Someday, I may get good enough at this game to play for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Last week, I had $24 in unused trade-in credit burning a hole in my pocket and an undeniable hankerin’ for some pixilated carnage, so I hopped in the car and drove myself down to the local EB Games location. I hadn’t been in the store for more than five seconds when the barrage of questions from Annoyingly Chipper & Overcaffeinated Salesguy began:

“HOW ARE YOU TODAY? WHAT DID YOU BRING TO TRADE-IN? YOU DO KNOW WE TAKE YOUR OLD VIDEO GAMES FOR CASH OR TRADE, RIGHT? DVDs AND CDs, TOO! WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR TODAY? WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLACE A PRE-ORDER FOR DRAGON SOMETHING-OR-OTHER 157? WILL I EVER EXPERIENCE LOVE IN MY LIFE? WILL I EVER MOVE OUT OF MY PARENTS' GARAGE? WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE END MY PATHETIC EXISTENCE ALREADY? MY WHOLE LIFE IS A SHAM! THIS IS LITERALLY ALL I’M QUALIFIED TO DO! I MEAN, HONESTLY, WHY WAS I EVEN BORN?”

You know, typical video game store employee chatter.

I browsed the store’s selection of both new and used games, all the while trying to drown out Annoyingly Chipper & Overcaffeinated Salesguy’s yammering by imagining myself in a variety of more preferable situations – buying new floor tiles, renewing my driver’s license, getting a colonoscopy… anything, so long as it was quieter. It sounds weird, but I really need to concentrate when I’m looking at games. See, I’m not a hardcore gamer by any means, I don’t generally have a lot of money to spend on video games, I certainly don’t have the time to play a lot, and I’m not into a lot of the popular genres (RPGs, real time strategy, anything with the word “Madden” in it, etc.), so finding a game that I will enjoy playing takes a lot of consideration and effort. I probably make it a more torturous process than it needs to be, but I do that with most aspects of my life (just ask Erin), so why should this be any different? In any event, I just wanted to browse the selection available to me without having Annoyingly Chipper & Overcaffeinated Salesguy yammering in my general direction about how I need need need to pre-order Dungeon Crapper Pi, Super Mario Debate Club, City of Geometry Teachers, or some such nonsense.

Finally, after much consternation and hemming and hawing and a very unwanted salespitch from Annoyingly Chipper & Overcaffeinated Salesguy about pre-ordering an X-Box 360 (Which reminds me... wouldn’t “pre-ordering” something mean that you order it before you order it? How in the blue hell is that possible?), I was able to come to a decision: Star Wars Battlefront (now a PS2 Greatest Hit title). Now, typically, I hate shooting games. I find them repetitive, I can never adjust the camera angles quickly enough, and first person perspective games tend to make me nauseous (I’ve never been able to play Doom for more than 5 minutes without getting a little motion sick). Plus, I tend to suck at them in a big way. Battlefront has a few advantages, though. For one, you can switch from first person perspective to a refreshingly Dramamine-less third person. Second, it’s set in the Star Wars universe, so that’s usually good for some fun. Third, you can gun down Gungans by the truckload (Ewoks, too, but I’ve historically had less of a beef against them). As an avowed Jar Jar hater, that sort of thing appeals to me. And last, but certainly not least, it was $20. Greatest Hits titles and their accompanying cheaper price tags rule. So despite Annoyingly Chipper & Overcaffeinated Salesguy’s insistence that I’d be much better off waiting a week or two and spending an additional $30 to buy Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – Electric Boogaloo (because it’s newer and more expensive and therefore a better game, apparently), I paid the man, kicked him square in nuts (at least in my head), got my game and drove on home.

And let me tell you folks, it was indeed a happy purchase, because this is one crazy fun game. I’m really terrible at it – even on the easy setting, with “friendly fire” turned off and automatic targeting on, I still die with rapid and frightening regularity, quite often by my own accidental hand – but it’s fun. Well worth your video game dollar if you’re a fan of Star Wars or shooting games, even if it does mean you may have to contend with the likes of Annoyingly Chipper & Overcaffeinated Salesguy.

And the wholesale slaughter of Jar Jar and his pals? Cheapest geek catharsis money can buy.

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