Friday, September 05, 2003

Welcome to My World

Earlier this week Tycho of Penny Arcade posted an extended rant when he wasn't able to buy Bombastic and Republic: The Revolution at his local Software, Etc. He went on to decry the chain for suggesting he should have pre-ordered the copy of Otogi he also wanted to purchase. "I had every intention of purchasing it," Tycho said. "Software, Etc. had no intention of holding up their end of the bargain, the Selling Videogames end."

The time has finally come to welcome Tycho and all discerning gamers to the world of the alternative. Anyone who reads underground comics or listens to independently produced music or watches obscure films already know the drill. The mall doesn't have shit. Chain stores carry nothing but stuff that will sell -- which usually equates to crap. Admittedly, it's not too tough to point out thousands of examples of best-selling popular culture that don't make the serious whatever-file cringe. But, c'mon. We all know that you have to go to the mom and pop stores to get the good stuff. Before the Internet, it used to be that you had to resort to snail mail order (that's six to eight weeks to you young 'uns) to snag that Jesus Lizard split 7" or bootleg VHS copy of Meet the Feebles. Thankfully, those days are now but a bitter memory.

I know it must be frightening to the core gamer (who's been fed nothing but the "video games are more popular than Jesus" line for the past several years) to consider that Ico and Rez are somehow related to indie-label math rock and Spanish horror films. But it's true. You're not going to find any of them in that fluorescent-lit, cinderblock box they just built in your local suburban strip mall. Like the modern hip-hop DJ, who spends his life kneeling before dusty record crates, if you want quality video games, you're going to have to dig.