The $13.37 Gamer: Douglas Coupland's "JPod"

1337gamer11.jpgThe games industry is shaping up to be the most lucrative of all the media industries, but when you get right down to it, it’s really hard for your average gamer to shell out $60 every week to demonstrate they are the hardest of the hardcore.

That’s where I come in. If you’re a member of the C.A.G. forums, or if you sometimes wonder why The Frugal Gamer hasn’t been updated in a while, I’m here to help gamers satisfy their love of all things gaming, for under $15, actually, for under $13.37, every week.

Since that price is just a couple bucks above your average bargain bin or used title, I might not recommend a video game every week, but I will suggest something video game related that you should own to boast your gamer love. This week’s $13.37 gamer recommendation is Douglas Coupland’s JPod.”

Yes, I know, a book – a novel no less. It may be foreign to some gamers as there are no hints or cheats, or anything really beneficial to a gamer between those covers, except for a really enjoyable read. The majority of the book takes place at a very EA-esque development studio, where the six main characters, (whose lasts names all start with the letter 'J' and are randomly assigned to the same pod) are working on a run of the mill skateboarding title, known as “BoardX.” The humor ensues (and it gets a little weird) as the marketing department suggests that the game should add a turtle to the game to broaden its target audience. The overall plot of the story follows around Ethan, one of the members of JPod as he deals with his family, podmates, and a visit to the outer wastelands of China. There are a myriad of gaming references peppered throughout the book, including "Tetris" tournaments, "Halo 2," and "Defender" (everyone loves "Defender"). Either way, clocking in at 450 pages, it’s a faster read than you would think, and it won’t take away too much of your precious controller-caressing time.

You can pick up "JPod" at the MTV Shop (Unintentional corporate synergy here. Honest. I swear that was the cheapest price I got from Froogle) for $12.88 including estimated shipping, which comes in a whole $.49 under the allotted limit, and it is worth every penny.

So buying "jPod" will leave the $13.37 Gamer with 49 cents. Amazingly, I can still get you more for your money. Alas, it is another book, but this one is completely free, you can still get it for under $13.37. Gaming guru Scott Steinberg recently released his latest guide to the industry that we all love this week, called “Get Rich Playing Games.” Now, you could run out and spend $17.99 on the paperback version of the book, or you can head to getrichgaming.com, and download a PDF of the whole book for free. That’s right, you can get a free book that will help you learn how to make enough money playing video games so that some day you can spend more than $13.37 a week on games.