Thursday, February 07, 2008


The Inspection

Soon after Penny Arcade pointed me to the "28 Confessions of a Gamestop Employee," I bought "Conan" for my 360 (not recommended, really). When I reached the counter, I noticed that they had added a new ritual to the cash/wrap.

It's the rare game you buy at Gamestop that is unopened, as many other writers have complained. If you pick up the case for a brand new game, the disc itself is in a drawer secured behind the counter. I brought my empty case up, and the employee flipped over the DVD to show me its brilliantine surface.

"Mint?" he said.

I looked over the disc, confused for a minute. It was free of scratches, dust, or bubbles.

"Ummm, yeah," I said.

He smiled and put my game in its case. I realized afterward that the point of this exercise was to prove to me that the new game I had purchased was in fact, new, untainted by the touch of another's console. Mint, in other words. Compared to what I usually put up with at the cash/wrap (namely, telling the guy at the register three times that no, I don't want to pre-order "Halo 3"), I have to admit that this is a pleasant, positive move on their part.

Okay, Gamestop, one point to you. You win... this time.

28 Confessions of a Gamestop Shift Supervisor

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Assassin's Creed books cancelled, or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Aga Khan

The strife between the different parties in the house of Islam has always been interesting to me. The struggle of Shi'a Islam for acceptance as the minority group, Arab-Persian racism, the good and evils deeds of past empires from the Kush to northern Africa: these things have all contributed to involving the United States an intimate and complex turmoil.

A friend pointed out that the Ismaili are treating the Hashashin the same way the contemporary Church of JC of LdS treats their polygamists. Both Mormons and Ismailis are small minority groups within a larger religion that are attempting to criticize and distance themselves from even smaller sects within them. The polygamists represent an embarrassing wrinkle in the history of a relatively new Christian church; Ismailis see assassins as representatives of a more savage, earlier Islam (I am assuming they no longer exist, and didn't just go into hiding) which they would rather forget.

Either way, I am pretty impressed with Steve Barnes's blog. I am definitely keeping a lookout for his novels and television shows.

Steve Barnes on the cancellation of the Assassin's Creed tie-in novels

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