hasn’t done a great job of managing the PSN store’s PSP selection. Games aren’t required to release on PSN (Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a major omission) and games are regularly much more expensive than they are on UMD.

Madden NFL 11, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, The Sims 3

$49.99 each at GameStop [Friday-Sunday]

Instead: All at Best Buy $34.99 [5am, while supplies last] // All Buy 1, get 1 for $5 at Toys R Us [10pm Thursday-1pm Friday] // Madden/MOH at Walmart [Friday/Saturday] $29.99 // NFS/MOH $34.99 at Target [Friday/Saturday] and Kmart [Thanksgiving Day 6am-9pm/Friday, + $10 game coupon on MOH]

There are two major problems with GameStop’s sale of EA games. First off, they’re much more expensive than just about anywhere else. Secondly, none of the games are on sale for both the PS3 and 360 — Madden and Need for Speed are limited to the 360, with Sims 3 and Medal of Honor only available on PS3. Whatever your favorite retailer (or second, if GS is your favorite for some twisted reason), you can find a better deal elsewhere on your platform of choice. The best deal (by $5, but still) is at Toys R Us, where you can buy any of the above games and get the second for $5, and Kmart once again offers a great deal by throwing $10 your way for buying Medal of Honor.

If you insist on giving GameStop your money there are several great games on sale. Final Fantasy XIII is a doorbuster for $19.99 [5am-noon]; inFamous, Killzone 2, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time are all $14.99 Friday through Sunday.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

$59.99 + $10 gift cart at Target [Friday/Saturday]

Instead: $39.99 at Kmart [Thanksgiving Day, 6am-9pm]

Pretty self-explanatory: Save $10 by heading to Kmart instead. The odd thing with Kmart is that their doorbusters are on Thanksgiving Day rather than the day after. If going out early Thursday morning doesn’t suit you, then Target is your only other option, although a decent one at that.

If Target is in fact your only option, think about FFXIII for a paltry $17 during the same Friday/Saturday sale. It’s a fairly divisive game, but it’s hard to beat the 60+ hours you’ll get out of it for the price.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare “Saga” (CoD4 & MW2)

$44.99 at Kmart [Thanksgiving Day 6am-9pm, Friday/Saturday]

Instead: Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition $34.99 [Thanksgiving Day 6am-9pm, Friday], Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit/Medal of Honor (see above deal), Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (see above deal)

With Black Ops finally out it makes sense for older games to finally see a price cut. If a multiplayer isn’t the focus behind your purchase, then Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition is by far the better option. For $10 less you’re getting an exponentially longer experience.

Even if multiplayer IS something you’re looking for, you know you’re not going to play both games online. Instead opt for the newer Medal of Honor, which is not only cheaper but also offers you an additional $10 game credit. Even Need for Speed has a compelling multiplayer with over-the-top cops and robbers gameplay and the addition of the Facebook-like Autolog, minus the evil privacy stealing.

Have any tips on great deals? Don’t hesitate to share them below!

Readers Comments (3)

  1. Nice guide. I’ll be at Target at 3:45am! should be fun.

  2. I hope there will still be copies of GT5 left if I go shopping for games on Black Friday.

  3. aside from the 50 usd price drop for the pspgo, there isnt much going on

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