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1:43 AM on 03.25.2013

5 ways to get the most out of your video game buying experience.

1. Be nice.
Ask anyone that has worked in the service or retail industry and they will tell you the best way to get what you want is to just be polite and friendly. Say I only have one extra of a popular item and I have two people asking for it. One is super nice and the other is downright rude. Who would you give it to? We've all had bad days, work was crazy, traffic was insane, they messed up your order at the coffee shop, we've ALL been there. You have to understand the person ringing you up is also human, they have rough days too and sometimes shit happens. People make mistakes. But because they are on the clock and serving you, they have to be nice no matter what: stay cool, friendly and work it out no matter how angry the customer is. It's not easy but when the customer is understanding it's much easier to relax and fix the problem.

2. Preorder.
Look if you know you want to get Halo the day it comes out just come preorder it. Yes 99% of the time we'll have extras. But preordering does not cost you more money, it guarantees you a copy and you'll probably get some kind of preorder bonus. So why not help me out in the process? I LOVE the people that come in and always preorder. I remember them and when I see them walking up to my store I get excited because no matter if they preorder something or not I know they "get it" and yes usually they are NICE.

3. Watch your kids.
To all the parents out there with kids, nothing makes me happier then when your kid is buying a game with their hard earned allowance and you have them count the money and hand it to me. I don't care if they count it super slow or hand it to me crumpled in a bunch. And then when I hand them the game and you remind them to thank me and they do with a giant smile? SWOON. Love it, seriously it makes my day. Especially when sometimes I have the kids that interrupt me while I'm talking to another customer or the kid that just snatches the game out of my hands and walks out. Don't apologize if your kid is shy and doesn't want to ask questions or if he or she drops $5 in change all over the counter. I do not care. I do not care that I got out Far Cry 3 only for you to decide it's not appropriate. I don't care that your kid knocked down all the DS games. I really don't. Because you get that it's important for your child to understand what money is and that maybe an eight year old shouldn't be playing Black Ops 2 even if so-and-so's mom lets them play it. So pat yourself on the back awesome parents, we notice and we remember.

4. Ask questions.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Maybe you're looking for a specific game or you just need ideas for your niece's birthday gift. I guarantee you I can find the game you're looking for faster than you can. I'm here 30+ hours a week and look at these video game covered walls almost every day. So when I greet you and ask you what brings you in today, don't look at the floor and mumble, "oh nothing just looking". You never know if the game you want just got traded in and hasn't been run to the floor yet. Or maybe it's sitting in a shipment box I haven't opened. Hell, I might not even have it but I'm more than happy to see if our website has it and they'll ship it right to you, no extra charge. Need ideas for a present? I got you. Just give me the age, movie preferences and video game system and I'll find a game that the birthday boy/girl will like. It makes your day easier and mine too.

5. Make friends.
I love my job. Before I worked at my store the only person I knew who played video games was my little brother. Needless to say, I am always psyched to meet fellow video game lovers. And the regulars? Those are the people I will call stores an hour away for a game and then drive over there and pick it up for them. We got an extra Devil May Cry lanyard? I know somebody that would love to get it. Missed out on preordering StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm collector's edition and we got an extra one? Yeah I'll hold it for you until pay day. Why? Because you guys are the people that make my job as awesome as it is. You're nice, talkative and obviously you love games. So if you get anything out of my little blog post hopefully this is it: Find a store with friendly employees and get to know them a little. I guarantee it will make your shopping experience much better and it'll definitely brighten the employee's day just to see you come in :)


Shopping isn't always fun and I get it. I hate shopping, I hate being asked if I need help when I think I know exactly what I'm doing. Through my years of retail experience I've come to learn that companies want employees to engage the customer and yeah, in the end it is a better experience. So the next time you walk in to buy a game, say hi or wave at the employee by the counter when they greet you. Or just head nod if you want. Remember we're people too and we're here to help.   read

3:11 PM on 03.24.2013

New Pikachu 3DS XL

I've had my pink 3DS since the pink 3DS came out a few months ago. Recently I accidentally cracked the screen and couldn't decide whether to get an XL or stick with the regular 3DS. I ended up replacing it with a regular 3DS mostly because of the price. I didn't think it was worth it to pay more for a bigger screen and maybe more battery life.

Well today the Pikachu 3DS XL version was released. I didn't realize that these were even coming out until Thursday evening but as soon as I saw them I knew I had to get one and thanks to my tax return I actually had the money. My store ended up only receiving two of these guys and they were not even available to preorder. Needless to say I picked one up immediately.

Da box.

Da inside of da box.

More insides.

Pika pika?


The inside is white-ish which I was not expecting.


Overall I'm pretty happy that I got it. It ended up costing me about $100 and I'd say it was worth it. Mostly because I know it's going to be impossible to find these in about a week. And the fact that the bigger size is actually pretty nice as opposed to being TOO big like I previously feared. Throw in the extra battery life and I'm pretty excited!

Also FYI if you pick up any 3DS XL as well as Luigi's Mansion or Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity I am told if you register each with Club Nintendo by 04/30 you will receive a code to download one of a select number of titles from Nintendo like Star Fox 64 or Super Mario 3D.

On the left: new, awesome Pikachu 3DS XL. On the right: still awesome, older 3DS.


1:07 AM on 03.21.2013

Tomb Raider: The Road to Platinum IV

I've been so so so busy these past few weeks. What with trying to graduate and working and current schoolwork and friends and STARCRAFT, I've had literally zero time for Tomb Raider. Recently I've gotten a new computer, just in time for Heart of the Swarm. So naturally my life has been consumed by Sarah Kerrigan and the Zerg and that's when I'm not in class or working. I only have two days off this week compared to my usual four. I'm working like a crazy motherfucker so I can get this promotion already. Oh and did I mention I'm graduating in the spring? So yeah I've had to do those pesky little tests like the CLEP French exam which allows me to skip taking any foreign language classes. And I got 78/80 in less than an hour so yeah I'd say it's worth it. So my point is thanks to Tomb Raider's ridiculously boring multiplayer trophies, I have no clue when I'll be platinum-ing this game. But right now there are better, more exciting games to play (Heart of the Swarm) and more pressing matters to attend to (school, work, friends). Throw on top of that Bioshock coming out next week and the fact that I'm going to be trying to work at other stores I don't know how far I'll be getting.

But hey I did get the Down Boy trophy this weekend. So that's something.   read

12:11 AM on 03.07.2013

Tomb Raider: The Road to Platinum Part III

Snow days. I love them. It was actually snowing somewhat heavily but the temperature went up and it turned to slush. So on to Tomb Raider! I started where I left off: nearly at the end. It took a few hours but I managed to beat the game no problem. I even went back and collected all the leftover GPS changes, documents and relics I had missed. The only tricky collectible I had left was that damn minesweeper challenge. But thanks to PowerPyx on YouTube I wrapped that up pretty quickly. I even managed to get a few combat trophies as well. My single player is now only missing three trophies: The Professional (fully mod and upgrade every gun), Deadeye (shoot ten enemies off ziplines) and Chatterbox (complete every conversation with the Endurance crew). For The Professional I'm not too sure what to do. I have lots of upgrades left on my shotgun so I think I will wait until someone else figures out the best place to farm it. Same goes for Deadeye. Chatterbox is a whole other story. I thought I followed the guide accurately but what it doesn't tell you is one of the conversations you have with Dr. Whitman at the beginning of the game is actually two conversations. So I am going to have to start a new game and run through it just to do all the conversations again. That's fine. That's on me.

After completing the single player I threw myself into the multiplayer which is extremely similar to Uncharted's. I jumped into a standard team deathmatch. Now I don't know if someone was lagging but every single player in the game was bouncing around the map like there was no gravity. It was hilarious. It was also extremely difficult to kill anyone. Thankfully I haven't had this problem since. I was lucky enough to get most of the trophies like Adventurer (complete a match in all multiplayer modes), Entrapment (catch a player in a snare trap), Good Samaritan (revive a teammate), Sole Survivor (be the only player on your team not dead or incapacitated), Lights Out (kill ten enemies with your melee attack) and On My Way Up (reach level ten) without trying at all. I got lucky with Master Blaster (kill two enemies with a single explosion). I got it without even noticing! I'm All That! (win a ranked match in all multiplayer modes) took some effort but it's really no problem. Monkey Around (escape death three times using the rope ascender) was actually really fun to do. I played free-for-all as a Solarii and hung around the bottom of the zip lines. People eventually start shooting at you and you just jump up and zip away. And most people play as a Survivor and don't have the rope ascender.

I played the multiplayer for a few hours. I am now at level 22. Still pretty far from 60. The fire alarm went off randomly in my building so I ended up taking a lunch break until firemen came and did their thing.

I have one huge complaint about the multiplayer though. The Shopaholic trophy, a bronze trophy, is listed in the strategy guide as: Buy every upgrade and multiplayer character. That sounds pretty reasonable. I mean a bronze trophy is kind of a crap reward considering True Commitment (reach level 60) is a silver trophy but still it's doable. This same strategy guide also lists all the characters and at what level they are available for purchase. Turns out the last character, The General, is not available until you reach Prestige level 3.

So if I am not mistaken, to get the platinum trophy you will need to spend countless hours playing a mind-numbingly boring and repetitive multiplayer just to earn what will (surely) be your last trophy? And on top of that it's only a bronze trophy. Maybe this would be passable if the multiplayer was the main focus of the game like say Call of Duty where people often are willing to prestige 9 times. But Tomb Raider is a single player experience. Come on Crystal Dynamics get your shit together.

I know, I know. #firstworldproblems and all that. We all have bigger problems in our lives. I'll suck it up.

As it stands right now I'm at 85% completion and Kanye is at 8% completion. You would think I got this in the bag but I'm working the next three days while Kanye has off. And it's going to be the weekend and I can guarantee I won't be staying home to play Tomb Raider when there's drinking to be done.   read

7:34 AM on 03.06.2013

Tomb Raider: The Race to Platinum Part II

Well it's now 11:45PM. I think this is the most video game playing I've done in a row since Diablo 3 came out. I've gotten pretty far into the game. I reckon I'm about 3 hours at most away from beating it. I'm also pretty sure I messed up one of the trophies, Former Adventurer (incapacitate 25 enemies using the dodge counter move). Silly me thought that by upgrading it Lara could still "incapacitate" enemies but instead of stabbing enemies in the knee with an arrow, she stabs them in the throat. Insta-kill! And yes it is awesome and badass but I know it's been more than 25 enemies by now and the trophy hasn't registered. So to all you platinum hunters, don't upgrade that skill until you get the trophy.

Near the end of the game you end up fighting these big Oni Warriors with shields. They are so tough that you actually end up having to dodge counter them two or three times before they die so I ended up getting the Former Adventurer trophy here.

Other than playing Tomb Raider I did take a break to do some schoolwork, go to class, get some groceries and watch some hockey. So I was not a total hermit. OK so I may have had the game on as I played but STILL COUNTS. I'm really hoping that it snows tonight and my class tomorrow gets cancelled as I still have a ton of work to do in the morning.

And as I write this I got an email from my college: no school tomorrow:

(I was writing on my phone as I smoked a cigarette/waited for the snow to come.)

As of right now the race to platinum stands at me: 31% and Kanye: 5%

And I officially have nothing to do tomorrow. And Kanye will still have to work. As far as the single player is concerned I got this one in the bag. The only competition will be the multiplayer. And that damn Former Adventurer trophy. Because yes I did let Kanye know not to upgrade it too soon. He needs all the help he can get.   read

12:04 AM on 03.06.2013

Tomb Raider: The Race to Platinum

So I'm not one to brag about video game achievements but if there's one thing I don't mind bragging about it's the number of platinum trophies I've earned: 34. Yeah I know it's not that crazy awesome but keep in mind I do go to school, have a job and yeah a pretty awesome social life. So 34 is not too bad. I'm also a HUGE fan of Tomb Raider. As in Lara Croft is my favorite game character of all time. So much so that yes I might have named my cat Lara. So you can bet I was super excited for the new Tomb Raider that came out this week. And since I work at a certain video game store (we were told not to mention our work in social media so my work shall henceforth be known as That Game Store That Shall Not Be Named), I already had my eyes set on the Tomb Raider Standee.

And that was when my boss/good friend "Kanye" (no that is not his real name) decided to challenge me. TO A PLATINUM CONTEST. Pshh of course I accepted. Kanye has zero platinum trophies to his name. He and I actually competed on who could platinum Heavy Rain first. I won about a month after the game came out. He still has not even finished the game. He proposed that whomever platinumed Tomb Raider first who win the Tomb Raider standee and bragging rights. I swiftly accepted.

And well, last night finally came. It was the midnight release of Tomb Raider. And Naruto Shippuden, MLB 13 The Show, MLB 2K13 and Sim City. But the only game that mattered was Tomb Raider.

I got to my store at 10:00pm with some Wendy's for Kanye who had been there all day. Tomb Raider was already in our store PS3 and a customer was playing it. I started looking at the Collector's Strategy guides Kanye had just found. $36.99. I calculated my discounts in my head: employee discount: 15%, plus my rewards card and the fact that I was buying it with the game…I couldn't remember which discount stacked my employee discount but fuck it. You get Lara's necklace and an extra multiplayer character. So I bought the guide.

The way we run midnights at our store is pretty simple. Customers have until 10:00PM to preorder games and guarantee preorder bonuses. Then at 10:00PM we start "selling" the game meaning we ring it up as normal. Then customers mill around until midnight and we can actually hand the game out. It makes the whole exchange go very smoothly. Now for Tomb Raider we got everyone out in five minutes. For Black Ops 2, it took an hour, people were placed in groups to make sure we weren't overwhelmed and we even got some State Troopers to come for a bit and make sure no one got rowdy.

So even though we were done by 12:10, we still stayed open until 12:30. I ran around putting all the new games away. Kanye and I barely spoke. It was almost time. Kanye put together the deposit. Excellent, that means he would most likely take it to the bank which would buy me some time. At 12:45 I clocked out, turned the lights off and locked up the back. Kanye and I walked to the parking lot together and said goodbyes and good lucks. I raced out of there. He lives 5-10 minutes away from the store. I live 20-25 minutes away.

When I got to my apartment complex, I raced around trying to find a parking spot, not an easy thing to do at one in the morning. I raced into my room, immediately turned on my PS3, ripped the plastic off the case and threw the game inside. I quickly selected the disc and OF COURSE there was already a patch to download. Good I thought to myself. I can change and grab a Red Bull. I checked Kanye's PSN account quickly. It confirmed he was already playing. I opened my guide to the achievements/trophy page and triple checked that there were no difficulty trophies. There are none so I selected Easy as my difficulty and off I went into Lara Croft's world. It was around 1:15AM.

I played Tomb Raider until 6:00AM the next morning. Kanye and I traded texts about funny things that happened or whenever we got a trophy. The story is engaging and fun and the gameplay is a combination of Far Cry 3 and Uncharted. As I played, I kept an eye on my guide, following the walkthrough picking up collectibles as I went. Normally I'd ignore the guide and just play through the story for fun and then return for collectibles but this was no normal game. My pride was at stake and damnit I wanted that Lara Croft standee! I ended up getting seven trophies while Kanye only had two when he stopped. It's now 11:30AM. I've been up since 10:30AM. Not much sleep but I'm too excited! I will probably try to play until 4:00PM and then do some of my homework for my 7:00PM class which I will attend (and stay until 9:30PM uggggh). I hope to progress to the 50% mark by tonight.   read

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