Cheat Codes for Life

Zack Huffman offers advice about pre-ordering games, getting your wife into gaming, PC games to try out, and more.

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solitaireOn the date of August 24th, 2005, I was caught with my pants down in front of a cop car that had been set on fire, while holding a book of matches in one hand and a tank of gasoline in the other. As part of my community service, I’ve been ordered to bestow my vast knowledge upon the gaming masses.

Dear Zack,

I just pre-ordered this killer videogame from Gamestop. Normally pre-ordering really isn’t my thing, but they told me I’d get a free gift if I did, so why not?

Fast-forward a few weeks later. The game arrives, and it’s great; but there’s no gift. I don’t know if Gamestop lied to me or the gift got lost in the mail or what, but it isn’t here, and I’m not happy about it. After all, I wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble if it weren’t for the gift. What should I do?



Dear Giftless,

Did your pre-ordered game get delivered to your doorstep? If you picked it up from the store, you should have asked the clerk about your gift. In my experience, Gamestop tends to be a shady store staffed by self-important shit-bags who are mostly interested in explaining to their friends, who always hang out at the store, why they are more intelligent than the people who program all those games they hate yet play endlessly.

Usually, they’re too engrossed in self-indulgence to help you with a game that you’ve already pre-ordered, let alone any bonus gift that’s supposed to be included.

Knowing Gamestop, any promise they made involving gift items included something along the lines of “while supplies last,” in small print. So you’re probably shit out of luck.

I guess the only silver lining is that, while the Gamestop is busy analyzing the geo-political implications of Super Mario, you shouldn’t have much difficulty grabbing your own hand-picked gift from among any of the merchandise that has been foolishly not been left behind the counter.




My wife is a non-gamer. Her favorite videogame is Solitaire. She thinks Final Fantasy sounds like the name of an artsy porn movie, and she recently used my Xbox 360 as a platform on which to stand multiple vases of flowers. Vases! On my frakking 360!

How do I convince this woman (without pulling all kinds of spouse aggro) that gaming is both good and just? What game/platform will force her to see the light and embrace gaming as a way of life?


Dear Steve,

I would estimate that about 90 percent of gamers are males. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that most games are specifically designed to appeal to males. This also makes it tougher to suggest games that the average woman would relate to and want to play. Unfortunately, they have yet to make Suzy Likes to Cook-in: The Menstrual Vacuum Challenge. (In the interest of still having a girlfriend after
this article is posted, I’d like to add that I’m personally waiting for the release of Betty Friedan Presents: Patriarchy Smash! Featuring Emma Goldman.)

Basically, try to introduce your wife to gaming the same way you would a guy who isn’t a gamer. Start with simpler stuff, and suggest games that are easy to get into, and fun. And don’t let gender stereotypes dictate which games you think she’ll like. If she’s anything like my girlfriend, she likes games that either rock or involve shooting people in the face. But then, who doesn’t enjoy Guitar Hero and Grand Theft Auto?


Dear Zack,


I’ve never been much for playing videogames on the PC, but my friends keep telling me I gotta try it because I’m missing out on so many great titles. I don’t really like using a keyboard and mouse to play games, but that isn’t even my main problem; my main problem is that, whenever I’ve bought a new PC game in the past, it’s never worked on my computer. My computer is NEVER up-to-date enough to play the newest games.

Kind of makes me find the whole idea pointless, you know? Anyway, I’m just wondering if you think it’s worth it to get a new fancy PC (that I’ll undoubtedly have to upgrade in a few months to play new games then), or if I should just continue to avoid PC games.


Am I Missing Out?

Dear Am I Missing Out?,

PC gaming can be pretty solid if you aren’t hung up on always having the newest game. There’s a ton of excellent PC-only games that will be available to you if you’ve got even one of the least expensive computers on the market. The trick is to have an appreciation for abandonware, which is software that is no longer licensed, making it legal to download.

Before you go out and buy a new, expensive computer, you should check out the games that are available. Get a good idea of which games you’d most like to try out. Then figure out the least-expensive computer that you would need to play the games.

To help, and mostly to fill-up space, I’m asking all of my three readers to write-in and let me know which PC Games are among your favorite. I’m not going to be picky on the number of games, but try to stay around 3-5. Series of games can count as one, if you talk about more than one game within the series. All of your letters will be in the next edition of Cheat Codes for Life.


1 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

From 2005 to 2007

Zack Huffman is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.

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