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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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it's because it's march and i feel happy
flying squirrel
I often think of Best Buy as less of a store than an endless source of money-spending. In some ways, it's worse than Frye's; Frye's has so much that you can get overstimulated and conceivably leave clutching a usb drive and your tattered dignity.

Not so much Best Buy, no.

The Story

I'd been meaning to get Mom a gaming keyboard, since the wireless set she has now is a.) old, and b.) keeps slowing randomly and slowing her hunt for--some thing. I have no idea what. She's started working in groups with other players in Guild Wars, and apparently, the response time is really bad, though she was sure she was just old and therefore on a slow and inevitable decline toward senility or something. I stared at her blankly and remembered this is the woman who has conquered every Zelda game ever and checked her keyboard and mouse. They both worked okay, but sticky keys and basic wear and tear on a wireless desktop; I figured in any case, it was time for a replacement and to, you know, kind of psych her into thinking it was the keyboard and not her. So I said, with thoughtful, considered tones, "You need a gaming keyboard. That's the problem." She looked at me with a kind of vaguely cynical hope. But this is me; I made her a Guild Wars junkie. I am totally that kind of manipulative daughter.

Actually, she needs a better system period, but a good gaming system is hideously expensive and will have to wait for either a.) my next raise, b.) a miracle or c.) me unexpectedly marrying into money.

So Saturday morning we went to Best Buy, where I went looking for a new keyboard and mouse. But there is a second, darker side to this tale of daughterly fidelity; I was looking for a Nintendo DS.

Okay, the thing is, the Wii thing is pissing me off. I won't buy used, because--I think there was some idealogical reason, but whatever--and I cannot find it anywhere. They get like, a shipment and it's gone three hours later! And so I stare bitterly at online shopping and wonder if Nintendo is infusing them with like, the souls of the dead or something, because oh my God, they cannot be that slow to build them. So the last time I walked out of a store Wii-less, I swore to the heavens that they had better start killing more souls right quick or my ass was going Playstation 3. Do you hear me, Nintendo? Playstation 3!!! And X-Box 360! AND ANYONE BUT YOU.

I felt like such a traitor.

Anyway, the rest of the story: while at the hospital when I couldn't hold Niece II, I played with their Nintendo DS and fell utterly in love. So did, in fact, my mother and my son. Touchscreen! Things! I got Child a Gameboy a couple of years ago, but it wasn't like this; this was magic. It had this brain age thingie that was almost hysterically addictive, and I had a bad moment of remembering Tetris and my slow decline during that period of my life and then had another bad moment of realizing the kind of parent I actually had become. The kind who uses her Child to buy cool electronic toys! And I found it good. So then and there, I said "I want this" and my mother looked up and said, "Let's stop on the way home."

Well, we didn't, as I am trying to be fiscally responsible, but by Saturday, both of us were panting for it, wanting the touch-screen to discover our brain age, play pacman with a delightful sense of nostalgia, get that damn Zelda game and ooh, Mario, the first love of my young life. So with the new keyboard and mouse stashed under one arm, we searched the store, and then braced ourselves and asked the clerk, nicely, "Where are the Nintendo DS?"

There were none, and that is like, the fastest way in history to make me want something enough to stare them down until they stumbled out the next delivery date.

Today, we trekked back, clutching our tattered dignity and beelined for the display, snatching one up like it would be pulled away (Wii scarred me), then browsing games. Brain thing and pac-man, with Zelda up next month. We have a schedule.

It's just so lowering. Also grabbed the two Bourne sequels, because I was on boycott for DVDs when Ultimatum came out and a new DVD for Niece I so she'd feel that not everything was about Niece II's awesome babyness.

As we were leaving, my mother, son, and Niece I stopped to play with the Rock Band special edition, and all of them turned huge, hopeful eyes at me while I began to panic, because a.) God that looked cool and b.) oh my God that looks so cool! And secret c.) Oh God, I want to have a concert in my living room! And then we left, in physical pain, and here is my ultimatum to Wii.

Get. A. Wii. In. A. Store. Or Come April first, I am not only getting X Box 360, I am getting that rock band thing. And Halo 3. I have no idea what it is or how to play it, but I am in that place where I will not only learn, I will become obsessed and buy all the stupid shit that goes with it. This is not negotiable.

The DS is pretty cool, though. I forgot how much I love hand helds.

So the Keyboard:

We ended up with a Razor Tarantula keyboard and DeathAdder mouse. And--okay, I can sound like an infomercial and say, Jesus. That's good stuff. And mean it.

Tarantula Keyboard
DeathAdder Mouse

The new keyboard and mouse are showing a definite and really, really noticeable difference in response time and speed. I'd expected a small improvement due to being new (the wireless desktop is a couple of years old and the keys do sometimes stick) and a psychological edge (my mother is open to suggestion if I'm very careful how firm my voice is), but it's like a 500% improvement and her killrate (capture rate? I have no idea. I think they hunt and kill things?) on the thingies is huge. Enough that she called me into the room, launched into a horrifying spate of gamespeech (I was a fool and set her up with the Guild Wars forums and urbandictionary.com; let's say that l33t is knocking at her door and she's this close to welcoming it with open arms) that I finally translated to: "OMG AWESOME."

I can't be sure it's not the newness, but I never noticed a particularly bad response time on the keyboard when using it in general and nor did she, just her gaming was slower than she liked. Now granted, this is the difference between using Microsoft Word and playing a game, but huh, so it's not just a neat new way to make money. It also glows blue and is programmable, which will tempt her into new and startling feats of definitely-not-senility.

Currently she is kicking the ass of some eighteen year old chippie at something or other, "She's kind of slow," Mom says, bewildered. "It's not that hard to do :::insert gamespeech here:::". I watched her play for a bit and nodded thoughtfully.

Still have no clue what she's doing, though it involves gate monkeys (I don't even know what the hell) and experience points. But she's having fun.

I really want to try her at World of Warcraft next. For no other reason than she has a viciously competitive streak and the first time someone annoys her, she'll suddenly snap into this terrifying killer of souls and it's just hysterical.

And that was my day.

*drive-by comment*

Just as an FYI, they're making Rockband for the Wii too, if it's not out already. :)

Huh. I saw Playstation and X Box but not the Wii version.

*makes note* If Wii will ever enter a store. As that would be ideal.

I saw them behind the counter once. I didn't want one at the time. I was a fool.


I suspect if I ever DO have the cash to buy, I'll have better luck in NYC.

They had them easily available in November. *grits teeth*

We keep looking at Rockband with *wantwantwant* as well. Right now Guitar Hero 2 & 3 are keeping us happy but we want drums damn it!

If you happen to end up with a 360, HALO 3 (or Gears of War or Bioshock or or or...), and XBox Live lemme know and we can party up. w00t :)

PS I could not *believe* the difference that a gaming mouse/keyboard made with my PC game play. My k/d ratio got so much better. Besides, you know, *glowy*.

Oh my God it is awesome. They had the thing set up and my family is crowding around teh display playing with it and the only reason I did not blow my budget and my limit is because I am giving Wii until April.

Then? All bets off.

*marks down games* I will keep this in mind.

(Deleted comment)
Ah, the advantages of living in a) a suburb and b) a relatively unknown suburb between two very well known suburb.

We have the Wii.

We have lots of Wii.

(Well, okay, at last count it was only 17, but still, Wii).

And if you want, I will get and ship to you. You pay, you get, you make everyone's birthday come true. *grins*

(Also, I know someone who can probably hook you up with Rock Band, considering that's all the anime club did last session.)

PS: Your mom on WoW might scare my Rogue into permanent hiding. *nodnod*

PPS: I wish my mom was into video games like yours. *sighs*

Luckily, my childhood prepped her--seh used to play with us and totally got the first taste of the sweet, sweet crack. I knew she'd love the newer games.

Ah, the Death Adder mouse. After I got my dad hooked to World of Warcraft he upgraded his keyboard and mouse, and got the Death Adder. It's gorgeous, great response time, but it turned out to be incompatible with the new desktop and kept crashing it whenever he tried to do anything fancy. I seriously think this is just my father being really really bad at technology, because that mouse was damn fine. (No, really, he still hasn't figured out how to sync up his mp3 player. Mom and I gave it to him for Christmas four years ago.)

He actually got the same keyboard as well, and is in Macro Heaven (yes, capital M, capital H), so I'd say that was an awesome buy. I'm not sure if he was having issues with them because of the freaking giant LCD monitor he got from HP, or because it was Windows Vista, and Vista is the devil, but he finally caved and brought Geek Squad in. When they looked at his setup, looked at him, and couldn't parse how someone with such awesome stuff had the technological acuity of a two year old chimp, he explained that his daughter got him hooked on WoW.

Apparently it all makes sense now.

The best part was it was discounted for some reason and then I had my gift certificate and 10%, so it came well within budget.

*dies laughing* I do set up on Mom's, but I have her watch me so she can do the basic troubleshooting after. *still giggling* But yeah.

My ex got her Wii from Toys R Us - she couldn't get one online but found one at the store.

Your mom *slays* me. Seriously.

And you totally have to get her WoW - I don't play it and only know about it from that one South Park episode, but I'd love to here the stories of her exploits.

To get our wii, we called the store to find out the delivery date, then showed up an hour before the store opened to get in line. This was christmas a couple of years ago, when they first came out, but I bet calling ahead for the delivery date would still help.

And I love my DS. It's pink, and I call it a game girl. I wanted to put unicorn stickers on it, but my son said he'd refuse to be seen with me.

Oh man, that mouse is HOT. *guh* and I don't even game...*thinks about boy shaped things that do* oh they would love me even more than they already do...HEE.

I really want to try her at World of Warcraft next. For no other reason than she has a viciously competitive streak and the first time someone annoys her, she'll suddenly snap into this terrifying killer of souls and it's just hysterical.

She should play a warlock. Undead warlock. Coz souls are yummy!

Subscribe to wiialerts.com, and have them text you. It's how I got mine from Amazon.

My mother and my seven year old niece both have the Nintendo DS lite. I am jealous, addicted to borrowing them to play brain training game, and trying desperately to convince myself that I don't need to buy one.

Posts like this are NOT HELPING :P

*fails willpower* *heads for amazon*

We found our Wii at a Target, during that magical time last year when some actually stayed on the shelves for a couple hours before disappearing (at least, this happened in Houston). You should probably get someone in a Wii-plentiful area to mail you one, but oh boy do I understand the joy of finding one in person. (We came close once before we got ours, but the guy at Best Buy gave us the wrong shipment date arrgh rassafrassa.)

DS-wise, I'm not sure what you've already got but even though Brain Age has sudoku, Big Brain Academy's games are more fun. And if you like them, there's a New York Times crossword puzzle collection (that has been eating my brain since Christmas). I've also fallen in love with Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which is an adorable and charming puzzle game with a bit of an adventure-RPG setting, only limited by the fact that most of its puzzles are kind of easy, and the sort you can't get much replay value out of. But still so loveable!

Edited at 2008-03-03 10:49 am (UTC)

Mario, the first love of my young life

I WILL resist temptation, and NOT buy Nintendo DS or Wii, NOT even, if Mario would look like Lex or Clark.
It took every gramm of my willpower 12 years ago, to sell my Super NES and Gameboy, I WILL NOT GO BACK into Big N's clutches....
but i still have my Nintendo Club Card :D

1 - wiialerts, as lillian13 said.
2 - Check the walmart in the nearest semi-rural community.
3 - Check the Sunday ads first thing in the morning, then get to any store advertising wii before they open. Apparently stores will squirrel back some of their stock for upcoming ads.

I think it's hysterically funny that you're unleashing your mother on unsuspecting gamers.

Her current system is a desktop, yes? You can probably upgrade it with a better video card and more RAM.