I have always been an avid fan of video games. Some might even go so far as to call me a hardcore gamer. My brother and I were raised on video games, and some of my fondest memories involve gaming with him on almost every system imaginable. From defeating aliens in Galaga on the Atari 2600 to pitching no-hitters with Roger Clemens in Nintendo’s RBI Baseball; from exploring the Xibalba mines in Pitfall on the Genesis to GoldenEye death matches on the Nintendo 64; from escaping Midgar in Final Fantasy 7 for the original Playstation to escaping the Umbrella Corporation in the Gamecube’s Resident Evil Remake; from Uncharted 2 to Mass Effect 3 to Metal Gear Solid 4, I’ve played most games on nearly every system. When I bought my Playstation 3 on Kijiji, my brother and I spent countless hours breaking more gaming records and settling more pixelated grudge matches than I can remember.

Smartphones reconnect people

With the PS4 and the Xbox One generating more great games than ever before, the technological advances in gaming continue to astound me year after year. However, the single greatest advance in gaming that I’ve noticed is the availability of solid, full sized games on smartphones. With my new Android, I’ve been able to rekindle that old school gaming nostalgia with games on Google Play like The Banner Saga, a tactical, turn-based strategy game that was a huge success on the PC before it arrived on Android. In this intense game, you lead your party of Vikings through a gorgeously rendered, mythic world, while weaving your own legendary story. If you prefer action games, Traffic Rider lets you take the role of a daredevil motorcyclist dashing through narrow lanes of a city that looks much like Toronto’s cyclist gauntlet of a downtown core, avoiding collision. The game even rewards you for close calls. I was absolutely floored when I learned that full sized games from bygone eras are routinely released on the Android platform, and I just had to call my brother to let him in on my discovery. When I told him that I was playing Final Fantasy 4 during my long Toronto subway commute, he was hooked. He wanted in on the experience.

Unfortunately, his ancient Android was too old to support the new games, and he couldn’t afford to switch cell phone plans to acquire a new phone. He was stuck. It seemed that the smartphone gaming revolution was one I alone would get to experience. Then it hit me. His birthday was fast approaching, so I thought, “Maybe there’s an affordable phone out there that I can buy for him.”

Everyone knows that online classified sites like Kijiji are a great place to find deals on many items; after all, my first apartment was decorated with things I’d mostly snagged on the cheap from their used furniture section. I took a look at the Android phones for sale, and wondered if the sellers were overcharging. Then I discovered Kijiji’s price checker, a feature that searches its own ads to find the average price of a given item. Knowing the average price of an Android Lollipop or Marshmallow helped me locate a phone that was priced fairly and that would get the gaming job done.

In the end, I was able to score a sweet smartphone for my brother that didn’t break the bank. Now that he’s got one, he can play to his heart’s content, and we’re even able to play co-op games like NBA Jam online together. Boomshakalaka!

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