Tales From Behind The Counter – A Time of Loathing

When working in retail there is one time of year you dread above all others: the holidays. It means angry customers with no time and no money, pissed off that they have to brave ice covered roads and bumper car parking lots instead of being gleeful and warm in the comfort of their own homes. In video game retail land, there is one other time that I have come to regard in the same way I would a diagnosis of colon cancer: EA Sports Game Release season. Also called, the Unholidays, with a long e sound on that i.

During this time, Electronic Arts decides to rain shit from the sky in the form of a new NCAA everything, new Madden, new baseball whatever, and [shudder] Nascar 09.… In the beginning games created the heavens and the earth.

Non-Review Footnote – Persona 3:FES

Last week marked an interesting release on American shores, as Atlus shipped out Persona 3:FES. FES is both an expansion pack and a revision to the original P3 – it mainly serves as an epilogue chapter to the story, but was also served with the original game as a “director’s cut” that added new goodies to the entire quest.

This kind of release is very rare on consoles. For example, whenever Square releases an International Edition of a hit RPG, you can be sure this nation won’t see it. Yet for whatever reason (likely due to success of P3 last fall), Atlus decided to grace us with more of this excellent game, rather than leave Western fans out in the cold as happens so many times.… Ring of Read

Finished with the Next Gen — A jumble of an article

I have had an Xbox 360 for about three months. Under normal circumstances such a short period of time would never be enough to wear down the novelty of this fantastic new toy. However, about three weeks ago tragedy struck. (No red circles were involved, the box works fine). I accidentally deleted about 25 hours worth of progress in one of my all time favorite games: Culdcept. The second I realized what I had done, I almost vomited from grief. I had gotten more than halfway through the game collecting about 300 of the 500 available cards, and all of it went up in smoke with a simple misclick. For the following week I could not bring myself to play another game.… Holy crap, show me more!

Where Gamers go? No…

There’s this great little electronics shop near me. I used to loathe them, and I still do for some things, but lately they’ve been picking up the pace in the games department. In the stores near my home and my job, I have found fresh copies of No More Heroes and Zak and Wiki. Back in the summer there were multiple copies of Persona 3 (despite its obscurity and its odd box shape). I have seen Every Extend Extra and King of Fighters XI in $10 bargain bins, and if you really want to get crazy, I can grab you a copy of Metropolismania 2. Today I picked up a copy of Patapon on its release date, though if I ordered it online I could have had free shipping (after watching a lovely trailer on their store website).… Professor Layton and the Diabolical Post

Out of Print: The Trouble of Finding Old Games

When I began college, the Peer to Peer filesharing scene was dying. With campuses clamping down on the networks, and with iPods making the concept of actually purchasing music legitimate again, the likes of Kazaa and Limewire were hard to find. Despite this I managed to acquire a massive amount of music as a student. Rather than search for high quality files, my freshman self tore through the CD binders of my friends, ripping any album I thought to be interesting. This method of sampling made me not just a fan of new music, but of whole albums. In a world where the single is all the rage, classic rock albums became my poison of choice.… OutRun 2006: Post to Post

Are you ready to rock? … well you can’t.

Way to go EA / MTV. Way to f up the launch of what should have been your biggest title this Christmas season. Rock Band launched today, or so gamers were told. In reality it seems like there were only a handful of units shipped to retailers with little or no warning about the shortage. The only press release I’ve seen even hinting at production shortages was unearthed yesterday, in which the EA spokesman said that there might be a little supply crunch … until MARCH OF 2008!

Best Buy held midnight launch parties at about two dozen locations across the US and reports are coming in that a large majority of those stores got shipped a paltry number (one store in Kentucky received two PS3 bundles, and that’s it) or no games at all.… They’re reading her… and then they’re going to read me!

Best Buy Hero

After recovering from a brutal hangover Sunday morning, I set out with my roommate obtain Guitar Hero 3. Now, due to past horrific experienced with Best Buy, I had first sought to order it from Amazon.com, but was told I would not receive said game until mid November. This was deemed unacceptable. So we headed to Best Buy.

Upon arriving, we found, to our glee, a fully stocked display of Guitar Hero 3 games. I quickly grabbed two copies for the Xbox 360 (one for me, one as a gift for a friend), and my roommate grabbed an extra guitar. As I walked away from the display, I was accosted by a Best Buy employee, who, seeing two of us, informed me that there was a one-per-customer limit.… [post launches in virtual reality]

Best Buy needs a better selection

Tonight I scoured the earth for a copy of Etrian Odyssey. A painfully difficult game with music by Yuzo Koshiro sounds like heaven to me. Apparently, Best Buy thinks it sounds like a nerdy Japanese RPG doomed to rot on the shelves. I was hurt that the store didn’t carry the game, but what they do carry is infinitely more infuriating.

Cars…OK, maybe the movie was cute.

Cake mania…I guess it’s some flash game, whatever.

Bratz: Diamondz…No, there is never a reason to stock this game. If you buy your children Bratz merchandise do the world a favor and smother them while they sleep.

Dogz…Nintendogs ripoff meant to take advantage of stupid children and ignorant parents, fine.… READ3R

News I Care About: Beta

Don’t worry folks, this is not a replacement of the actual VL weekly news. Its just a blog entry with a clever twist. There have been a few stories I’ve been meaning to discuss, without actually discussing them. So why not just lump them together into one MEGATON (copyright IGN) batch?

– Tekken 6 has finally been announced with some actual screenshots and videos of the game in action. Not long ago I wrote an article about the Tekken series and my attempt to come to grips with it. Part of that article involved reconciling the fact that Namco can’t seem to make an original character design, not with so many other franchises to steal from.… Postlanser: Heritage of Read

Amazing adventures at Best Buy

Last night I went to Best Buy with the intention of buying a portable RPG for my upcoming plane ride to England. I chose that particular store because it is close to home and closes late, not because it doesn’t suck. Looking for Contact for the DS, I had a myriad of experiences that I’d like to now share with you.

– The PS3 demo kiosk is not working. Some racing game is stuck at the course selection screen and there is a short loop of bad heavy rock music playing. This same game crashed at the same spot at the same Best Buy a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if that store got a bad kiosk or if all the kiosks are that awesome.… Did I do that?