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. I would rather play most of these sports over having to deal with the people who come in to buy these games and that, my friends, should tell you something. →  Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatarticle

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. Not only that, but the price is only $30! →  I only ask one thing. Don’t read in my way.

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. I could not even look at my Xbox without feeling a pang of regret. →  Michigan: Article from Hell

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). →  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Read

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. And when I got out of college, I realized I wanted physical copies of most of them. →  Oops, I did it again.

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. →  Frankly my dear, I don’t read a damn.

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. I handed my extra copy to my roommate and the employee was sated. →  Katamari Damaread

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.

Horsez…Nintendogs ripoff meant to take advantage of stupid children and ignorant parents who cannot tell the difference between a dog and a horse, fine. →  Game. James Game.

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. I thought I had made my peace, but Namco couldn’t leave well enough alone, and now I’m having my doubts after seeing new character Leo in action. →  Show me the reading!

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. I do know I’m not closer to spending a months rent on PS3, though. →  God of War: Readnarok

How to write a Holiday Shopping Guide

If you are running any sort of successful games website, you should already have your Holiday Shopping Guide up and collecting income. These guides are essential for grabbing a nice chunk of holiday web traffic and advertising money from online retailers. If by some chance you still haven’t made yours, videolamer is here to help with this easy to follow step by step guide.

1) Start Early:
In the last decade, we marketing folk succeeded in eliminating Thanksgiving from the collective minds of everyone but grocery stores and the NFL. And, if our research is correct, people are glad that the stress and frustration of holiday shopping can now go on for an even longer stretch of time. This means that you can publish your guide at any point in November. →  While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not gaming.

Like, totally super cool shopping recommendations

It’s becoming somewhat of a rarity to find a video game store that actually knows what they’re doing. Most of the time, you go into a store and get hounded to death by a caveman who just got hired off the streets. And no, they’re not even the cool Geico cavemen, either. Other times, a store has a complete lack of selection, believing Madden is the only game ever made, and proudly advertising their ignorance.

With two new consoles being released this year, videolamer is here to survey the battle field by detailing many stores that sell video games. We’ll break them up into categories of stores, and work from there.

Specialty Retailers
These are your EB Games, GameStop’s, GameCrazy’s, and what have you. These stores are the absolute best for selection. →  Onimusha 2: Samuread's Destiny

Biggest losers in the world wait for the PS3

According to Games Are Fun, a line for the PS3 has already formed in front of a Best Buy in Burbank, California. People have been waiting since at least Wednesday for a console that launches next Friday. If these people can afford to miss over a week of work for a PS3, can’t they just get one on eBay for $2000?

As someone who may end up waiting in a line for a Wii despite having no intentions of purchasing one, I may not have much right to insult these stupid people. If it makes a difference, I will be waiting for three hours against my will (stupid friends) and not for 216 hours.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 10.27.06

The proud owner of four Xbox 360s.

360 breaks all sorts of records in Australia
Watch out Master System, there’s a new kid in Australia. By selling over 100,000 units, the 360 has become the fastest selling console down under. The first European settlers in Australia were criminals and we have Australians to blame for those rambunctious reptile lovers, Crocodile Dundee and the Crocodile Hunter (“that’s not a terrible accent, THIS IS A TERRIBLE ACCENT”). Clearly Microsoft must take these facts into account before celebrating the good news.

Gamasutra interview Clover’s Inaba
Prepare yourself for an only marginally related rant. Oh, and read the interview, it’s interesting.

The way the games media goes from one golden boy of creativity to the next is pretty odd. Why do gamers get three or four different interviews from Inaba but not one from Takahashi, Ueda, or Mizuguchi? →  It’s dangerous to read alone, take this.

Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.

________________________________
Christian: I really want to know how many people are still drooling for a new Sony console. This gen is the ultimate test of the Playstation brand. One thing is for sure: a new PS3 is financial suicide simply because of the defect rate on Sony consoles.

Dan: I feel the PS2 was the perfect system for the casual gamer, and had a little bit of everything. I don’t know what will fill that void now. Besides a combination of the Wii and the 360.

Golden Jew: Let’s not forget the feeding frenzy when PS2 came out. It was hella expensive, hella rare and were the launch titles THAT good? Granted, the games were still $50.

Christian: They sucked.

PS2 launch titles may have sucked…IF YOU ARE DUMB ENOUGH TO OVERLOOK FANTAVISION!

 →  Read, you fools!

An E3 for the proletariat: Golden Jew’s final thoughts

Another year, another E3. This marked the third E3 I have attended. Obviously, this year’s big focus was on the new console systems: Second Generation Xbox 360 games, the Wii, and the PS3.

Last year, after seeing the preview for the Xbox 360, the teaser demo for the PS3, and hearing about the Wii (then called the Revolution, a time which will be remembered as “Heterosexual Nintendo”), I was stoked. I boldly declared to my friends that this next generation of consoles would be remembered as a big turning point in gaming. Finally–at last–systems would have standard support for the goodies that make PC gaming so much fun (hard drives, keyboards, online connectivity), combined with native HD support and some serious rendering muscle. Finally, console makers would get it, and we were in for what would be some seriously high powered, interactive, and most importantly, fun, gaming. →  Call me game-shmael.

Concerned Citizen

Grand Theft Auto 3 has come under a lot of heat because of the Hot Coffee mod, which allows the player to have polygonal sex with his video game girlfriend. GameStop, crusader for freedom Jack Thompson, and Hillary Clinton are among those who have lined up against Rock Star for making such an immoral product. Murdering prostitutes is questionable behavior, but having sexual intercourse is just ethically wrong so I, too, decided to share my discontent… but in the most positive way possible, by thanking those retailers who pulled the game from their shelf. Enjoy.

Wal-Mart team photo
What Would Wal-Mart Do?

Thank you for being a family friendly store. Capitalism will never work if we just allow people to buy whatever they want. We need more huge corporations to stand up to products Jesus wouldn’t like and say, “No. →  And so it games…