How to find the best DS eBay bargains this Christmas

Know your limits

How to find the best DS eBay bargains this Christmas

One of the ironic things about Christmas is that we can't actually shop on the day the baby Jesus was incarnated into the material world. From a theological view point, if nothing else, you'd think this would be the sort of basic 21st century consumer right the archbishops would stand up for. After all, doesn't the good book say the word became flesh and maxxed out his Mastercard in the Bethlehem Next sale?

So until the Heavenly Host – lead by the Virginal Richard Branson and the Three Wise Men (Sir Philip Green, Lord Groucho Marks & His Funniness Frank Spencer) – force through some sort of hardcore high street sharia edict, you'll be better of making do with Pocket Gamer's analysis of eBay.

The good news is there are plenty of bargains available on the auction site, and with a last Christmas posting date of December 20th for the UK, you still have plenty of time to make the most of the opportunities.

In terms of working out what count as DS bargains, we've spent some time drilling down through all the DS game sales on ebay.co.uk during the past month. The most obvious results concern the top 10 most expensive DS games.

These are provided below in a title, publisher, number available during the past month, and average sale price format.

1. Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland (Nintendo), 11, £20.01
2. Tetris DS (Nintendo), 127, £18.72
3. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo), 448, £18.47
4. The Simpsons Game (EA), 317, £18.30
5. Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo), 211, £18,17
6. New Super Mario Bros (Nintendo), 560, £18.12
7. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo), 205, £17.96
8. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (TT Games), 629, £17.79
9. Pokémon Pearl (Nintendo), 555, £17.64
10. Nintendogs (Nintendo), 754, £17.39

Of course, you might be asking, where are the bargains?

Well, we can't do everything for you, but armed with this information you should be able to work out how much to bid if you want to buy any of these games (i.e. bid less than the average price, although please note our prices do not include postage costs).

Also, remember that you're obviously more likely to get bargains, the more games are available for sale (i.e. it will be easier to find a good deal within 754 copies of Nintendogs than within the 11 copies of Tingle).

Another good example of a bargain opportunity can clearly be seen for people after a copy of the new Pokémon game. If you buy a copy of the Pearl version, its average price is £17.64. A copy of the Diamond version can be found for an average of £17.21, however. Doesn't sound like much of a difference, but when you consider it's an average taken from some 500-odd listings, the individual price difference between the two versions can be considerable.

Similar deals can be found with versions of sports games. EA's brand new FIFA 08 goes for an average of £16.90. But a copy of FIFA 07 will set you back a mere £10.40 on average, while FIFA 06 is predictably less still, at £7.43. To be honest, there's not a lot of difference between them, but if you want a cheap up-to-date footy game, Ubisoft's Real Football 2008 goes for an average of £13.77.

And indeed, our research is especially good when it comes to highlighting bargains amongst classic DS games. If you enjoy shooters, Metroid Prime: Hunters can be had for £10.74 or lower, while Advance Wars: Dual Strike should be available for around £12.12.

Even some new games are surprisingly cheap. The decent Sonic Rush Adventure goes for an average of £14.94, while the highly recommended Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat is slightly less, at £14.78.

Another way of looking at DS sales on eBay, however, is to consider the volume of games put up for auction. This provides an idea of the most popular games. Ready for another top 10?

1. Cooking Mama (505 Games), 1150, £11.27
2. Brain Training (Nintendo), 1066, £14.28
3. MySims (EA), 792, £16.36
4. Nintendogs (Nintendo), 754, £17.39
5. Pokémon Diamond (Nintendo), 672, £17.21
6. Sonic Rush (Sega), 648, £12.31
7. Big Brain Academy (Nintendo), 638, £12.46
8. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (TT Games), 629, £17.79
9. New Super Mario Bros (Nintendo), 560, £18.12
10. Pokémon Pearl (Nintendo), 555, £17.64

Finally, our research also points out games you won't get an eBay bargain on. For example, Nintendo's just-released Sight Training is available brand new online for £17, whereas its eBay average price (excluded P&P, as we've already pointed out) is £15.31.

So the moral of the story is always keep your wits about you. Just because it's on eBay doesn't mean you'll find a bargain, but there are plenty out there if you're prepared to be patient and are disciplined enough to keep your bids low. (We'd also recommend you avoid sellers in China or Hong Kong as they're often game pirates.)

Good hunting then and don't forget to check out our similiar
PSP eBay bargains feature
. And let us know how you get on.

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.