Letters to Holly

Friday, November 17

A Comment on the PlayStation 3 Insanity

There are hardcore gamers who will do anything for the latest technology.

Then there are gamers loyal to Sony and will buy anything that brand unleashes.

Then there are the people hoping to sell it on the secondary market.

I am a generational gamer. I've had a console system since I was in single-digit ages. I had an IntelliVision, Mattel's system that melded the availability of Atari 2600 and the graphics of the ColecoVision. I loved that machine. Love it. I played it so much (only child, remember) that I killed the unit and had to get another to replace it. It was reluctantly that I moved to Nintendo, but from that I had a Sega Genesis and then the PlayStation. I worked at the daily newspaper when the PlayStation 2 was released, and it was because of my paper job that I got one on Launch Day.

The paper sent its youngest newsroom workers to spread over the local stores and cover the people lined up to buy a system. And of course we decide to line up too. But I had a plan. Sony was only releasing a certain amount of systems. I divided that number by the number of major franchises and then factored how many stores were in each franchise. For instance, Best Buy had X national stores, so each store would get a minimum of Y units. And Best Buy had fewer stores than Circuit City and Wal-mart, so they would have more units per store.

I was assigned to cover an area Wal-Mart, and so I stood for a few hours before being informed the store had allocated its slim supply to the first people in line. The next morning, I went by Best Buy. There was a line of about 30 people outside the locked store, and I knew that Best Buy would give more units than that for each of their stores. I got in line. About 15 minutes later, the managers handed out numbered paper to correspond with each unit they had. They had about 50 to sell, and I was standing among the 40s. I had a PS2. A few hours later, the store opened, and I walked right up to the counter and was handed my PS2. Other paper people were in line for hours and hours. And while I had the shortest wait, we all grabbed on. That week, I wrote an article about my ex-wife hooking it up to our stereo.

And I loved the Ps2. I still have it, and it runs fine. We played Katamari Damacy, Mortal Kombat and Rampage on it. We had to get a DVD player because the newer DVDs surpassed what the PS2 could play. I just bought a new game for it last night (wrestling, naturally). I don't have the urge to get a Ps3, and it's possible the Ps2 will be my last console. I just don't have the time to devote to that focused a gaming experience. Games that require 20+ hours of gameplay could take me a year to finish.

So, no, I have no desire to get into that mad crowd of PS3 fanatics, but I wish them well-behaved camaraderie and warm feet.

Speaking of shopping, I order Your Sister's Christmas gifts from Amazon this week, and she's gonna plotz.

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