* The good old days. Well, at least for me… *


Above are a couple of images from a Gamestop in San Jose, California.  I have never seen anything like that here along the east coast.  It’s too bad not ALL Gamestops are like that.  I always felt they should close the smaller stores and get one big large space.  I only went to one E3 and that was way back in 97 or 98.  It was the last one they had in Atlanta Georgia.  Man, I had a blast.  That’s how I feel that a place called Gamestop should be.  Not THAT big of course…but a mini version. 

It’s kind of silly to me to walk into a place called Gamestop and looking at PS3 and 360s connected to a 13 inch screen demo unit shoved into a corner and practically covered by the life size cardboard cut out of Cloud.  I mean Target has a better display for crying out loud. 

I’ve always felt that it would be great for gamers to have a solid place to actually hang out in and MEET in person.  Have a few drinks, something simple to eat, enjoy the company of live people vs always updating your status.  I bet there are lots of people who could use the escape too.  Don’t get me wrong, I mean I LOVE being able to turn on my 360 and challenge my buddy to a SSFIV match anytime.  But there’s just something about going to a place like E3 that you can NEVER get from that. 

I think with a little planning Gamestop could close all those little stores and open one larger one.  Take a look at the rest of the images:


You’ll see what I mean about a mini E3.  Maybe there are places like that in other areas…but none anywhere NEAR here.

I always had a blast with good old Dungeons & Dragons, Golden Axe…X-Men (the 4 player classic) and of course, the capcom fighters.  I LOVED Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes.  It wasn’t just the games though.  It was the sort of “high” I got while a crowd of twenty people cheered for me from behind as they looked over my shoulder.  Not that I was a super pro champ, but that’s just how it was back then.  I’m also a pretty social guy and I made a LOT of good friends as well.  I haven’t seen that over here on the east coast. 

Also, I think it would be pretty awsome if Gamestop did things like:

1.  Selling comics and novels based on games.  Having book signings from authors that write the Warcraft and Dragon Age books…or at least reps for a little Q&A.  Or just publisher / dev reps period.  Hand out free stuff like posters, hats, shirts…small little contest to get you a free copy of whatever game is hot at the time.

2.  Aren’t those card games still popular?  (sorry, I was never into it)  I remember back when Dragon’s Den was THE place to be, there were several tables setup.  It was packed too.  People were playing D&D or the Magic CG. 

3.  Have an internet gaming cafe…sell drinks, snacks, sandwiches and such.  Have tables setup with WiFi. 

4.  Have REAL competitions…not the 6 person Madden ones because that’s all you could fit in the store before it became a fire hazzard.  Get some huge plasma’s in there.  Hold those good old SF tournaments.  Or a FPS multiplayer competition.  Anything to get people in even if you have to charge money for tickets or entrance fee.  It’s better than the trade-in thing they have going on.  At least that’s how I feel anyway. 

5.  Job recruitment…I think that would be exciting.  Talk to a rep about work benefits, what you need to apply and all that stuff.  Of course you can READ about it online but that takes the fun out of it…well it does for me at least. 

6.  Live music – Jack Black played at Blizzcon right?  I’m sure there are plenty of underdog bands who would be more than happy to give it shot…and plenty of people who would love listening.  

7.  Old Movie showings – I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of anime, but there are a few I wouldn’t mind watching over and over.  Spriggan is an all-time favorite of mine for one. 

8.  Cosplay contests

I don’t think trade-ins are good for long term.  Sure there are plenty of people who love being able to save $5 here and there.  And yeah, it does add up.  But you also have that angry mob who remembers the first and LAST time they would ever trade a game in.  I forget what game it was… but I remember only getting $7 bucks for it.  Came back a few days later and saw the same game being sold for $39.99 vs $44.99 new. 

Now for me, I’d slash at least $15.  NOT because I’m speaking from a customer’s standpoint…but MORE people would be drawn to that which would eventually MORE than make up for the initial slash.  And since trade-in purchases are 100% profit they are still ahead of the game even if they sold it for $20.  My old boss use to tell me that selling a game alone, the store would only make about $2 profit.  That was back in 96 when I worked for Software Etc.  Not sure if it changed since.  I can’t imagine it’s more though…

Even at Best Buy…selling a PS3 alone would actually COST the company money.  That’s why there was all this forced bundle garbage they tried to hit you with when all you wanted was the system.  But come on…there are so many innovative and fun things a GAME store can do especially in today’s world. 

Are there a lot of places like what I’m talking about in other areas of the world?  I’ve come across some huge arcades on the internet, but they weren’t really anything more than just an arcade. 

Anyway…  I guess I wanted to know:  Would most of you not care and just stay home anyway?  Or would you be more inclined to go to a place that was more like a mini E3 showcase?  I’ve toyed with the idea for years on whether or not I should try to devote resources into opening such a place.  Sort of a little dream I guess.  My brother seems to think it would be doomed to fail because of online play.  Maybe he’s right.  Maybe I’m still trapped in that era to some extent?  Then again I watch things like Blizzcon, or Comic Con and it really does fire off some heavy feelings of excitement in me.