In a few hours, Modern Warfare 2's first piece of downloadable content will become available. If you really, really must have it, chances are you're going to have some spare change left over at the end of it.
After all, the "Stimulus Pack" costs 1200 Microsoft Points, and many of you will be buying the 1600 MSP pre-paid card to pay for it. Leaving you with 400 MSP leftover.
For some people, they're happy with that. That 400 MSP will sit, and the next time they buy something with spare change, it will multiply, like a combo, until they have enough to buy something like Marvel vs Capcom. That's awesome! If that's you, you have a good nose for saving.
If, however, 400MSP burns a hole in your pocket, you may want to read on.
WHAT NOT TO BUY
Entire industries have sprung up on the Xbox 360 in recent years, all built around the "MSP leftover" phenomenon, there to convince you to part with your spare change in exchange for trinkets. Don't do it.
Avatar Clothes - Paying to advertise somebody's game or clothing company? Please.
Gamerpics & Themes - Paying for what is essentially 360 wallpaper? Don't do it. We'd be equally strict on gamerpics, but since they've declined in use since the introduction of avatars, you probably don't need much of a warning.
WHAT TO BUY
Now for the good stuff. What you can, and should, buy for 400 Microsoft Points. You may not think you can get much, but you can. You can get games, and good games at that.
I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 - Great top-down shooter with an even better soundtrack.
TMNT 1989 Arcade - One of the greatest arcade games of all time, now available for pocket change. A must if you have more than one control pad in the house.
Inside Lacrosse's CL2010 - It's like EA Sports! Only it's made by a small dev, is available on Xbox Live's Indie service, and is all about Lacrosse. Badass.
UNO - Might seem a little pedestrian, but come on. Everyone loves UNO. If you're ever going to get your Mum to pick up an Xbox 360 controller, UNO is the thing to do it.
Kodu Game Lab - Not really a game, per se, Kodu is a game creation suite, kind of like LittleBigPlanet, only without all the style. It may not be as much fun as Media Molecule's platformer, but then, LittleBigPlanet doesn't cost $US5, either.
So, there you go. If you're a little OCD, and get all twitchy at the thought of spare change in your Xbox Live account, the five games above are as good a way as any to spend that money wisely.
Kotaku AU Note: Only UNO and TMNT are available in Australia, thanks to the failure of Microsoft to launch the Xbox Indie Games channel in this country.