A few weeks ago a good friend of mine let me know that Gamestop had lowered their prices on a few RPGs, including Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland for the PS3. In the US, Atelier Totori is published by NIS America. The price of new copies of the standard version was lowered to $29.99, while the price of new copies of the premium box version was lowered to $39.99
The last time I went to a Gamestop was about a year ago, and I was able to buy premium box versions of Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel and Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland. Both games were also published by NIS America, and Gamestop was the only local store I could find them in.
So on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, I decided to go to Gamestop to look for a new Atelier Totori. And by new, I meant that I wanted to buy a factory sealed Atelier Totori. I checked the availability of the game online from the official Gamestop website and saw that the Gamestop shops in my area that had the game listed the availability as “low stock”.
The first Gamestop that I went to, which was less than 5 minutes away from my house, did not have any new copies of the game. So I left this Gamestop without buying anything.
The next Gamestop that was supposed to have new copies of the game in stock was about 7-10 minutes away, so I got in my car and drove there. When I arrived I went into the store and looked in the section with new PS3 games. I saw that there were a few empty cases of Atelier Totori, which would indicate that they should have some new copies of the game in stock. So I took one of the cases and got in line at the cash register.
There were two guys working there – a younger guy (maybe mid 20s) and an older guy (maybe mid 30s – early 40s?). There was also a young girl who appeared to be a new hire, since I had seen the older guy instructing her on how to do a few things.
While I stood in line, I have to admit that I felt a bit nervous. As I have stated before in previous blog posts, I have had some really bad experiences trying to buy new games at Gamestop, which eventually led me to stop going into any Gamestop store for several years. In fact, I had heard a friend of mine say that recently he asked for a sealed game at a Gamestop and the employee got mad at him. I really, really hoped that the employees at this Gamestop wouldn’t turn out to be jerks.
When I got to the front of the line, it was the older guy who called me up to the register. The first thing I did was give him the empty Atelier Totori case and ask him if he had any sealed copies of the game. I braced myself, in case I got a negative reaction from this guy.
To my surprise and to my relief, the negative reaction never happened. He typed in a few things on his computer and then said to me, “Today is your lucky day. I do have a few.” He opened a drawer behind the register where they kept the new games and pulled out a genuine factory sealed copy of Atelier Totori. It was just the standard version though.
At this point, he also said that they might have the premium box version, but it would probably be opened. He asked me if I was interested in this premium box version.
I hesitated a bit, then told him that I wouldn’t want to buy this premium box if it was already opened.
He said he would go into the back room and check to see if they had any premium box versions of Atelier Totori. Now I’m not sure if he said he would check to see if they had any sealed premium boxes or that he would be looking to see if they had any premium boxes (doesn’t matter if they‘re sealed or opened).
So he goes into the backroom, and after about 3 minutes, he comes out carrying a pretty big box. The box looked like it was the size of a box that contained a VCR that you bought in the 80s. I couldn’t see the box well enough to see what it actually was. I think he grabbed this box for one of the other customers.
He comes up to me and says, ‘It turns out we don’t have any premium boxes.” Now I’m not sure if they really didn’t have any premium boxes or if they had opened ones but he knew I would have zero interest in buying it so he didn’t bother bringing the box out.
But that’s fine. Beggars can’t be choosers, as the saying goes. I didn’t mind buying the standard version of the game, especially a new factory sealed copy of it. I felt that $30 was a great price for a new Atelier Totori.
So as he rings me up, he’s typing stuff into his computer, and then he asks me if I was interested in a game called Ni no Kuni, which is Level-5’s newest PS3 game. For those who don’t know, Level-5 developed RPGs like Dark Cloud, Rogue Galaxy, and Dragon Quest VIII. They also developed the Professor Layton series.
Ni no Kuni is also co-developed by Studio Ghibli, an anime studio best known for having released a lot of Hayoa Miyazaki’s films, included Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. There’s also a DS version of Ni no Kuni, but thus far the DS version is a Japanese exclusive.
Anyway, when the Gamestop employee asked me about Ni no Kuni, I’m not sure if he was just doing that to make conversation or if he wanted to eventually steer me towards preordering the game. I told him Ni no Kuni looks awesome, and he said he’s really looking forward to it.
At this point I’m thinking, “Cool, this guy’s an RPG guy.” He did not end up asking me if I wanted to preorder Ni no Kuni, but perhaps that’s just because the game is so far from release that there’s no preorder option for it yet.
However, while he was typing stuff into his computer, he noticed something else and said, “Today we just had this new game come it.” Before I could say anything, he opens the back drawer, pulls out a brand new factory sealed copy of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, and places it in my hands so I could touch it and get a real good look at it.
And yes, indeed, I had a real nice look at Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. This game is yet another RPG published by NIS America. As a lot of you probably know by now, they usually make premium boxes for their RPGs, so I asked the employee if there was a premium box for this. He starts typing stuff into his computer, then he says, “Oh yeah, that’s right, they didn’t make a premium box for this. It’s just this.”
I was vaguely aware that Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 was coming out that day, but it wasn’t really on my radar and while I wanted to buy it one day, I wasn’t planning on getting it on its release day. However, when I held the game in my hands, I couldn’t resist. I ended up buying it along with Atelier Totori.
One thing that did factor in my decision to buy Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is that throughout our entire conversation, this Gamestop employee was a really nice guy. I felt that even if I had chosen not to buy Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, he would have been okay with it and still would have been a nice guy. So I decided to buy the game.
Now mind you, having a store employee be nice to me won’t make me buy a game I have absolutely no interest in, but as I stated, I was planning on buying Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 someday anyways. Yes, perhaps there might a price drop on it in the future and I could buy it up for a lower price. But the opposite could happen as well, with Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 becoming harder and harder to find in the future. So with all that said, I’m happy that I ended up buying it.
Thinking back on it, the best thing that Gamestop employee could have done to get me to buy Hypderdimension Neptunia mk2 was to place a brand new sealed copy in my hands and that’s exactly what he did.
Anyway, as he rung up both Atelier Totori and Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, he asked me if I had the first Hyperdimension Neptunia game. I said that I did have it but I hadn’t played it yet. He smiled and said that that’s the same thing with him. Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 was $49.99 and Atelier Totori was $29.99, so the total was $80 ($85 if you include tax).
I walked out of that Gamestop store feeling very satisfied. Not only did I buy the games I wanted, I actually got them in factory sealed condition. And I also had a great experience at that store. I couldn’t believe it! The employee was a great guy. He treated me with respect, he didn’t look down on me. He didn’t pester me to buy stuff I didn’t want. He didn’t pester me to buy magazines, sign up for magazine subscriptions, or buy strategy guides. He didn’t ask me to preorder a game – although perhaps he might have asked if I wanted to preoder Ni no Kuni if they were taking preorders for it.
And best of all, he didn’t ask me if I wanted to sign up for their rewards card! This was the most shocking thing that happened! (haha!) He didn’t even mention the rewards card.
And what do you know, the combination of having nice employees and having actual factory sealed games in stock – that not only made me buy one game but I ended up buying two games. And I walked out of the store happy and satisfied. Isn’t this how every store should conduct their business? Shouldn’t every store want their customers to walk out happy and satisfied?
Now granted, I’m pretty sure Gamestop still pushes their employees to sell used, pre-owned stuff to their customers, since they make more money from that. So the better situation for that employee would be to sell me used games. But still, getting a customer to buy $80 worth of new games is still pretty darn good.
Anyway, I ended this shopping trip by going to a Best Buy that was close to that GameStop. It was within walking distance. I knew that Best Buy had Red Faction Armageddon (Xbox 360/PS3) on sale for $19.99 that week, so I dropped by there to see if they had a copy for PS3. They did have one (they had 2 copies actually) but there wasn’t a sign on the shelf that advertised the $19.99 price. However, when I bought the game up to the register, it did ring up $19.99, so I bought it.
I really enjoyed the previous game, Red Faction Guerrilla, so I am looking forward to playing Red Faction Armageddon. It appears though, that there isn’t very much online multiplayer in Red Faction Armageddon, but I’m fine with that, since I’m not too big into online multiplayer anyways.
All in all, it was a fun, great, surprising, and satisfying day for videogame pickups.
NOTE: After typing up this blog post, I found out that NIS did release a premium box version of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 as a “Limited Edition” in North America. This version was exclusive to NIS America’s online store and is sold out.