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The List: Five Things to Do (Besides Shop) On Black Friday

Columns By Som Pourfarzaneh on November 27, 2015

Five Things to Do (Besides Shop) On Black Friday

Tell me if this cycle sounds familiar to you: you spend a good part of the year playing through your backlog of video games in the lulls between major releases, only to fill it back up again once a Steam Sale hits.  I myself am just cresting the wave of a number of older titles that have been collecting dust for some time (the most recent ventures include Shadow of Mordor, Super Mario 3D World, and A Link Between Worlds), and am simultaneously anticipating and avoiding holiday sales.


Here are five things that you can do this Black Friday instead of buying things!

Get Your Group On

If you’re at home trying to avoid the shopping madness, chances are good that your friends and guildmates will be, too.  Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to catch up on raids and small group instances that you may have been saving for when you have a large chunk of time on your hands.  If you’re like me and are too cool to keep up with a guild, there’s always open world group content that you can tackle with a PUG.

Level an Alt

One of the best parts about MMOs is that within them, you can usually count on new and varied experiences simply by rolling new characters and seeing where they take you.  I’m currently leveling my third and fourth alts (I have issues) in Guild Wars 2, for example, and feel as though I’m experiencing the game’s world again for the first time.  Going through the character creation process and trying out a new class can do wonders for staving off the impulsive need to buy something.

Play Games You Already Own

I realize that not all of us have the means or the interest to stockpile a ridiculous amount of games, but with sales as they are, it’s becoming easier and easier to pick up last year’s titles for less than a song.  The result is that most of us have at least a handful of games that we haven’t given a fair shake, or have been relegated to the bottom of the pile in the shadow of some new hotness.  This weekend, you owe it to yourself to pick out at least one of those games and see if it’s worth your attention!

Gift a Game

If money must absolutely exchange hands, consider gifting a game to a friend or family member.  Put your Steam dollars to work and get your little sister her very own copy of F.E.A.R. (do not do this).  You might also spend some time introducing a game or gaming in general to a non-gamer, offering them a window into your obsession and the gift that keeps on giving: consumerism.

Go Outside

This suggestion may seem pedantic for a website whose focus is exclusively on video games, but hear me out.  You may have seen REI’s #OptOutside campaign to promote outdoors activity on Black Friday instead of shopping, and in related news, several national and state parks will be providing free entry for the day.  So, today’s a perfect opportunity to get into the great out-of-doors, breath in some fresh air, exercise, and play some games on your tablet or mobile device.

What are your plans for Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend?

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som is a Staff Writer at and a Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.