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My Guitar Hero III Odyssey

Preface: I love Best Buy. I�m super cereal...say what you want about big-box retailers and how they�re �the man� or whatever, but frankly, I don�t like GameStop/EB Games (I find that a significant percentage of the employees don�t know what the hell they�re talking about), and Best Buy has great prices on most of their stuff. I try to buy most of my electronics and media (DVDs, CDs, video games) there because I have a Reward Zone card, and I get some pretty solid deals for being a Reward Zone member, too.

Story: I walked into the Best Buy in Chelsea (23rd St. & 6th Ave.) last weekend and pre-ordered Guitar Hero III on PS3. I also picked up Jimmy Eat World�s newest, Chase This Light, for $9.99...again, you can�t beat the price (I generally don�t like to pay more than $10 for CDs, unless it�s a 2-CD set or an album from a band I really like). Anyway, Best Buy was offering a deal where you�d get a free leather Guitar Hero-branded guitar strap for free if you pre-ordered the game (the link might not work for much longer, considering the game�s out already). I figured it was a solid offer, so I plunked down my $5 and got a small box with the strap inside. When I got home, I opened the box to find a black-and-white checkerboard pattern on the strap, which was not of the highest quality (I could�ve seen that coming). It was that kinda hard leather that you see in belts, and not the soft leather that you see in jackets and gloves and such. Because of that, it didn�t feel comfortable against my neck at all. But I wasn�t going to cancel the pre-order just to get rid of the damn thing; I mean, it was a free gift, after all.

That�s when I got an email from Best Buy that had a significantly better, in-store-only offer: buy any version of Guitar Hero III between October 28 (the release date) and November 10, and get $10 off any other game or accessory $29.99 and above. I had been wanting to pick up Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction for a while, and would have been willing to pay full price for it, but obviously, I couldn�t pass this up. So I headed back to Best Buy on Saturday morning to cancel my pre-order (and return the free strap).

I had also seen something on BestBuy.com about certain stores doing midnight launches for Guitar Hero III, and found out that while the Chelsea store wasn�t doing one, the NoHo store was. That one is a bit out of my way, but it�s nothing too crazy (I simply have to transfer from the 1 train to the R train at Times Square). So, with coupon in wallet, I set out for NoHo around 11 PM on Saturday. By the time I got to the store, it was about 10 minutes to midnight, and while there was a line, it wasn�t too long at all � about as bad as I was expecting. Eventually, we got in, and I walked out at about 12:45 AM with copies of GH III and R&C, very happy with myself. Unfortunately, because of a lack of R trains, I didn�t get back to Columbia until a quarter to two in the morning, and while I popped in the game as soon as I could, I was only able to play one song (�Slow Ride�). See, my roommate was going to sleep, and even with my door closed, he could hear the clicking of the strum bar, so I put the game away. I haven�t played enough of it to be able to give a legitimate opinion (I�m up to the guitar battle with Tom Morello at the end of the second tier), and I haven�t even touched R&C yet � in fact, I may not play it until after I�ve beaten GH III. But you can rest assured that reviews of both games will eventually show up in this space.
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About Samit Sarkarone of us since 7:56 PM on 12.14.2006

Senior Reporter, Polygon at Vox Media

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