If you pay attention to sales and are willing to wait a while until after a game's initial release, gaming can be a relatively cheap hobby.
Just don't pay too much attention to those sales and buy a bunch of crap you'll never play just because it's temporarily marked down — my Steam library is certainly stuffed with its fair share of discounted and forgotten crap. There's gotta be at least a few hundred bucks worth of undownloaded titles that could have been — should have been — channeled toward sandwiches. Delicious, tangible sandwiches.
On the opposite side of the cheap bastard spectrum, there are plenty of ways to throw money into enviable opulence if that's more your style. The most obvious outlets would be building some disgusting gaming rig and devoting a room entirely to your inner shut-in. Or, if you want a more nontraditional path toward decadence, have 300 clams burning a hole in your pocket and an unflinching love for sowing simulated seeds, you can get yourself the Heavy Equipment Precision Control System for "Farming Simulator" on the PC.
The system is exactly what it sounds like: a specialized set of controllers to further the timeless quest of converting a standard computer desk into a lifelike piece of heavy farming equipment. The whole kit includes a steering wheel, pedals, and a side control panel complete with a joystick and programmable 25-plus button keypad. Setting it up is the most effective way to clutter your desk, short of installing a functional four-burner stovetop.
"Farming Simulator" on its own is a unique adventure in tedium (not that it doesn't make for a good time for those who know what they're getting into), but the extra control set really pushes field-hand nerd cred to another level.
Ridiculous as it may be, the Precision Control System isn't the most excessive game control scheme out there. That title still belongs to "Steel Battalion," a 2002 Capcom release for the original Xbox that came complete with a $200 controller (on top of the $50 price of the game itself) featuring two joysticks, three foot pedals and more than 40 buttons to simulate being the pilot of a giant mech robot.
While "Farming Simulator's" extra setup clocks in at a higher price, it's also completely unnecessary — the game can be played to its full potential with just a keyboard and mouse. Not so with "Steel Battalion;" the extra desktop doo-dads were mandatory to be able to play the game in any way. It's like privilege packaged right into the box. I actually had a friend who bought this behemoth when it was first released, and I recall even my 13-year-old self thinking "Jesus, Barry, this is a bit much."
From robot warfare to virtual crop tending, the options are out there if you want to splurge — they always are. I think I'll stick to the $9.99 and under section and live vicariously through YouTube videos of these goofy and lavish contraptions.
Read more Nixon: coloradodaily.com/columnists.