Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Have We Become Desensitized?

You always hear of people complaining that video games cause normal, non-violent folks into killers.  Like average Joe gamer is sitting there eating his cheerios, playing Doom, then he just snaps and shoots up a hot dog stand.
While Joe's frank tirade is a scary thought, there is a much darker problem: limited edition games.
Two decades ago, you could go to Target and say "I would like to purchase Super Mario World," and the employee would sell you just that for $40.  While that seemed expensive at the time, we were still paying for piece of hardware from an industry that was still in its adolescence.  We were paying for a silicone circuit board covered in hard plastic, neither of which are cheap to manufacture.
Today, you go into Target and ask for the latest Halo or Call of duty (providing you've made it through the gauntlet of challenges explained later in this post), and you already know that you're going to be in this game for $60.  And for what? A DVD in a flimsy plastic box.  DVDs are stupid cheap to manufacture, and every DVD box is the same.  So because of the economies of scale, you're paying 60 bones for something that cost probably less than $1 to manufacture.
Obviously, it's what's actually on the disc that you're really paying for.  So what does $60 get you today?  Well as our very own red bird explained in his latest post, you're paying for an incomplete game.  You're paying for about 60% of it.  Most likely, the store in which you bought the game had the $60 version in with the sea of games in the regular games section.  But before you set foot in that section, you see a display slightly larger than the Eiffel Tower, shamelessly displaying only the $100 Limited Ultimate Mega Super Lucky Collectors Edition, and the $400 Mega Super Limited Unlimited Ultimate Sacred Collectors Gift Set. You try to go to the regular games section, but just as you walk past the display, you get pelted with eggs, and a dwarf throws the Collectors Edition game at you, while peppering you with paintballs.  At this point, most gamers give up and fork over the Benjamin and go home with the Limited Edition.
Continue on, and you are faced with a wizard of unspeakable power who proclaims with a thunderous "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" and throws the Gift Set at your head.  Dodging this with an action roll, you remember that the wizard needs food, badly.  As you come out of the roll, throw a sleeve of rice cakes at this wizard.  He will disappear.  If you forget one step here, you end up spending every last Rupee you have on the Gift Set and go home with a large box of things that will later find their homes at various thrift stores.
If you manage to pass this second test, you are faced with the pitfall of the Special Super Mega - you get the idea - Controller.  This controller operates exactly like your six-year-old white controller, but it has skulls on it!  Right when the wizard disappeared, so did the floor between you and the games section.  Here, you must know the proper spelling of "Jehovah" in Greek.  Speak the letters aloud and a light will come on overhead and make you sneeze.  As you sneeze, the mist of saliva will land on an invisible bridge over the pit between you and the games section.  careful crossing this bridge, as arrows will shoot up at you from below.  At this point, most people end up going home with the $100 game, the $400 Gift Set, the $60 Sculltroller, and a puncture wound or two.
If you have successfully made it past this gauntlet, you are one of the few and proud who can go home without paying ridiculous amounts of money.  But you still know in the back of your mind that you could have gotten that treasure chest with the keychain, bobblehead, die cast spaceship, and certificate of authenticity that proves that you spent way too much cash.  Oh, and don't forget the special avatar item that shows the rest of those on the interwebz that you're a bad ass high roller and sprung for the Limited Edition.  Dumb ass.

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