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READY 2 ROKK! (Oh wait, that�s a Guitar Hero meme)

I know I�ve been talking about this for a while, but I was only able to actually accomplish it yesterday, even though I�ve had it planned out for a while. It�s the story of how I was able to get Rock Band and Uncharted: Drake�s Fortune on the same day at Best Buy, and why that was significant. I�ll really try to keep it short this time, and if you get bored, you can always scroll down for PICTARS!!

I�m a Best Buy Reward Zone member, so I get emails with special offers from time to time. They also have other special offers listed on their website, which can be found at http://myrewardzone.bestbuy.com. One of these offers caught my eye: it was a coupon that said, Spend $100 or more and redeem your reward certificates to receive triple points. The coupon didn�t specify categories of items, like most point multiple coupons do; it just said I�d get triple points on any in-store purchase of $100 or more, as long as I used at least one reward certificate. So I figured I�d buy Rock Band and Uncharted on the same day and use a $5 reward certificate�that way, I�d be getting triple points on $224.98, which comes out to nearly 675 points (250 points nets you a $5 reward certificate).

Now, of course, the main issue here was actually finding Rock Band on the PS3 in stock at a store. I visited Best Buy around once a week anyway (new release DVDs, usually), but they never had any of the Special Edition sets, just the standalone game�and really, what good is that? I went there this past Saturday, and an associate said they had no copies and that he didn�t have any idea when they were going to get any. I left the store dejected, especially because time was running out: my coupon had an expiration date of December 10th.

I had to give it one more shot, so yesterday evening, I headed back down to the Best Buy in Chelsea (that�s the one I always go to). I fully expected them to have zero copies, considering that they didn�t have any just two days prior, so I went in with a plan to just get Uncharted, which they were pretty much guaranteed to have in stock; a case for my iPod classic, which would cost between $20 and $30; and Superbad on Blu-ray ($29.99) to get me over the $100 hump�yep, that�s the one drawback of the Reward Zone card, and it�s how Best Buy gets you: I�ve totally become a Reward Zone point whore. Hell, I pretty much don�t shop anywhere else for media (DVDs, games, etc.) and electronics, unless the price is significantly cheaper at another store (like when I was able to get Call of Duty 4 and The Orange Box at Target on Black Friday for $48 each).

So I went in and checked out the iPod cases. Strike 1: they didn�t have the one I wanted (the Griffin Elan Form), so I was stuck with the DLO Jam Jacket. It was on sale, but I didn�t really want it because it�s made of silicone instead of plastic and leather like the Elan Form. Then I headed downstairs, where they have everything else. Strike 2: They were sold out of Superbad on Blu-ray. Bah. It was looking more and more like I would have to buy something I didn�t really want or need just to get to the $100 threshold, but I told myself I could just use it a Christmas gift for someone. I moseyed on over to the video game section, and to my utter shock, a Rock Band Special Edition box was sitting right on the floor next to a stack of Guitar Hero II bundles for the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, my momentary elation turned back to sadness when I realized that it was the 360 version. I found Uncharted, and then an employee. This was my last hope, and here�s how the conversation went:

Me: Do you have any copies of Rock Band in stock?
Her: Yeah.
Me: Um, not the 360 version that�s over there; the PS3 version.
Her: Uh-huh.
Me: Uh...you have the box? The whole thing?
Her: ...Yeah.
Me: Oh, can I get one?
Her: Sure.
Me: Thanks!

God, I�m so glad that we didn't get to strike three�not finding a copy of Uncharted would�ve been unbelievably demoralizing. Overjoyed, I put down the shopping basket with the Jam Jacket in it and took Rock Band and Uncharted to the register. It was a little unwieldy�you�d think EA could�ve put some damn handles on the box, or at least openings for your hands�but I got it home on the subway just fine. A quick note about the guitar: I was hoping to get a non-first-run bundle in order to avoid the whole strum bar issue, but it didn�t look that way from the outside of the box�the bottom has a sticker that says �9-Nov-07� on it. The strum bar for the guitar doesn�t click, which is awesome, but its up-and-down movement seems to be restricted by a spongy material inside the body. Is that how my guitar is supposed to feel? I haven�t played the game yet, but I�m anticipating issues with quick consecutive notes, like on Radiohead�s �Creep�.

And now, as promised, pics!

The prominent round yellow sticker on the box reads thusly: �If you encounter a problem with any Rock Band� peripheral, DO NOT return to the store. Contact http://support.ea.com/rockband�

My pride and joy

Oh goody, they were nice enough to include three AA batteries�even though I can�t actually use them (or the guitar at all) because I have no screwdriver to get the damn battery cover open...and look, another very visible notice pleading with customers not to return the game to the store!

In case I haven�t mentioned it, my dorm room is quite cramped�there�s no way in hell I could ever have more than two people in here playing the game at the same time�but that won�t be an issue, because I would need friends who played this game first ;)
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About Samit Sarkarone of us since 7:56 PM on 12.14.2006

Senior Reporter, Polygon at Vox Media

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