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Got a game you don’t want? Here’s what to do

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You told your relatives you already had a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. You made it very clear to Santa that you didn't own a Wii U, so there was no need to bring you Super Mario 3D World. But somehow, you once again ended up with games you either already own, didn't want, or can’t play.

Now what?

If you're especially lucky, your gift-giver included a receipt. But if not, take hope: there are plenty of ways to get cash or credit for those unwanted titles in your game library. The trick is getting the most for them.


Typically, the best bet is to trade back games for credit rather than cash. Game retail giant GameStop, of course, is always a safe (if not very lucrative) bet. It's also one of the easiest places to find with locations in countless malls across the country.

While it's possible to exchange games for cash at GameStop, you're much better off swapping them for store credit, since the company puts a much higher value on trades. If you're not a PowerUp Rewards member (which costs $15 per year), it worth considering, as that will significantly increase the value of your trades, sometimes by a couple of bucks per title. Trade in frequently and you’ll make up that $15 in a jiffy.

GameStop also has regular promotions where it offers bonuses on trades, and it's not uncommon for the store to offer extra in-store credit for certain hot items, boosting their value anywhere from 30 to 90 percent. The store's weekly circulars are worth a look, as are several gaming forums. Don’t miss CheapAssGamer, a terrific source of trade bonuses.

If you want to know what GameStop's really interested in, though, the company lists specials and the trade value of some big titles and hardware on its website.

Looking to get an idea on the value of all of the games you want to trade in, not just a select few? Skip GameStop -- Best Buy and Target list their prices for all games online. You can get an extra 10 percent on your trades at Best Buy, also, if you're a member of their Unlocked Gamers Club.

Similarly, Amazon accepts game trade-ins for credit. If you choose that retailer, though, you'll need to have a little patience.

Amazon's service is pretty straightforward: Enter the titles you want to dispose of and you’ll see their trade value. Assuming that’s acceptable, you print out a free shipping label, box them up and drop them off at the nearest UPS location. A week or so later, your Amazon account will receive a credit in that amount, which you can use on games or anything else the site carries. You can get instant credit, too, but you'll have to guarantee it against a credit card.

So who's paying best right now? That fluctuates frequently, but interestingly, Best Buy was outperforming the others at the time we put this piece together.

For a copy of the solid Xbox One game Dead Rising 3, for instance, GameStop was paying $27 ($29.70 for PowerUp Rewards members), Amazon would give you $28.57, and Best Buy was offering a whopping $40.

Keep in mind that by the time you read this, everything could -- and likely will -- have changed a bit, so be sure to check around.

Not interested in store credit? If you’re looking for real world cash, there’s always the old standby eBay, of course. There's also Glyde, an online marketplace for electronics, but one that doesn't charge for listings. And if you simply want to trade your game for another, sites like Goozex will help match you up with others looking to swap their games. You won't get rich trading or selling those unwanted games, but at least you might find something you're more interested in playing.

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