On Games and Nostalgia

Dear GameStop employees,

You can blame me. It’s my fault. No, really, it is.


Oh, wait. You’re wanting me to explain that, aren’t you? You bounder, you cheat!

Well, okay then.

I was at the mall this afternoon. I was looking for the new issue of MOJO at Borders. Mostly I wanted the second disc of their “White Album” covers.

I passed the GameStop. Oh, how this store has fallen over the years. I remember when it was an old-style EB Games, with the white shelves and the overhead storage bins. It was remodelled a few years ago, and now it has the primary, LEGO-like colors of the EB 2000 design — yellow counter, blue walls, grey overhead panels. Once, a District Manager called this store his office. Now, it invariably looks junky.

I walked in. The guy behind the counter wanted to know if I’d preordered the new expanion for World of WarCraft. I forget the name, “The Undead Lich King” or something like that. “You can even pick it up at midnight! We’re having a midnight opening!”

I sighed. It was obvious he was feigning excitement. The prospect of being at work at midnight to sell a game… well, when I was an EB Games store manager, I wasn’t that thrilled with midnight openings, either. For me, the reason was payroll — we usually didn’t receive extra payroll; have a midnight opening, and those three hours or so need to be cut from somewhere else.

I passed on the offer. I have a copy of World of WarCraft. I’ve never played it. Never even installed it. It’s sitting, unwanted and unloved, in a box here in my office. I’m certainly not interested in playing the expansion.

In all honesty, if I did play World of WarCraft, I would probably find my life sucked into its yawning maw, never to return.

A friend of mine wrote me earlier in the week. (Or rather, I received it earlier in the week. It appears that the Postal Service is run by crackheads — this piece of mail was in the system for two weeks. I could have fucking walked there to get the letter.) She was going to the midnight opening for the WarCraft expansion. She didn’t seem excited.

It’s my fault that GameStops and EB Games do midnight openings for World of WarCraft.

No, really. It is.

The weekend before World of WarCraft came out, I decided to do a midnight opening to sell the game. I wasn’t expecting a large response. I thought I’d sell twenty copies.

I sold eighty copies. This is from an e-mail I wrote to one of my employees at the time, while I was on my “high” from the sale:

I hoped for twenty customers. Maybe forty at the outside.

I would -never- have guessed we would have eighty! We did $4800 in forty-five minutes. Simply incredible!

No one did midnight openings for something like a PC game. Madden, Halo, sure, those make sense. But a PC game?

Then, of course, when Burning Crusade came out, I saw that everyone and their mother was doing midnight openings.

My fault. GameStop employees, you can blame me. It’s my fault. If I hadn’t taken the initiative and done a midnight opening, maybe you wouldn’t have to have your night ruined by having to be open into the wee hours of the morning for a PC game. If I hadn’t been so bleeding successful, maybe the company wouldn’t have expectations of capturing midnight sales the company over.

What can I say? I liked to win. My store sold 70 out of 72 copies received of Fable on day one. (By way of comparison, there was a store in my district that sold six out of forty-some on the first day. That was not a pleasant conference call for that manager.)

Borders had the new issue of MOJO, by the way.

I have no idea who Rachel Unthank & The Winterset is, but I like their cover of “Sexy Sadie.” It’s very nice. 🙂

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Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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