Rapid Fire 01.17.05

“Will I be back? Things change in life, and someday I may decide to give it another go. Having said that, though, I doubt it. I always hated when writers would announce their big “comeback”, only to write one crappy column and never bother to return for a second, crappier column. So I doubt a return engagement is in the works, even if Inside Pulse would have me. But you never know.”
Rapid Fire, 9.23.04

No, you never really do know.

With that out of the way, I bid you welcome to the “new” Rapid Fire!

Let’s start this off with a proper introduction. My name is Bryan Berg, and for a year and half, this column was (apparently) the column on Inside Pulse Games. I stepped aside for a number of reasons, none of which are important right now, and I’ve come back for a number of reasons, all of which you’ll hear shortly.

Now, when I say I’ve “come back”, that doesn’t mean I’m going to do what most people do when they “come back”. The average columnist comes back, does exactly one column, and then fades into the sunset again. Not so with Rapid Fire. I give you readers my word that this column is going to be around for a while. And if it’s not, there will be a very good reason.

Here’s what you can expect from me: Every Tuesday, you will get a thought-provoking column from me that deals with some aspect of the business of video gaming. If you’ve read me in the past, you know what to expect. If not, just enjoy the ride and be open to a perspective of the industry you won’t find in Game Informer or on IGN.

So, why come back? There were a few factors at play here. The standard I had set for my monthly features became impossible for me to uphold from a quality and time standpoint. I had fallen out of shape and needed to get myself together. I missed writing a weekly column. I missed thinking in that line of thinking that made this column a success to begin with. I missed the rush of writing something and not knowing how people were going to react until it was too late to change it.

In short, I missed everything good and everything bad about this column. I needed time to recharge my batteries, and now they’re overflowing. I already have my first two columns (not counting this one) done and ready to be posted. They’re good. Real good. So get ready.

The Black Friday Contest
Those of you who read the Black Friday feature may remember a contest linked to the piece. The person who sent in the story that most reflected a terrible experience at a Video Game Retailer (VGR) would win the equivalent of a new game in store credit. For almost two months, the title of Hard Luck Customer has been vacant. Not anymore.

At long last, we have a winner!

Before the winner is announced, I’d like to thank everybody who sent in their thoughts on the feature and everybody who entered the contest. At first, I was just going to post those letters that detailed being mistreated by a VGR; however, the criteria was expanded when employees of video game stores began writing in with their side of the story. These entries weren’t part of the contest, but were posted to the site so people could see how things were on the other side of the counter.

Every entry was carefully considered, and that’s why this process took so long. There were a lot of really well-written entries that reflected a great deal of pain and suffering. That was what I looked for most – as I saw it, the winner would be the person who had been screwed over so badly in the past that they deserved a break. This break, judging from the piece, would be the only thing that would get them back into the store that caused them so much grief. And in my eyes, justice has been served.

So, without further adieu…

Honorable Mention
Drew Linkon. Imagine spending 45 minutes having stuff sold to you, and see how much you’d like going back in there. This was the front-runner for a long time and almost took the crown; however, one story reflected a more diverse background of being pushed around by VGRs.

Jeff Patterson. You need to look at the whole picture when looking at this entry. Jeff has been royally screwed over in just about every way possible. A game he pre-ordered was delayed and the store didn’t even bother to tell him about it. He had a router that was not X-Box Live Compatible, which is a dilemma far too people are aware of. He bought a used game (what else?) from a VGR only to find that it was full of scratches and was initially barely playable. And worst of all, he had to deal with an experience so unspeakable and embarrassing that I don’t even want to mention it. It’s in the first paragraph of his entry, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you feel like being outraged today.

Congratulations, Jeff. You’ve certainly earned this. Now e-mail me with your address and enjoy your free game. Just make sure you don’t get talked into purchasing a used copy.

That wraps up this “refresher” version of Rapid Fire. Tomorrow, a semi-defense of EA.

Thanks for reading!