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Recommended: Confessions of a Gamestop Employee

Recommended: Confessions of a Gamestop Employee (photo)

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Full disclosure: Scott Jones and I used to work together at the late, lamented Crispy Gamer. He’s a good friend and a great writer.

His latest magic trick is pulling back the veil on what it looks to work at GameStop, the dominant game-seller in the United States. In a four-part series that ran on The Escapist, he tells of how he made the acquaintance of “Ben,” a former GameStop employee and tells Ben’s story of ungainly employment.

It’s always a weird thing to be a games journalist and be in a Gamestop when a sale is happening. People turn to the chain’s staff for advice on new games, but the sales associates don’t get significant time with titles before they come out. That’s actually a critic’s bailiwick, as we can see and/or play a game up to three of four times before it comes out. However, on the flip side, the men and women working in GameStop talk to game-buying consumers every day, giving them a level of insight that any game developer or exec would kill for.

Yet, it’s this quote from Jones’ piece that will ring through your head long after you’ve closed the browser window:

Gamers like to gripe about how obtuse videogame publishing companies seem to be, about how out of touch they are with our actual wants and needs. But what gamers usually fail to realize is this: Every job in this industry – and I mean every job – where decisions of a managerial sort are being made, is almost always occupied by a person who did not grow up playing videogames and who does not currently play videogames. I love games. You love games. But for these people, this is just a crappy job, or worse still, a crappy career path that they never wanted. It’s a paycheck, a way to pay the bills. They have no history, no deep-seated, emotional connection whatsoever to what they’re selling.

Here’s another excellent snippet:

To my surprise, we were never given any sort of crash course in videogame knowledge. When it came to games, we were always on our own. I relied on what I knew already, and to a lesser extent, on what I learned while doing the job. This is why so-called “fanboys” always make for the worst kind of GameStop employees: They only know what they like, and they can’t possibly fathom a customer’s personal wants or needs.

It’s a massive 7000-word oral history of one man’s time in the bowels of video game retail. If you’ve ever bought or traded in a game at Gamestop — and chances are that you have — then you need to read the entire series.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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