My Favourite Store On The Citadel

I’ve been following the Mass Effect series for years now. From the first rumours of the series I was intrigued. An epic sci-fi role-player told over the space of a trilogy, with your decisions from each game carrying over to the next installment. If done well it could be mind-blowing and there was no way I was going to miss out on something with the chance to revolutionise the industry.

I followed the game for a while, becoming more excited as more features were revealed. When the first game in the trilogy was released I was a little disappointed at just how much had been cut out of it, but ultimately there was enough substance to the game that I enjoyed it immensely for weeks. When the second game arrived I had to wait to play it as my console crapped out as soon as I put the disc in, and was away for a fortnight getting repaired. During that two week wait someone managed to spoil the entire ending of the game for me, so I vowed to stay away from news or articles about the series (this will be an important factor soon). Nevertheless I played the hell out of that game and learned which of my decisions had impacted the story there. I bought all of the storyline DLC and experienced the entire tale. There was room for improvement still and some previously good aspects had been overly simplified, but the story more than made up for that. The actual story in the second game was a lot weaker than in the first (although ancillary tasks were much stronger and better integrated) but it was my story; a continuation of the choices I’d made in the previous game, sometimes vindicating my hard decision and sometimes showing me up as the wrong man for the job. For better or worse, this was my story continuing to play out and it was addictive.

And so we come to Mass Effect 3 which is due to be released on the 9th of March. I did what I always do with a game I want and evaluate it to see what it’s worth to me. As the ending to a story I’ve been playing for five years and anticipating for eight, I decided it was worth whatever they charged me, and decided to treat myself to the very limited release Collector’s Edition. I found out that GAME, a video game store franchise here, had offered the publishers a premium so they had exclusivity on the Collectors Edition in this country. I’m not a fan of GAME as their group keeps messing things up for me, but this was my story so I signed up a pre-order with them and sat back happily knowing I’d got myself one of only three thousand Collector’s Editions of the game booked.

Remember when I vowed not to read up on Mass Effect 3 in case someone leaks spoilers again? Yeah, I kept to that vow. It was only by dumb luck at four o’clock this morning that I happened to catch a headline about the game. It turns out that GAME Group, in the midst of some financial troubles, have started to be denied credit by publishers in case they default and cripple the industry. They called a meeting with publishers and attempted to negotiate better terms on games (getting them in cheaper, paying more after sales, etc). This was going well but the publisher of Mass Effect 3 had a problem. They’d given exclusivity to GAME in return for GAME paying more for each copy and buying more copies of the game in. With that offer off the table they weren’t going to hold out on other companies and let them have the stock originally earmarked for GAME. The entire GAME Group wont even be getting the regular edition of the game in. This was leaked via an inter-office memo to gaming journalists a couple of days ago and, as I was staying away from the press, I almost missed it. GAME for their part proved my problems with them by not even contacting me (I have my email address and telephone number on my reward card and used that to preorder) or others to warn them about the changes. God knows hiw many people will be showing up at GAME stores around the country next Friday, looking for a game they’ve paid for but wont be able to get. Worse still, by that time it’ll be too late to get the game anywhere else either.

I went down to GAME this morning and was the first one through the doors. I feigned ignorance and came only to pay what’s left on my preorder so I can just pick up the game and go. I was sympathetic to the staff (and genuinely still am) and what this turn up would mean for them in terms of abuse. I left only fifteen minutes, two calls to head office and one call to a neighbouring store later with a full refund. Part of my payment had been put on a gift card and the call to head office was to get that turned into actual cash I could spend elsewhere. My money was back but I was a little disheartened. I rarely go for limited editions so when I do it means a lot, and to have the regular edition wouldn’t be quite as good to me, especially with something that personal. Still, as I’d missed that news story until so late, I resigned myself to that anyway and started home to order it on Amazon, knowing from my research that all the online stores sold out in seconds.

You know those times when reality decides you’re kinda swell and changes the way the world works to suit you? You can almost feel it swirl around you as you make a choice you normally wouldn’t. That’s how I found myself in HMV asking if they were perhaps getting any of the excess Collector’s Editions in. The guy behind the counter checked and they weren’t. Just at that moment the system updated and the Collector’s Edition showed up for ordering in store. I slammed my money on the counter and he typed like a force of nature to get me that preorder in. We completed the transaction and then he called his head office to double check that it was indeed what I was looking for. Victoriously, I returned home to look forward to the end of my story.

And that is what it’s like to be me.


25 thoughts on “My Favourite Store On The Citadel

  1. You lucky bastard :P. Here I'm glad that I don't live in the UK, and that I pre-ordered my collectors edition at my favourite store :P.As for Mass Effect 3… well, I'm looking forward as well to see how my story is going to end πŸ˜€

  2. No postal workers involved. The distribution network doesn't use them and I'll be picking up in store. I defy anything trying to get in my way for this.Luck? I call it a talent for living. πŸ˜‰

  3. I can see it now:Shop Assistant: "Oh, yes, it's out the back somewhere. I'll just … "Mik: "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch! Outta my way!"

  4. Cool! Nice! I love when it goes down like that.Game must be huge, they exist both here and in Ireland too. I haven't bought anything from them in years.

  5. My recent experiences with modern gaming has caused me to choose to never waste my money to buy a game again. :awww: .

  6. Gavin I know, it's bloody massive. Still, the analysts have leapt on this as the death of GAME and are predicting the industry as a whole will be hit by a tidal wave of bad if it does go, as if they're the only ones in the business. The funniest thing about this is that the whole time GAME shares haven't been touched until this morning, when Gamespot said they'd like to buy GAME and the shares went down by 16%.Still having trouble with Skyrim and Dead Island, Aadil?

  7. Originally posted by Furie:

    Or even the Collosus-Juggernaut. Anyone got clue one how that happened?

    I think it was during the whole 'Fear Itself' crossover 'event'. Juggernaut was one of those possessed by these Asgardian fear beings (or whatever). Peter went to Cyttorak's dimension with Kitty and Illyana to tell him the Asgardian fear god was laughing at him by taking over his avatar. Cyttorak got the shits and took the power back. But the X-Men needed someone strong enough to stand against possessed Hulks, Things and ex-Juggernauts, so Peter volunteered. Where once he was all about art and occasionally smashing things, now he finds beauty in smashing things, since he's semi-possessed by the demon Cyttorak. Now he's Collossonaut. Or Juggernossus, I don't know which. Yeah. That cleared it up. I can't explain the shaved head thing, though.If you think that's bad, the latest issues of Avengers titles have AIM/Hydra/HAMMER-created genetically engineered grey Hulks … with Spider-Man powers. That's right … grey Hulks running along the sides of walls.You can almost imagine the editorial meetings: "We need new characters.""Fuck that! Lets cut out a bit of this character and glue it to that one … then photocopy it!""Yay! AIM-Hydra-HAMMER Spider-Hulks!"Edit: Could be worse. Someone, somewhere, could have cut out Dr Manhattan's penis and glued it to Deadpool.

  8. Mik, you page isn't loading properly today! The banner and the comment box are all that shows up! (and the comment box only appeared after attempting to reload several times. :faint: )

  9. Finally managed to get the page to load by switching to single column view and switching off images. :faint: .Mik, the problem I'm having with modern games is that I never got the hang of using a keyboard for gaming and these games won't accept input from a gamepad or joystick. πŸ™„ .I tried using a mouse with Dead Island as the touchpad is too difficult but that doesn't work because the software reads the mouse too slowly! (it's jerky and sluggish) :awww: .After all that I gave up! I don't think I can play games that rely entirely on keyboard input, at least not action games. πŸ™„ .

  10. As for the page loads. Turns out Opera Mini can't even handle my minimalist redesign. Every other browser works but the Operas and Mobile is only slightly offset. Getting real sick of the Mini and Community teams not working together.

  11. I know for a fact that PC Skyrim can have Xbox Controllers instead of key commands. When we get round to replacing this PC I'm repurposing it for media only and I'll be running the game with all patches, a couple of good mods and all DLC straight from the box and through our television.

  12. Games For Windows Live by any chance? Microsoft blocked any non-official peripherals (rumour has it due to a call from development teams who were sick of having to release a patch or get bad publicity due to non-working unofficial controllers and the like).If not, no idea. PC gaming is so not my area.

  13. Originally posted by Furie:

    I know for a fact that PC Skyrim can have Xbox Controllers

    The problem is that I have a USB HID games controller. If I had an X-Box controller it would be because I had an X-Box, in which case I'd have bought the X-Box version!. Imagine if every game chose to use it's own dedicated controller! You'd end up buying as many controllers as games and have all the clutter that goes with that! :insane: .The Irony is that the X-Box controller is just a standard HID controller anyway! The only reason I can't use my controller is because the game designers deliberately block non-X-Box controllers! :irked: (all HID controllers use the same standard driver so they are all pretty much the same!)Dead Island also insists on the X-Box controller! :awww: .

  14. I've heard the endings for ME3… and they're not good :left: That's all I'll say about that, but it's made me not want to buy the game… only furthered by the fact I have no money to buy it with πŸ˜›

  15. Excellent timing! Don't you just love it when things come toghether like that? :D:sst: Of course, the balance of the universe may be disturbed now, but hey – as long as you get your game! :up:

  16. I'd like to retract that comment I made – apparently Bioware decided to troll the ***k out of fans by telling them a fake script was real … I don't know whether to be mad or happy, but enjoy the game regardless πŸ˜› It got 10/10 on G.I (which means a lot) and 5/5 on IGN (means nothing :left:)

  17. The thing with fans is that they'll try to rush to every single information source available. Those that find even the slightest thing they don't agree with, even if it's their own fault for reading it out of context or they can't see how well acted the moment is, they'll complain about it loudly and ruin that moment for hundreds or thousands of others.Look at the DLC "From Ashes" that comes with the Collector's Edition. That was never going to be in the main game and was developed just for the CE. After a lot of complaining from fans, Bioware decided they'd make it a day one download for the game. Suddenly a load of people who disagree with day one DLC, primarily because of a paranoid view of what it may become rather than what it currently is, got up in arms about them "cutting an incredibly important part of the game out and selling it in a blatant money-grab". The backlash has been so great about this that I now know exactly what the DLC comprises in detail while it would have been a nice surprise beforehand, and I'm still avoiding all the media I can.No wonder they'd leak fake scripts. It's the only way to keep the fans from leaking the real one.

  18. πŸ˜† Good point. But, I do take issue with day one DLC. A Prothean companion is a very important part of the game, and the fact that it wasn't included and they're charging €10 for it has me miffed. It's bad enough when it's useless, like DA2's day one DLC, but when it's fairly important, it has me annoyed. That being said, I've heard nothing but good about the game, and I'll (eventually) be getting it πŸ˜› It's the only real big RPG being released this year, so that and Skyrim DLC will have to keep me busy all year 😦

  19. On another note, I got a letter from GAME today apologising that they would not be able to provide my Mass Effect 3 pre-order and giving me a website (EA's) where I could find out where to get it from. The day before release. When all copies of the collectors edition are guaranteed to be sold out, and you can't actually get a preorder in anyway.More importantly, they're only giving compensation (a measly Β£5 of reward points) up until tomorrow, so if anyone just found out about this from that letter then they'll likely miss out.

  20. It's not though. It simply seems important because the Protheans have so much to do with the back-story. What you'll get is a squad member with the same characteristics as most others, but he's a Prothean. You probably wont even get a scene between him and Liara, who adores the Prothean culture and studied it for so long. You'll get a human with a funny head and a little unimportant (to the point that all but the most rabid fanboys wont care, and even the rabid ones wont use it as a reason to shout at each other) back-story on the Prothean empire that makes no difference to the outcome of the game.The fact of the matter is that all arguments against Day One DLC are invalid. At a certain point in all game development cycles a game has to be called feature complete and the devs have to move on to actually coding it rather than dreaming up new things for it else it wont get published and will spiral the project and ultimately the studio into debt. Here's how DLC is produced after that.The writers are the first devs who have downtime and they can now take pieces of the game that didn't make the cut and flesh them out into more full experiences (the cenversation I had I found out that a return to Eden Prime was considered a novelty and didn't make the cut during the design sessions). The writers have a full six months minimum of downtime to come up with ideas for DLC based on what got cut as well as their own new ideas and to flesh those out into more intersting stories.The art team and miscellaneous other design devs become free of their duties as time goes on and can work on creating new assets (creatures, weapons, characters) for whatever the writers have come up with as well as concepts of new landscapes.Finally the game is declared as bug free as possible and goes Gold. There is usually a three month window between going Gold and the game getting released, during which the rest of the dev team have nothing to do. It's during this window that most Day One DLC gets created, and the majority of that is based on things that the art and writing teams came up with beforehand.It works differently for Bioware and Bethesda as they have set aside a team to work on DLC for their games, with that team working on the cast off parts of game design as soon as the game is declared feature-complete and the other freed-up devs moving on to other projects. Either way these are parts of the game that wouldn't have been in originally and have made their way through the cycle to be released as additional content (usually changed and extended loads – the Eden Prime mission didn't originally have a Prothean when it was conceived and cut, for example).I know and talk to a lot of people in the business and have been privy to quite a few bad practices that they keep quiet, but Day One DLC isn't usually one of them. Of course this doesn't apply to games like Gotham City Imposters and its 106 items (yeah, I counted) of Day One DLC or Gears Of War 3 and it's fifty quids (yeah, I added it up) worth of Day Minus One weapon skins.

  21. That's customer service for ya πŸ˜› It's hard to believe that when gaming is on the up and up, gaming stores are failing all over the place – but, I suppose, digital downloads is where the money is at. Being able to sell people games with no cost besides labor, time and marketing must be a pretty sweet deal for gaming companies, and digital download companies… not so much for traditional retailers.

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