Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where have all the good gaming shops gone?

I don't know if its just me, but there seem to be a lot of gaming systems out there all piled on top of one another in our little corner of world. I am a super huge fan of RPGNow and browse the contents regularly. I check out the different game systems and all the good stuff that goes with them. I even have a separate account for 'gaming money' so when I want to shop I all I need to do is click and get those PDFs downloaded.

With that said I really miss the old game shops. Even the ones that trains, planes and automobiles dominated while the gaming material was stashed on a shelf in the back or on a magazine rack. In my area there are a few gaming shops, but the card games dominate as they should since they are the money makers. Very few carry gaming items that goes beyond 4ed D&D. The sense of discovery and wonder are gone in those places. With the gaming industry policy of 'no returns' gaming stores that are trying to appeal to us book gamers is glutted with items that don't sell and force to practically give them away. Its too risky to try out new games. Most already have too many dusty versions on the shelf. So the stores stop ordering new games and stick with the biggies. Especially the Joe Gamer stores who are surviving by selling rare yuggio (yes I know I misspelled it) cards. He's not going to buy two copies of a new game unless he knows someone is going to buy it.

Gaming stores are great to find new players to get involved in your game, to discuss how much you hate of love a game, and to hear stories of someone's latest gaming session. We all know how difficult it is to get a gamer to share his stories. Even though the stores are being more careful these days, a lot of them are still reeling from the mass of products from a few years ago, I still like to offer my support to FNGS even if I have to pay a little higher price than on Amazon.

Last year, Rob and I did a couple of tours of gaming stores in different cities. I believe we went around Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Erie. When I went to this place in Cleveland called Warzone-Matrix I was blown away. This place was an archive of gaming history. Even the decorations were fantastic. It was one of those places where tons of stuff were on the shelves, but they also had mounds of boxes of stuff to dig through. This gaming store reignited that sense of wonder. So go goggle a some gaming stores in a nearby city and go for a day trip with your gaming friends. Go explore. If you come back with bags of new gaming books or empty handed it will be a journey worth traveling.

1 comment:

  1. Around the Chicagoland area, there are quite a few FLGS's still around - the best one out of the bunch is Games Plus. They have probably the largest collection of OOP games that I've ever seen, and the store is just amazing in its breadth of product.

    I'm doing a series of reviews on my column of the Chicagoland stores, if you're interested.