Down time is important time as students of all ages get back to business this fall. There is definitely no shortage of games and great media to experience throughout the school year.

Everyone loves getting stuff in the mail and the Loot Crate (www.lootcrate.com) monthly subscription service has your covered. These boxed media collection treasures really do amaze. For about $25 a month, Loot Crates feature a curated selection of items from the best brands, including indies, AAA, retro and new releases. Each crate will feature 4-6 premium items, with most exclusively manufactured for Loot Crate plus an accompanying guide of these special items and exclusive collector’s pin for a total retail value of more than $60. Keep up with current trends and media releases (see the latest Call of Duty offering).

Loot Crate also offers Loot Anime, Loot Pets and Level Up monthly subscription services and also introduced the new Loot Gaming subscription service earlier this year that features figurines, collectible, apparel, digital items, in-game DLC, downloadable games and more from video game brands.

The Sling TV streaming service has expanded its Cloud DVR “First Look” program to Sling TV customers using Apple TV. Sling TV is currently available on Amazon, Android and Roku devices. Customers with a Sling TV-supported Apple TV may add Cloud DVR to their subscription at $5 per month for 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.

Apple TV users can purchase 50 hours of DVR storage for just $5 per month with any Sling TV subscription. Users get more choice and control over entertainment choices and the ability to record Sling TV content to watch (Cloud DVR functionality not available on all channels.)

Eligible customers may add Cloud DVR to their Sling TV subscription by signing in to their account on sling.com and selecting “Add Cloud DVR.” Record your favorite programs and watch whenever you want across all Amazon Fire TVs and Fire tablets, Android mobile devices, Android TVs, Apple TVs, Roku streaming players and Roku TVs.

Students can also get special deals on Amazon Prime (still $99 a year; free shipping) and Hulu ($7.99 per month) streaming services. PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live membership also offer perks in games, apps and movies/TV shows for users of these premier gaming consoles.

Now for the games. Many titles have special downloadable content (DLC), add-ons, accessories and special promotions (exclusive goodies for pre-ordering, etc.) Look for different editions and versions as well (all release dates subject to change).

Redbox offers many games like the red hot Madden NFL 18… wait, what’s a Redbox you say? They are those big red box stations in over 40,000 supermarkets, restaurant and shopping locations where you can rent physical copies of movies ($1.50) and games ($3 a night). Users can easily sign-up for an account online and even reserve movies and games for easy pick-up. Get the Redbox app from Google Play (for Android) and the App Store (for iOS).  The app helps you locate the nearest location, reserve movies for pickup later in the day, and watch trailers and read up on movies to decide which one you want to watch.

Madden NFL 18 (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), the exclusive PS4 platformer sequel Knack 2 (Sept. 5) and Destiny 2 (out Sept 6 on PS4 and XB1 with a PC version on October 24) aim to be two of the biggest releases that players will love among class time and homework. Players also have Star Wars Battlefront II, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Call of Duty WWII to look forward to.

Looking for unique gaming experiences catered to your choices? The amazing  Life is Strange series continues with Before the Storm, which will launch episode one of three on August 31. Players’ choices affect this episodic graphic adventure that also includes challenges in problem-solving, spatial awareness and logic. Get the Deluxe Edition for all three episodes, bonus “Farewell” episode (played as character Max), three interchangeable outfits and mixtape mode that lets players customize music into a special playlist. This prequel to Life Is Strange and will focus on the sixteen-year-old Chloe Price character.

 

Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure just debuted on the Nintendo Switch console. This Telltale Series game features a player-focused story that includes all five episodes of Season One and all three episodes of the Adventure Pass. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series features five episodes (three currently released) on Android, Mac, iOS, PC, PS4 and XB1 and Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series (PC, PS4, XB1) has the first (‘The Enigma’) of five episodes available now.

The amazing, award-winning shooter SUPERHOT just hit the PS4 on digital and for virtual reality and is already available on PC and in virtual reality modes. This instant-hit combines intense gunplay, distinctive style, and time-bending gameplay.

Toast covers make game consoles, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices look even better with real wood veneer covers in ash, walnut, ebony and bamboo for the Nintendo Switch as well as many offering for other gaming consoles. Players can also get some premiere laser-etched customization ranging from a gaming handle to a video game design. These amazingly sharp covers are easy-to-install and remove (if necessary) plus a convenient “Butterfingers” replacement policy for the rare occasion when users might mess up the instructions.

Young ones can take a break with LEGO Worlds, which will release a Nintendo Switch version on September 5. A Monsters DLC pack will be available in October. The Switch version will include this DLC digitally and with the physical version. The Classic Space DLC was released this past July. Both are/will be available in the existing PC, PS4 and XB1 versions as well.

Namco Museum has hit the Nintendo Switch with great single and multiplayer experiences including PAC-MAN, Dig Dug, Galaga, Rolling Thunder and PAC-MAN VS., a four-player game based on the PAC-MAN series originally created by Toru Iwatani.

Birthdays the Beginning (PC, PS4) offers extensive simulation/sandbox fantasy experience where players begin with basic life forms and advance the dinosaurs and more as well as vast environments where game success depends on temperature, lifeform prosperity/extinction and location. Players can expect some basic scientific rules to apply throughout this fun game, but developers allow for some unique situations. All game versions include a 20-page World Guide Booklet that helps players manage time, make colorful creations, and build environments plus your HP (health point) resources/energy required for most actions.

Thimbleweed Park (only currently on PS4) is an mystery adventure game set in 1987 from the original creators of Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island. Players can interchange among characters including the two main federal agents, a washed-up insult clown, and an aspiring game developer while solving puzzles and ultimately the mysterious events occurring in this unique town. Look for a Nintendo Switch release in September as well as Android and iOS versions soon.

Perception provides genuine thrills, intrigue and excitement as players explore a mysterious house as a young blind woman who depends on her razor-sharp hearing to solve an ancient mystery and survive the forces that pursue her.

Neurovoider (PC, PS4, XB1) is a great retro, action-shooter that’s easy to pick up and play, but challenging to conquer. Enjoy co-op play (up to four players) or grind through the levels individually that features outstanding music. Coming soon to Nintendo’s eShop on digital release on Sept. 7.

In Bethesda’s thriller actioner Prey, players get a unique perspective from a character on a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. Players must survive using the nearby tools, weapons, wits and mind-bending abilities.

What Remains of Edith Finch (Mac, PC, PS4) is an amazing first-person narrative adventure game that gives players a memorable journey filled with mystery, tragedy and creative imagination. This game presents a collection of short stories about a seemingly cursed family on Orcas Island in Washington State. Once emotionally invested, the main gameplay obstacle is the challenge of advancing through the compelling storylines that span from modern times to about a century ago as well as several ages ranging from an infant to an elderly person. The fantasy elements also expand the game’s scope (changing character point-of-views, physics, realities, etc.).

Retro fans will love the interactive horror movie spoof Night Trap (limited physical copies on PC, PS4 and XB1; also available digitally, additional features), which is the game that prompted the creation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).  Set at a slumber party amid impending doom from invading vampires. Players set special color coded traps for the baddies to save the innocent. Originally produced for approximately $1.5 million and filmed in 1986 for the Sega CD console, PC and Mac.

The digitally exclusive basketball games NBA Playgrounds (Switch, PC, PS4, & XB1) and 3on3 Freestyle (free exclusive for PS4) battle it out on the courts. PlayGrounds features 30 NBA teams plus retired NBA players featuring solo, local, online and worldwide tournament play modes while the arcade style Freestyle has strong co-op gameplay, a smooth substitution system, fictional settings/characters and interchangeable outfits/accessories for the male & female players.

ONE PIECE: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition is an enhanced PlayStation 4 and PC (via Steam) editions of the game based on the beloved anime, One Piece and is filled with Luffy and the pirate crew on adventures and satisfying battles.. This version features a variable 60fps framerate, a full 1080p resolution*, and over 40 pieces of downloadable content included. Also be available for the eShop for Nintendo Switch on September 29, 2017

Seasons After Fall (PC, PS4, XB1) is a 2D platform-puzzler game where players take on the role of a wild fox with the ability to change the seasons at will in this special journey adventure.

Small Radios, Big Televisions (PC, PS4) lets players explore virtual worlds and challenge their perceptions and sense of control amid a unique storyline with a retro tone.

Tour de France 2017 (PS4, XB1) lets players discover , experience all the passion of Le Tour de France and conquer the coveted yellow jersey where teamplay is key in this premier cycling event.

The PC exclusive Offensive Combat: Redux! Has fast, rude humor in a FPS game that doesn’t take itself seriously. Players can enjoy crazy skills, weapons, actions and special customizations. Multiplayer modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Exploration, and Bot Mode plus more content on the way.

In hockey’s premier game NHL 18, players get a new expansion draft feature and expanded franchise mode.

Get Even (PS4, XB1) is a first-person shooter and psychological thriller, where players are Cole Black, an ice-cold mercenary and hired gun who wakes up in a mysterious asylum with most of his memory wiped away and a special headset as challenges, discoveries and revelations fill this mysterious experience.

The amazing platform adventure game Rayman Legends Definitive Edition will release on September 12 with new features like kung foot Tournament mode, touchscreen controls and wireless local multiplayer with up to four players.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 (PC, PS3, PS4, XB1, Xbox 360) will feature ‘Where Legends Are Made,’ the return of PES, with an unparalleled gameplay experience. Strategic Dribbling, Real Touch+ and new set pieces take the unrivaled soccer experience to the next level. New lighting, reworked player models, and animations covering everything from facial expressions to body movement to bring the game to life.

Nintendo 3DS players can try the side-scrolling shooter Metroid: Samus Returns on Sept. 15 that features brand new “Aeion” energy abilities, powerful Melee counterattack, and 360-degree Free aim mode.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, the affordable, stand-alone Dishonored 2 expansion arms players with supernatural abilities, gadgets, and weapons among new adventures including heists, treasure hunting, and underground fight clubs.

Players can also check out the fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and NBA 2K18 on Sept. 19. Also, don’t miss the indie game ECHO (PC, PS4), a third-person sci-fi adventure game where the game’s protagonist En sneaks, shoots and runs her way through mysterious space environments while creating enemy “Echoes” as players must constantly evolve, adapt and learn from her actions.

Pokken Tournament Dx will release on the Switch on the 22nd and finally the soccer…er, football giant FIFA 18 on the 29th.

Look for Super Mario Odyssey will release on Oct. 27 while the hit racer-sport game Rocket League will launch a Switch version with new Battle-Cars based on Mario, Luigi and Samus Aran’s gunship from the Metroid series and more.

LEGO Dimensions continues expansions with Team and Fun packs from The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go!, and Beetlejuice Fun Pack on September 12.

Big gaming hardware won’t be hard to find with the upcoming Xbox One X (Nov. 7) and Atari’s…Ataribox.

SteelSeries also has the APEX M750 mechanical gaming keyboard featuring aerospace aluminum, chat options, exclusive Apps, and a special audio visualizer that syncs with the illumination lighting with any music or playlist.

Need a powerful gaming desktop PC? The MSI Infinite line has several configurations among the standard two 3.5” HDD and three 2.5” SSD/HDD bays, 64GB of RAM and an easily upgradable graphics card mounted vertically.

Need a great screen? AOC has you covered with their 27-inch C2789FH8 monitor with a curved full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution VA panel with fast 60Hz refresh rate. The impressive ultra slim design also features thin gold legs and an almost borderless frame. Users also get several different inputs, including one VGA and one HDMI for connectivity for all users’ high-quality digital video and audio devices plus AMD FreeSync technology for a seamless synchronization of GPU and monitor refresh rates, without sacrificing performance. And the price? Perfect at $249.99 (MSRP) and even less on Amazon. Also available on Newegg.

It’s great to get in on the latest technology, especially if it’s fun. The DigiBit wearable body action drive gaming system for mobile devices can be used anywhere indoors or out and connects to devices wirelessly without using Wifi or data. Look for this amazing to release later this year and check out their current Kickstarter campaign that also includes exclusive access/deals – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1039276273/digibit-is-wearable-active-fun-for-your-mobile-dev.

DigiBit works with existing smart devices, using a patent-pending wireless communication system that does not require Wifi, 3G, LTE or any Internet or data connection, making it truly portable.

Enjoy your down time!

*Note – this site is an Amazon affiliate. So, if you click from our links and buy this product (or any product on Amazon), we do receive a few pennies on your purchase. But feel free to shop around and get look for the best price or to buy the item locally if possible.