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pup Name: Brian Rowe
Date of Birth: 9/7/1980
Location: Brew City USA

All-time favorite game: Fallout 2 (PC)
Least favorite game: Friday the 13th (NES)

Title: Girlfriend left me for the aerobics instructor
Posted: November 09, 2007 (09:50 AM)
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Title: Shenanigans of used media
Posted: October 30, 2007 (12:53 AM)
Here's the names you need to know for this recent escapade.
CD Max - the used store I manage.
Exclusive - the legit CD store across the street.
Norbert - an ex-con turned maintenance-man who just got out of prison and recently started shopping at my store.
Jared - a cocky, 16-year old thief.

I got a call from Exclusive last night to be on the lookout for a kid trying to sell a stolen B.B. King boxset. When the employees gave chase, the kid pulled a gun. Great. Not only will this kid probably come into my store, but I can't do jack without fear of getting shot.

An hour later, in walks Jared holding a pristine B.B. King boxset. We require I.D. to sell, so he always had someone with him before, but this time he brought Norbert. The poor guy was blitzed out of his skull and had no idea what was going on. I could have sent them both packing, but I wanted to get the set back for Exclusive, and then Norbert mentioned that the kid was a neighbor. I figured the cops could at least follow up with that, so I took his I.D. and put the transaction through.

This morning, I ran over to Exclusive and asked for more details. They described Jared perfectly, so I handed over the set and filled them in on the details. Later, back at the store, the manager at Exclusive called to let me know that a cop was coming to take my statement. I hung up the phone and guess who walks in. Norbert.

I started asking him about last night. Apparently he blacked out, because he was embarrassed and freaking about possibly making a scene. I told him he was fine, but wanted to know who the kids were. He didn't even remember them, but after a quick description, he told me all about his neighbor Jared. In walked the cop.

I tried to make it clear to the cop that Norbert was just a drunken idiot helping out one of the kids next door. The cop insisted that he was probably "the mastermind behind a ring of child thieves." Apparently cops watch CSI too. They took Norbert outside to chat for the next 30 minutes, and then they disappeared.

Norbert came back two hours later. They had put him in a squad car and drove him home (around the block) just in time to see seven or so cops raiding his neighbor's house. Norbert's out of trouble, Exclusive got their boxset back, and one scary kid got pulled off the street. Not bad for a Monday morning.

Now as for the other twenty thieves coming around the store every day...
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Title: Survey results needed
Posted: October 26, 2007 (09:33 PM)
Let's try this again, because I really do need to get some statistics on this.

I have a few questions in preparation for an article regarding sandbox games. The questions are focused only on games driven by character and plot development (e.g. Grand Theft Auto, Dead Rising, Saint's Row), excluding MMOs, and the results will not be used to negatively represent gaming in any form.

Alternatively, I welcome any responses via a private message.

1) Your age? -
2) What is more important to you in a sandbox game, violence or free will? -
3) Would you be willing to play a sandbox game featuring the production values and gameplay elements of high-rated titles, but lacking graphic, person-on-person violence? -
4) Additional comments or concerns regarding sandbox games and your reasons for playing or not playing them? -
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Title: It's about time
Posted: October 24, 2007 (12:31 AM)




Someone just got an Xbox 360. Please ignore the terrible avatar and pitifully low GamerScore.
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Title: Research Survey
Posted: October 24, 2007 (12:26 AM)
I have a few questions in preparation for an article regarding sandbox games. The questions are focused only on games driven by character and plot development (e.g. Grand Theft Auto, Dead Rising, Saint's Row), excluding MMOs, and the results will not be used to negatively represent gaming in any form.

Alternatively, I welcome any responses via a private message.

1) Your age? -
2) What is more important to you in a sandbox game, violence or free will? -
3) Would you be willing to play a sandbox game featuring the production values and gameplay elements of high-rated titles, but lacking graphic, person-on-person violence? -
4) Additional comments or concerns regarding sandbox games and your reasons for playing or not playing them? -
[reply][view replies (1)]

Title: Tabula Rasa
Posted: October 10, 2007 (03:10 PM)
An amazing Tabula Rasa preview courtesy of Zero Punctuation and Escapist Magazine.

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Title: Thou hath been smited
Posted: October 10, 2007 (12:58 PM)
I was randomly jumping around sites, reading reviews, when I came across this linguistic masterpiece of provocative analysis. I present to you:

The Greatest Video Game Review

I simply don't know what I'm doing anymore. My efforts seem utterly pointless now.
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Title: We card because we care.
Posted: October 09, 2007 (01:02 PM)
Every time I go to the convenience store down the block, the same little sign catches my eye. "We card everyone who appears under 30." If video game retailers used similar cautions, I wonder what age they would use. 18? 30? 60? In some cases, the age can't go high enough.

Checking IDs when selling mature-rated games has become commonplace for most game retailers, as the unemployment checks of some careless clerks have proven. All but the smallest retailers have iron-clad policies on the matter, but GameStop has its wrapped in titanium. Absolutely every person, regardless of age, has to be checked for ID. It doesn't matter if you are a WWII vet with an oxygen tank slung on the back of your scooter. No ID, no sale.

I suppose we have to weed out the youngsters and their tricky disguises, but does grandma need to suffer for it? The other day, I witnessed a startling transaction, or lack thereof. A woman, maybe 55, was doing a little shopping. The cashier had Halo 3 bagged up and the woman was signing for the purchase when she made a grave mistake. She let it slip that the game was a present for her grandson. The cashier retracted the bag and dutifully stated that only a direct parent could buy a mature-rated game for a minor.

Outrageous, but completely true. In fact, you can expect to get carded for nearly anything with the faintest relation to Halo 3 at GameStop - strategy guides, controllers, and even the Halo-edition headset, which is painted a disturbingly violent shade of green. The precautions have stretched so far you can't even see the borders anymore. As one anyonymous employee said:

"They're taking this thing too far. They're telling us to be the parents, even when the parents are standing right f--king there. And if mommy and daddy don't like the game grandma bought for Christmas, they can just return it anyway. I don't get what they're trying to prove."


What ARE they trying to prove?

Ask upper-management at any retailer why they check ID and the response can always be summarized with, "Because we care." It is hard for me to believe that a retail-mega-giant like Wal-Mart is suddenly making a run for a humanitarian award. This is the company with a history of carrying sweatshop products and economically destroying entire communities. Brotherly love has nothing to do with the furor for ratings. It all boils down to the bottom line.

Authorities have long kept a suspicious eye on video games, and after the tragedy at Columbine in 1999, the spotlights have been turned to full brightness. Nevermind that no psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist, or any other gist has yet to prove the link between video games and violence. What matters to retailers is making sure that they don't sell the game that "inspires" the next school shooting.

If retailers truly cared about the well-being of our youth, similar restrictions would be placed on all products. A few months ago, a 14-year-old could have walked in to Best Buy and purchased the horrendously violent film, The Devil's Rejects, and Shortbus, featuring numerous scenes of real, explicit sex, and no one would have batted an eye. The reason he he can't do it now is because Shortbus has been discontinued. Best Buy's standards have not.

I stand by the ESRB ratings, but their implementation in retail settings, and their relation to other mediums, needs to be standardized. At this pace, the ratings are quickly going to become more of a burden than an aid.
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Title: New beginnings... sort of
Posted: October 07, 2007 (07:15 PM)
Goodbye GameStop!

I lasted an amazing two months there and it was one of the worst working experiences of my life. Management has serious communication issues, they rule their employees by fear, and fire people without any explanation. I wasn't fired. I quit because of the aforementioned reasons and because of the three hours of daily commuting.

I am now back at my old used-media store. It's right around the corner from my house, the owner matched my pay, and I get to buy the latest releases for ungodly cheap prices. Best of all though, I will finally have time to play games and write again. All I've had time for lately was updating game listings. It's necessary, but it's nowhere near as enjoyable.

That's about all for now.
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Title: Team Fortress 2 Trailer
Posted: September 12, 2007 (11:52 PM)
Threw up a trailer for Team Fortress 2. Honestly, TF2 and Portal will be my main reasons for picking up The Orange Box. I suppose Half-Life 2 is pretty cool too.
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Title: It never ends
Posted: September 01, 2007 (10:18 PM)
This has been one wallet-depleting week. So many good things have been coming in to the store, and of course, I had to pick all of them up.

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Shining Force Neo
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
Odin Sphere

When am I going to find the time?
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Title: The Oddballs of Normalcy
Posted: August 20, 2007 (11:50 PM)
I was driving home tonight, listening to Muse's Knights of Cydonia and thinking of the video, when it hit me. This is genius! Why hasn't anyone made a video game out of this yet? Forget about hulking steroid-offenders with over-compensating firepower. I want to be a kung-fu fighting, robot-punching, cowboy with visions of cyberpunk maidens atop silvery unicorns.

Seriously, when did video game characters get so boring? How many different colored suits of power-armor and levels of angst do we have to go through? It wasn't that long ago when the oddballs were practically considered the norm - Earthworm Jim, the psychotic rabbit Max, two bubble-blowing dragons, or even the beatboxing blobs, Toejam and Earl. No one batted and eye when they hit the scene. Fast-forward ten years, and sending a blocked-headed Prince to Earth is considered groundbreaking.

I tell you, things are getting stale. Where did the creativity go? What happened to throwing random characters into random time periods to save random damsels in distress and calling it a day? Maybe I should blame the powers of today's graphic engines for recreating reality, the powers of popularity that keep the likes of Master Chief in business, or even the drug tests that keep the true revolutionaries out of the business, although I'm pretty sure Miyamoto would fail with an emphasis on flying colors.

I enjoy a good round of action-packed gunplay and dramatic storytelling like any other gamer, but sometimes, just sometimes, I miss the old days of random nonsense.

In case you're wondering about the video that inspired this little rant, here it is:


So tell me what you think. Have video game characters just grown up, or have they become a series of overlapping cliches?
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Title: Almighty Norton
Posted: August 20, 2007 (07:02 PM)
Don't you just love it when you're in the middle of something and Norton decides it's time for a full-system scan, even though you have everything set to manual controls? That is all.
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Title: BioShock
Posted: August 16, 2007 (12:19 AM)
BioShock has shipped. It's not officially out until the 21st (hear that Wal-Mart?), but stores have them in the backrooms. If you're even half as pants-crapping excited as me, I suggest going to your local store and getting a last-minute reserve on the Collector's Edition ASAP. I'm not usually one to get suckered in by useless extras like soundtracks and DVDs, but this one comes with a Big Daddy figurine. At first I thought it was going to be a little keychain-sized trinket. Noooo....... This thing is full-size, for a toy that is. I wouldn't complain about a life-size one, but my girlfriend might not be so thrilled. The Han Solo cutout freaks her out enough as it is.
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Title:
Posted: August 03, 2007 (10:06 PM)
Just a little update from my previous problems with the unemployment office. I don't know how things swung my way, but they did. I'm happy to say that I will not be receiving any fines or charges, and I get to keep the money already paid out to me. To top it off, they even sent me a check from the week that Best Buy tried to block me out. Life just got better.
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