While I was at the Willowbrook Mall (Wayne, NJ) today, I stopped into the Funcoland I used to manage back in the day (the day being from 1997 to around 2001).
Any semblance of people that worked for the company while I was there (pre-Software Etc. buyout of Funco, and shortly thereafter) are LONG GONE … and while I do pop in there from time to time, it’s not the first place I go for games (there are closer stores in the Software Etc. family of game retails chains to my apartment).
Now, those of you who know me pretty well, know that I’m generally a loaner in terms of propping one console / company up on a pedestal. I don’t “champion” the 360 any more than I do the Wii or the PS3, and when each one does something that makes me happy, I’m usually here posting a positive thread about it (that never really get many responses) … and when they do something that confuse / anger me I do much of the same (though those threads usually get a lot more responses where I’m often called a “fanboy” of the other company(s) that I’m criticizing).
There are some people that SEEM like a perfect fit for a “game retail” job - geek-ish, passionate about gaming culture, willing to talk customers up about games, entice them to purchase pre-orders, strategy guides etc. without being obnoxious or aggressive, etc … and there are those that may have those qualities, and ANOTHER quality that makes couldn’t make them MORE WRONG for the position of game retail customer service representative, and that quality is, un-flinching devotion to ONE SINGLE game system / RIDICULOUS AGGRESSION towards anybody who even BRINGS UP any other system.
I should have known this employee was trouble when I walked in and he was playing with the 360 demo kiosk, extolling the virtues of how much he loves the 360 to his fellow employees, and before I even put my second foot through to door asked me if there was “anything he could help me find”.
Give a guy a second to look around before you jump down his throat about that. Greet them first for the love of Christ. Say “hello” or “hi” or even “hey, how’re ya’ doing?”.
After saying “no, I’m just looking”, I left him to play with the same demos that have likely been on that kiosk since before summer … and tried to ignore him as he was playing Welcome to the Jungle (on like ZERO volume) on the Guitar Hero II demo.
After he was done and had made his way back to the cash wrap … I decided, let me give this guy the benefit of the doubt, and talk him up a bit about a game that he obviously likes.
Knowing that Funco managers had just returned from a manager’s convention (one of the employees I had hired back in the day has made his way up the ladder and manages a Funco, so I know about these things) I asked him if he had heard any new info from Activision as to whether or not the PS3 version of Guitar Hero 3’s controller would be backwards compatible with Guitar Hero I, II, and Rocks the 80’s …
… it was at that point that a guy who appeared to be just slightly geeky became a full-fledged level-10 kind of ******* that you just want to reach across the counter and strangle.
Suddenly I was bombarded with a freaking DIATRIBE about how much Sony and the PS3 sucks, and how the ONLY reason that the game WOULDN’T feature backwards compatibility was because NO developer could figure out a way to get PS2 controllers to work on the PS3’s “SUPER-COMPLICATED-TO-PROGRAM-FOR-CODE-SYSTEM”
…yes, he claimed that no PS2 controllers worked on the PS3 … and that it was because the PS3 was “hard to program for”. (Keep in mind that PS2 controllers DO work with PS2 (and in some cases PS3) games with a USB adapter.
I attempted to get a word in edgewise … but you had to see this guy to believe it - he literally went on for about 3 minutes nearly without taking a breath about how many “mistakes” Sony had made, that (and I quote) “Activision, Red Octane, and Harmonix ALL wanted to make the guitar compatible with the PS3 but that Sony told them that they couldn’t because the original games were programmed to use the PS2 controllers ‘transponders’ not the Sixaxis’s ‘bluetooth’.” and that “it would and could never be done.”
He went on further to explain to me about how all of EA’s sports games don’t even run at 60 FPS this year before I cut him the hell off (I had had it at that point - I didn’t even BRING UP EA’s SPORTS games!)
At that point in his ramblings, I literally said “woah” to shut him the hell up. I said “look, I don’t know what you’re talking about with TRANSPONDERS and BLUETOOTH … but not only CAN you use a PS2 controller on a PS3 with the right hardware - you CAN use a SIXAXIS to play Guitar Hero I, II and Rock’s the 80’s…as well as like, EVERY other PS2 game. It’s got NOTHING to do with the system being hard to program for … and the ONLY reason that the Guitar Controllers don’t work properly when used with the USB hardware is because Red Octane and Harmonix wrote code into Guitar Hero II and 80’s SPECIFICALLY to prevent 3rd party guitar controllers from being manufactured for use with the games … I know it’s not high on Sony’s priority list to fix compatibility with PS2 Guitar Peripherals to work with the PS3, as they’re currently still selling an assload of PS2’s and copies of the game because of it’s limited PS3 compatibility, but to say that it’s some kind of IMPOSSIBILITY, well, that’s just silly (I refrained from calling him a retarded anti-Sony fanboy).”
Yes, I KNOW that the game is on 360, and that it’s just peachy on that system … but I’ve already made a SIGNIFICANT investment on the game for PS2 (three games and one controller) … it doesn’t make sense for me to sell it all just to RE-BUY it for XBOX - IF the PS3 version of the controller will work with the old games (and frankly, while Activision is hush hush, the jury IS still out on that particular fact.)
The fact that the Sixaxis does function fine with all three games on the PS3 in PS2 mode is complete and total proof that there’s no “difficult programming” preventing it from happening, and even if there were … Sony can re-write the firmware for the damned thing to include better or perfect compatibility whenever the hell they want.
The problem that I’m getting at here is that biased, ignorant, know-it-all, douche-bags should NOT be working in game retail. The guy was literally yelling about how much he hates Sony when I hadn’t even mentioned whether or not I OWNED a PS3. Not only is that WILDLY un-professional (game retailers working for a corporation like Software Etc. have a responsibility to NOT show aggressive bias) but also disrespectful enough to me and insulting enough to my intelligence to the point that if I weren’t the person that I am (game-world-worldly-enough to have dealt with this “type” before) I might never shop at that store or with that company again.
I would NEVER tolerate that kind of behavior from my employees when I ran that place, and I don’t tolerate it at my movie theatre. PERSONAL OPINIONS should be stated as such when dealing with a consumer. EVEN in the EVENT that they ask an employee for “help” … the employee needs to do as much as they can to ask the consumer what THEY like and base their advice on that - not what the employee “likes”. Anything otherwise will 9 times out of 10 come back to bite the employee in the ass … because what YOU like, is what YOU like, and as knowledgeable as you think you are about games … there are ALWAYS going to be consumers that think differently. You’re not paid to impose your personal views on the public. Save the editorializing for game reviewers.
I didn’t even catch this guy’s name, but, in the event that he frequents the TWOTA message boards and stumbles upon this, he should heed this advice. Chill the hell out with your personal opinions. I might as well had been a “secret shopper” for Sony … and if I was, you’d likely no longer be employed by your company.