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November 2014 Retro Gaming Article


November 8, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Alienware's Alpha brings PC gaming closer to a console experience... at GameStop?

Earlier today I was pondering the future of gaming and coincidentally(sarcasm) GameStop sent me this email to sway me into thinking that they are the right destination for PC hardware. Alienware are doing a nice job in designing a computer that caters to console gamers. However, the Alpha's console appearance doesn't prompt me to investigate it at Game Stop.

I still consider GameStop a game store - not a PC retailer. I'm more likely to fire up a browser to find more info and I doubt I'd go to GameStop to purchase one. Perception is a powerful thing - as any marketing exec knows.

This email mainly reminded me of Computer Factory and Comp USA - you know... computer stores. Such retail havens have gone the way of TV stores and camera stores. Gone forever.

The closest "computer store" in my area also sells refrigerators and cell phones. In the absence of Crazy Eddie, Nobody Beats The Wiz, and Circuit City, I'm left with Best Buy. I don't consider them a "computer store". Making matters worse... Radio Shack no longer sells any of the products for which they had my undying devotion a decade, or so, ago. But that's another story...

Alienware Alpha game console I know very little about PC gaming or Alienware. I'm a console guy - a retro console guy. OK, I have a Wii and a PS3, but I'm more apt to push in a cartridge than insert a disc. But, at my core is a desire to learn and explore. I yearn to put a Vita cart into a PSTV in the same way I enjoy playing Paperboy on my SNES via the Super Game Boy adapter.

My PC experience with Microsof products and Windows preferences that are 18 mouse-clicks away soured me to the whole platform. I'll blow on an NES cart, but I'm not interested in odd incompatibilities that seem to run rampant on PCs. Even Macs are getting to the point where random things go wrong. I can't burn DVDs without deleting a buried pref file prior. Ugh!

Basically, If I'm to own a PC - Alienware game console PC or otherwise - I'll need help. I'll need a lot of help. Will GameStop help me? Can I bring in my PC and ask them to diagnose a problem? Will they be able to HELP me or is this like buying a laptop at Wal Mart where there is no expectation that the greeter has ever owned a screwdriver. Is there an different colored vest for employees who can repair a laptop?

I'll go to GameStop for a 3DS and a few games - both items that we are conditioned to know are un-repairable. I know I can find a $300 laptop, but I'm still stuck in an era where a "computer" should be repairable and I want to know the seller will be capable in times of blue screens of death.

This post totally got away from me, but I think GameStop has some customer-conditioning to attend to before they can send me an e-mail touting their PC sales. After all the unplayably scratched games I've had to return, I wouldn't buy a table at GameStop let alone a computer. That isn't to say they can't change customer perceptions, but I'd resolve that task before rolling out another new product.

I guess alternate game buying options from the cloud are further constraining GameStop's finances. Damn clouds - I liked the way things were... when Crazy Eddie's prices were INSANE!! :)

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