We live in a world where video games have become a massive mainstream media, developmental cycles for new titles are constantly starting and ending faster than anyone can keep, and the backlog pain is so real, we can almost feel it physically. What in the world is there to do with all of these great titles that are simply sitting in pixelated oblivion? Why, release them unto the world for free, of course!
For those scratching their heads, what I'm getting at here is there are so very many fantastic services available for the broke gamer. Xbox Live's Games with Gold really broke the mold for a lot of people. It offered up amazing AAA titles for a simple monthly fee. PlayStation Plus was not to be outdone, and started PlayStation Plus with its free game releases as well. Sony, in particular, has really come into their own more recently in this case with titles like Beyond: Two Souls and Bloodborne cropping up. Excellent quality, free games aren't just limited to consoles either. If you keep your ears to the ground, you'll often find free titles available from Steam, GOG, Origin portals and Humble Bundle.
With PlayStation Plus and Games with Gold, you're finding yourself paying a monthly fee in order to obtain the games in question. But when you crunch the numbers, it's really easy to see that it's worth it. For the other options, you get free games with no muss or fuss. Sometimes, they are even DRM-free. These two options combined give digital game collectors a fantastic start and offer those without a lot of disposable income ways to play. They also often open up brand new worlds for gamers by introducing them to titles and genres that they might not otherwise play. I'm not generally a huge strategy game fan, but I'll be damned if I'll pass up a free one!
As the games industry has developed and grown, a great many memorable and worthy games have come along. In previous decades of the industry, these titles were destined to sit collecting dust on shelves or be forgotten in cardboard boxes in storage. Now, rather than living on in a cult following or in the hearts and minds of true fanatics, these games can be discovered again. By offering them for free, anyone and everyone can get their hands on them and enjoy them once more. This marks a unique time in video game history, when old and new collide. The options seem limitless!
It's important to admit that not all free titles are going to be AAA touchdowns. There are certainly going to be some that probably didn't need to see the light of day again. But you know what? Those games deserve their chance too! There's a certain joy in playing a “so bad, it's good” kind of video game. When you see those titles up for grabs, even if they look awful, give them a chance! You might find a diamond in the rough. At the very least, you could find a game so bad that you just have to share it with a friend to relieve your suffering. (Like that awful smelling mystery stain on your shirt, “Oh! That smells awful! Here, smell it!”)
It's a wonderful world we live in, where video games have become so common and so far-reaching that we can offer them up for free. These opportunities create avenues gamers didn't have before. Wishlists can be whittled down! We can experiment with new genres!
Think back a bit to all the games you've gotten for free over the years. Which one excited you most? Maybe it was one you'd been wanting for ages, or perhaps it was one you'd never heard of and really enjoyed. I'd love to hear about 'em in the comments!