Whether you have been collecting since 1977 or just want to get back something from your childhood, Next Level keeps a wide selection of vintage and modern Star Wars Toys!
We buy, sell and trade collections daily, so be sure to check in with us frequently!
Updated Feb 13, 2018Gold is respected throughout the world for its value and rich history, which has been interwoven into cultures for thousands of years. Coins containing gold appeared around 800 B.C., and the first pure gold coins were struck during the rein of King Croesus of Lydia about 300 years later. Throughout the centuries, people have continued to hold gold for various reasons. Below are eight reasons to own gold today.
A History of Holding Its ValueUnlike paper currency, coins or other assets, gold has maintained its value throughout the ages. People see gold as a way to pass on and preserve their wealth from one generation to the next.
Weakness of the U.S. DollarAlthough the U.S. dollar is one of the world's most important reserve currencies, when the value of the dollar falls against other currencies as it did between 1998 and 2008, this often prompts people to flock to the security of gold, which raises gold prices . The price of gold nearly tripled between 1998 and 2008, reaching the $1,000-an-ounce milestone in early 2008 and nearly doubling between 2008 and 2012, hitting around the $1800-$1900 mark. The decline in the U.S. dollar occurred for a number of reasons, including the country's large budget and trade deficitsand a large increase in the money supply.
InflationGold has historically been an excellent hedge against inflation, because its price tends to rise when the cost of living increases. Over the past 50 years investors have seen gold prices soar and the stock market plunge during high-inflation years.
DeflationDeflation, a period in which prices decrease, business activity slows and the economy is burdened by excessive debt, has not been seen globally since the Great Depression of the 1930s. During that time, the relative purchasing power of gold soared while other prices dropped sharply.
Geopolitical UncertaintyGold retains its value not only in times of financial uncertainty, but in times of geopolitical uncertainty. It is often called the "crisis commodity," because people flee to its relative safety when world tensions rise; during such times, it often outperforms other investments. For example, gold prices experienced some major price movements this year in response to the crisis occurring in the European Union. Its price often rises the most when confidence in governments is low.
Supply ConstraintsMuch of the supply of gold in the market since the 1990s has come from sales of gold bullion from the vaults of global central banks. This selling by global central banks slowed greatly in 2008. At the same time, production of new gold from mines had been declining since 2000. According to BullionVault.com, annual gold-mining output fell from 2,573 metric tons in 2000 to 2,444 metric tons in 2007 (however, according to Goldsheetlinks.com, gold saw a rebound in production with output hitting nearly 2,700 metric tons in 2011.) It can take from five to 10 years to bring a new mine into production. As a general rule, reduction in the supply of gold increases gold prices.
Increasing DemandIn previous years, increased wealth of emerging market economies boosted demand for gold. In many of these countries, gold is intertwined into the culture. India is one of the largest gold-consuming nations in the world; it has many uses there, including jewelry. As such, the Indian wedding season in October is traditionally the time of the year that sees the highest global demand for gold (though it has taken a tumble in 2012.) In China, where gold bars are a traditional form of saving, the demand for gold has been steadfast.
Demand for gold has also grown among investors. Many are beginning to see commodities, particularly gold, as an investment class into which funds should be allocated. In fact, SPDR Gold Trust, became one of the largest ETFs in the U.S., as well as one of the world's largest holders of gold bullion in 2008, only four years after its inception.
Portfolio DiversificationThe key to diversification is finding investments that are not closely correlated to one another; gold has historically had a negative correlation to stocks and other financial instruments. Recent history bears this out:
The Bottom LineGold should be an important part of a diversified investment portfolio because its price increases in response to events that cause the value of paper investments, such as stocks and bonds, to decline. Although the price of gold can be volatile in the short term, it has always maintained its value over the long term. Through the years, it has served as a hedge against inflation and the erosion of major currencies, and thus is an investment well worth considering.
Introducing the game-changing P365 High-Capacity Micro-Compact. The revolutionary new concealed carry pistol that gives you more capacity, more concealability and more capability. It’s the one gun you can carry every day of the year.
SIG SAUER is proud to announce that the P365 has been selected by the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated Magazine as their Golden Bullseye winner for 2019 Handgun of the Year. This award, along with all of the recent awards and accolades including: Guns and Ammo Magazine’s 2018 Handgun of the Year; the Industry Choice Award for Handgun of the Year; 2018 Ballistic Magazine’s Editor’s Choice for Compact Semi-Automatic Pistols; and the NASGW-POMA Caliber Award for Best Overall Product is further evidence of the P365’s unequaled innovation, unparalleled quality, and unmatched reliability. We are honored to have this recognition from our peers as we work to continually bring the world’s best products to our customers.
Every E3 gives players a slew of new games, features and hardware to look forward to. But what do this year’s announcements say about each company? Video games are still a business, and the drive to make money helps shape what kind of products they release. With that in mind, here’s some armchair analysis on what Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo announced at E3 2016 - and what they didn’t.
Virtual reality land rush We all figured Sony would show something for PSVR, but good lord, the company trotted out some major VR games. The new Resident Evil, Star Wars Battlefront and Final Fantasy 15 will all have VR modes, Rocksteady’s doing something with Batman in VR, and new studio Impulse Gear has Farpoint, an exploration of an alien planet in VR. While it’s true that big, established studios have also pledged support for VR competitors HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, neither of them have demoed anything that high-profile. That’s probably no coincidence.
Lately, Sony’s shown they’re willing to play hardball to land exclusive experiences on the PS4. For instance, there’s Sony’s deal with Capcom to ensure Street Fighter 5 never shows up on Xbox One. Considering how conservative the third party AAA developers have been - just look at all the sequels they announced this year - it’s unusual they would incorporate VR in their big guns when the tech hasn’t even been tested in the market yet. Sony likely provided some major assistance to make these experiences happen. Regardless, it’s clear Sony’s going to push PSVR hard.
Slim down, hype up Every generation, it’s only a matter of time before the major consoles get a slimming makeover. This time around Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One S, which cuts the size by 40 percent and adds a white finish to boot. There’s a reason we keep getting slim revisions - they sell. The Xbox 360 S helped overall Xbox 360 sales grow by 34 percent in the first nine months of 2010. The same analysis indicated the PS3 Slim juiced that platform’s sales by 66 percent.
Why did we get an Xbox One Slim but no PS4 Slim? Microsoft may be more motivated. Not only is the system selling slower than the PS4, but Microsoft has stopped releasing specific console sales figures to try to hide the gap. On top of that, Microsoft’s latest quarterly report indicated Xbox One hardware revenue fell by 26 percent. By contrast, when the PlayStation 3 fell far short of the Xbox 360 last generation, Sony released a slim revision a year before Microsoft did.The Xbox One S likely won’t take away the sales crown from Sony, but it’ll likely help Microsoft’s bottom line.
Coo-coo for 4K At any other E3, one console revision per company would be enough. But this time, we got word of a more powerful version of the Xbox One called Scorpio. Before E3, Sony confirmed a similar PS4 upgrade called Neo. We still aren’t entirely sure what they’ll be when they hit next year, giggling about FLOPS and “the best pixels” aside. Based on how Sony and Microsoft presented them, the main selling point may be 4K resolution. Sure, it’s cutting-edge tech, but it’s a more subtle, PC-style upgrade than what we’ve gotten in the past.
It could be both Sony and Microsoft are doing this because what we’ve previously considered to be a new generation of consoles - with new programming architectures, new operating systems and games can’t run on the old consoles - might not come for a long time, if ever. It’s taking more and more processing power to get smaller and smaller visual upgrades a general audience can notice, plus new services are patched in all the time. There’s no need for a complete overhaul in sight. Meanwhile, both giants need to keep selling new machines, though the potential audience isn’t infinite. Imagine If the Xbox One and PS4 were out ten years with no successor in sight. Who would buy them that hadn’t already?
Enter 4K. It’s a hyped and noticeable upgrade depending on the size of your TV, strong bait for hardware buffs and easier to implement than adding yet more polygons. Sony and Microsoft are hoping current owners will re-buy the systems for the stronger resolutions and keep console sales flowing. Of course, the big question is just how tempting 4K will be to current owners - and if there are any other tricks hidden in the new consoles.
One for the PC Beyond the new hardware, the most interesting news from Microsoft’s presentation was Xbox Play Anywhere, which combines features on Xbox One and Windows 10. Game saves, achievements, multiplayer and even ownership of participating games will be carried over. It sounds like a handy feature. It’s also what seems like the 47th attempt by Microsoft to show they’re serious about PC games. Remember the hype about the early Halo games on PC? Or Games for Windows Live?
If XPA really is as effortless as it sounds, this could be the PC initiative that sticks. But even if Microsoft customers benefit, the real beneficiary would be Windows 10 itself. Even though Microsoft’s allowed free upgrades to Windows 10, as well as increasingly aggressive reminders to upgrade, just 17.3 percent of all computers run Windows 10, according to Netmarketshare. Even with all the reminders, 48.57 percent of all computers still run Windows 7. That’s some dedicated foot-dragging. Since Microsoft benefits from a number of services unique to Windows 10, including data-tracking, they’re motivated to get the operating system on as many machines as possible. XPA’s a strong selling point for Xbox One owners, but it’s also a tempting carrot for Windows 10 upgrades.
Nintendo’s doing… what, exactly? Besides stalling for time. Granted, the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks amazing, but the complete absence of NX seems more than a little strange. The Wii U is selling terribly, and it’s looking like the system won’t have any big sellers for the holidays. Why leave the crucial buying season wide open?
Because Nintendo’s the rare company that frequently delays things outside of the big selling months if they result in stronger products. One big example is Smash Bros. Brawl, which missed Christmas by a month in order to iron out the online code. There’s also Star Fox Zero, which was originally the tentpole for last Christmas. Though whether that delay made it into a good game is up for debate.
Of course, the fact that the Neo and Scorpio revisions won’t arrive until 2017 lessens the release pressure a bit. But there’s another reason the NX won’t arrive until spring at the earliest - that would put NX out of Nintendo’s current fiscal year. Though it seems odd to most of us, companies enduring bad years will often cut their losses and push their money makers to the next flip of the financial calendar, which in Nintendo’s case is in the end of March. (The new fiscal year was also cited as a factor in the closure of Lionhead - even though Fable Legends was nearly ready, Microsoft reportedly wanted a money-loser off the books.) Sure, this means Nintendo’s dry spell will drag on a few more months, but then NX will load the next fiscal year with much bigger profits that will impress the stockholders. Or at least that’s the theory.
Oh right, games! And then there’s the real meat of E3 - what we’ll actually get to play. Microsoft and Sony each showed a diverse array of games during their conferences, and they sparked a combination of excitement and “mehs” from the digital peanut gallery. But even here, what each company chose to showcase says a lot about their strategies.
Microsoft’s press conference wasn’t short on new, impressive game footage. But of the 13 games or expansions that were highlighted, only three made their debut - Forza Horizon 3, Dead Rising 4 and State of Decay 2. If you count games that were officially announced during the E3 leak window, you can add Battlefield 1 and Gwent. Well over half were repeat appearances, which explains the feeling of deja vu.
Though the conference was short on new, it was big on now - all the games except State of Decay 2, Tekken 7 and Halo Wars 2 are scheduled for release this year. In an impressive display of secrecy, the Forza and Dead Rising sequels will be out just a few short months after they were revealed. Naturally delays might happen, as Gwent might not exit closed beta, Sea of Thieves has an ambiguous “2016” date and surprise delays could hit any of them. Still, Microsoft went out of their way to at least promise experiences that are close at hand.
Sony’s conference had the opposite theme. Of its 15 highlight games, seven made their debut - God of War, Days Gone, Resident Evil 7, Farpoint, the Crash Bandicoot trilogy remaster, Death Stranding and Spider-Man. Arguably, you could also include the VR segments revealed to be in Batman, Star Wars Battlefront and Final Fantasy 15 as new reveals. Doing that leaves us with just five games that were previously announced.
That comes at the expense of release dates. Besides the games with VR components with the possible exception of Farpoint, none of the new announcements are arriving this year, or even has a date set. Even the previously-announced Horizon: Zero Dawn and Detroit: Become Human will sit out 2016. That leaves only six games you’ll be able to play this year, though by some miracle that includes the eternally-delayed Last Guardian.
Clearly, Microsoft’s betting that it’s better to stick to the short term even if that means few surprises, while Sony wants to make an impression now and hope you remember possibly years later. Though there’s other things to notice through their highlight choices. In Microsoft’s slate, all but ReCore, Sea of Thieves and We Happy Few are based on existing games or game worlds. Sony had six original properties - Days Gone, Death Stranding, Last Guardian, Farpoint, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Detroit: Become Human. In fact, all of Sony’s internally-developed games save God of War are original properties, while all of Microsoft’s first-party games are sequels except for Sea of Thieves. For the most part, Sony’s taking more risks with their games, while Microsoft’s sticking with the familiar.
Article by Robert Evatt
A gorgeous homage to the G1 city-bot, Fort Max has lights, sounds, and in city mode, he’ll interact with all the Leader-class toys, Wheelie, Rewind, and, of course, the “Titan Master” heads. Based off of the Titan-Class Transformers Generations Metroplex, he’s bigger than Combiner Wars Devastator, this is going to be a massive addition to your Transformers collection. I mean, his head (which on its own is as big as a Deluxe-class toy) has sound effects. His head!
Quantities will be extremely limited on this so pre-order today at Next Level Games!
This highly detailed action figure stands 16.5" tall and features 30 points of articulation, including double knee joints, to fully showcase Donatello's mastery of the martial arts.
It's entirely accurate to the movie, and comes with bo staff accessory and interchangeable hands.
We are currently pre-ordering this figure as supplies are very limited. Get yours today!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This year SDCC exclusive figure has been announced. The long awaited "Newt" figure has many fans upset that it will not be made widely available. Be sure to check back with Next Level Games to see if and when this figure may be in stock.
Almost every "child of the 80s" had one sort of gaming system or another. NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, N64 or many others were all available and the hottest items to have.
Gaming back then was very basic, yet in many ways far beyond the games of today. Videogame developers had just a few colors and shapes to use to immerse us totally into a new world. The storylines, game play, and character designs had to be extremely well thought out for us to care so much about a fuzzy little blob on the screen.
Many games today rely too much and graphics and action. Games have turned into more of a cinematic experience (which is not entirely a bad thing), but have lost the creativity that made them special in the past.
Of course I am not talking about all games. Some classic games were horrible, and some modern games are absolutely phenomenal. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let me know which classic and modern games hold a special place in your heart!
Comic Story Lines vs Movie Storylines: Which do you prefer?
We can all agree that Hollywood has put out some pretty amazing movies over the past few years as well as a few flops.
When they are writing these scripts, do you think it is important for them to follow the source material exactly or should the writers have some freedom to expand the universe and create something new for us? How about the few instances where the writers have completely missed the mark and changed the storylines so much that it made the characters almost unrecognizable?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let me know some of your favorites and least favorites!