Saturday, I tried to rent a game for my XBox 360 called Test Drive Unlimited. In this game, you purchase a variety of cars and drive them on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. The makers of the game have mapped out over 1,000 miles of roads to drive. Along the way are various challenges that allow you to rank up in skill, earn cash for cars or credits that can be used to pimp your ride or your look. With the 360 and an Xbox Live account, you will see other players driving about. Occasionally, they may come up to you, flash their headlights and challenge you to street race. Ah, the life of the fast and the furious. Only, Vin Diesal doesn't look as cute as me.
So, I wanted to rent the game and play it for a few weeks. The reality of buying any game is that I tend to play it for a few days and then get busy with what I like to call the real world. Then, I forget about the game. These games are a $60 dollar investment. However, I was denied the rental of the game because, at Blockbuster video, they will not let me rent an Xbox 360 Game unless I have a major credit card. They will not accept Visa Check Cards. Never mind the fact that I could go to Blockbuster Online and open an account with the same card, or Gamefly for that matter. Never mind that I have been a Blockbuster customer with my own account since 1989 and have always paid for any fees that I have incurred. I talked with the Store Manager who, was very nice, could not make an exception. It just so happens that they just had a meeting to discuss this very topic and, under no circumstance where they to make exceptions. The manager wanted to smooth the ouch with some free game rentals (classic xbox, of course) or video rentals. I even called the Blockbuster 1-800 customer service line and was given some of the same information, but, was told that my concern would be forwarded to an area supervisor. I am still waiting by the phone for a call. Not.
I had become determined to get this game. I found a used copy at Game Stop for $35 dollars, and if I traded in three games I no longer played, I could get the game for $6.00 dollars out of pocket. I went home for dinner and to run the purchase by Cindy. I was going to rent the game for $8.00 or buy it for $6.00? It was a no brainer for her, and she gave me the thumbs up. When I took my games to the store, I remembered that I had a Game Stop "Edge" card which gives me an additional 10% to each trade in title, and 10% off any used game purchase. I wound up with $1.51 store credit on the Edge card. That was really cool.
And, the game is a blast also. I cruised all over the island looking for "please wait...loading" but never got one: it is silky smooth. If you are looking for an "open ended" driving game, this one is a lot of fun. Combined with our wireless steering wheel and our MP3s, you can really imagine you are driving on Oahu.
Just a side note, if you do have Xbox Live, you may want to consider disabling the Online Interactions. When I got home from work on Monday, I came in after a terrible online incident. Turns out, Megan ran into another "live" player, who in turn, exacted revenge and ran in to her. Not one to back down, My Toughie tracked the person down and ran back into him. Long story short, my seven year old experienced virtual road rage, and someone out in there in the world totally got owned by a seven year old girl. Megan learned her lesson, because the Hawaii police came along (yes, they have police) and took her to jail. Turns out, she had priors. Also, turns out she did not have enough money to make bail, so she had to spend 30 seconds in the pokey.