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.… Read the rest

The next gen consoles then and now

Folks, it has been some time since the “next gen” was actually the next. I think it is about time to call it the current gen, and on that note, I think it is time to re-evaluate the three major players in the race. Much has changed, and my opinion of each console has changed wildly. Note that this is not an attempt to analyze who is going to “win” the console war. I think that it is quite clear that so long as there are games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports released at the right times, Nintendo is going to be unchallenged in total sales numbers.… Read the rest

A survey of 2007s role playing games

Last year was a fairly interesting one for RPG fans. Some of the biggest names in the genre finished their PS2 swan songs long ago, and went off in search of new platforms. This left 2007 as a year for new ideas and lesser known series to take root and grab the hearts and money of fans. 2007 may not have had a big new Final Fantasy, but perhaps that is a good thing, as it allowed these other games to stand out, rough edges and all. While it comes a bit late, the following is an assessment of some of 2007’s biggest RPGs from both Chris (vl’s resident RPG expert) and Christian (who continues to look for the genre’s masterpiece).… Read the rest

Tales From Behind the Counter – Santa Claus Cometh

Last night, I walked into a video game store that was swamped with trade-ins. I could barely make out my manager and another co-worker behind the counter for the stacks of NES games that were piled before them; it was like Christmas…of 1989. Classics like Ice Breakers, Ducktales, RC Pro-Am, and countless others littered the counter top as my geeky colleagues waded through processing all of the games in order to give our Santa Claus his grand total of trade-in credit that the store was bestowing upon him for his generous endowment.

In Germanic folklore, Santa was this skinny guy that dressed in green clothing and gave out gifts to good children while beating the bad ones.… Read the rest

Review – Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Sequels suck. Prequels putrefy. And spin-offs spin out of control. And yet, so often when a story we enjoy ends, whether in the terra-forming of Arrakis or bodily ascension to heaven, we are reluctant to let go. We refuse to accept that resurrecting something so that it can go on eternally is usually a bad idea (I’m looking at you evangelicals.) The exceptions, (and there are a few: Godfather II, Red Dragon, The Simpsons, The Bible Goes West) prove the rule. So, when one of these quality exceptions of a continuing storyline comes onto the scene, especially in our medium, I think it’s time to take a holiday from derision and give the credit where it’s due.… Read the rest

Hidden costs of next gen gaming or how HD killed the video star

So, here is what happened: I got an Xbox 360 as a gift for Christmas. I had requested it as a gift because I knew that to purchase it on my own would mean a few months of saving; something I’m not good at. I’ve got student loans to pay and blow to snort; there’s just no room for savings in my life. I appreciated the gift and received it with the grace of Ernest Borgnine; but, in the back of my head I braced myself for the added expense of having to buy at least one new game a month.… Read the rest

Heavenly Suck

I cannot call this a review of Heavenly Sword simply because I have not beaten the game, but then again the reason for writing this is not merely to trash HS but to make the following point: people should be embarrassed more easily.

Allow me to explain… I do not own a PS3. I do not own a PS3 because while deciding weather to purchase a PS3 or a 360 I discovered, with basic research and some help from Jay of videolamer, that there is much more variety and quality to be found in the games for 360 than the PS3.… Read the rest

A Christmas Story

Gather around children and let me tell you a story of a Christmas long since passed. The year was 1991 and I was eleven years old. It was that magical white time of year when all a kid my age could think of was snowball fights, playing video games, and Christmas morning. You see children, 1991 was not just any other goofy year. Oh no, 1991 was the year the Super Nintendo came out and I was sure that come December 25th, my chubby butt would be glued to a television playing that sleek, grey piece of gaming heaven.… Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 11.30.07

Gamespot editor allegedly fired for giving a bad review
Jeff Gerstmann was supposedly let go because he gave Kane and Lynch a mediocre review (recent updates indicate the firing was a culmination of multiple reviews that angered sponsors). The story goes, Eidos was paying CNET a ton of cash to promote the title and threatened to pull future ads because of the review. It’s true that when this story broke yesterday, the Gamespot site was covered head to toe in stupid K&L ads. The people who say the firing happened because of the review range from Penny Arcade (who confirm the comic isn’t simply a joke in their forum), to a freelance Gamespot writer (who gave Shenmue a bad review…breath in…), to mods in the Gamespot forum who said things like – if we tell you what happened we will be fired, and don’t blame us, it’s all CNETs fault.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest