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 Old Game Shops In Your Hometown

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PostSubject: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyFri 8 Sep 2023 - 19:13

Buskalilly wrote:
The Cappuccino Kid wrote:
 “Feel like shit just want Gamestation back” indeed.

Recently, I've been feeling really nostalgic for the second game shop which opened in my home town and lasted about a year. We had, and to my delight when I visited last year still have, an inependent store called Insane Games. Its a chain of about three or four stores in the Somerset area and they do new and used games for decent prices with friendly staff. Love it.

However, for a brief spell another bloke opened a game shop at the opposite end of town, down a bit of a side street. It didn't even have proper shelves for most of the time it was open, just games on the floor and some tables. The bloke was a proper games enthusiast though, and even though he had comic-book guy energy, for 13-year-old luke he was cool and it made me feel like someone actually respected me and listened to me when he would ask me questions about finidng specific obscure game boy games.

I can't remember what it was called, though.

Every CEX is full of smelly old moshers and GAME might as well be a Toytown nowadays. 2023’s game shops are well shite.

Buskalilly’s wonderful reminiscence about the two stores in his town got me wondering about the places the rest of youse used to go. The places that seemed cool when you were wee, those places where you felt respected and like you fitted in, or even those places that were utter toilets but were still very identifiably “your” game shop.

Where did you go, and what was it like? Any happy, nice, fun memories?

~

Growing up in the '90s my hometown had a Woolworths and, for a short time in 1997ish, a nameless independent shop that sold Mega Drive and SNES games for their full 1991 prices. Those were nothing to write home about to be honest. While there was many Friday detours into that Woolworths to see what new releases there were on the walk back from school, I don’t remember buying much from there.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown ?type=og-image

Further down the road we had two video rental shops two doors along from one another, one called Ritz and the other called Boston. Across the two of them you could borrow just about any game you wanted, without much overlap they seemed to deliberately differentiate their stock. Boston shut down before the millennium and Ritz became Blockbuster – and what a Blockbuster that was by the way. They had a massive games section which was totally mismatched with a town with an aging population; nobody was buying or renting anything, so that would mean that games would very often quickly be put on clearance as well as become available for a discount as ex-rental. I can remember getting much of the N64’s Winter 1998 line-up for about a third of the price the following summer, picking up stuff like 1080 Snowboarding and WCW/NWO Revenge for £15. So much of their PlayStation stock was for pocket money prices too, it was magic. For a laugh a mate and I paid for a £1.25 game called Sports Car GT with 1ps and 2ps. The counter assistant was well unimpressed and probably so are you.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown 52367ac22d680ce939fbed5679c54914

The town two miles over had an Electronics Boutique, Beatties and John Menzies/WH Smith as well as Blockbuster and Woolworths. Pre-internet, the jaunts into town with my folks or my mates every other weekend was always something to look forward to. Electronics Boutique was my highlight. For a couple of years there was a youngish uni student who worked there at weekends and would let me try out whatever I wanted on the store’s TV set, to let me find out for myself if it was worth buying or not. He would call about the other Electronics Boutique stores as well, to see if they could send over any of the pre-owned games that I’d been waiting to get on the cheap. He was really generous with his time as well, he seemed like a good guy. I think he fancied my Mum, but I don’t know. Maybe he fancied me?

Gamestation came to town in 2004ish and so did a chain that I think only existed in the South-West of Scotland, called Games Centre.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown Img_3274

That was a cracking shop, or at least it was in its first five-or-so years. They’d sell new releases at competitive prices while getting unusual stock that you’d be unlikely to find in GAME or Gamestation. Their pre-owned section was second-to-none as well, likely thanks to their generous trade-in prices. My local Games Centre was the one where I got Gunstar Heroes and Castlevania: The New Generation on the same day for £1.99 each though…I wonder what some poor bastart got given in store credit for those? As time went on though, they’d rotate their stock less and you’d eventually see stuff that had been sitting on the shelf for literal years. Eventually there became no reason to ever go in: you knew what they’d be selling and, evidently, it wasn’t selling.

Nonetheless, it was open until 2018 when Game Centre as a whole was suddenly liquidated. All the signage was taken down but a God of War PS4 advertising standee that was emblazoned with the text “20.04.18” remained at the window of the vacant premises until it eventually became a jewellery shop last year.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySun 10 Sep 2023 - 11:30

Oh Cappa, this is a banger of a thread, and, now that the average age of this forum has gone up, potentially a slightly bittersweet one!
I'm glad you had some happy memories in game shops - a lot of time I felt they were too utilitarian, once I'd got to a certain age where I could make choices already. I feel I've only seen Games Centre in images (but look at the two fonts used! That's already retro!)

Milton Keynes was odd, because a lot of this would have appeared at the same time, as the city was being built (albeit before my birth even) with its famous big rectangular glass shopping centre, as seen in Cliff Richard's Wired for Sound video. But there were places to buy games in the 80s.
Sadly unable to find a picture of this, the first place I think of when I think of old game stops was Soft-Ly - albeit a general software shop, this was located in the then moodily-lit Deer Walk, which used to house a lot of small scale shops (the only one I remember right now is White Poppy, which used to sell dried corn ready for popcorn-ising, and... other shit? I only ever remember my parents buying popcorn from there; I'm inventing a shadiness that doesn't exist). We only had an Acorn Electron in the 80s (the crappy version of the BBC Micro) and they seemed to have already decided to concentrate on 16-bit stuff, so never actually went in and bought anything, but it was memorable for having a monitor in the window showing some fancy-pants games, most memorably Battle Chess on the Atari ST! Yeah! I suppose it had a demo mode where the computer would just play itself, so it looked cool.
Where you could get 8-bit games though, were Neal's Toy Shop - again, no photo of that in Centre MK, but it turns out it started donkey's years ago in Bletchley (the biggest town that Milton Keynes enveloped) before they even became a toy store
Old Game Shops In Your Hometown Neals-the-bazaar
I did used to get Amstrad games in there (sadly it had trouble keeping afloat as an independent thing); as I also did in Beatties toy store, which lasted a bit longer due to it also having an upstairs that was all about Scalextric and model trains and Airfix kits and what-not.
But actually, in those days , and in the early 90s with NES and SNES games, a load of other big stores sold games - Boots and W. H. Smiths I definitely remember getting games from.

Into the early 90s, I do remember when it was very difficult to find 8-bit computer games elsewhere, we did go a bit further afield to Bletchley. Again, I can't remember the name of the shop (and Google isn't helping, thanks to Bletchley Park, I mean who cares about that, guys) but I remember going to the Bletchley car park, and not going through the infamous leisure centre tunnel
Old Game Shops In Your Hometown TWC_05_029
(This wasn't even the way to this shop! This is just to the leisure centre! I'm just wasting your time here)
That did have older format games there though - although, the one feeling I have from that memory is frustration; we weren't very well off in the late 80s/90s, and I think my Dad probably was disappointed that the computer we had forked out for was old hat.

Then in the late 90s, we had everything as predicted - this story doesn't get that much more interesting, as everything came from Electronics Boutique and GAME - which of course took over the former, meaning we had, like many places, 2 shops within a couple of minutes of each other. A GameStation opened opposite one of the GAMEs, and at the time that seemed a bit more hipster, which probably wasn't accurate (a chap there explained the Football Manager / Championship Manager schism, which in all fairness saved me from having to read a bunch of stuff). There was also for a few years another shop appeared - I wanna say it was called eplay, which also sold retro consoles. It lasted a bit longer, but (again, I'm sorry there's no picture of this) closed a couple of years after the Wii launched, meaning there was a giant slightly-wrong Link standee looking out at the world for a long period of time.

For all the nostalgia of old game shops, my happiest video game purchase memories were in GAME - getting Space Station Silicon Valley for 79p; some random kid telling me Prince of Persia Sands of Time was cheaper in GameStation (OK maybe not that one); and, having been working full time for a bit with some disposable income, but my younger sister still being at most early teens, saying we were going to go to GAME to look at the GameCube display, and surprising her by buying one with a bunch of games including Super Monkey Ball and Pikmin.

Now GAME has a gaming PC section which is basically a glorified creche, and mostly game accessories; I don't think I've ever been in CEX without someone having an episode; other places are really for kids.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySun 10 Sep 2023 - 14:54

Top thread idea

On renting we had a local video shop that stocked I want to say mostly Mega Drive games, as a Mega Drive kid maybe I just wasn't looking at SNES games etc there, but I can't remember them. This is also where I went when I got my PS1 one evening as I had no games, to go rent Tomb Raider and buy an unofficial memory card and controller. The bike shop, yeah an odd place also rented games, and they had N64 stuff, so where I rented likes of OoT, Super Mario 64 etc  




This is one that is more of a recent but a local'ish Insane Street (okay, like a 45 minute drive) just closed down as the shopping centre is being turned into retirement flats, I wanted to go but due to work and car issues, never got to it. Now they still have two other stores which the most local Bridgwater getting most of the stock from that one in Street, what's the betting all the best stuff goes to the Wells store though?

I can of course like remember getting my Cube from GAME in Exeter which has moved twice since then but is still there, but a City like Exeter does only have GAME and CEX where used to have IT Games (they had four stores at one point, one I worked in for a bit and now all gone), Lucia where I bought greats like Shenmue those both went but got a place called Critical Mass opened which closed during the pandemic.

On IT games, the one they had in Tiverton, played in a Halo 2 tournament with a mate with two random dudes who were mates, from what I remember we had like 4 wins and 4 losses, out of our games or whatever in the league. Also took part in a fighting game tournament where it was a vote on which game per console so like Tekken 3 for PS1 etc, I managed to come 3rd as I picked up loads of bonus points due to Mortal Kombat II on Mega Drive with flawless victories etc.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown 300628043_497628005702335_35005936576020406_n.jpg?stp=c32.0.194.194a_dst-jpg&_nc_cat=108&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=754033&_nc_ohc=X8NYKq2EmucAX8Y-_k-&_nc_ht=scontent.fbrs4-1Old Game Shops In Your Hometown 359783451_749187087211552_6066846023060267748_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=a2f6c7&_nc_ohc=cDLgMSajSegAX_bwPzC&_nc_ht=scontent.fbrs4-1

Always seems mad to me a small town like Bridgwater has GAME, CEX, Insane and Entertainment Zone along with a pawn shop, yet Exeter has GAME and CEX like how does that make sense.

Other things like there was a game shop I live now which was here for years then his son took over moved to a bigger shop and shutdown after like 6 months, yet in the old shop they had consoles hooked up and you could pay to play this was how I played Gran Turismo 3 and maybe even the PS2 for the first time but more importantly Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast then that night using my PS2 savings to buy a Dreamcast out of the freeads for £100 with four games.

Bargains quite a few retro games from GameStation as when they first started doing retro wasn't really priced properly then it was and was cheap again when it was closing and this is when I remember getting likes of Castlevania SOTN for £5 (how I played for the first time) and a Virtual Boy for a tenner.




What will be different for me then you guys is we had a shop, much like the others I can't find like any pictures of it online, think we might have odd photo getting about somewhere that I'll see if I can find one. But yeah the games etc was my thing, the shop was my uncle's then moved onto markets (that was all mine then) before he became ill, but it all started as we were next door to a shop which was basically the same, and they bought and sold goods which we thought let's do that as well as next minute got loads of PS2 games in stock, how I ended up with 20+ games on my PS2 come Xmas 2001 as any that came in I wanted I took how as wages/pocket money. Was even the great toilet paper war, as we put ours down like 5p cheaper than he put his down then ours down again and so on to the point his was cheaper than what we could buy it for, that my uncle sent me in to buy it all of him.

Also took my GameCube in the day of launch and had it connected upto the TV in work, which loads of kids (had kids sell me games on lunch at school even) etc came in to see this marvellous new thing. We had a OG Xbox in almost right away, as a guy from Southampton had heard about us, and basically went around every few months buying things up from other stores. Anyway he swapped a OG Xbox for all our Saturn stuff, this is how I played Halo for the first time, as I took the Xbox home with me that night.

This is also how I've owned and played so many games & consoles, as I missed the N64 pretty much but we got one in, and I loved my Cube that hey I can play more Nintendo games. Why my Dreamcast collection is so big as I was buying Dreamcast console lots and any game I didn't have I kept. This is also how I started on eBay as well back in 2002 as we would get some games in that weren't going to sell in a small town but would to the whole world.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 12 Sep 2023 - 13:29

Some lovely pictures and stories in here, charming to read.

They don't resonate with me at all. My home town was/is London, and is therefore totally charmless. There was a GAME on Camden High Street that sold the exact same stuff as every other game, i.e. bugger-all during the Wii U era and those hideous Minecraft soft toys.

I'm not very good at nostalgia.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyWed 13 Sep 2023 - 18:49

You’re absolutely right when you say that this thread would produce bittersweet nostalgia. It’s just really nice to reminisce about all these different places and to imagine what they’re like and what stories could be told about them. It’s regrettable that there’s so little alike them nowadays.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyThu 14 Sep 2023 - 2:35

The Cappuccino Kid wrote:
You’re absolutely right when you say that this thread would produce bittersweet nostalgia. It’s just really nice to reminisce about all these different places and to imagine what they’re like and what stories could be told about them.

Overall, I'm more happy to be reminded of them than I am sad that they're gone.

I'm really happy to see this thread. After my initial post didn't get much reply I was a little disappointed, but having seen these posts from the lads I'm loving it.

I mentioned them in passing, and Mas also mentioned them, but Insane Games was my gaming mecca for a solid twenty years.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown AF1QipNAMCyk7TU64cuyKq9T6j-WfmUXI2NuR9wqDXCj=s1360-w1360-h1020

It opened around the time my family moved into Wells, and it was still there the day I left. In fact, Muss and I popped in last year and the proprietor even recognised me, telling me how surprised he was to see me in there despite having seen my photos from Japan on instagram that very morning. (The store's page follows me and, like a lot of folk of a certain age, he more or less uses it as his personal account too. My boss here in Japan does the same thing with our school's account.)

Aside from the supermarkets, WH Smith and Woolworth's, Insanes was the only game in town for most of my time in Wells. They never took the piss, though; they gave fair trade-in prices, then sold things on for a very reasonable mark-up. One time we took the piss; my mate walked in and asked how much he'd get trade-in on a game, then turned around and sold it to me for half way between what they'd give him and what they'd charge me. They didn't hold it against us though.

My pals and I were in there so much, and I was so consistent in my tastes, they got to know me. When I went in to pre-order any big Nintendo release, they'd already put one aside. When they got in promotional tat for said games, they gave it to me. When Buzz came out we played a round on the demo unit and at the end, the owner gave my mate who won a really nice playstation winter coat.

They also had a shedload of very cheap DVDs. One Steven Seagal flick had such an outrageous synopsis we had it memorised for months before we bought it. I also went in there and replaced my then-girlfriend's copy of Twilight when I accidentally fucked up her disk - she never knew.

Early on, I didn't have much money but I'd go in and check out dirt cheap used Game Boy games. Later I had a bit of cash and even though it would ahve been cheaper to buy games at Tesco, I always got my new releases from Insanes. When I visited last year, much like GAME, it had all gone a bit funko pops. All I bought were some Digimon TCG cards. Still, it was a nostalgic trip.


Buskalilly wrote:
The Cappuccino Kid wrote:
 “Feel like shit just want Gamestation back” indeed.

Recently, I've been feeling really nostalgic for the second game shop which opened in my home town and lasted about a year. We had, and to my delight when I visited last year still have, an inependent store called Insane Games. Its a chain of about three or four stores in the Somerset area and they do new and used games for decent prices with friendly staff. Love it.

However, for a brief spell another bloke opened a game shop at the opposite end of town, down a bit of a side street. It didn't even have proper shelves for most of the time it was open, just games on the floor and some tables. The bloke was a proper games enthusiast though, and even though he had comic-book guy energy, for 13-year-old luke he was cool and it made me feel like someone actually respected me and listened to me when he would ask me questions about finidng specific obscure game boy games.

I can't remember what it was called, though.

I've still got no memory what this was called, and right now I can't even think of how to google it.


Cappa wrote:

Further down the road we had two video rental shops two doors along from one another, one called Ritz and the other called Boston. Across the two of them you could borrow just about any game you wanted, without much overlap they seemed to deliberately differentiate their stock. Boston shut down before the millennium and Ritz became Blockbuster – and what a Blockbuster that was by the way.
I never did renting games, really. Though I'd buy 'em, be done with 'em and trade 'em in so quick it was as good as.

Quote :
Gamestation came to town in 2004ish and so did a chain that I think only existed in the South-West of Scotland, called Games Centre.
I'd have to go to Bath or Bristol for GAME or Game Centre. I remember liking the latter far more, of course, but they disappeared before long. When i moved in with my family in Cheltenham, before coming to Japan, they only had a GAME, sadly, and a CEX. Near my grandparents in Cornwall was a pretty nice little joint not unlike the above-mentioned Insanes.

Jimbob wrote:
But actually, in those days , and in the early 90s with NES and SNES games, a load of other big stores sold games - Boots and W. H. Smiths I definitely remember getting games from.
I remember this too. I wouldn't go there as my main source, but I think they had a habit of not really understanding what stuff was worth and doing mad discounts on everything once it was a couple of months old.
Quote :
having been working full time for a bit with some disposable income, but my younger sister still being at most early teens, saying we were going to go to GAME to look at the GameCube display, and surprising her by buying one with a bunch of games including Super Monkey Ball and Pikmin.
This is very sweet.

masofdas wrote:

This is one that is more of a recent but a local'ish Insane Street (okay, like a 45 minute drive) just closed down as the shopping centre is being turned into retirement flats, I wanted to go but due to work and car issues, never got to it. Now they still have two other stores which the most local Bridgwater getting most of the stock from that one in Street, what's the betting all the best stuff goes to the Wells store though?
The Wells store was the original, right?
I remember going to the Street one a couple of times and it feeling reall weird; like a parallel universe, or a gag from a sitcom where we see a rival group who are mirrors of the protagonists. Every now and then they'd have a bargain the Wells store didn't, but I rarely visited. At the time, Street and Wells seemed really far apart. I now regularly walk that distance for shits and giggles . . .

The Cappuccino Kid wrote:
It’s regrettable that there’s so little alike them nowadays.

Here in Japan, there's a little more of this still alive. Recycle shops as they call them are big business, and there are some which mix new games and old, others which have merch and games, others with dedicated retro sections. Even in the five years I've been here, it is slowly losing some of the magic. Stuffed toys and figures sell better than retro, and the famous places like Super Potato can mark up prices because so many tourists flock there. I can do some more detailed posts if anyone's interested?
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyThu 14 Sep 2023 - 2:39

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown Insane10
There's Insanes in Hot Fuzz. Just the other side of that churchyard was the last apartment I lived in before I left Somerset. As you can see, PRIME real estate for popping in!
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyThu 14 Sep 2023 - 9:54

I'm not sure which Insane came first but sure Ibbsters mentioned before he's been going there since like the SNES/MD days but Stew the owner surely wouldn't be old enough to owned them back then.

I've also not seen Stew for ages, as apprantly he mostly in the Street or Wells store, now there is just the two might see him a bit more especially as the Arcade is in Bridgwater.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySat 16 Sep 2023 - 13:04

I grew up in a village that was in between a small town (Dover) and a small city (Canterbury). Oddly, Dover always had more places to buy games. I don’t know if that’s a common thing based on what you guys have written, because it sounds like the places where there’s less going on, there’s maybe more of a trade-in scene due to a poorer, working-class demographic. I think there’s some truth in that, I remember working at McDonalds in my teenage years, and everyone was a gamer despite being on minimum wage. Anyway, I digress. Dover was great for gaming. There were second-hand places like Deals of Dover (used electronics and media - now called Massive Deals) and Sound Deals (a music shop that had lots of used videos and games) where I initially got my SEGA and N64 cartridges. Distinctly remember getting Robocop on VHS for £2 in Sound Deals. The latter shut down years ago but I think the former is still around. There was a shortlived shop called Games World in the early 2000s, a tiny Blockbuster that was always worth popping in, Woolworths, WHSmith’s (which was a John Menzies before that), and Dixons, which always had decent markdowns on N64 and Dreamcast. I don’t know how Smith’s is still open - it’s always dead and the area that used to sell games at the back, is just full of stationery.

The welcoming owner of Massive Deals today:

Gamestation felt like the first successful venture in Dover, and it was a favourite throughout the 2000s. They then opened a GAME down the road from it, which felt pointless, as it was offering the same stuff, but at a higher price. It wasn’t staffed by the Resi 4 merchant though, the opposite in fact - an overly chirpy fella with a lisp who I felt sorry for, because he was really polite and welcomed EVERY customer - it was a bit much for the miserable teenagers that frequented it. I have memories of browsing the shelves full of original Xbox games, picking up Burnout 3 before sifting through the bargain bin near the till. I miss the bargain bins - that’s something Blockbuster was great for. Always found a 99p title that was worth having.

CEX arrived in Dover after I had moved away, but I pop in when I go to visit family. In the times I have been in, the people that work there look like stereotypical gamers from the 90s - pale, reek of BO, and still rock those silver chains on their baggy black jeans. I actually find a CEX visit quite uplifting, as it makes me feel better about my life. There is one more game shop that still exists in Dover, called Gamebase. It’s a weird one, with a tiny selection of games at the front, and an arena at the back for booking out. I guess kids can play with their friends on games, but just seems a bit random.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown 0_M3ekzZtlR8K6yVHfd16wA

Canterbury was a bit different - despite being a city and half the population being students, it never had the same variety of second-hand places. There was the WHSmiths, which  I went in often at college to read the magazines, there was a Woolies, a HMV, an Our Price (which became a Virgin Megastore), and a large Dixons. The problem with the high street is it’s one long road, probably a Roman road or something, and GAME was at the bottom end of town near the hotels and restaurants, which made no sense. It was a slog to visit, and rarely had good deals. I remember it being an EB in the 90s, but I would visit a place called Lee’s Games, which was down some side street. Very dodgy, and it was decked out in all black, with a bloke in a leather jacket. I can’t find anything online about it, but there’s a Lee’s in Morecambe, so I wonder if it’s the same bloke. It was full of retro stuff, lots of Saturn and PlayStation, and I remember it having a good GameCube selection when that was relevant.

It disappeared before I went to university in Canterbury in 2007, but there was a big Blockbuster that was in between the university and the town centre, which I was often in. It had this long arcing walkway inside, with a narrow entrance - almost as if to give staff more time to identify thieves. It had that Blockbuster smell - popcorn and plastic, with those blue carpets and yellow cases (or were they white?). This was when you could rent a boxset(!) but I was all about the bargain bins. There was a GameStation by then too, which was situated right next to a Burger King and the bus station. It was all I could want, or need. Bacon Double XL and a 4 for 20? That’s an afternoon sorted. More recently there was a new independent shop open, called Level Up Games, which is primarily retro and has a good range of stuff. Again, I had moved away by the time they got bigger, but today I believe it’s the main place outside of CEX.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown 0_bLOCKBUSTERSPNGpngYour-Friday-night-starts-here

I moved to Bristol in 2011, and I didn’t really explore the game shops there, as I was a broke young parent, but there were a couple. The CEX in Bristol was a big one, so I would use it for CDs, DVDs and games - the full CEXual experience. I remember visiting a place in Bristol, where I met Mas - this must have been in 2016/17, but I never returned. There was also a decent place in Filton (Bristol) that was part of a "party/costume shop", opposite my barbers. I think the bloke ran it from eBay mostly, but had a lot of PlayStation stuff. In 2018 I moved to Newport for a bit, but there wasn’t much there, and moved to London in 2019 (Wealdstone/Harrow) but they didn’t have much either. I think by then the game shops had lost their charm, often selling fake electronics and vape pens, alongside crap Wii games. It all went a bit Cash Convertors, but that may have just been a London thing where I was. I’m now in Swindon, and there’s a decent CEX, but it also has one of, if not the best retro game shop I’ve visited. Apparently, it’s been there since the 90s, and it has a crazy range of stuff. The whole upstairs floor is dedicated to Nintendo and has a reading area with tons of old game magazines. Downstairs is a SEGA and PlayStation section, at the back of a music shop called Holmes Music.

Old Game Shops In Your Hometown Holmesmusic-1024x571
Good video of what they have :

It’s somewhere I should visit more often, but since investing in a Series X, I’ve neglected my retro roots. I did buy another Wii from there, after gifting my hacked Wii to my daughters, but the price of everything has gone up to the point that dedicated retro stores rarely offer a bargain, like the Blockbusters and GameStations of old. I admire the preservation and presentation, but sometimes all a guy wants is a metal rack of marked-down 6/10s to sift through.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySun 17 Sep 2023 - 12:21

*sobs with nostalgia*



gjones wrote:
The welcoming owner of Massive Deals today:
I see Bing Image Search has been asked for a surly pawn shop manager
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyMon 18 Sep 2023 - 21:27

Buskalilly wrote:

It opened around the time my family moved into Wells, and it was still there the day I left. In fact, Muss and I popped in last year and the proprietor even recognised me, telling me how surprised he was to see me in there despite having seen my photos from Japan on instagram that very morning. (The store's page follows me and, like a lot of folk of a certain age, he more or less uses it as his personal account too. My boss here in Japan does the same thing with our school's account.)

Aside from the supermarkets, WH Smith and Woolworth's, Insanes was the only game in town for most of my time in Wells. They never took the piss, though; they gave fair trade-in prices, then sold things on for a very reasonable mark-up. One time we took the piss; my mate walked in and asked how much he'd get trade-in on a game, then turned around and sold it to me for half way between what they'd give him and what they'd charge me. They didn't hold it against us though.

My pals and I were in there so much, and I was so consistent in my tastes, they got to know me. When I went in to pre-order any big Nintendo release, they'd already put one aside. When they got in promotional tat for said games, they gave it to me. When Buzz came out we played a round on the demo unit and at the end, the owner gave my mate who won a really nice playstation winter coat.

That sounds class. Insane Games sounds like they fully deserved your loyalty and custom, and those are personal touches that I’ve never experienced at any game shop. I have to think that the fair prices was no doubt the clincher for a lot of folk nearby as well. For the customers it must have been a great shop to visit, for the owner it must have been a great shop to run.

Buskalilly wrote:

I never did renting games, really. Though I'd buy 'em, be done with 'em and trade 'em in so quick it was as good as.

That was always the trick with Electronics Boutique. They had a ten day warranty on all purchases and in my experience they’d never question why you’d be returning an item in that timeframe. Without any fuss they’d just give you the full refund as cash or on your bank card. They changed that policy as I had Gunstar Future Heroes on the GBA, around summer 2006. I can specifically remember buying a shabby-condition copy but thinking that it didn’t matter as I knew I’d be only having it for a week. Cue my surprise and disappointment when they told me after years and years that I couldn’t do that anymore. Still, at least it was Gunstar Future Heroes: well worth keeping.

Jimbob wrote:
having been working full time for a bit with some disposable income, but my younger sister still being at most early teens, saying we were going to go to GAME to look at the GameCube display, and surprising her by buying one with a bunch of games including Super Monkey Ball and Pikmin.

That's maybe my favourite thing that's posted here. Top big brother behaviour, young Jimbob  Thumbs Up!

gjones wrote:
I actually find a CEX visit quite uplifting, as it makes me feel better about my life.

Laughing

gjones wrote:
sometimes all a guy wants is a metal rack of marked-down 6/10s to sift through.

That was a the beauty of the Gamestation ‘4 for £20’ that you’d mentioned earlier in your post. There was always stuff that stood out in that offer – my copy of Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes on the GameCube still has that ‘4 for £20’ sticker on the case – but there’d be often random stuff that you’d perhaps faintly recall from a Gamesmaster magazine preview long in the past. Even if a game was a bonafide 6/10, oftentimes you’d think to yourself ‘for a fiver, why not?’. That’s about as cheap as a two-night Blockbuster rental anyway. Come to think of it, I stopped renting games around the time when Gamestation opened in the next town over, ‘4 for £20’ is probably why.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 19 Sep 2023 - 12:01

gjones wrote:
I grew up in a village that was in between a small town (Dover) and a small city (Canterbury). Oddly, Dover always had more places to buy games. I don’t know if that’s a common thing based on what you guys have written, because it sounds like the places where there’s less going on, there’s maybe more of a trade-in scene due to a poorer, working-class demographic. I think there’s some truth in that, I remember working at McDonalds in my teenage years, and everyone was a gamer despite being on minimum wage.

There's definitely some truth in that. I remember hearing a lot of jokes about why Bristol had a CeX and Bath didn't, and I remember nothing in Bath ever being as good as Insanes in Wells.

It also holds true in Japan. In Tokyo, Osaka and the other big cities there are retro stores but they're all at marked-up prices. If you find a big recycle shop in a more rural part of Japan, though, you'll have the time of your life rummaging through the wares.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyThu 21 Sep 2023 - 16:53

Buskalilly wrote:
gjones wrote:
I grew up in a village that was in between a small town (Dover) and a small city (Canterbury). Oddly, Dover always had more places to buy games. I don’t know if that’s a common thing based on what you guys have written, because it sounds like the places where there’s less going on, there’s maybe more of a trade-in scene due to a poorer, working-class demographic. I think there’s some truth in that, I remember working at McDonalds in my teenage years, and everyone was a gamer despite being on minimum wage.

There's definitely some truth in that. I remember hearing a lot of jokes about why Bristol had a CeX and Bath didn't, and I remember nothing in Bath ever being as good as Insanes in Wells.

It also holds true in Japan. In Tokyo, Osaka and the other big cities there are retro stores but they're all at marked-up prices. If you find a big recycle shop in a more rural part of Japan, though, you'll have the time of your life rummaging through the wares.

I was holding off on mentioning it so that I could give this thread some longevity in the future, but does anybody remember when HMV took video game trade-ins for a few years in the late ‘00s-early ‘10s? No joke, the Wii and DS sections of my local shop (in a town of 50,000 that's a true mix of affulence and deprivation) must have been 75% stock of games I’d bought in the nearby Cash Convertors and took into there for big trade-in values. That’s how I paid for my 3DS and Wii U, as well as plenty of games and loads of Wii Shopping Channel credit. I think that I was my town’s trade-in scene.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyThu 21 Sep 2023 - 17:37

Another weird one but ASDA used to take games in as trade, feel this was before I worked here, meaning over 12 years ago.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyFri 22 Sep 2023 - 13:16

I can't remember buying anything from an HMV other than an overpriced t-shirt. I'm struggling to imagine a trade-in department. And ASDA? That's bonkers.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySat 23 Sep 2023 - 13:05

From 2010 this picture of a ASDA
Old Game Shops In Your Hometown HvLT5

Ohh and I was in Bridgwater which I've mentioned has GAME, CEX, Insane, Entertainment Zone, Cash Converters so yet another shop has opened last weekend called Nerdz Nook which is above a KFC and more of a flat which each of the rooms have different sections one of retro games in, pops in another, PS3/4/360/ONE etc in another etc. It seems to be something to do with Games & Collectables & Kat's Corner in Gloucester.

Buska will likely know this better than most of you, but Bridgwater is a tad rough that I don't know if gJones is right about maybe more of a trade-in scene due to a poorer, working-class demographic, compared to Exeter which is always being my example of a City not having much but half the population being students etc.

Thought talking to them in Insane, they're trying to get Stew to open a store in Exeter due to the lack of shops and travel for him.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyMon 2 Oct 2023 - 20:34

masofdas wrote:
From 2010 this picture of a ASDA
Old Game Shops In Your Hometown HvLT5

This has brought back memories of playing five-a-sides with my mates and getting a lift home with them via ASDA, where they'd do their weekly shop at 10pm on a Monday night for some reason. You could find some novel stuff in those pre-owned sections, and you could make off like a bandit with plenty of bargains - usually if a game dropped off the charts loads of copies would suddenly wind up there with hefty discounts.

It's also brought back a sad memory of a mate trading in World Cup 2010 on the PS3 to buy himself a store pizza, which he burnt and then dropped toppings-first onto his manky floor. Aww!
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 3 Oct 2023 - 10:28

The Cappuccino Kid wrote:
It's also brought back a sad memory of a mate trading in World Cup 2010 on the PS3 to buy himself a store pizza, which he burnt and then dropped toppings-first onto his manky floor. Aww!

That sounds all-too-familiar to my days living on a supermarket wage.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySun 8 Oct 2023 - 21:47

Buskalilly wrote:


That sounds all-too-familiar to my days living on a supermarket wage.

I sort-of brought this up when I commented on gjone’s review of Sonic Adventure, but gaming in the days when you were skint and/or getting paid hee-haw were the worst.

Something just came to my mind. At the time when I worked in a restaurant for minimum wage and hardly got any shifts, I’d just about scraped together enough cash (with plenty of trade-ins) to get a Wii with SSX Blur and Sonic & The Secret Rings around Easter 2007. I couldn’t really afford much else for the next six months and had to make sure to save up for Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario, et al. at the end of the year. I’d read NGamer Magazine’s review and confidently made the calculated risk to buy one new Wii game in the time in between though: Eledees.

Meh

Those were bad times: no money, no shifts, and – while not terrible games - I had to convince myself that I was enjoying SSX Blur, Sonic & The Secret Rings and Eledees to the tune of £120 for months on end. Without being able to borrow Wii games from the local Blockbuster (just didn't do them) I ‘bought’ the Wii re-dos of Resident Evil 4 and Trauma Centre as well, but those were glorified rentals and returned before the exchange policy was up. Good old Gamestation.

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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyMon 9 Oct 2023 - 7:41

As a kid with just a paper round, I had the ridiculous problem of not being able to afforf many games but also desperately wanting to play the latest Nintendo releases day one. This led to idiotic situations like trading in Starfox Assault with the final level uncompleted so I could play Yoshi Touch 'n' Go on release day, rather than waiting an extra evening to polish it off and playing the new game a day late. Rolling Eyes


Then, the next decade, I was living alone on nothing close to enough money, trying to be a gamer but also to party hard, and I'd find myself doing things like shoving a bunch of games/ DVDs in my bag when visiting my parents so I can stop by the Bristol CEX and sell them to afford a ticket home.

I also once took a big stack of PS3 games to sell because I didn't reckon I'd play them, and quite a few were borrowed from Muss. I bought him a new copy of Bloodborne by way of apology on a future payday.

Muss and I lived in this constant cycle of one us being penniless but the other having just gotten paid. . .
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptySun 19 Nov 2023 - 16:38

This was an absolute quality thread to read through. Loved all the stories you guys have shared. It made me a little sad that I don't have any great stories to tell about the game shops in my home town.

When I started getting into gaming properly, it was the late 90s. My hometown had a solitary Electronics Boutique which was promptly rebranded to a GAME. It was all I knew and was where I did pretty much all my games shopping. It wasn't really until the Wii era where I'd be fuelled with paper round money and was able to actually go and shop there myself. I've many a fond memory of this era of walking down to GAME on the morning of a big Nintendo release having saved up a month's worth of paper round cash to buy the likes of Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Super Paper Mario and what have you.

The next town over also had the obligatory GAME, but it also had a Gamestation. I remember liking browsing in Gamestation more than GAME but not being able to put my finger on why - maybe it was the branding, or the cheaper prices? Regardless, not having one in my hometown meant it didn't see a lot of footfall from myself.

After coming back to my hometown after being away at uni and finding myself with some disposable income for the first time, it was great to be able to upgrade my GAME visits of yore from just picking up a solitary game to going down to collect my PS4 or my launch-day Switch. CEX had also opened up during my time away from uni, and whilst it's a smelly hellhole like all CEXs, I did pick up a copy of a collector's edition of Bloodborne for a pittance there. Nowadays, CEX doesn't feel as cheap as it used to be and GAME is a Funko Pop tat haven, so there's not a lot of desire from me to go and visit them anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 21 Nov 2023 - 6:34

Aaw, that was a little disappointing: I imagined Cowdenbeath having an adorable little mum-and-pop game store with a big painting of Lucas on the side or something.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 21 Nov 2023 - 9:42

Ah, I’m talking about Dunfermline when I’m referring to my hometown, which was the bigger town just over with the park that I took you and Jas to visit. Cowdenbeath doesn’t even have any games shop at all!
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 21 Nov 2023 - 9:47

Ah, I forget. Because we were chauffered around, it all felt like the same town.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Game Shops In Your Hometown   Old Game Shops In Your Hometown EmptyTue 21 Nov 2023 - 9:49

They’re close enough together that they basically are the same town. If I’d grown up in Cowdenbeath, I’d reckon my stories would have been exactly the same beyond mentioning I got the bus to GAME instead of walking!
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