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My Final day was today, at 4.34pm with gamestop I was finally "let go".  My two weeks notice had actually been on file for well over two months, with me consistently letting up the date to allow the store to re-balance itself for my leaving.  Ironically I wasn't expecting this week to be it, I was let go on an anonymous tip that I was looking for work elsewhere.  Figures.

During my time, somewhat over a year with the company I rose through the ranks, starting off as a seasonal, and ending up in An assistant store manager position.  I had seen defunct managers, theft on a massive scale by employees, and many good people "let go" because they expressed their frustrations.  The pay was horrible, the retail climate is especially disgusting, and I'm here to answer A few questions.  I realize this conversation I intend to have with the comments below would better suit a forum, but the blog capacity should help shine some light on some recent corporate unsavory tactics. 

In less than a year I've been swung at no less than three times, threatened physically by coworker and customer alike at least once a week, and I've lost all my original naivety about ethics, and the gullibility of people.  There are countless stories myself or fellow employees could dive into, the general insanity is at a beyond Clerks series of movies level.   

There was A particularly unattractive female employee who attempted to falsely sue the entire store and corporate office for "harrassment and an attempted gangbang rape" on her second week with us.   The shame of it was the sheer audacity of her story was the only thing that saved the male employees from being fired. 

A store manager in my district claimed an additional two million dollars in sales over the course of a year, thinking he would get promoted before his yearly accounting session. He was let go, but now holds a district management position with a rival company.
 The average profit line per gamestop is about 1.5 mil.

I received no warning or option about two responsibility increasing promotions, and one store transfer over thirty miles away of which I was told I had no option.

My District manager is a convicted felon, who Drives illegally without license after his sixth DUI.  He Put a prostitute and her handler in the hospital about three or four years ago on the yearly trip all upper management takes to vegas.  He makes One hundred and Sixty grand a year and I genuinely have no clue what he does other than demoralize and insult my store once a month.  We are one of the most financially successful stores in the entire region.  

I've won employee of the district four times, and the stores i've worked in seven times since my employment, not a single raise or reward other than job security was ever handed out.  We were actually pressured to preform at the same level with less hours used on payroll.  Eighty three hours a week for seven employees is unacceptable for a location that clears two million in expected profit, but hey you did it last week, why not this week as well. 

Almost every store manager you meet is a heavy drinker who works sixty hours a week or more.  Hug your local store manager, the job has made them a dick, in real life they are some of the most insane and nice people you will ever meet.  

Gamestop will not fire an employee, its too much paper work, just get ready to never get hours ever again and be snuffed out, while still being set on the payroll as once a week, but the night before your shift suddenly isn't required.  I've been told to do this by corporate and my upper management.  While this isn't unusual in the service world, It is too the extreme with Gamestop.


Oh, we also open new games that are considered rare and sell them at our own dictated prices.  This includes no less than

Xenoblade, the one we got caught over

Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, but its twenty everywhere else

Tales of vesperia, It's twenty dollars cheaper to just download it.

The last story, because wii rpgs

Every pokemon game, because and I kid you not this was in a corporate response email, the value of a used pokemon game is higher, because of the potential monsters already caught.

and I'm sure a dozen other games I haven't noticed or can't remember. 


The other method to the madness is leaving a game wrapped after a company goes bankrupt or stops printing the game.  Yes I understand too human is three dollars used, but we only have it new for twenty. 


It's not all been bad, but certainly little of the good came from the corporate climate itself, please, ask me anything.








Let me set the mood.

It's the late summer of two thousand and eight.  I am an unemployed, nineteen year old, Half ass attempting community college, logging my three hundredth hour into Final fantasy X on a borrowed system, because its the only game I owned.  I live at home, in my mother's basement.  I am driven to class, at seven in the morning, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I am picked up at six in the evening.  The rest of the week I preform yard work, clean the house, anything to earn my keep. Against my mother's genuine attempts at parenting, I have a history of violence, drugs, and general disdain for life.  I would have a car but I managed to wreck it, without insurance, intoxicated on stolen painkillers and the hormones of a teenager on the harsh end of a break up. 

Don't do drugs kids.  The blonde is a nine year old 4'2" sister for comparison.

And then Brett asked me over to play gears 2. 

I had hung out with the kid before, I actually recalled beating him senseless over a round of halo 2 years back at some party.  He was a friend of a friend, But post high school, and his house being within walking distance (3.6 miles counts as walking distance in the south) we became friends of convenience.  Gears of war 2 was the start of something, a symbiotic co-op gaming relationship, something that half a decade later we still covet, and something that helped center our lives.  

Brett, like me, had been left behind by his former friends from the college rush in his class graduation.  He was working fast food, trying to find his place in the world without the SAT scores to get any direction.  I had multiple scholarships from nice colleges wanting my attendance, but I didn't have the work ethic or drive.  He was an example of the no child left behind act, and I was a lazy sociopath.  However on the xbox his parents had gotten him for his birthday, we were Barau and Knell, slayers of noobs.

We had a natural way of making single player games a group experience, taking turns or back seat driving.  We had a natural way of making online shooters our proving ground, split-screen teamwork rare in the early 360 era.  And Brett had a natural way of breaking controllers when we played fighters.  To this day marvel vs capcom 2 is a forbidden topic, and Ice man is a cheap whore in his eyes.

It was the accomplishment we both needed.  We proved worth to not only ourselves, but to each other.  Game after Game we burned through, we had a first name basis with the local gamestops and blockbusters.  Eventually we burned through my birthday money and his minimum wage.  I got a job to pay for our gaming collection.  I got a job, solely, to pay for more games.  

Motive for any reason is still motive. In that turn-about way everything started to flow better.  Most of the money was spent on our collection.  We lived for new release Tuesday.  We became such regulars at midnight releases that we were both offered jobs with Gamestop at one point or another.  More importantly, I was getting out of the house, I had a vacation couch I slept in more than my own bed at his parent's house, I had a job to focus all my hate into, and for the first time in a long time, I found myself happy.  Not quite content, I was without car, woman, or my own system, but I was just oh so occasionally happy.

We learned that in our escape, we could change ourselves, release our frustrations and weaknesses, taking only the best of ourselves to reality.  Some how I burned through a lifetime of pent up rage and frustration inside of the realm of xbox live.  Brett proved to himself his own intelligence, I still genuinely can't beat the guy in anything that classifies itself as a strategy title.  We weren't without our problems, but we also weren't without friendship and daily confidence boosters.  As crazy as it sounds, a job interview or asking a girl out just wasn't scary anymore.  On any given week We had conquered china, watched rapture burn, or slain legions of enemy soldiers online. 

Gaming with me is a strange affair.  On my own i'm ruthless, cheese loving, and a genuine troll.  I'm admittedly venomous online, often to attack players for stupidity or score.  But somehow, Playing with Brett, and a few other online pals, I find my solid ground, I often play the support, the back watcher, the medic.  I lose my temper consistently.  Yet Somehow, I feel a dozen times more at peace than I ever have before.  
 Life took us separate ways physically, but we still play online multiple times a week.  



Now forgive me, I have rent to pay, a girlfriend to keep happy, and a horde of orcs that don't quite know yet what strong allies I have.
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The following article is meant in no way to be considered sexist. It is a perspective on a disturbing and usually untrue stereotype.

IF you have a Vagina you are bad at Video Games

Inevitably, if only by luck, the majority of the gaming populace, especially all you shag-a-delic readers of Destructoid, will find themselves in the grace of the fairer sex. She'll be an amazing core of your life, a constant support, smile, and partner, throughout the horrible ordeal that life can be.

When you first met her, those exciting nerve racking dates of yore, she probably noticed your affection to the console. In an attempt to grow closer to you, she more than likely informed you that she too is a gamer.

CLARIFICATION
1. she owned a copy of Pokemon Blue, that she played on her brother's gameboy. She was used so that everyone else she knew could get all the starters. Doubt me? ask her what the third gym leader was, she only knew the first two because of the cartoon.
2. she drunkenly played halo at a party, because 16 guys staring at a screen instead of her cleavage didn't sit well with her.

And you being the REAL gamer that you are, you're going to want to sit down next to the warm glow of a T.V. and lose yourself in the wide and wonderful world we call Video Games.

PROTIP: This is going to piss her off.

It's such a noticeable trend, that the game developers, in an attempt to retain your money, and perhaps even throw a brofist of understanding, have begun to throw in what i like to call, Girlfriend mode.

Examples you say?



So a bunch of people are sitting around a Capcom board room, trying to figure out how to make their hit resident evil series sell to more homes. They had a hit with number four, but any good that did was taken away by Mila Jovich.
-How about we make it a Co-op experience! that's had mild success in the past.
-Alright, Alright, fair enough... but lets reach outside of the box, what demographic are we not hitting... how can we make this more accessible?
-Well, how about in the single player campaign, the AI controls your partner, but anyone can just grab a controller and take over. It would be a great way to involve children, or a visiting friend.
-But Resident Evil isn't a child's game, and any visiting friend of someone who already owns the game, would probably purchase a copy as well.
-(silence)... I guess his girlfriend or wife could play too.
-AND!!! we could make the female AI so bad that even a confused inexperienced lover would be better! That way he would beg her to play with him, and we could create a potential fan out of her!
-But what if our audience finds this sexist?
-Don't worry, we can always set it in Africa, and have them shoot nothing but black zombies, distracting everyone with our alleged racism.
BRILLIANT!



So Nintendo had a massive hit with new super mario bros. Wii, mostly due to the multiplayer. so obviously, they wanted to bring that over, to any and all future games. However, a 3D platformer with multiple people jumping around would probably either suck, or make the Wii explode.
So instead they tack on their girlfriend mode, letting them still meet the qouta. go ahead, give her a spare wiimote, she can't do anything worse than waste star bits, and she'll feel like she helped.



But Charles, you can't tell me a one player game has a girlfriend mode.
HA I SAY! those clever japs found a way.
For those that haven't gotten to play persona, the game is divided into two major portions. your high school, facebook loving social life, where you get to fail history tests, hang out with all the popular chicks, and be totally best friends forever. And then it gets dark/rainy, you pull out your samurai sword and inner demon, and crawl through dungeons slaying the psyche problems of all the local middle schoolers. It's bound to be to hard for your lady to struggle through the deep and strategic battles, but she was already checking her myspace anyway, hand her the controller and let play the social bits. This was so successful they even remade persona 3 with the option to play as a girl.



So she's been complaining that when she plays games with you, she's always 2P. why do you always have to be in charge, why can't she navigate the start menu. And as you ask yourself, why CAN'T she navigate the start menu? why not just save yourself the pressure, suck one up for the success of your relationship, and by the most adorable game in creation. she can't possibly Die, it looks like her grandma's sewing circle threw up all over your tv, and 2P a.k.a. you, gets to play Prince Fluff. He's blue, as in its a boy, has some angry eyebrows, and a crown. He's the most badass 2P ever.
The other gears of war guy dosen't count, as a bad ass 2P, all he does is complain about his dead wife. prince Fluff was to busy RIPPING APART HIS ENEMIES.



And last but not least, the greatest girlfriend mode to date, Final Fantasy 13. she's heard of Final Fantasy before, probably from you, and how you explained your exploits and conquering of your favorite handful. But whenever you boot one up for her, she rarely gets past the intro video. Well, enter stage left lucky number 13. The entire game is an intro video, The three females she's going to pick make one of the better teams, and as long as she can hit x and figure out a joystick (and for crying out loud she's your girlfriend let's hope she can manage the latter) she can enjoy, beat, and play her very own Final Fantasy. go ahead, go out with the boys, have a night on the town, she didn't want you around while she was trying to find out which coat looked better on Snow anyway.
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Far to looked over by the common shooter, i shall now debate the greatest punches in video game history.



10. Dead Space:The Isaac curb stomp.
It isn't just the lethality of the magnetically driven boot connecting a necromorph to the cold steel grate underneath it, its the reflex the game builds into you. Instinctively to make sure, after every kill, you'll shamelessly push the right bumper. Maybe not at first, but i don't have to be lied to twice, and in a horror game i always want to be safe rather than sorry.



9. Mario's standard jump.
A fat out of weight Italian plumber just jammed his size twelve doc marten through the shell of that turtle. If someone saw that thirty years ago they probably would have called the cops, now he gets a reward for some weird cosplay achievement.


8. Final Fantasy 8: Gunblade slash and fire
Your getting cut, and shot. In the exact same moment. Its as if someone took a bayonet and multiplied it by awesome.

7. World of Warcraft- the standard attack
It dosen't even matter if the attack connected with the opponent on screen, your digital dice roll said it did. Only in a MMO can hit box detection be accurate in "yards". Whether fighting a scorpion 5 feet below where you swung your blade, or a giant fel demon 10 stories tall, your avatar will do the same blind basic swing, and perhaps thats why the residents of Azeroth are so reliant on gear rather than skill.

6. Donky kong country- Diddy kong cartwheel.
Being beaten up by a gorilla classy enough to wear a necktie is one thing, but the limp chimp that follows suit and attacked you with a cheer-leading maneuver. Thats just plain badass.

5. Street Fighter 4- Sagat's Tiger Knee
I'm willing to be one hundred pesos that before you heard that bald cyclops scream TIGER KNEE for the first time you were not only unaware that tigers had knees, but that they would opt to use them over the god given claws and fangs.


4.Pokemon- Tail Whip
Almost any pokemon can learn it, and it is absolutely ridiculous. Say you came across one day in your strolls a bear, and as you assume the fetal position, expecting a lethal mauling, he smack you with his tail and walks away. Of course you would let your defenses down (foolishly) and then the bear could run back and maul you properly. In fact i think the only reason we don't hear about tail whips more often in bear attacks is because no one survives the aftermath, and that is why tail whip is epic.

3. Tekken- Yoshimitsu double suicide
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLVC7Guey8A
Not only is the move a giant F-U to anyone that happens to be standing behind yoshi on a day he forgot to take his anti-depressants but it also allows you to lose a fighter without the opponent even being involved, and that takes true skill.

2 super smash bros. Falcon Punch
Captain falcon is a race car driver, who somewhere along the way gained the ability to punch people with a bird composed of fire, wrapped around his fist. It's like if Jeff Gordon jumped out of his car, ran up to Earnhardt jr and yelled gordon punch, and thousands of endorsements flew out of his hand and knocked the driver right off the stage. And that image would be the most magical moment in Nascar history.


1.You- the Frustrated controller toss.
We've all done it, don't even say you haven't. Lost your temper third time that boss took you down? maybe you haven't won a halo match since the first one? I wont judge. But somewhere between Pac-man and the latest madden, the link between your game console and you was violently interrupted, perhaps even shattered on the floor. And that is the greatest melee move video games has shown us.
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