The time: Christmas morning. The place: Arizona. Gathered ‘round the richly festooned Christmas tree, we exchange gifts.

Jessica’s brother, Jeb, hands her a wrapped and ribboned package. Unwrapping it, she finds a box exactly the size and shape of a briefcase. This limited edition packaging of Bladerunner contains five DVDs, a metal miniature of an origami unicorn, and a toy .

All five discs are encoded for . Jessica lives in region 2. Jeb sends the briefcase back to Amazon.

We spend most of the holidays playing games on the Wii. When we make a foray to the local shopping mall, we stock up on some more games: , and .

We bring these games back with us to Brighton. There we discover that Wii games, like DVDs, are locked to specific regions. We also discover that the briefcase edition of Bladerunner is not available in the UK. Jessica settles for a tinned version lacking unicorns and spinners.

In future, we must remember not to buy any DVDs or games when visiting the United States of America.

Meanwhile, the US economy continues its downward spiral. I would have thought that any influx of foreign income would be welcomed.

Update: Yes, I know that most DVD players can be unlocked to play all regions but that wasn’t really my point. In fact, it just proves what a stupid idea region encoding is. What’s the point of adding in an extra layer of complexity to the medium if the device has a corresponding layer of complexity that can be stripped away? But thanks to everyone who wrote to tell me about region unlocking.

Have you published a response to this? :

Previously on this day

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16 years ago I wrote Just plain wrong

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16 years ago I wrote Airport

An iChat transcript with my friend Diarmaid who I am supposed to be meeting in Dublin right about now:

18 years ago I wrote Please don't let me be misunderstood

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