In recent months, EA's On the House promotion has netted gamers such goodies as Dead Space, Wing Commander 3, and Bejeweled -- all free for the price of setting up (or signing into) an Origin account.
This week brings arguably the best giveaway to date: Dragon Age: Origins (Win) is free for a limited time.
To clarify, once you get the game, it's yours to keep. And play. Forever. The time limitation: The giveaway itself ends Oct. 14. If you're overseas or off-planet and don't return until Oct. 15, well, no freebie for you.
What's Dragon Age: Origins, and why is EA giving it away? I'll answer the second question first: The sequel, Dragon Age: Inquisition, drops Nov. 18. The very, very smart marketing gambit here is to hook you on the original so you'll buy the sequel.
And hooked you shall be. Origins is a fantasy RPG of the highest caliber, a Dungeons & Dragons-style adventure brought to life in all its hack-and-slash, spell-casting glory. GameSpot awarded it a very rare 9.5 and summed it up thusly: "Incredible storytelling, great characters, and exciting battles are just a few of the things that make this fantasy role-playing game so extraordinary."
That was back in 2009, but the beauty of modern gaming is that the bar has been so high for so long, a game that's five years old still looks great today. Indeed, if you check the recommended system specs, you'll see you can enjoy Origins even on a PC that's modest by today's standards.
Anyway, you don't need me to sell you on a game that's flat-out free. I've already grabbed it -- not for myself, but for Cheapskate Jr., who's totally into "Lord of the Rings" and will undoubtedly love this. (Is it cheating to give this as a birthday present when it didn't cost me anything? Discuss.)
Bonus deal: Game time! Oh, wait, this whole post was about game time. Well, just in case you're hungry for more, Green Man Gaming has the rollicking action-adventure Just Cause 2 (Win) for $2.40. That's after applying coupon code VBHGBM-JS2VN9-0J5OFM at checkout. Regular price: $15. Pretty amazing deal on a game GameSpot rated 8.5 and called "ridiculous in the best possible way."