Monday, November 27, 2006

The monolith has arrived!

So we finally get a PS3 in the store, and the source is a customer who wanted to sell one second hand already. I assume they needed the money........(cue the 2001 Space Odyssey music - this thing looks like a monolith, only does a lot more).

First on my list is registering my gamertag. Of course I go for Postman, and after going through all the information to set it up, the network tells me it's taken! You've got to be kidding me! Out of the whole 20 people in North America that bought a PS3 and didn't sell it yet, one of them thinks they are the real Postman! Oh, well.......I settle for Postmanjr and mess with the system interface a bit.

The web browser looks great in high def, but is hard to navigate. I was having a blast checking out Day in the Life and Shoot the Core on a ps3 set.......hopefully you have a USB keyboard sitting around somewhere, you'll need it. I bookmarked all the necessities (Ebay, Google, etc.) and went to try Blast Factor. It's yet another Geometry Wars clone, which was fun, but played out. There was a small breath of fresh air when tilting the Sixaxis produced a wave across the playing field that knocked enemies over, but it really wasn't too exciting. The demo ended right at a boss fight.....EVIL! The other demo was a Smash TV ripoff, Cash Guns Money or something like that......

After that foreplay, I jumped right into testing the games, Resistance first. Know what? It's your typical FPS. I wasn't blown away like the guy in the Maxwell commercial by the killer next gen graphics. Impressive, mind you, but nothing to go shoot people standing in a Best Buy line over. Genji felt like Onimusha with improved graphics, but was also underwhelming. Maybe I'm being a bit too critical of launch titles (which always suck), but right now I'm not obsessed with owning a new PS3. Add to that the fact that new games won't be appearing until something like March, and my Sony balloon just got deflated.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Buying a next gen console: The RPG

I am so tired of all this retail bull that goes along with launching new consoles. The waiting, the shortages, the jacked up ebay prices......why can't I just walk into a store, throw down some cash, take the console home and play it? As frustrating as this may be, I had the thought that it would make a great RPG.
Chapter one: The lineup.
Assemble your party of as many people as you can, and take them to the local merchant. This must be an MMO, since there are already tons of people hanging around this shop. I hope you fought enough slimes on the way and have 50 or 100 gold to throw down on a "slip of promise", or "slip of promise +15" for the 60 GIG model ps3. Only the most valiant warriors (the first 10 or so to show up) will be able to continue their quest.....

My real life counterpart to this was fairly simple for the Wii - I took off from work and hit the mall in time to secure a console. The ps3 was more difficult though.....I read on the internet THAT MORNING that the preorders would start, got to the store late, and the woman in FRONT OF ME got the last pre-order. If she actually has the console or if she got shorted is another story. I was up early on Nov. 17, so I figured I'd go to the store the public masses would overlook: Gamecrazy. Got there 6 AM, no line!!! Around 7:30 AM, one other woman showed up, who then talked my ear off until 9:30 when the Gamecrazy employee arrived to tell us they got 1 set, and it's already gone (i.e. his). But I could write a book about this woman's problems, she told them all to me.

Chapter two: The pre-order.
It's important to remember that the clerk, while pretending to be your friend delivering the console, is really your mortal enemy. Collecting personal information, trying to sell you games and accessories you don't want, and maybe even pulling your chain the whole time because he/she already knows they won't have enough consoles to go around. Keep reducing those HP untill revealing the final TRUE form! You might even run into a battle with some of the other patrons, be sure to equip strong weapons and armor.

Chapter 3: The pickup.
After two weeks of gaining exp. points, leave the Inn around midnight and head back to the shopkeep in the northwest section of the town. While they turn away most people, set the slip of promise to your item button, and use it on the clerk. He will then move the bookcase behind the counter and allow you to pass. Go down the stairs, and you'll see a chest on the right. Open the chest, and bingo! CONSOLE GET!

My RL counterpart to this was fun - a midnight launch at the mall. Some retailers really go crazy though....they took attendance and called everyone's name - reminded me of SCHOOL. All this just to get new technology. We even tried a few other stores on Wii launch day. One Sam's Club was interesting - you had to ask at the customer service desk for a Wii, which was sold out, but she did mention they have games by the registers. Upon asking at checkout, they had to page a person to come over, who escorted us to a locked fenced area. He moved a few boxes around, and found two boxes of games which we were allowed to look through. Now THAT's a real life RPG moment.

At the end of it all, I did score a Wii, which I will probably end up selling. I played my friend's set, and had lots of fun with it, but I think the smartest thing to do is wait a year for the bugs to get worked out of a system (looking in YOUR direction, Sony). The games for both new systems don't impress me much yet, so patience will rule the day today. And just remember people, when playing the console hunt RPG, it's all in good fun and by middle of 07 stores should have ample suppily, so don't kill anyone over it (unless it's a metal slime).

What about the CONSOLES!?!

We all know what happened this weekend, if you don't you shouldn't be reading this blog. The new consoles invaded the United States, and it was pure chaos trying to get one. I wish I had a good story about a midnight launch at the store, or people throwing money at us to buy sets, but I don't because we got a whole total number of ZERO ps3s or Wiis. Why, you might ask? The Playstation 3 is obvious. Sony "doesn't have enough" to fill orders. And since we're a small mom and pop store, we're first in line to get shafted. Everyone saw that coming. The Wii on the other hand is a little more complicated. If you want to order from Nintendo, you need to be a Nintendo direct store, which we're not. But if you were, they don't just send you a console when you order, they bundle it with tons of crap games that nobody wants. So you get the golden item, but you also have to pay for useless product that's going to sit around. The boss didn't feel like doing that, so he tryed his other distributers. In their case it's much simpler - they just horded them. Luckily I did some pre-ordering at some other stores just to be sure to get my hands on something next-gen, which leads me into the next posting.......

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Mike Kid

I started working here at the store when i was in of course i had some classes with some of our customers. I became friends with this one kid named Ryan. He happened to be the manager at the gamestop across the street from us..our enemy. It was kinda neat though cause he would come in our store..i would go in his..we would chat and share stories.

So after class was over i didnt see him for a while... Then one day he comes in and he is like...

Ryan: Hey Mike

Me thinking he was talking to someone else just let it go...So next time he comes in..

Ryan: Hey Mike whats up?

My boss turns to me..

Boss: Mike?
Hunter: I dunno...haha

So my boss goes to the back and yells my name to start messing witht he kid..he called me by my name like 5 times..the kid still calls me Mike..We couldnt help but crack up..obviously the kid forgot my name...but its just to funny to tell him the truth and its a inside joke now. So whenever he comes in I let him call me Mike and we laugh about it later.

But, of course this caused a funny problem. Me and my girlfriend were at target one day and saw Ryan. I turn to her and I say

Hunter: Whatever this kid says...dont say a word and i'll explain later
Girlfriend: Okie
Ryan: Hey Mike whats up?
Hunter: Not much just killing
Ryan: Not to much....well gotta go see ya later!

As soon as he is outta girlfriend turns to me and says

Girlfriend: Mike?
Hunter: Yeah...he forgot my name and calls me Mike..i find it to damn funny to tell him the truth.

It really is so damn funny...I play a good Mike i think ;)
Am i just mean that i dont tell him and instead roll with it and laugh about it later? ;)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Here comes......the BIRDMAN!

Spending any amount of time in a video game store will cause you to brush up against some out-of-the-ordinary characters. And I'm not just talking about the protagonist in the latest version of your favorite game. I could do a roll call of the eccentrics that frequent the store, but today I'm just going to focus on the birdman.
I remember walking into a midday shift with a few customers already in the store and the owner behind the counter. I sit down and start going over things with the owner, casually glancing at the patrons from time to time to be sure they aren't causing any mischief (i.e. robbing us blind). I catch a side view of one guy behind a DVD rack, and swear I see something sitting on his shoulder. He was out of view quickly so I didn't think much of it. Then I hear it - a chirp and someone muttering a high pitched word. As this guy rounds the counter, I see in plain view two birds sitting on either of the man's shoulders. I turn to the owner:

"Hey - that guys got birds! Do we allow pets in here?"

"Oh, that's the birdman. He always come in with them on. They don't bother anyone."

"Are they pets or something? Most people don't take their birds shopping......"

"No, he works at the exitoc bird store down the street....."

"Well, what if they crap on something?"

"Don't sweat it, they'll hit him before they do anything else......he's used to it by now."

Now things start to make some sense. I recognize one animal as an African Grey, becuase my ex-girlfriend used to own one. They're a really cool animal (if your particular one is friendly), and can learn to talk up quite a storm. The other was a large white Cockatoo, which I didn't bother with much. It's fun to watch the reatction of the kids when he's in the store, they either want to interact with the birds and talk to them, or are petrified of them. I haven't seen birdman in a long time, and I kinda miss our feathered friends.....