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. →  Read the rest

NPD Schadenfreude

I’m a small, petty man, but maybe you are small and petty, too. If so, you may enjoy these comedic comments from a popular PS3 forum. The context is the following – Halo 3 sold 3.3 million copies in less than two weeks, MS sold 527k 360s, Nintendo 501k Wiis, and Sony 117k PS3s.

“this is just an example of what the media can do to a console. ps3 was just released in the wrong world.”

“And why would any one expect Heavenly Sword to see better then it did it has no advertisement at all and there are only 6 million ps3s out as of now so if you compare that to halo selling 3.3 million of 360 with 10 million units old then its allot closer then it looks.” →  Read the rest

Retail Woes

In this post, I must air some grievances I have with certain retail companies. Someone call me a waaaaambulance, because I might need it.

– Why does Blockbuster suck so much when it comes to game rentals? Every store I’ve encountered always seems to be cleaned out of its new, and even 2-3 month old releases. It took me a good month or more to find God of War 2, and at a trip to my brother’s home, we couldn’t find any Wii games aside from the absolute dregs of the licensed pit. We couldn’t even try Chicken Little out if we wanted to.

The reason I find their game shortages so odd is that I can always find the same games without trouble at Hollywood Video, and for a few dollars cheaper on the rental. →  Read the rest

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. →  Read the rest

A rant about rampant stupidity on the internets

Uh oh. By the looks of the cover this magazine is going to have a lot of words in it.

By now I hope you are in some way familiar with Penny Arcade’s Internet Fuckwad Theory. Time and again it has proven to be accurate, but I can’t for the life of me understand why. What exactly is it about anonymity – or near anonymity at the very least – that causes people to behave in illogical, rude, and just plain baffling ways? There are times when the gaming community amazes me with how well spoken or well organized it can be. Mostly however, it just causes me to pound my head in frustration. Everyone wants to know why gaming isn’t being taken as seriously as it could be. I’m beginning to wonder if this is such a mystery after all. →  Read the rest

Review – Half-Life 2: Episode One

Right now in the world of console gaming, everyone’s favorite buzz term is “HD era”. In PC gaming, it’s all about “episodic content.” Everyone is talking about the concept of delivering smaller chunks of gaming more quickly and possibly with customized content based on user reactions. Unfortunately, the talk is mostly hot air. For one, very few developers have released anything episodic for us to judge, and those that are out there are either a little too indy (Bone) or not quite up to snuff (Sin). Fortunately, the biggest supporters of the idea, Valve Software, have finally given us Half Life 2: Episode 1, the first of many sequel stories to their smash hit. Maybe now we can finally see what this episodic content stuff is all about.

I can think of at least one issue with episodic content; even when we have something to review, how do we review it? →  Read the rest

The Propaganda Project: J Allard

J Allard — Corporate Vice Presient, Microsoft

Empowerment to the next level, Allard is a PR guy who really loves clichés that push the envelope. Luckily, he seems to be grounded in what makes games good as he has said many times that graphics are a single component and not necessarily important. He also frequently says he wants to expand the market, mirroring Nintendo’s stated goal. Because dirt on Allard was significantly harder to find than on Harrison, some of the quote categories have been left out and I even added a new one: Inspirational.

(For an explanation of what this article is, please read this.)
Bitchy Comments
Some people say the Xbox 360 looks the same as other systems. That it is just more of the same, just more powerful than the other systems. →  Read the rest