Archive for May, 2010

I ran across one of these high-end vending machines from ZoomSystems in La Guardia a few weeks ago, during a long wait for a flight to Dallas. They’ve become quite ubiquitous over the last few years, dispensing everything from Sephora makeup to shit for weirdos Sky Mall.  Luckily for me, the machine (“automated retail store” if you’re cool, apparently) near our gate was a Best Buy Express, stocked with travel-friendly electronics and accessories.   Chief among those?  DSi’s and two Mario games!

Seeing I had yet to purchase Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (which was an inevitability anyway) I figured this would be as good an opportunity as any to pick it up.  Besides, when the machines rise up and enslave us all, maybe they’ll remember that one time I patronized one of their cold robo-tailers  and take pity on me and my family.

The shopping experience was smooth – a touchscreen details every product available, and a click on Mario & Luigi called up back-of-the-box copy and graphics.  There was even a little flag in the corner that showed an ESRB rating, and offered to explain the system.  A quick swipe of the credit card, and a little arm grabbed the box (protected in a cardboard outer box) and dropped it into the slot.  The machine didn’t ask me if I wanted a player’s guide or to pre-order something, so it’s already a step ahead of GameStop!  Zing!

ZoomSystems did a lot of things right in this setup, particularly for a novice game purchaser.  The two games they had on offer work in the one system they sell.  They (or Best Buy, not sure who ultimately calls the shots on these things) resisted the urge to foist some shovelware on unsuspecting travelers and stocked the machine with two very good DS games.  And of course, they’re both E-rated titles, so no issue with someone not badass old enough for Contra 4 walking up to one of these things and picking up a copy.

There are still some missed opportunities here, starting with that great bog touchscreen.  Why did it just show me the back boxart?  I guess Nintendo’s as good as anyone when it comes to writing up back-of-the-box copy, but this is 2010.  How about some video?

While we’re at it, I’ve been able to download  game demos wirelessly from DS Download Stations inside GameStop for years.  Adding that functionality to one of these machines would let the more casual consumer try buy before they buy, and probably improve conversion rates.

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