Thursday, March 3, 2011

Strange GameStop Happenings

I've been wondering about this a while but figure I might as well put it out there and see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

So, I go to GameStop quite often. It's not because I enjoy the store because lord knows I don't but Buy 2 Get 1 Free sales are way too appealing. That, paired with the fact they still sell PS2 games is my main reason for showing up at their various retail locations. This almost makes me want to go on a tangent about their "new" games being open and on shelves but that will be for another time.

The weirdness about GS lately is the games that are on the shelves and behind them. This Christmas, my partner received a copy of Mass Effect 2 from her mother. This was all fine and good except the game had a big 'ol UK rating circle on the corner. It was still in the shrink wrap and purchased at a local GS, but it wasn't a US copy. I can't even begin to understand how this happened. I assume someone could have bought the game as an import and then sold it still sealed to the store. However, doesn't the store have any precautions when buying games back? Don't they even LOOK at the cover? It's obvious that it's not like the rest and anyone with any semblance of ESRB rating understanding would instantly recognize this as odd. Thankfully, there are some 360 games that are region free, but many aren't so this could be a harmful gaffe sometime.

This isn't the only time I've seen this sort of thing happen either. At a few other visits to GS stores I have found used PS2 games from the PAL region. It's super easy to spot them because of their boring spines and blue cases. The blue cases are the main factor really, and there they are sitting on the shelf. They're just waiting to get picked up by unsuspecting gamers who won't be able to play them when they get home. I can more readily understand the used games coming in from a different region, but GS needs to start checking for that. The more games get region locked in the future the more harmful this sort of practice will become.

All this chatter about worrying about games being turned in reminds me of people pawning off pirated games. It's not so common with recent consoles, but Gameboy pirate carts have long since been traded in with no repercussions. DS games too are not safe from this, so be sure to check out your wares before driving on home. One thing that amuses me though is that the bootleggers never seem to be able to apply a label on a game perfectly straight.

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