Thursday, December 2, 2010

Die, cardboard video game box, die!

For a brief stint after moving to the larger city area I now live close to, I took a job working at a local video game retailer.

When I started there was two shelves for PC games, and one shelf for used PC games.  Steadily over the year I worked there I saw the space reserved for PC games shrink; and now when you visit a store, there's barely ANY space reserved for PC games.

I used to think this was a bad thing, because it indicated the slow demise of PC gaming.  What I didn't realize back then that digital distribution was just starting to offer PC games, and it was becoming fairly popular.  Which probably coincided with the decline of shelf space in local retailers.  I believe another contributing factor is the availability of high speed internet.  You may laugh, but my parents only recently had high speed introduced to their neck of the woods (satellite was available previously, but crazy expensive).

I recently signed up for a Steam account, and have been pretty happy with the level of services offered by the application - a nice friends list with chat messenger, community pages, and a library of your purchased games that are available for download when ever you want them (if you haven't already downloaded them).  I'll never misplace software, or a booklet with a game activation code on it, because it's available digitally. 

And what's even better is they run specials and have some pretty good games for REALLY cheap.

Now, I'm not some Steam fanboi, I'm just setting the stage for the experience I received last night upon my trip to the local game store.

I went to cancel my two preorders for Cataclysm, and move the money I had placed as a down payment onto a gift card to use as a Christmas gift.  And I couldn't believe the attitude of the clerks.  I walk in and explain what I'd like to do and the guy chides "Oh, excellent."  Not in that Mr. Burns from the Simpsons way, and even in a genuine tone of voice - it was that I'm-working-a-job-I-hate-and-being-a-complete-asshole-to-everybody voice.

So, I'm already a little miffed, and the clerk launches into a tirade about how I should throw down some money on the preorder of DragonAge II he saw me looking at.  I tell him no thanks, I just want the money on the gift card, and the second clerk pipes up and again applies preassure trying to get me to preorder the game. 

Look people, I walked in and clearly explained exactly what I wanted.  I didn't ask to be hasseled about any preorders, and I certinaly didn't ask to join your discount card program (I worked there.. I know it's a scam).

I was just all around irritated when I left.  And I don't think I'll be going back.

I got home and hopped on my computer, loaded up the Blizzard website and click click click - Presto!  Two accounts upgraded to Cataclysm with only the need to maybe download a patch on the day of release.  No trouble at all.

I'm going to be doing all of my gaming purchases digitally from now on, tyvm.


  1. I was going to DL Cat as well. No sense in having the extra stuff lying around when I have a disk backup available and the copy of the CD key stored in my file cabinet.

    I can almost guess what store you went to. The few times I visited a version of that store down here, I was unimpressed by the attitude. They must have thought me some parent buying games for a kid, never guessing that I might be the gamer. ("Dude, I was playing Pac-Man before you even were a twinkle in your parents' eyes. I think I qualify as a gamer.")

    The music CD ain't worth the price of the deluxe edition, IMHO. And that's coming from someone who has the Vanilla music CD.

  2. I'm with you boys on this one too. I have the CE of both BC and Wrath, and they're taking up more space than I could ever want. I'm so happy Blizzard decided to try digital downloads and that things go off without a hitch, which I expect it will since ppl won't be downloading patches nearly as much the day of release as they otherwise would.

    However, I do like the music. lol I'm sure they'll sell it on iTunes again this year. I hope.

  3. I'm hopeless at adapting to this kind of thing. I still prefer CDs to MP3s and, uh, records to CDs. I just like having a physical object, dammit! But in terms of amazing places to get amazing stuff, I take it you're familiar with Good Old Games:

  4. @Tam: Don't get me wrong, I love CDs. And I've recently fixed my wife's old turntable, so we've got albums to play. But at the same time, the general attitude found in American video game stores these days leaves a lot to be desired. Soul's absolutely right about that.