When was the last time you paid your $60, brought the game home and went, "oh crap, this sucks …"? If you take advantage of all resources available, it should almost never happen.
You know, we complain a lot about what we've lost; about how the golden age(s) of gaming was – in some ways – better than the current generation. But if there's one aspect of the industry that's infinitely better for consumers, it's the availability of information. It's the combination of dozens upon dozens of reviews, tons of forums and communities where feedback and commentary is constant, and the fact that we can actually see most any game before it's on our TVs. There are plenty of trailers, videos and other footage (some from trade shows), and we even have freakin' demos these days. The bottom line is that the days are long gone when we take a shot in the dark 'cuz the box looked cool.
Plus, think of another bonus- because the best games tend to sell very well, and because most gamers do their homework, developers know that if they release a bad product, the repercussions could be dire. And they have been dire in the past; take Free Radical and Haze , for instance. Gamers doing their homework and utilizing the resources available to them is like one big quality assurance program for the industry. EA has gone on record several times saying that review scores are extremely important, and they always strive to release quality titles worthy of those elite 9+ scores. And designers know just how crucial it is to put out a great demo. If we step back and examine the whole situation, there's almost no reason for you to waste your hard-earned money again.
Sure, we might not be as thrilled with a purchase as we would like, but colossal mistakes really shouldn't be as common.
P.S. The reason I have that pic in this article is because it represents one of my mistakes from the past. I don't think I even had Internet when Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia came out, or if I did, I certainly didn't visit GameSpot (4.9) or IGN (4.0). I just thought it was like Final Fantasy Tactics…..aaaand it wasn't.