It's a familiar dilemma. That moment of decision as you weigh up the empty game case in your hand before taking it to the till. You've waited for this game. You're excited about this game. But will it be any good? Are you about to waste your money on something that will be gathering dust before the week is out?
We've all been there, but consider another complication. What if, rather than just worrying about whether you'll enjoy the game, you had to take into account the idea that you might not be able to play it at all?
That's the situation that faces many disabled gamers. It's an issue the games industry is slowly taking notice of.
Subtitles and audio description can allow deaf and blind people to enjoy film and television, ramps and lifts can make cinemas accessible to wheelchair users, but gaming is not a passive entertainment. The interactive aspect throws up dozens of problems for many different types and levels of disability.
Modern game controllers can baffle most non-gamers, with their triggers, bumpers and buttons. Add limited mobility or motor function and they become complex hurdles to be negotiated. Even simple fixes, such as full subtitling that conveys more than just cut-scene dialogue, is relatively rare.
And that's without considering the games that are rendered unplayable for colour blind gamers through poorly considered use of red and green. Rather than one easily identified barrier there are dozens, each varying in importance depending on the player.
That doesn't mean that there aren't some fairly simple decisions that could be made early in the development process to cast the accessibility net a little wider.
"The biggest obstacle when speaking to developers is getting them to realise that there are millions of disabled gamers who are kept out of many titles due to accessibility issues that could be easily fixed," says Steve Spohn. He's the associate editor of AbleGamers, a US-based website that reviews games both in terms of their critical value and their accessibility for people with all kinds of disabilities.
It's not even as if studios are consistent within their own product portfolios. The PC version of Bioware's Dragon Age scored highly on the AbleGamers scale for its generous configuration options, comprehensive subtitles and simple mouse-based control.
Mass Effect 2, however, scored low for its small fonts, restrictive control schemes and colour-based mini-games. "The difference between the two games is night and day," says Spohn.
A gamer since the age of six, Steve has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It's a rare version of Muscular Dystrophy that progressively weakens the muscles governing movement.
Despite what would seem to be insurmountable obstacles to enjoying today's fast, complex, detail-oriented games, Steve believes that for the vast majority of disabled gamers, a series of small changes to the development process could make a huge difference.
"Developers fail to consider the amount of people they could be selling games to by adding some very simple options in early development such as subtitles, key mapping, and changeable fonts," he explains.
"Accessibility options such as subtitles, reconfigurable controllers and keys, changeable fonts and colours, and colour blind options can all be added for a very little additional development cost or time."
According to Spohn, such changes would not necessarily impact the experience for non-disabled players. "Gamers with disabilities would have much more access to mainstream titles if developers would add options that could be turned on as needed.
"Options such as those listed would not otherwise affect the game unless used by the gamer. All games can become accessible to everyone with the right combination of help from developers and accessible technology."
As is the case for most advocate groups, Steve hopes for a day when organisations like AbleGamers are no longer needed. "I really want to believe that developers will start adding accessibility willingly in the early development cycle of games," he says.
"But until we convince developers and gamers of all types alike that these types of accessibility can be added without hindering the games, accessibility options will continue to be left out over cost concerns or general misunderstandings."
One organisation working with developers to try to ensure this happens is Special Effect. Counting Eurogamer's very own dandy media highwayman Johnny Minkley among its directors, this UK charity aims to focus ideas and understanding in research and development, to help all gamers enjoy their pastime.
"We need to accept that not all games can be made accessible to all people," says Special Effect's Mick Donegan. "It's more a case of looking at those games which can potentially be adapted, at the outset if possible, and making them accessible to as many people as possible.
"That's why we're here – not only to provide information and modify games after the event, but also to team up and advise the industry either when a new version of a game is being developed or even when a new game is just a twinkle in the Developers eye."
Not all the necessary changes require much advocacy - the shift to include casual players has had beneficial side effects for the disabled audience as well.
"Recently, we have seen that with gaming becoming increasingly popular, some releases are including features aimed at allowing a wider audience to be able to play them," says Donegan.
"For instance, F1 2010 and Forza 3 both have an auto braking option, which allows many more people, including those in the mainstream audience, to join in. FIFA 11 has included the two-button mode first seen in EA's World Cup South Africa release, which again simplifies the controls to allow many more people to play it."
This has obvious implications in the increasingly popular realm of motion control, a development that has the potential to both include – and exclude – disabled players.
"Motion controllers have added a new dimension to gaming," Steve Spohn admits. "Unfortunately, it's a move away from accessibility for many disabled gamers. Those with motion impairments such as using wheelchairs or limited body movement will be left out a lot of games.
"However, for other gamers that have the ability to move around easily but not dexterity for fine movements, motion games can be a good thing."
The Special Effect team agrees. "If developers could make a game that is playable using a motion controller such as the PlayStation Move and a more standard controller then it will open up their games to a more inclusive and broader audience," says Donegan.
"We have a Specialist Occupational Therapist on the team who has the expertise to advise developers on the kinds of movements that people with different disabilities can make most easily so that as many of them as possible can join in too."
Of course, it's doubtful we'll ever see the day when a quadriplegic can fire up the latest first-person shooter and start fragging their fellow gamers with the same vigour as a non-disabled player, but it's surprising just what can be done where there's a will.
It doesn't come as much of a surprise that you're more likely to find bold accessibility decisions in the world of indie development. Peggle features a colour blind option. Xbox Indie game Shoot1UP was patched after release to offer a one-button control system and adjustable game speed.
And then there are games like In The Pit. One of the first games released on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel, it attracted some attention for its audio-only gameplay. Something of a novelty to a console audience unfamiliar with such things, it was actually just one of a number of titles suitable for blind and sight-impaired gamers that have found their way to market over the years.
Usually sold via mail order or direct over the internet (or just given away as freeware), it's the sort of niche which proves that where the mainstream fails to act, passionate enthusiasts will fill the gap. Indeed, at the time of writing this very feature, Walketh, another audio game, was being promoted on the front page of the Indie Channel.
For indie developer R. Hunter Gough, the creator of In The Pit, the inspiration was more of a technical challenge than anything purely altruistic. Put simply, designing an audio-only game forces you to be a smarter developer.
"I didn't set out with the goal of, 'Let's make a game for the blind!'" he confesses. "But I was aware from the get-go that this would be a game that blind people could play just as well as sighted people, if not better, since they're more accustomed to navigating by sound."
It's unlikely we'll ever see an audio-only blockbuster troubling the charts. But there could easily come a time when the inclusion of an accessibility menu option - allowing gamers to dictate game speed, font size and control layout - is standard industry practice, just like subtitles on a DVD.
The only mystery is why it doesn't happen more already. After all, disabled people spend the same money as everyone else, and games publishers still like money, right?