"working on my faults and cracks..."

10.27.2010

when "new" is not a metaphor

I honestly don't have a lot of good to say about Gamestop. Neither do a lot of other outspoken and equally disgruntled nerds. While it's easy enough to hate the corporation for good, and multiple reason, some of those reasons and shady sales practices can be either ignored or circumvented (as can the red-shirted, mouth-breathing cretins that the chain insists on staffing their stores with), quite simply by insisting on buying your games new so the developers get their full share.

Several months ago, I almost bought Borderlands. Several guys at SCC play it, and I wanted in on the post apocalyptic hilarity. However, Gamestop only had two copies of the game in the only store within cycling range. One of the copies was quite used, and was being sold without a case, and the other was "new," by Gamestop's asinine standards - meaning it had been opened, and clearly handled, despite being sold at full price. Since the "new" copy being sold hadn't technically been "pre-owned," and the "used" copy had clearly been used, the clerks didn't see anything wrong with either of these scenarios. Being the apparent raging videogame diva that I am, I left the store in a huff.

A few short weeks thereafter, I forced myself back into the store for a copy of Red Dead Redemption, for it was time to get my Shooty-McShooterson on, at any cost. After requesting a new, sealed copy of the game, and warning that the offending skulls would be cracked if one couldn't be produced to meet my unreasonable standards, the bearded drone behind the counter had the audacity to refer to me as "the guy who's picky about his games being shrink-wrapped."

Picky about shrink wrap? Or picky about getting exactly what my hard-earned wampum pays for? No asshole, I'm picky about paying full price for an allegedly "new" product, when it's been opened and fondled by your disgusting Sbarro-stained fingertips. I paid through clenched teeth, and left the store without setting it on fire. I am a benevolent diva.

Then again, just last week, I put on a false mustache, warmed up my hackneyed British accent, and ventured back to the store, against my own better judgement. On a side-note, it is worth mentioning that all of this could be avoided by purchasing online, but with the complete lack of free time that I have, games are purchased locally to ensure that my gratification be instantaneous.

After resisting their usual sales pitches for useless subscriptions and reservations--a collective schpeal that would make even the most gregarious Mormon missionary wet in the garments, I calmly told him to close his Dorito-hole and fetch me a new, shrink-wrapped copy of Mikami's "robot-holocaust simulator," Vanquish.

My clever disguise having gone completely unnoticed, he called out triumphantly after pulling a copy from the display, "here ya go man - and check it out! It's still shrink-wrapped!"

A shrink-wrapped game sold at full price in a videogame store? How completely novel. He held it gingerly, turning it over in his fingertips to prove the plastic seams still sealed, and the disc inside untouched, as though it were a priceless relic - the last of its kind.

I resisted a whole host of perfectly noble urges to hit him with my u-lock.

There is still a silver lining though - one that includes (but is not limited to) rocketing around a post-apocalyptic space battlefield and cold-cocking giant robots in the face in slow motion to justify the aneurysm it took to just get in and out of that wretched video game den of thieves.

If it means cutting out the industry shit-stain that is Gamestop, to give the developers and publishers the cut they rightly deserve, direct distribution, and e-downloads for full-length product can't come soon enough. The chemically comforting "new game smell" can be lived without.
 
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