Worst & Best Black Friday 2011

Worst & Best Black Friday 2011

Worst & Best Black Friday 2011

Love it or hate it, Black Friday is the day crazed shoppers overtake the nation’s retailers—breaking down doors, fighting with each other over crazy-good deals, and just plain getting their Christmas shopping done. If there’s a gamer on your list, here are the six best and worst deals you’ll find as a reward for getting up way too early and waiting in the cold.

The Worst

Not-So-Cheap Medal of Honor Not-So-Cheap Medal of Honor

Did retailers not get the memo that Medal of Honor kinda sucks? What was once a cutting-edge FPS franchise has become an also-ran when viewed in the context of the latest Call of Duty and Battlefield titles. The series reboot was released more than a year ago, had a middling Metacritic score of 74, and is available new from Amazon.com for less than $20.

Yet retailers seem to think you’ll pay as much for this game as you’ll pay for brand-new blockbusters. At Best Buy (where you can get Metal Gear Solid 4 for $10!), you’ll be expected to fork over $35 for Medal of Honor. Sears is charging $40, and Kmart and Target are asking for $35. And they’re advertising these prices as Black Friday deals.

Seriously, what is wrong with the world?

Clearing Out the Bargain Bin Clearing Out the Bargain Bin

Sometimes, retailers count on you to not know the difference between “great deal” and “cheap junk for cheaper.” Big Lots, for example, has a buy-two-get-two sale on some games, which sounds great until you look at the titles: The standout is a NAMCO Bandai compilation of ancient arcade games. Otherwise, there’s, um, North American Hunting Extravaganza 2. Toys R Us pulled a similar stunt, offering a buy-one-get-one-free sale whose high points are movie games like Toy Story 3.

Amazon's Lips Are Sealed, But They Have a Bowling Ball Amazon’s Lips Are Sealed, But They Have a Bowling Ball

Amazon doesn’t release paper ads, so it has no trouble keeping its Black Friday deals secret until the very end. That’s fine, but it’s downright low for the site to set up a Black Friday page that doesn’t include any information about the forthcoming deals, but does try to entice you into buying its premature “Deals Week” items.

When I flipped through the page on Friday to see if there was anything worthwhile, I found a $20 Wii bowling ball on sale for $15. In addition to being a stupid idea, the device has iffy reviews. When I returned on Saturday, I found discounts on a wide range of “great gifts” including Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey and Club Penguin: Game Day!

On Sunday, the retailer announced some great download deals, including Mass Effect 2 for $5, which was a relief. It was starting to look ridiculous for a second there.

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