When buying a game, we often look at a plethora of reasons to do so.  Some stores will give special bonuses, or various in-game weapons, extra maps, while others will have lower price points.  It can be daunting to find a good place to get a game, especially if they have problems ordering, or the employees are unpleasant.  And when it comes to internet shopping, there's always the problem of shipping prices and getting a product that might not necessarily escape the rigors of the shipping process.

So anyway, I'm going to talk a little about the various ways that I tend to get games, and the different places (and people) I have encountered in regards to these various methods.  Some are happy stories, and some are downright awful-most are in between.  You can, however, always skip forward and comment about your experiences/preferences, as I am sure many of you may not enjoy my rambling ways.

So, without further ado, my Adventures in Game Acquisition:

Now obviously, Game Crazy folded with the closing of Hollywood Video, but it was basically the only game store located in Santa Cruz for the longest time (now there are none).  We liked it because it was close and the store associates were generally quite friendly.  However, there were some issues.

First of all, they were HORRIBLE about ordering games.  You might put in an order for a game, only to find that the day it was supposed to be released, you never got a call.  I had this exact problem with the game Digimon World: Dawn. I preordered it and paid it off in advance, because I like picking up a game without having to pay for it (my husband sometimes picked them up for me), but I never received it.  In fact, I waited a good month and every time I asked them, they said nothing came at all.

So I had them refund my money (and they were good about it and all, but still...), and went over to Game Stop, and THERE IT WAS.  After that, I pretty much only went to Game Crazy when I was picking up used titles.

My husband had a similar problem with Game Crazy and the XBOX360's he kept buying used and they kept dying on him even though they were supposed to be "factory refurbished."  Until he got the Resident Evil 5 edition console, he had to replace it at least 3 times.

I have actually only bought a handful of gaming items at Best Buy.  For some reason, even though they sell games, I don't really consider them much in the way of a "game store".  I was able to get a lot of good things there, such as Xbox Live cards and I got a good deal on a remote (mostly to make Netflix easier to navigate), but largely, there are few, if any, associates that actually hang out in the area with any relevant knowledge or suggestions.  I see Best Buy as mostly a "get in, get directed, and get out" kind of store.  When it comes to computers or TVs you might be able to browse, but as far as games and other media items, you sorta have to know what you're looking for.

I've purchased a couple of hard-to-find games (mostly semi-obscure ones that don't seem to be available anywhere else) via ebay, and my largest issue is that it takes awhile to get the game.  I know I may be patient about a lot of things, but when it comes to a game that I'm really looking forward to playing, it can be really hard to wait, especially if said game is completely new.  However, the worst part is a game that is described as totally new, and I receive it in a case that looks like it's been kicked around the block.  Of course, there was one time where I ordered something and it didn't come AT ALL, but luckily I paid with Paypal, so I got a refund (never a fun situation).


I have only used Amazon once.  My husband swears by it, so when I ordered Etrian Odyssey 2 from this site, I thought that it would be awesome.  After all, Atlus's website (which I subscribe to) recommended buying it off of Amazon to get a special extra preorder bonus so I was stoked.

However, I was not nearly as stoked to learn the next day that my credit card (apparently Amazon refuses to use Paypal), had been fraudulently stolen over the internet and someone had bought a bunch of oil in New York with it.  Luckily, I worked with my credit card company to get it refunded and had to replace the card and go through a whole lot of mess because of it, but the thing is, I only used that card for that specific purchase-I usually use my Paypal account for everything else.  So, as far as I'm concerned, Amazon is not nearly as secure as it is supposed to be, and I refuse to do business with them until they start accepting Paypal (this is generally my online purchasing attitude nowadays-if they don't accept Paypal, they're not worth doing business with because Paypal is amazing at recovering money if the seller flakes out on you, and it double protects against fraud (with a 100% refund guarantee).


Unlike Atlus, NIS actually has a website (which I subscribe to) that includes an actual store.  They also have a lot of selections with special bonus items (I got a Prinny Stylus with my DS version of Disgaea).  I had a generally good time with ordering things from them, but the big problem (again) was the waiting period, and the simple fact that I really hate paying shipping on top of the average price of said game (especially when I can often get said game for the same price sans shipping at the local game store).  However, when it comes to rare and hard to find games (or simply unique store items), I would have to say that their shop is quite nice if you are a fan of their sort of games.

Finally, we have Game Stop.  Now, obviously, considering that Game Informer is affiliated, you might think that touting their positives is going to sound like butt-kissing, but I've found it to generally be truthful.  Basically, Game Stop is my preferred retailer for buying games.  They generally have a good selection (and you can check with other stores to see if they have a game you are looking for), and their incentive loyalty card is pretty sweet.  Plus, when you preorder a game, you generally GET THE GAME WHEN IT IS RELEASED.  Plus, they tend to get the various preorder extras in enough of an amount to make sure that people don't get shortchanged when they come to pick up their preordered game.  While Game Informer Magazine does have its faults, it is also pretty comprehensive, and I get a lot of news about various things in the video game industry beyond simply the basic game reviews. Plus, I have to admit, they make some pretty art for their magazine covers (it's pretty much better than Nintendo Power's edition, except for perhaps their Ocarina of Time cover which was gorgeous).

Overall, I think that Game Stop took what other game stores were doing and made it a lot more streamlined and targeted. Instead of diversifying technology like Best Buy, they focused, which makes them more efficient in serving gamers.  Instead of going primarily online (although they do have an online store as well), they also have storefronts, which helps to create gamer communities that go beyond straight transactions-many Game Stops host events and "midnight release parties").

Plus, although selling back games kind of gives a bad return, I figure if the game is really awful for whatever reason, I can wait to resell it until they have one of their bonus re-sell value days so I get a bit more back for it, and then I can get more off by waiting to use store credit until a sale occurs.


So yeah, I'm tired-I had a big family reunion today and I am really exhausted from the events (and our customary 2 hour goodbyes).  It also doesn't help that we had to drive 3 hours to get up to my hometown and my parents were watching ridiculously engrossing movies on their huge flat panel tv for the last couple of hours.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback and your own experiences with various choices.

And while I'm pretty sure people can remain civil in here, I do want to remind people to respect one another's opinions-I don't really want anyone to start a war of "what store is best".

Thanks! :)