I don’t really hide the fact that I play video games, but as a single man in his 20s, I don’t particularly want to shout it to everyone who walks into my apartment either. I’m not really ashamed of anything. I don’t stow the controllers and systems in a box somewhere or pretend to be excessively interested in local sports teams. It’s just that having my wall plastered with Mario and Zelda is not good for business.

And yet somehow I still am drawn in by GameStop’s free poster with pre-order promotions. Or really free anything. With Super Mario 3D Land they got me with a key chain. I don’t even know where that damn thing is right now. I have a dozen posters from various pre-orders and Club Nintendo offers that actually are stashed in my closet.

There is a downside to the pre-order bonuses at GameStop though. Namely that you have to shop at GameStop, but there’s more to it now that the new 3DS games published by Nintendo are all available digitally upon release. The desire for cool free stuff and to collect cartridges is now conflicting with one of my life long dreams. The dream of having my system loaded with games and never having to swap them out. It’s partly a matter of having to carry the cartridges for a handheld, but it applies to consoles too.

The other factor involved in my decision to continue to purchase from GameStop, instead of the much more convenient digital options, or even a big box store, is the personal factor. I don’t need advice on which games to buy, and I probably wouldn’t take it from them, but sometimes the people who work there can be interesting to talk to. I would prefer to frequent a smaller local shop, but those don’t seem to exist on the east side of Los Angeles.

In today’s comic Mike decides to go with a digital copy, and I wish I could say that I went the same way, but alas no. After weighing the options I went with GameStop, the free poster, and interaction with real people.