About two weeks ago XSEED released The Last Story to the masses… Hold on, let me correct that. XSEED shipped The Last Story to the masses. Of course on August 14 I called GameStop and I was told that they didn’t have it in yet. You can see how that all went down here. So then, On Thursday of that week there was a podcast taping, so I wasn’t going to have a chance to pick up the game. Looking online, it looks like GameStop wouldn’t have it until that Friday. So I made a good choice to not bother calling them. However, upon coming home something happened that pretty much solidified my choice in stores for the foreseeable future.
After podcast taping that Thursday, I decided to check out if the store near my house, Game Champ, had The Last Story. Y’know, just for the hell of it. They somehow had Xenoblade before, so I figured I’d take a look. I walked in, said my what ups, and told them my story. Of course, I knew that this was a problem with XSEED and not GameStop. But then the clerk there, John I believe, said that they did in fact have The Last Story, complete with soundtrack CD without having to preorder. I was both happy and disappointed at that same time. Happy because I can see that the shipments are finally there and hitting store shelves, but disappointed because GameStop didn’t have this.
Now you might be wondering, “why the hell did you preorder the game at GameStop?” Well, because they kinda saved our asses for agreeing to stock Xenoblade when it came out here. However Game Champ also had Xenoblade in stock too. Not sure about the artbook, but they had the game. But I thought lightning wouldn’t strike twice, or at least not for the extra goodies that come with preorders. So when I picked up Xenoblade, I also preodered The Last Story at the same GameStop on the same day. I knew that GameStop, being one of the bigger stores out there, would also stock some of those preorder incentives.
Then the warning signs kicked in. XSEED had announced that all first-run copies of The Last Story would come in that neat packaging and the Artbook. Second was that only those that pre-ordered would get the Soundtrack CD. So pretty much the only reason to preorder was to get that CD. So I thought to myself “well, maybe there wasn’t much of a reason to pre-order. Then again, this game would have a limited run, and I’m in the South Bronx, the land of thugz and dumbasses, and I’m the only one in this neighborhood with pristine taste in videogames in these parts.”
Then came the delay (though XSEED wouldn’t call it that). In the back of my head during this delay, I kept reminding myself about that bullshit pre-order policy Gamestop has. At the bottom of your pre-order receipt, it states, “Items not picked up within 48 hours may not be available due to the high demand for new releases.” In other words, if you don’t pick up your game, GameStop can and will sell your game if it has to. You’ll then have to wait for a re-stock if you want to pick up your game (to which they may charge you for that too). So then I thought “well shit, does this mean the time limit starts on August 14th, or that Friday when they actually get it?” I was getting real nervous. Looking at the copy Game Champ had, I had to make a decision: Buy the game right then and there for the regular price of $50 and cancel my pre-order–which only had $5 down, or wait ’til the next day to pick up my copy at GameStop. With some guidance, I decided to wait.
So that Friday came, I called GameStop at noon. They said they didn’t have it, but that a stock of games just came in, so to call them around 2-3PM. Okay fine. I call them at 4PM. They had it! I got dressed and hauled ass to GameStop. Going there, my plan was to just pay up, get my game, get my soundtrack CD, and go home. There was a line there of course. The store still stunk like nerd heat. Kids still knocked over games, and I fought the urge to tell the mother in front of me “he’s talking about a memory stick for the PSP.” It was my turn. They saw my receipt when I was in the line and knew exactly what I was asking for. I would have to commend the clerk for not only tending to me, but also warding off some asinine accusations of some burly as hell dude at the same time. When he asked “anything else?” I replied “I’m okay.”
That was it. With that reply, it was like talking to not just the clerk in front of me, but to GameStop as a whole. No asking for subs, no asking for some warranty, no asking for another pre-order. It’s as if the Gaming Gods came down and told GameStop, “The boy’s had enough. Let him go.” I walked out knowing that I’d never do business with GameStop again. I’ll reiterate that I know that this was pretty much XSEED’s fault and that Gamestop is in not to blame at all for the delay, simply that I was already on my way out of doing business with Gamestop. But the out of the way location, the policy, the smell… I know that I might come back in the event they game an exclusive game again. But Game Champ, about three blocks away from my apartment, proved not once, but twice that they had something I wanted; I pretty much have no need for GameStop. And so on August 17th, I made my final purchase at GameStop, buying the aptly named The Last Story.
Sorry I doubted ya Game Champ. ごめなさい（。_ 。’)