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GameStop's Retro Game Vault is ridiculously stupid

11:30 PM on 02.03.2012 // Tony Ponce

Hey, guys! Remember when GameStop used to sell legacy games and hardware? Atari, Genesis, you name it. Those were the days, before the company began swallowing up the competition and ditched the retro wares in favor of almost exclusively cramming used copies of week-old releases down your throat. Wouldn't you like to go back to those simpler days? Fat chance.

GameStop has added the Retro Game Vault to its PowerUp Rewards program, giving you the option to use points accrued through in-store purchases towards titles from the SNES, Dreamcast, PlayStation, NES, and more. When you think about it, it's quite similar from Club Nintendo's downloadable games initiative. Wait a minute... no, it's not. Whereas Club Nintendo software is priced at a reasonable 100 or 150 points, easily earned after a couple of retail purchases, Retro Game Vault software is priced like that sh*t is gold.

You earn 10 points per dollar spent on new games and consoles, 20 points per dollar spent on used goods, and 20 points per dollar earned on trade-ins. So if you were to buy two used Xbox 360 games at $40 a pop, for example, you would earn 800 points. Sounds like a decent chunk of change, right? How many points does a random game like, say, Double Dragon cost? 32,500. Let me repeat that: 32,500. So in other words, if you were trying to maximize points earned, you would have to spend $1625 on used merch, trade in the equivalent value, or apply some combination thereof. What. The. Hell.

Every so often, GameStop runs a special promotion where you can earn extra points on top of whatever transaction you make that day, but let's be real. Reaching the lofty point totals that GameStop has set for its retro catalog is no simple feat. The only people who could hope to earn enough points are the ones who live and die by GameStop's services, who trade in every damn game they ever buy as if GameStop was some glorified rental chain, or who are so loose with their money that they would gladly spend thousands upon thousands of dollars per year on games alone. Even then, because of the high point values of the Vault items, those people probably couldn't order more than two games anyway.

I haven't even talked about the selection yet! As of this moment, the only games available are Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Quake III Arena for the Dreamcast. Everything else is either "sold out" or "coming soon." Double Dragon and Quake III are both 32,500 points, while Mario is 43,250. Of the unavailable games, the only one with a price tag is Sim City, and it's marked at 32,440. How on Earth is GameStop even arriving at these values?

Who is going to bend over backwards for a fuckin' loose copy of Mario when it can be found on eBay for the price of a family-size bag of Cheetos? And there doesn't seem to be any semblance of consistency when it comes to which games will be made available down the road. In all likelihood, these games are just the leftover shit from the earlier days, but instead of tossing them out, giving them away to employees, or -- God forbid -- selling them, GameStop opted to devise a ridiculous "incentive" program in the hopes that consumers would drive even more business to the store for the sake of "gifts" that could be acquired infinitely more easily and more cheaply anywhere else!

Seriously, fuck these guys.

Tony Ponce, Contributor
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