Like some piece of delicious candy being ripped from a child’s hand I’ve been made to return Halo 3. My replacement copy via Amazon was, somehow, more damaged than my original. After calling the folks in the customer service center, and declining their offer of a 7-10 day refund, I talked to a “team leader” who offered me a near instant 24-48hr refund to shut me up. Apparently the delectable video game fruit is too fragile to be shipped. This I blame on the combination of all parties involved. Bungie/MS for designing a case so pathetic that it fails nearly every time. Amazon for not putting a single shred of “packing material” in either box I received and finally UPS for being the worlds worst shipping service. What can brown do for you? Brown can somehow mangle a box so badly that it looks like an acordian when it arrives. And that’s overnight. I’d hate to see how Express Saver ends up.

So, the end result of this fiasco is that I’ve had to wait all week for a game I could have simply picked up at Target on the 25th. My refund from Amazon proceeded this morning so I’ll pick it up on my lunch break or on my way home. Target, by the way, is my new video game retailer of choice. Actual knowledgeable and most of all helpful employees, good prices (not that video prices vary) and a seemingly abundant supply of new releases. Above all, they don’t engage in the open box policies of EB and GS. Nope, you get new games in all their shrink wrapped glory. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve got someone on the inside, in the mobster sense, that routinely holds new releases for me.

All was not lost however, in the time I had I was able to finish Bioshock and start in on Skate. I had picked up Skate a little while ago but never started playing it, having devoted myself to playing Bioshock strait through. I have to say that the new control system, the openness of the environment and the next generation graphics and physics really kick the hell out of anything from the Tony Hawk camp. There’s no super-mega-1080 donkey flips. Most of your tricks are kickflips, ollies, maybe the occasional 180. Why? Because you actually have to perform these tricks, with you thumb, on the right analog stick. I’m sure out there somewhere there is a little asian kid who can whip out some 720 varials or something, but I can’t, at least not yet. I’m actually enjoying just riding around the levels doing ollies. Go figure.

So, alls well that ends well. I’ll get Halo tonight and this whole thing will be done with. It teaches me a valuable lesson… Never preorder anything ever again. Something in this much demand is bound to have a sufficient supply to simply go and purchase. Or, at the very least, never preorder anything slightly fragile. I’m sure that preordering a book would be quite safe. Those glass civil war figures you’ve had your eye on are a different story.