Gaming and the Weak Canadian Dollar

game pricesA few years ago, the Canadian dollar began taking a tumble in terms of value. I’m not going to try and explain why, as the economics behind the values of each currency mystify me. However, it’s impact on video games has been abundantly clear. For a good stretch of time, the standard price of a disc-based game was $60. Last year, that crept up to $70. Now, $80 is the new norm. This might not even be the end of the increases, as the Canadian dollar shows no signs of improving in the immediate future.

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Has 2012 Been a Slow Year for Video Games, Or is it Just Me?

The last few have been tremendous for gamers. It seemed like we were getting top-tier releases all year long. This year, I feel like I haven’t played much of anything. I went many months without buying any games, or seeing anything on release lists that piqued my interest. Sure, there have been a few marquee releases already, such as Mass Effect 3 and Diablo III, but the 2012 release line-up to date has seemed pretty underwhelming to me.

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Now Playing: Trials Evolution


Having never played a Trials game before, I approached this game with a great sense of fear. Though I’ve heard a ton of positive things about the series, the one point that has always deterred me from giving the series a chance is the game’s supposed difficulty. Based on how everyone talked about its difficulty, it really didn’t sound like an experience I’d be interested in.

Recently, I gave Trials Evolution a shot, just so that I could be a part of the current gaming community conversation. In hindsight, I’m kicking myself for not trying this series out sooner.

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On Sale at Amazon.com – April 10th Edition

I’m trying something a bit different. If it works out, we might keep this as a regular thing. There are some sweet deals on Amazon.com and I thought it’d be cool to share them with you. These deals are likely a limited time offer, and I have no idea when they expire, so act fast before it’s too late! Part of the proceeds raised from the purchases of these games supports In Third Person, so I’ll send my good vibes to you should you choose to purchase.

Just Dance 3

List Price: $39.99

On Sale: $23.96

Buy Just Dance 3 From Amazon.com

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

List Price: $59.99

On Sale: $39.54

Buy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 From Amazon.com

Final Fantasy XIII-2

List Price: $59.99

On Sale: $29.99

Buy Final Fantasy XIII-2 Now from Amazon.com

Pick-Up Post: Blockbuster Liquidation Madness

Across Canada, 146 Blockbuster locations are preparing to close their doors, which accounts for about 1/3 of all Blockbuster locations across the country. It’s a sad day for over a thousand people who will be losing their jobs and many of its customers who still want their movies and games on physical media. Canada will still have Blockbuster locations after this, but the future for those left is foggy at best.

The short-term good news is, all of these stores affected are liquidating their products at deep discounts. On the first day of the sales, my girlfriend and I went to her local Blockbuster that was shutting down and bought a ton of stuff. She bought Epic Mickey and a bunch of movies. I had upwards of 15 games in my hands during that trip, but I narrowed it down to 7 by the time I hit the register. Check out what I bought by clicking through to the rest of this post!

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Pick Up Post – Sin and Punishment: Star Successor

 

Did you ever play the original Sin & Punishment? Unless you’re from Japan, imported a copy of the Nintendo 64 game or bought it on the Virtual Console, probably not. It’s a Treasure-developed shooter that’s sort of like StarFox or Panzer Dragoon. It never made it anywhere outside of Japan until it hit the Virtual Console, which was a shame, because that game was awesome. I loved every minute of it when I played it on Virtual Console, even though I was over 10 years late to the party.

To my surprise, Nintendo green-lit a sequel to that game for the Wii last year. Despite the positive reviews, the lack of marketing support and overall weirdness of the game doomed it to sales mediocrity.

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Pick Up Post: Red Steel 2

 

The original Red Steel was supposed to showcase the awesomeness of the Wii remote. It was supposed to show the world that you could use the Wii remote as a sword and a gun like you would in real life. On paper, this game sounded amazing. Instead, we got a mediocre game that highlighted the controller’s weaknesses more than anything.

Based on hype alone though, Red Steel sold really well. Hoping to right the wrongs of the predecessor, Ubisoft released Red Steel 2, which was one of the first games that required players to have a Wii Motion Plus. While critics agreed that Red Steel 2 was a much better game than the original, consumers didn’t care. No one bought Red Steel 2.

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The Unfortunate State of the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console

 

For those with a jones for retro gaming, the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console was supposed to be a dream come true. It was supposed to be the home of every old Nintendo game you could ask for. As time passed, the Virtual Console grew to include the Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Master System, Commodore 64 and arcade games. It’s been almost 5 years since the launch of Virtual Console, and we as consumers have access to over 300 games.

On the surface, that sounds decent. I’ve been able to buy a few favourites, try older games I’ve never played before and even grab a Japanese import game that never came out here (in my case, the very awesome Sin and Punishment). However, that number isn’t even close to representing the full catalogue of platforms represented in Virtual Console. Between the NES, SNES, SMS, Genesis, TG16, N64 and Neo Geo, the Virtual console has only made 10% of their combined catalogue available to consumers. It’s only going to get worse, as the once weekly updates have slowed to once a month, if we’re lucky.

What started out as an amazing idea is fizzling fast. How did Nintendo screw up what should have been a sure-fire win?

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Let’s Talk About Buying Video Games New vs. Used

When it comes to video game shopping, I don’t think the average customer cares much about whether or not they buy a game new or used. I think when they want a game, they buy the game and get it at the best value they can. However, among gaming press, online gaming communities and anywhere else where serious video game discussion takes place, the topic of buying new vs. buying used always seems to crop up. The main argument for buying new is that your money supports the creators of the game and the main argument for buying used is that you get the game at a discounted price.

I don’t think this is a binary argument. There are a number of reasons for consumers to do both. I buy games both new and used. This post highlights the reasons I buy new and the reasons I buy used.

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Pick Up Post: Just Dance 2

The first Just Dance was nothing short of a smash hit. It was a game that did a great job catering to the Wii audience, in spite of the gripes I had from a hardcore gamer perspective; which wouldn’t matter to the vast majority of people who would play or buy this game in the first place. To be fair, once I stopped thinking about the game as a hardcore game reviewer and started thinking about it as just someone wanting to play a dance game with others, the original was a lot of fun.

Yesterday evening, my girlfriend went to pick up her copy of Just Dance 2, which might be her most anticipated game of the year. After a long weekend of Just Dance 1 madness with her, my brother, my cousins and I, my brother and I decided to go half on our own copy as well.

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