A double thumbs-up to the knowledgeable, friendly staff in GAME, who helped MCV around the store to discuss the merits of each platform and title. Ubisoft will be pleased to hear that Assassins Creed had been ‘selling like crazy', alongside fellow new release Super Mario Galaxy – which was also said to be selling like hot cakes.
Given MCV's faux-cluelessness, it was also suggested that we buy our fictional brother a 50 gift card – a good option for any clueless relative asked to buy someone a game this Christmas. Give that girl a promotion!
This store's neat and tidy appearance, lack of heavy metal music and odour-free status went against every Gamestation store clich in the book – and proved a welcome respite from the utter chaos of Camden High Street. After a little badgering, the (possibly stoned) store staff opened up and offered MCV plenty of ways of spending its Christmas cash. Assassins Creed, Super Mario Galaxy, Halo 3, The Orange Box and Call of Duty 4 were the top selling titles of the moment, and came highly recommended.
When it comes to platforms, Xbox 360 was clearly favoured. The store assistant said that Call of Duty 4 is exactly the same on PS3, but 10 cheaper on 360. Indeed, Sony's new console wasn't recommended at all – ‘all its games are out on Xbox anyway', said the staffer. That attitude also was reflected in the relatively small shelf space dedicated to PS3.
For a clueless non-Camdenite like MCV, the first challenge on entering Zavvi was working out where the games section was. After discovering a poorly-signposted lower floor housing DVD and games, the resident games expert was very helpful. Against the backdrop of a huge Xbox 360 presence, Assassins Creed, Mario Galaxy, COD 4 and PES 2008 were recommended, alongside an extra deal offering half-price chargers for PS3 and Wii controllers or a remote for 360 with any game bought.
The total madness of Camden's Woolworths outlet was as horrifying as it was amusing. Within the tatty games section, PS3 took up a tiny, end of aisle space – a store presence so small that when asked where it was, our store assistant wasn't sure if they even stocked any PS3 products. Current favourites COD 4 and Assassins Creed were recommended on Xbox 360, while the new WWE title was said to be popular on PS2. For Wii, Mario Galaxy and The Simpsons were selling well.
Always a comedy highlight of any Mystery Shopper feature, Currys.digital staff tend to be so clueless and unwilling to help that MCV leaves the store none the wiser. And it's no different in Camden – we were simply pointed toward the games section and told to make our own minds up. Brilliant.
Another stupidly packed store – but a good-humoured bunch of staff made the Argos experience much more bearable. While the horribly over-stretched team struggled to keep up with the crowds at the tills, the last thing they wanted was some idiot asking them which game they would recommend as a Christmas gift. MCV was that idiot. The staff did their best to help, calling over the resident games expert, who, escaping from whatever madness he was involved with before, said Halo 3 and FIFA were the biggest sellers of the moment.