Phantom Dust free release on Xbox One and PC

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While I’ve never played it myself as I’m a Playstation guy, Phantom Dust has been on my radar for a while now. This less-than-famous gem comes up now and then in discussions about underrated and just plain favorite games. Originally for the original Xbox, it sounds like the studio working on a remaster has been shut down and it seems their work on this title will be released for free. There is some confusion on whether this is a remaster or just a port, but PC and Xbox One gamers should be sure to grab this when they can. It earned solid 8/10s across the board and is supposed to be a pretty good and unique action-RPG.

And for the price of FREE, you’d be a fool not to give it a try!

Enjoy, and RIP Darkside Games.

Paladins now on PS4

I’m writing this post in-between Paladin matches at 2:30 am. Not because I’m an insomniac, but because this game is just too much fun too put down! Let’s not kid ourselves, Paladins is an Overwatch clone through and through. Even some of the characters are remarkably similar. But if you’re willing to overlook this simple truth, what you have is a game on par with Overwatch for FREE! Paladins is the good kind of free-to-play, where not only are the majority of the in-game purchases cosmetic, many of them can be made with in-game currency if you can handle some grinding.

Basically, Paladins pits two teams of 5 against each other in a MOBA/FPS hybrid that amazes me with its balance (Overwatch is probably owed some credit here). Choose from about 20 distinct Champions and face off in capture, escort, and attrition matches against similarly colorful characters. There is also a PvE mode and more to be unlocked, but I’m just short of getting there (probably by tomorrow evening).

I will probably owe Paladins another post with more details later on, but for now, Paladins recently hit PS4 (it’s been available on PC for a little while), and I can’t get enough. From what I remember of the Overwatch betas (which I enjoyed), Paladins might be even more fun.

High praise, indeed.

The Division: Free Weekend

For those of you have yet to try Tom Clancy’s The Division, you can play for free starting now through the weekend. Just download the demo from PSN for full access to the game for a limited time! I spent a couple of hours already and enjoyed the tense setting and tactical, short firefights that take place throughout New York City. If you’re a fan of Tom Clancy’s other games, it will feel very familiar. If you’re a fan of third-person, cover-based shooters, then this game has plenty of it.

Demos and free trials such as this can be a great way to make sure a game is worth it’s entry-fee, or just a way to try something new for a weekend. Elder Scrolls Online did something similar a few weeks ago, and I decided it wasn’t for me. So far with The Division, I’m considering nabbing it for its discounted price during this promotion.

Enjoy your weekend! (and don’t forget Free Comic Book Day is Saturday!)

Free Comic Book Day and International Tabletop Day

While this blog is primarily focused toward video games, I will indubitably stray into other categories of free and cheap fun. Free Comic Book Day and International Tabletop Day are the perfect examples.

Free Comic Book Day started several years ago, and has been growing stronger with each year. The first Saturday in May marks Free Comic Book Day, and on FCBD, the majority of comic shops order a selection of comics from reputable and up-and-coming publishers to be given away for FREE! Most shops will ask you to take somewhere between 1 and 5 of these comics and usually have other sales and deals going on. Personally, I stock up on FCBD and only buy more comics if a situation presents itself. It’s not unusual for me to hit 3 or 4 different comic shops, load up on all the free issues I want, and I always buy something from participating stores as well. This might be one cool thing on sale, or another stack of comics. I’ll have anywhere from a dozen to 30 new comics after a good FCBD adventure, which is enough to scratch my itch for most of the year. You’ll find mainstay offerings from DC and Marvel as well as indie publishers looking for fans and cult favorites like The Tick. So if you’re free this Saturday, you can use the Free Comic Book Day Store Locator to find participating shops near you!

Usually a week or two before Free Comic Book Day is International Tabletop Day. While International Tabletop Day isn’t as exciting of an event as FCBD, it can still be a fun opportunity to visit local hobby shops and try some cool board games. Of course the shops should have some sort of sale going on, helping you save on some pricey board games, but many also have a bunch of games out for people to learn and play. My wife and I usually spend half the day playing new games, then pick the one we liked best and buy it on sale, then return home to play some more. International Tabletop Day can be a great way to get involved with your local hobby shop, meet fellow board gamer enthusiasts, and just have fun. Not to mention, saving money never hurts!

P.S. Sorry I didn’t give fair warning this year for ITD!

Marvel Heroes Omega PS4 Beta Key Giveaway via Gamespot

Marvel Heroes is a fun free-to-play game on PC, and they are working on a PS4 version to bring all the superhero fun to your TV. One of the most exciting additions to the Omega version is the inclusion of couch co-op! My wife and I hopped on the beta after receiving my code and beat up some bad guys as Rocket Raccoon, the Punisher, Wolverine, and Squirrel Girl!

I think the full PS4 release is going to have a price tag, but if you hurry you can grab a free Beta key code to try out Marvel Heroes Omega on your PS4 until the 15th of the month, couch co-op included!

Head over to Gamespot for more information:

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/marvel-heroes-omega-ps4-closed-beta-key-giveaway-n/1100-6449646/

The Game Value Bell Curve

Someone who studied economics could probably explain this concept a lot better than me, but here’s my layman’s way of explaining price changes for video games. As someone who has bought way too many video games in his life, I’ve noticed the pattern of prices and determined the best time to buy and save.

Simply put, the video game industry is unique for the near-universal starting price. As of 2017, it remains $60. That is, shortly after release, 95% of new console games are sold for $60 no matter if it’s a triple AAA title or some upstart company’s crappy first game. This is an odd phenomenon if you think about it. Imagine is all cars were priced at $20,000 when the new model came out. Doesn’t make sense, does it? But for some reason, this trend has caught on in gaming. Digital downloads, remasters, and indie titles have shaken this up a bit, but it still feels like $60 is the standard for a new game.

After some time, new games generally start to drop in value. Used games also flood the market and lower the price point. Depending on the popularity, rarity, and other factors, these price changes can vary wildly in amount and how fast they take place.

Enter The Game Value Bell Curve:

The Game Value Bell Curve

As you can see by this very professional chart that definitely was not hand-drawn in MS Paint, there is a very obvious pattern that game values go through.

  1. Game releases for $60
  2. Game value drops over time and with the availability of used copies
  3. Game value bottoms out at its lowest price
  4. Game value begins rising as age makes the game more rare
  5. Game price either stagnates or continues to grow

While 99% of games follow these steps, the rate of change can vary wildly. The key at the bottom right of the graph explains what each color line represents. Red = Classic games and exceptionally good or rare games such as Pokemon, Zelda, Fire Emblem, etc. These titles tend to go down in value while still widely available in stores, but after a while the value begins to rise as they become more rare and sought after. Exceptionally good or rare games can even surpass their starting price and reach very high price points, especially if still factory-sealed. Super Mario Smash Bros. Melee for example will remain a valuable game forever because it is an exceptionally good, classic title.

Next you have above-average games which tend to decrease in value while in stores, and then slowly gain value as they become harder to find. Games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, and other popular but not overly rare games inhabit this category. You can probably pick up copies for a reasonable, if not cheap, price many years after their release. They will continue to have and probably gain value the older they become. Other game in this category include niche titles that are harder to find, but not overly sought after.

Lastly you have the forgotten titles. These games were either unexceptional, very abundant, or just plain bad, and therefore have little resale value. Like most games, they probably started at $60 right next to any other game, but quickly their value drops as gamers trade them in or resell them for something different. The market get saturated, most people aren’t interested or have already played it, so the price plummets to only a few dollars. After a while, these games are removed from store shelves to make room for better games. At this point the few people who may have missed this title may go online to buy it, spending a little more than they would have when the stores were trying to get rid of them. The value can go up slightly, but probably won’t ever surpass $5-10 until many years later when someone needs it to complete their collection and few people are looking for/selling copies. These are the forgotten games, all manner of bad titles like old racing and sports games, overly popular titles like the 10th game in a popular FPS series, etc.

So how can this information help you? It’s pretty simple. If you want to buy a game and save money, buy it at the lowest point in its value curve. When it winds up in the bargain bin or at single digit numbers, it’s usually a safe buy. If it’s a popular game that never goes that low, try to guess when it will bottom out. $20 is a pretty common low point for good games before they begin rising in value.

If you are really excited about a games or really like a series, it’s not a bad idea to pay full price for their game. This helps the company make money and know they have fans, and you get to play the game sooner! If you want to see a company keep making the games you like, it’s better to pay THEM for their game than wait and buy it used when you’re just filling the resellers pockets. But if you can live without a game, or need to save money on your gaming hobby, I hope this chart gives you some insight on when to buy (or even sell) your games.

Saints Row 2 free for a limited time!

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As the new Saints Row games come to GOG, Saints Row 2 is being given away for FREE for a LIMITED TIME! That’s right, head over to GOG.com in the next ~39 hours to grab your FREE download of Saints Row 2. This is obviously for the PC version, and it looks like GOG is also having sales on other Saints Row games and other games from Deep Silver. That’s hours of wild and zany Saints Row fun for nothing 🙂