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How much prejudice exists in the gaming industry today?

Ben Striegel
08.25.05
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Our industry is embroiled in an eternal conflict. Which console is right for you? Xbox? PlayStation 2? GameCube? Wait, strike that last one. If you relied solely on mainstream media for your news, you might never realize that there's a third company out there vying for your attention. Then again, these are just faceless corporations pandering to the lowest common denominator. Informed, responsible gamers don't harbor such bias, right? ...Right? Gather 'round, children, and let me tell you a story.

The day is Wednesday, August 24. I enter my local GameStop, clutching a reservation slip, and am greeted by two cashiers and a manager. I tell them that I'm here to pick up my copy of Advance Wars DS.

"Still holding out for the DS, huh?" remarks the manager. "Why haven't you gone for the PSP by now?"

It's true that I don't own a PSP, but this man doesn't know that. His mind is apparently incapable of grasping the concept that someone could own two video game systems simultaneously. I ignore him and continue my transaction. Oh, but it doesn't end there.

"While you're here, why don't you pre-order that new Kim Possible game? After all, you don't have anything else to look forward to on the DS."

What?

This wasn't just a passing remark. He said it snidely, derisively. I used to work at a Wendy's, and if I were to suggest a sandwich to a customer in that tone, I'd probably get my ass fired. At the moment, I was too taken aback to formulate a proper response. Fortunately for me, one of the cashiers intervened on my behalf.

"Well, no, there's that Castlevania game coming out pretty soon."
"Yeah, plus Animal Crossing's coming later this year," interjected the second cashier.
"Animal Crossing?" sneered the manager. "Yeah, like that won't fizzle out."

The second cashier fell silent. However, having regained the use of my voice, I proceeded to remind him of Mario Kart DS and Tony Hawk, while the cashier recited Resident Evil DS and Dig Dug. When I got to Mario & Luigi DS, the manager audibly scoffed. However, perhaps realizing he was outnumbered, he retreated to the back room, presumably to shoot some heroin. It vaguely registered in my mind that, for the first time in my life, I had met a real, live console fanboy over the age of thirteen.

How common are these kinds of events? Am I in the vast minority, or has anyone else out there ever been discriminated against based upon their gaming preferences? If a Nintendo fanboy were to kill Jay Allen, would it be considered a hate crime? Moreover, if a Nintendo fanboy did kill Jay Allen, would he opt for the poison mushrooms or the length of sewer pipe? Alas, some questions are destined to go unanswered.

[NOTE: Jason totally caught onto the fact that Jay Allen is not, perhaps, a real person at all, and that I am, most likely, on heroin myself.]

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