This comes about because the Internet is a strange place. Its revenue-generating mechanisms are vague and hard to define, with actual advertising income earned in large part by AI bots and spiders, crawling the web and looking for references to things that impressionable human beings can be convinced to spend money on from time to time.
I was recently approached by a marketing organization that covets my tiny share of the seething, faceless Internet masses, and seeks a boon. And in exchange for this bountiful gift of blog reference, they have offered up a prize - a $40 gift certificate, good at any of their multitudinous web-based merchandising outlets. My contact is an actual human being, and to her infinite credit she is allowing me to deliver this message in my preferred style, which takes everything and nothing seriously, especially when it comes to marketing. We're just feeding the machine, but it's a fair trade.
What the sponsor wants me to mention here, as the first link in my post, is the venerable sleeper sofa.
That's right, the same kind of sleeper sofa that Dad used to lie down on after throwing his back out moving it.
Which has, truth to tell, precious little to do with videogames.
BUT our sponsor-who-shall-now-be-named CSN Stores has given me an excuse to run the first ever Gaming After 40 contest, because there are a few places where every gamer's world intersects the domain of the legendary sleeper sofa. (One or two, actually, depending on whether one prefers to think of it as le butt, or les cheeks.)
Take and send in (via email) a humorous photo of yourself, alone or with friends and/or animals and/or friendly animals, sitting on your run-down, decrepit couch, futon, beanbag chair, barcalounger, what-have-you, or, sure, sleeper sofa, while playing video games. Choose the moment -- show us the triumph of victory, the agony of defeat, the irritation at being pwned, or anything else that you think will make us laugh. Please include "Photo Contest" in your email title/subject so I don't overlook it.
The deadline is midnight EDT on May 31st, 2010 -- actually, if it sneaks into my Inbox before I wake up on June 1st, it will make the cut. I will appoint a panel of three judges, real-world friends who are familiar with sitting on their nether assets and playing games, to pick the funniest entry. I will post the winning photo on the website, and instruct our generous sponsor's representative to email you the $40 gift certificate code, which I trust she will do posthaste.
Multiple entries are fine, though please don't send multiple copies of the SAME photo.
Admittedly, the $40 prize will likely NOT buy you anything new to sit on. Like a sleeper sofa.
And apparently the gifted $40 only applies to merchandise, not shipping costs, so do the math carefully if you win, as you will likely have to cover that yourself. Though you can't buy anything too gigantic for $40.
And our sponsor can only ship to a winner based in the US or Canada, which means if I get entries from elsewhere I will have to publish the funniest North American photo, awarding the submitter the $40 prize, and also select an honorary World Winner who gets no prize beyond satisfaction.
Note that CSN Stores is not a videogame retailer per se. But they do carry worthwhile merchandise of a general nature, covering a wide variety of product lines, so the prize should not go to waste. For example, retro gamers can always use media storage racks, available at reasonable prices at CSN's Racks and Stands website, so you should be able to find something reasonable to do with the $40 in free merchandise, good at any of CSN's two hundred-plus online stores.
And this way, I don't have to consider the alternative, ethically questionable offer, which is to do a review of one of their products in exchange for a discount for myself. Tempting, yes, but this should be a lot more fun for all concerned.
SMALL MONEY! SMALL PRIZES! I LOVE IT!
Contest away! Tell your friends -- the more the merrier. You. And/or others. Playing games. Being funny. Sitting on something.
And remember, the deadline is midnight on May 31st. Send submissions in digital form here.