Saturday, December 25, 2010

SuperMonkeyCube, Toy Consultant

Typically, I am asked about video games and computers by coworkers, friends, and family for suggestions and advice. It has only been in the last ten years or so that I've become comfortable enough with talking to people that I am willing give a hand to random shoppers that look like they need help. The holidays is when it's really needed - people shopping for TV's don't always know what they're getting themselves into, and some parents are largely uninvolved with what their kids play so subsequently have no idea what they're doing in the video game aisle at all. Someone has to do it - the employees are more worried about making sure they don't run out of things and have the right prices posted, and I can certainly understand their priorities.

This year, I think I managed to do some good without feeling like it was ruining anybody's day. The most disappointing thing I had to tell anyone this holiday season was that they still don't make Halo 2 for Mac - but you would think that Apple owners have been used to that kind of disappointment for years. One good company (Bungie) dedicates themselves to making a good first-person-shooter for Mac, and Bill Gates had to go and buy them so the second game was a XBox/PC exclusive. So exclusive, in fact, that they had to give longtime Windows XP users the short end of the stick with their first, misguided forays into the brand of 'Games for Windows'. If you wanted to play Halo 2 on PC, you had to upgrade to Vista. At least these days, Boot Camp or Parallels can get you around a problem like that. When Apple was still using PowerPC CPU's, it was not the norm for Apple to get games ported over from the PC version.

I had to tell a woman looking for printer ink that she had to go to the local office supply store since Walmart doesn't stock that much Epson compared to the other brands that they have - she didn't seem that upset about that since she was so happy with the printer in general.

I explained some of the mysteries of the XBox 360 to an actual Microsoft employee early one morning before having any Mountain Dew. He was lost looking at all of the plastic cards for points and Live subscriptions.

My favorite one of all this season was getting someone in the LEGO section at ToysRUs to consider the more technically difficult 'TECHNIC" line of products instead of just getting their kid larger and larger regular LEGO sets that really don't increase in difficulty much. Hopefully, there's a kid somewhere putting together a backhoe that really moves like a backhoe - and it's my fault.

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