Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Searching for Call of Duty

So, I dunno if you have heard, but there is this new videogame out. There has been a bit of fanfare for the new Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare 2. Seems that when you make a sequel to one of the best selling games of all time you want people to know it is coming.

"11.10.09" they chanted, confusing everyone in Britain with their Americanised date stamp, and so I looked forwards to November 10th. So when I found I had 6000 words of essay to give in on the same day I was slightly disheartened. But no problem, I thought, I shall just get my work out of the way, ahead of time.

Turns out that was not the case. Instead of running down to my local videogame retailer for the midnight launch, which I have long awaited, and running home to be one of the first people to play this game, I was stuck, my face lit by the glow of my laptop in a cold house, trying to find intelligible things to say about the 1911 National Health Insurance Act. So I missed out on being one of the first person to play.

But, don't you know, being the first to play had already been broken. Online retailers shipped the game last wednesday, so as not to lose face if customers received the game late I expect, but this meant people were already playing this game last weekend. At the same time, supermarket retailers responded by slashing their prices and selling the game at a loss. From the RRP of £55, you can find the game for as low as £25, if you are willing to sink as low as to shop at ASDA.

But I had pre-ordered this in GAME months ago, in anticipation of a midnight launch. And being the loyal customer I am, I was going to stick to my pre-order and get my double reward points, buying the game for the not unreasonable £45. So I walked into Exeter high street only to find that the GAME store had closed down! And reopened at a new location! A location they seemed to want to keep secret, giving only the toughest of riddle-esque clues as to its location. I kid you not people.

So I had to go and find the new GAME store. This led to a rather uneventful 15 minutes as I stumbled about the Princesshay shopping district, suffering from the cold and hunger, while I tried to find the new location of the Exeter branch of GAME.

But, success! I found it! I was done. There, in the front shelf for all to see, where millions of copies of Call of Duty. So I ran to the desk, and presented my pre-order receipt to the cashier. Who turned aorund, and took a mint condition copy of Call of Duty down from the shelf behind her. She scanned it, I had money in hand... and then she looked at me, and asked if I was over 18.

I was slightly startled. I have not been asked my age when buying a videogame for.... well, since I had braces and was still choosing which GCSEs to study. So I produced my university ID. And was told that just would not do. I remained calm, and logical, like Spock. I asked if she could check the birthdate on my GAME loyalty card. That would not do. Hmm... if I was Spock that Vulcan Nerve Pinch would be useful about now. I offered to show her the birthdate on my debit card. That would not do. It had to be a driving licence. Which I had left, in my drawer, at home. And so I was forced to leave GAME without Call of Duty.

Now, I can understand why they would do this. They don't want to get into trouble for selling little Timmy a videogame with some shooty bits. But I am not little Timmy. I am 6 foot 2. I hadn't shaved this morning, so have stubble under my chin. And so I left, feeling... what is that word that means the opposite of happy?

So I left, a solitary tear trickling down my eye. I gave into hunger. I had not eaten lunch yet, so I stumbled towards the nearby sandwich shop. Then I stumbled homewards, to the internet, to rage against this injustice. Thinking of how, if the world was a better place, I would be skipping home to get shot at in a computer simulation. This is all just not fair...

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