So You Got a Bad Game for Christmas

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So You Got a Bad Game for Christmas

How the market made grandma ruin your Christmas.

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Verry nice
I had good luck this ear
Fable 3
Gow 2
Halo CE
Alan wake
And minecraft!

Damn you, marketing department!

I'll get you next time!

I remember asking Grandma and Grandpa for Mortal Kombat for the Genesis but they thought or were told it was too violent so they got me Eternal Champions instead. I consider it a win since it had better polish and in my opinion more violent fatalities.

Star Ocean 2 and Ghost of Sparta for Christmas.

I asked for 'em, though.

If other people picked games for me. *shudder*

I've never really had this problem. Of course I have relatives that don't know what kind of games I like or even that they should get me a game. If they live far away, they just send money to my parents and they ask what I want. If they live close, they just ask what I want. It's pretty simple just to ask.

I'm fortunate that none of my extended relatives have ever attempted to "give me the gift of gaming" - in point of fact, the last time anyone got me a game as a present was back when the Lucasarts adventure game Loom first came out and my father gave it to me for my birthday, which was... wow, 21 years ago now (it made for an awesome gift though, so that was cool). As I've always told my family: I don't actually want anything for Christmas, and if I want a video game, I've probably already purchased it - if you insist on buying me presents, stick to things like socks and pants, because those are the presents I actually want, because they're things I need (yes, I know I am boring). Or if not clothing, something you know I'd like but would never actually set about buying for myself (like the set of giant squeezeable polyhedral dice I got this year from my brother, those were awesome).

Or just don't get me anything: it's not like I've bought them any presents for the past 15 years after all.

Fortunately, by this point, I can just tell them to get me Xbox Points instead. I'll spend those on Rock Band DLC for sure. :)

Rigs83:
I remember asking Grandma and Grandpa for Mortal Kombat for the Genesis but they thought or were told it was too violent so they got me Eternal Champions instead. I consider it a win since it had better polish and in my opinion more violent fatalities.

'Twas a gem of a game. I told my parents when I was 13 to never buy me any games since they would either have to ask me (making the surprise cease to be) or pick themselves (and that's just asking for trouble.

I hope they start up the "Set on Stun" podcast again, I really enjoyed hearing about their insights into the medium.

Well, knowing my grandparents as they give a damn about their many, MANY grandsons, they only gave us a pack of black socks in a cookie box. But like 4 or 5 years earlier, they gave my sister Super Mario Sunshine, because my uncle actually asked us wich game would be appropiate for her and I came up with the idea, the game was fairly cheap and the GameCube was still relevant at that time.

But I remember a schoolmate of mine wich he had an Xbox (the original) and his grandma gave him a crappy futuristic racing game for the PS2 (I don't remember the name of that game), he actually lended me his game, at that time I still had a PS2 and the day after, I told him that his grandma hated him for giving him such a horrible game.

I know the pressures of gifting a game to someone, but it's really easy for me as I know at least wich game is and for wich platform it is, I actually made a mom buy a DS over a PSP for his son, because she asked me wich was better and why. I think I did a better job than the shop retailers.

This marketer guy scares me everytime I read how is supposed to modify/manipulate us.

Creepeh!

Defeat the evil marketers and get exactly what you want at all gift-giving occasions...

Gift. Card. That's what I ask for and that's what I get. Between me and my kids this year, we scored a total of nine games, all ones we want.

That's why I don't give gifts (except for parents and siblings), expect gifts or Receive gifts. I'm terrible at gift-giving anyway :P

OT: We are all sheep in a meadow, being shepherded around......It's true.

I only got three games for Christmas this year. Two for my DS, and one off of the Xbox Live Arcade that I bought with money that I had recieved. They were, in order of how much I enjoyed them:

Super Scribblenauts - You can create Santa Christ. That is all.
Bakugan: Defenders of the Core - Actually has nothing to do with the Bakugan tabletop game. Gameplay's pretty good, story's kinda meh, ending's just another pile of fight for what you believe in, friendship makes everything better, heart of the balls bullshit. Skipped all of the cutscenes.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Decade Duels - It's pretty good. Though I heard some NPCs summon a bunch of monsters in one turn. Isn't that against the rules?

The easiest way to avoid these problems is to send out some nice obvious hints about the games you want =) I don't know about others, but in my family my Grandparents will always ask my Mum or Dad what I would like for Christmas, and (usually) my Mum will pass on a few tips from stuff I've mentioned (whatever that may be). Since videogames aren't really one of those 'meaningful, heartfelt' kind of gifts like jewellery or something, I don't think it matters if you know what you're getting in advance - it makes it easier for the purchaser, and safer for you! =)

I've maintained an Amazon.com wishlist for the past few years, and at the start of December my mom prints it off. Over 100 gifts I'm guaranteed to like, but unlikely that I'll guess the 2-3 that she chooses.

This year, the only game I did get was AssCreedBroHood.

Major score.

And that's exactly why I'm glad my immediately family all just asks each other what we want, and anyone else in the family sends money if they send anything.

I've always regarded the Christmas video-game sale as unquestionably the most unspeakably evil trade in existence. Ironically, just as this opinion would seem to have been confirmed by the excellent Mr Sherman, I have found an even MORE evil Christmas-based commercial enterprise. Yep, a form of trade that's more vile, cynical and outright sadistic than games aimed solely at your granny.

Anybody want to guess what it is? Give yourselves a pat on the back if you do...

marketing is a powerful tool

That is why I ask for only money from my family.

Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS Lite, DSi, PSP, Kinect, Move

You have forgotten about something, my dear.

Also, no christmas=no gifts, no problem! U mad, otherreligionfags?

KP Shadow:
I only got three games for Christmas this year. Two for my DS, and one off of the Xbox Live Arcade that I bought with money that I had recieved. They were, in order of how much I enjoyed them:

Super Scribblenauts - You can create Santa Christ. That is all.
Bakugan: Defenders of the Core - Actually has nothing to do with the Bakugan tabletop game. Gameplay's pretty good, story's kinda meh, ending's just another pile of fight for what you believe in, friendship makes everything better, heart of the balls bullshit. Skipped all of the cutscenes.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Decade Duels - It's pretty good. Though I heard some NPCs summon a bunch of monsters in one turn. Isn't that against the rules?

Hey! I know what the 5Ds in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Decade Duels stand for! Don't play it!

----

I remember the first game I ever received from extended family when I was probably 5-6...
Aunt thought it was an "educational" game since old people are like that with games "have to be educational."

...

It was Rayman =D

i loved this article in fact id recommend it to my friends if it wasn't for that fact it was my girlfriend who got me Beowulf: the movie:the game. at least she tried.

This is when I will tell you about how i turned into a gamer.

A Christmas a Long time ago, me and my brother opened a present from our grandparents, it was Neverwinter Nights. The first one. My grandfather bought it because, "the lady at the back looked pretty (Lady Aribeth people :D) and we were really happy that he`d bought something as awesome as a videogame.

Me and my brother played videogames like most other kids, but it was THIS one (together with Warcraft 3 we had gotten ourself earlier) that turned me and him into gamers. It DID take us some time to understand this weird and unusual game, but when we did, we found out how deep and compelling games can be.

God, I miss that time.

KP Shadow:
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Decade Duels - It's pretty good. Though I heard some NPCs summon a bunch of monsters in one turn. Isn't that against the rules?

Screw the rules, I have money.

Anyway, I know how hard it is for people to get games as gifts since well, unless you know what you're looking for it's a long haul and let's face it, I've made some bad choices too.

This year I got a few games with gift cards that I was given. I got Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption and Rock Band 3 all for the 360. I am happy with my gifts.

This is why I write a list of the things I want. No thinking involved. Mom goes to the store, says I want this, this, and this and bam, shopping for Steve is easy.

When it comes to the holidays, if I don't tell you exactly what I want, just give me money, because odds are you'll fuck up otherwise. That's just how my family is.

But I did well this year. Fable 3, AssCreed Bros, Lords of Shadow, Enslaved, and Blood Stone :D

absolutely brilliant article, as always. It's always fascinating, yet also hugely chilling, to see how marketers do their job!

This is why every year I give a list of games to my family that I want to get.

Unfortunately despite the fact that I list the platform, sometimes they get it for the wrong
system >.<

Also I was the cool experienced Big Cousin this year at Christmas and got my cousins Uncharted 2 and Infamous ;)

I've never understood why it's such a taboo to ask the person what they want. Though my Grandad needed some convincing that I actually wanted a game called Epic Mickey; he thought it sounded like a kids game...

Ive luckily never had this problem. In terms of immediate family, I am always clear what games I want. For extended family they just get me gift cards which works well.

Dude, I have missed your column. Glad to see another installment.

That's nice, but how do we stop getting shovelware for Christmas? What can we say? What can marketing strategies and retailers do to help the problem? Or, from a marketing perspective, is this just seen as a good way to move products that normally wouldn't sell very well?

Tricking the naive into buying crapware with clever box art or placement in the store offer short term gains only and longterm disillusionment when grandma asks what you thought of the game she got you, and knows by the tone of your voice that you probably didn't play it much, and sensibly just gives you money or a gift certificate for next year.

Must.. not.. be.. manipulated.. despite.. logical.. argumentatio- Agh!

Darn you, Professional Marketing! Darn you!

Surprise is overrated. Better to ask what people want so they'll be genuinely happy with their present.

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