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Posts Tagged ‘gamestop’

As the gaming community continues to gain exposure and more and more people are playing different kinds of games, I remembered a store that was open in my hometown when I was growing up. This place was magical to me when I was 10, as not only did it sell video games, but it had a row of televisions and consoles lined up against the wall when you walked in. For a small fortune (around 10 bucks) you could play any system with any game for a set amount of time. It was like that one smelly kid in school that everyone was friends with cause he owned a super nintendo, only if they showered and charged hourly fees to hang out at the house. The owner was the inspiration for The Comic Book Guy and there was no place I would have rather been in 1995.

More then a decade later, I have never seen a place like this again. The days of the small, independent game shop have emulated the small music store (a la Empire Records) and the independent hardware store that has been replaced by massive Home Depots. This is a troubling trend, as most chain stores are only as good as the people who work there, and they are most likely pushing strategy guides and discount cards on you by their corporate mandate.

All is not lost, however! Earlier today, and at least once a week since it opened, JPark and I have been visiting a GameStop that opened in downtown Boston. If you are ever in Downtown Crossing, I strongly urge you to stop in. As far as mass consumerism goes, this place is the mecca of retail game stores. I’ve never seen a cleaner, more modern setup. Everything is easy to find, the people who work there are knowledgeable, friendly, and are just as crazy about games as we are. Other then their early attempts at selling us their discount cards, this place is the perfect place to not only buy games, but kill some time as well.

What I’m truly wondering is how often do people go to a place like GameStop and not buy anything? Is there a modern day equivilent to the arcade? I don’t mean the quarter draining ticket printing chance games at Foxwoods that occupy small children while their parents gamble. I mean the old school, ski-ball and pinball machine that most of todays gamers grew up with. Does GameStop feel the need to be both a store and a hangout?

Talking with one of the employees, he told us a funny story. Teenage kids were waiting outside on a random Thursday at 7am just to hang out at the store before going to school for the day. They were treated to Rock Band, NBA Live, and a slew of other options to kill time and play some free games. Throw in some tournaments (Street Fighter IV on 2/21, FYI) and you have a wonderful addition to the standard, emotionless standard in gaming retail.

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