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Used Games, GameStop, FFIX, and a Burning Passion

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Used Games, GameStop, FFIX, and a Burning Passion

Posted July 26th, 2011 at 8:59 PM by Shanghai Alice

Okay, so, today, I'm going to write about used game stores, why they're super-important, and why GameStop is bad for the used game market.

Now, first, let me start off by saying that, though there is debate over whether or not the secondhand game industry is beneficial or detrimental to video games in general (And, if game companies are to be believed, it's almost as bad as piracy), this isn't the point of this article. As a consumer, I fully support the industry, out of purely selfish needs (Welcome to capitalism). Used game stores are perfect for walking in with no expectations, and walking out with three interesting-looking games that you've heard a lot about, but never expected to find. They're great for finding classics that you may have lost, or that first installment of your favorite series that fell out of print seven years ago.

But, like I said, that's not the point of the article. Well, okay, it is. But the whole "Positive or Negative" debate isn't.

Anyway, used game stores.

See, if you've ever been to a flea market, you know the experience is very similar to a UGS (Yes, I hate the shorthand too, but it saves me time). You can walk in with just a budget and an opened mind, spend time flipping through the selection, carefully weighing your choices, looking at titles and genres. Of course, if you don't have any available Internet connection, you're forced to make decisions based solely off of looks and what you remember about certain titles. To some, this may be horrifyingly risky, and may be a deterrent to buying anything you haven't heard about.

To me, it's paid off almost as much as it has let me down. But when it pays off, it's worth much, much more.

One of my favorite GBA games, Riviera, was purchased in this manner. I paid $6 for it several months ago, and have spent about a dozen hours on it so far (Sadly, I put it down and never finished it). I had no idea what to expect, and, though it's by no means a great game, it's very enjoyable for a GBA port of an even older game.

Looking online, I would have had to pay about $30, provided I could even find it.

Now, it's important to note that I bought the game from GameStop, which I have a special hatred for, but... meh. GameStop has some positives and negatives.

And that's the thing. Used game stores allow gamers to Keep Circulating the Tapes (Link leads to TVTropes... beware!), as it were. Walking into Rhino Games (Before the merger, anyhow) or whatever your local equivalent games could lead wonderful results. You could find almost anything, provided a large enough customer base, delving into the pool of sold games and trying to pick a winner.

In a way, it has the same magic as going to yard sales to find cool stuff that you can't get anywhere else.

Now, I lied. I am going to talk about why used games are good for the industry.

So, my brother went to some used game store in Oxford, Mississippi a few years ago, and found a used game called Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. A few months later, he visited the house (he was in college at the time, so the consoles traded hands frequently), and played it for hours on end after his wisdom teeth got pulled. Interested, I played it for myself the next day.

I... sort of wish I hadn't, but I'm so very glad I had.

Now, I had never heard of Disgaea before then. Most people haven't. It's a niche JRPG that almost nobody knows about. Had my brother never walked into that game store, I'd have spent about $150 on other games.

But, because he did, I've bought every single game in the main Disgaea series, a remake, two spin-offs, and three other games by the company (Well, four. But I don't like remembering that one It was localized by N1, not developed).

Because, yes. I am now a Nippon Ichi fanboy. They're wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. And they never would've gotten a dime from me if it weren't for the used game market.

Now, of course, there's a flipside. Used games mean that, much like books and videos (which, for some reason, have no such controversy surrounding them), you can commit the most heinous act of lending them to other people. The horror!

That means that, logically, if one person buys Big Rigs: OTRR (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) for $30 new, and then sells it to a game store, the story sells it to someone for $25 used... and keeps almost all of the money.

Two users, and the developers only see one payment. But, if you think about it, that means libraries and BlockBuster are evil. But meh.

Now, I want to get into something else...

Why I freaking hate Gamestop with a burning passion.

See, I live in a town that has only one game store... GameStop. So I'm forced to use it. Like Neil Gaiman said, "It may be rigged, but it's the only game in town." (Mr. Wednesday said that, actually, in American Gods. I should write a blog post about that book... later)

That's sort of how it is with GS. I hate it, but I have to use it.

"But Shanghai!" you cry out, wounded by my hatred of your favorite establishment, "You just said you got a great deal off of Riviera! Why, then, are you so hateful?"

Because I want to sell my games.

Now, I'm under no delusions. If I buy a $50 game, play it, and then sell it back the next day, I'm luck to get $25 for it.

But GS will take it off of your hands for... $4, if it's not a big-name release. If it's the month of release, you might get $10-15.

See, this is what pisses me off. It's one thing to have a really obscure game that got panned by critics that sucks all around and was released six years ago...

And it's another to have a game that was released two years ago, and is still being sold for $50.

And they'll both be taken for the same price.

This is why GameStop pisses me off. They're big, they have no love for their customers, and their staff sounds bored, underpaid, and unhappy almost all of the time.

Oh, and did I mention...

They don't carry anything but the last two generations?

That's right. You want a SNES game, and have a GS nearby? Too bad, you'll never get one. Therefore, unless you get garroted by online retailers, you'll never be able to buy classic games. Your DreamCast, SNES, GBC (No Pokemon GSC... So no nostalgia factor), and PS1 is utterly worthless. Get out.


So, yes. I'm kind of peeved by that. Mainly because I want-

Wait a minute... I just realized something.

Final Fantasy IX was made for the PS1, not the PS2.

That means I'll never be able to find it at my local GS, because they don't carry PS1 games.

Say it with me now...


Okay, I had to get that out of me. I've been wanting that game, and it kind of bums me out that, because I have $30 in cold, hard cash, and only $15 on my debit card... I'll have to wait quite a while to find FFIX.

Now, I'm not saying that waiting is a bad thing. I'm not impatient. I had to wait and work several months to get enough money to buy a new computer. Patience is no problem.

But it's availability, and the knowledge that GS fails at it.

Huh? I said I'd write about why it was bad for the used game market?

Oh, right.

GameStop is bad for the used game market because it swallows up smaller used game stores, that offer reasonable prices and carry older games. By doing this, it either discourages gamers from selling their old games (10% of the value isn't a very good price), or makes it impossible for them to do so. Therefore, more games stay in the hands of gamers, and less get circulated.

Now, with newer games, this just means you have to pay an extra $10-30 to buy it new.

With older games? You're outta luck if you only have a GS.

...and, with that. I'm done. No summary paragraph, because this isn't an English paper.
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  1. Old Comment
    Eucliffe's Avatar
    You have a PSP, right? FFIX only costs like $15 to download onto it iirc. BUT IT IS WELL WORTH GETTING. I LOVE IT MUCH MORE THAN I COULD EVER LOVE FFVII.

    Also, Riviera is indeed an amazing game <3 I love the PSP version even more~

    Oh and is Disgaea really that good? I've eyed it you don't know how many times but have never bought it sob.
    Posted July 27th, 2011 at 6:08 AM by Eucliffe Eucliffe is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Shanghai Alice's Avatar

    Also, I have, like a 1GB memory stick on my PSP. Seeing how much I use it, it's not worth upgrading. -_-

    Yeah, I know. I'd much rather spend my money on UMD-


    Posted July 27th, 2011 at 5:24 PM by Shanghai Alice Shanghai Alice is offline

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