Prepare yourself for a rant, but first, let me just come out and say that I don’t really have any issues with GameStop personally. I know the people that work at my local GameStop pretty well and deal with them a lot. They have never screwed up a pre-order, they have never fussed at me when I wouldn’t pay new-game price for an opened “display copy”, they always do their best to accommodate me when I’m looking for something in particular. This is likely not everyone’s experience, but it is mine.
However, I’ve been reading some disturbing reports this week, since I’ve been following a couple forums focusing on Record of Agarest War. It seems GameStop is having issues putting this game on the shelf because of its Limited Edition packaging. While a game doesn’t have to be on the shelf to sell, it does get a lot more exposure that way, and, frankly, these more niche titles could use it. Sure, the box is bigger than your typical Xbox 360 DVD case, but when you see them wasting tons of retail space on huge Rock Band and Guitar Hero boxes, the relatively small Limited Edition box we’re talking about is nothing in comparison.
No, that isn’t the reason they aren’t putting it on the shelves – it is the packaging itself. All around the Limited Edition packaging are drawings of anime girls in less than full clothing. Mind you, nothing of note is shown and it is about as tame as prime-time TV (is that a good thing?). The game itself is even rated T for Teen and has nothing more suggestive than your standard Japanese RPG, which have been on the shelves for decades.
Well, this is all fine and good except for one thing – there are huge displays for games like Red Dead Redemption all over the place. What does the cover art look like? The main character pointing a gun at you. So, violence is alright but cute anime art showing nothing more than a girl’s back isn’t? Hypocritical much? Or is it because Red Dead Redemption is a triple-A title from a big developer like Rockstar and Record of Agarest War is a small, niche RPG that no one cares about?
I’m not talking about this because I’m an RPG fan, or a fan of smaller localization publishers, or just like the box art because it has half-naked girls on it (wait, did I just say that?). I’m talking about it because it sure seems like to me that this is a double standard. Either go all on or all off. Get rid of the huge Red Dead Redemption window posters and keep those boxes behind the counter like you do with Record of Agarest War. If not, then put the darn RPG box on the shelf and man up.
I suppose this isn’t entirely GameStop’s fault, but the mentality of people in general in certain parts of the world. I can guarantee you that most parents wouldn’t think twice about exposing little Johnny to a dude pointing a shotgun at them in a poster, but would whine and complain about the box art of Record of Agarest War sitting on the shelf. The issue is deeper than GameStop, that’s for sure. And now my rant is done. I’ll go back to playing with my boobie mouse pad now, because OMG it is so inappropriate!