Paid vs “Free” Games

There are so many games to play that we should all just get used to the fact that we won’t have time to play every single game we want to play — and that’s ok.

I remember a time where every Tuesday a handful of games would release (I know this because I would go to Best Buy almost every Tuesday to see which games, movies and CDs had come out). Today, multiple games come to every platform every single day of the week. With everything being released digitally, it’s so much easier to get games onto all platforms.


Anytime I pay for a game (especially full price) the mentality is I better like this game, even if I don’t I’m going to play the s**t out of it. I’ve played the hell out of games that I payed full price for out of spite. I spent many hours trying to convince myself that I “like” Borderlands 3 — and I still plan to spend many more hours.

I still have most of my childhood collection of SNES (Super Nintendo) game cartridges and many of them were chosen with no prior knowledge. I chose games based off of names, box art, tag lines… There are many duds in my collection. Back then a new game was exciting no matter if it were good or bad, it was something new to play. I played so many hours of Shaq-Fu, Super Slap Shot and Best of the Best: Championship Karate. I also had some good games in my collection.

Even renting games from the local video store or Blockbuster meant, We are playing this game all weekend, because that’s how long we have it for. After that we can go back to Yoshi’s Island or something else. If money was spent on a game, I would spent an equal or greater amount of time on it. And I still try to do that today.


Today, we get tons of “free” (or included) games using services like PS Plus, Nintendo Switch Online (classic games), Xbox Game Pass, Epic Games store and more.

Any time I download one of these “free” games, I don’t plan on playing through the whole thing — I usually just want to give it a taste. Sometimes I download them because there’s a new entry coming to a particular franchise and I haven’t tried out the previous games — like God of War III, Ratchet & Clank (2016) and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection.

Other times it may be a game I’ve heard so much about and I finally realize it’s in my library, and next thing I know I’ve become completely obsessed with it (The Binding of Isaac and recently Spelunky). There are times where I happen to download the perfect game for the mood I’m in. I remember downloading Just Cause 3 since I had never played any of them before that. I spent about a week or two blowing stuff up in Medici before deciding to move on.

Downloading previously “free” games to try out is sort of like ordering a sampler platter at a chain restaurant. You can have a small taste of a few different items, but if you want more of a particular one you can always order some more and keep going.


As I said at the beginning, there are just too many games to play today. Every gamer has some sort of backlog (a collection of games that they will one day get to), and all of these services and weekly free games are just making those backlogs grow exponentially.

The only reason I feel like I must claim every FREE game on Epic, PS Plus and anywhere else is because I know at some point I will be searching to play some of those games in the future. I’ve even gone back to play a game because it was created by the same developer as a newer game I enjoyed. I went back and played Towerfall after Celeste was one of my favorite games.

The digital storefronts have made it a whole lot easier to go back in history and find older games you may be looking for. I still love my physical games, but digital has tons of benefits — especially being able to play a game moments after thinking, “Hey, I’ve never played this game before. I wonder if it’s on the — Oh, here it is!

Boom! Download and play.

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