Some of you who are old enough will remember going to a friend’s house when you were a kid and sitting down to play N64 or the original Playstation. If so, there’s a good chance you were stuck with the ‘other’ controller. You know the one – it was bulkier, the triggers felt weird and for some reason it was pea-green. Third-party controllers have been around for as long as consoles and their bizarre designs have always tried to give players a more ergonomic or responsive interface, but more often than not they end up looking impossible to use for human hands. I introduce to you, for illustrative effect, the Avenger N-Control:
This piece of hardware, that appears to have gained sentience and a few too many tentacles, is supposed to make button-mashing faster and easier for our primitive arm-stumps; an appealing concept for thousands of hardcore gamers, if they can figure out where to put their fingers on the damn thing. I’m saying the third-party controller racket is a weird place to find arrogant businessmen, but that’s what one customer, Dave, got when he ordered his Avenger N-Control from Ocean Marketing and found his shipment inexplicably delayed. Receiving no personal notice or public updates from the company at all, Dave sent an e-mail asking about his purchase, and what followed was an ugly exchange that Dave was kind enough to link to Penny Arcade. Some highlights:
“From: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM
Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.
Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.”
And later on, Mike from Penny Arcade jumped in:
“From: Mike Krahulik
To: Dave, Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM
Holy shit this is unbelievable. Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:53 PM
Hey thanks Mike. It’s truly a shame because I think this device is great for gamers with disabilities and problems. I think of Child’s Play and if anyone’s gonna need greater accessibility when using complicated gamepads…it’s sick kids! Shit man, I’m really gonna feel bad if I think that sick children may somewhere down the line have fewer avenger controllers because I got into a pissing match with a sad old man. Please don’t cancel their booth on my account. As much as I hate this asshole, I still WANT his product and think it should be out there. GAH, I wish I was in a position to make a competing product to really stick it to guy.
From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM
We’re not renting a booth at pax east this year , bigger and better shows to be at we got nothing from the show . Oh so you know this guy has sold over 500 thousand dollars of product in Dec and is my main distribution arm landing us in GameStop , fry’s , Myers , Best buy , Activision , MLG , play N trade and a lot more . Were in 6 countries and you’re not going to take my money for a booth that’s a crock I can guarantee I’ll get a booth if I want one money buys a lot and connections go even further. He’s a native Bostonian from Little Italy . Who are you again ?”
This guy can’t be a real person, can he? This is what the next generation of business owners is going to look like if someone doesn’t shut down The Jersey Shore. What makes this story all the more pathetic is the state of the N-Control website, which is so tacky I’d have thought it was a scam site if it weren’t for the evidence in the e-mail that the N-Control is an actual product. The turd from Ocean Marketing is Paul Christoforo, a (hopefully newly unemployed) moron who obviously didn’t realize how easy it is for this kind of thing to go viral. If you want to remind Paul how big of a tool he is, you can find him on the appropriately misspelled Twitter handle @OceanMarketting, at least for the time being.