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 source of this gaming joy is perhaps second only to Walmart in its unlikeliness. It’s Best Buy. I’m not sure who decided it would be a good idea to start stocking games of all shapes and sizes (and spreading the word about them too), but Best Buy has slowly turned from the place where the only guarantee is that there will be a flood of PS2 Greatest Hits to my number one stop for launch day releases. And while I haven’t bought any of their used games, I do appreciate how they re-shrinkwrap (and I think they guarantee to play). Considering how many other products the store sells, and especially considering the reputation big box stores have in general, there is no reason for Best Buy to behave like this, but I’m sure as hell glad they do.
After all, it gives me less and less reason to shop at EB/Gamestop.
As you can see by this blog’s picture, if not for Best Buy I would have been screwed out of Patapon, or forced to drive out of my way after a busy day of work. I am absolutely sick of how this chain has decided to use preorders as their inventory system when it comes to anything not published by EA, Square or Activision. It just causes a chain of frustration like this:
1) I don’t always know if I can afford to buy a game until days before release, so I don’t like the hassle of preorders
2) I shouldn’t have to fucking preorder in the first place
3) Preorders do not guarantee a copy, despite what claims are made. Just ask the many people who have been screwed by them.
4) This is where you realize that just about all new games get one spot on the shelf in these stores, so the biggest reason for minimizing extra copies of new games is so that they can stuff as many used copies of everything and anything onto the shelves. It’s one thing for these assholes to make so much money off of used games, but now they’re trying stifle the industry even further by keeping the new stuff out of your and my hands.
There might have been a time when putting up with Gamestop’s bullshit was necessary if you wanted to get certain games, but everyone who has said that this time is over is absolutely correct. When you can find more copies of Odin Sphere in a Walmart than in an EB, it just goes to show you how little they care about this industry and those that support it. They can’t even beat the most monolithic corporate giant.
But hey, at least I got Patapon from another monolithic corporate giant. Did I mention my Best Buy actually lets me leave if I don’t sign up for a Reward’s Zone card? Makes me feel human.
Later this week I’ll be having another little discussion about some clever new Sony marketing.