With the growth of online game downloads we may soon see the unintentional fall of the brick and mortar video game store. We all enjoy the convenience of downloading our favorite game titles, and, with all major gaming platforms finally realizing the value in social gaming, more and more of our interaction with other gamers is happening in a virtual world. But there was a time when the video game store was king.
I remember going to the local video game store not just to pick up a game on the day it came out, but to actually browse titles. There was a kind of excitement that built as I drove (or farther back, pedaled) there. It was a place where I would meet likeminded people and have real world conversations about what was happening in the gaming world. It was a reason to get out of the basement. The store had its own particular smell and there were all walks of life gathered in public by one common passion. I even miss the 40 something, slightly overweight, totally disinterested guy behind the counter. It was almost a game in itself to try and find a subject to arouse his interest.
I’m not trying to sound like grandpa Mario here. I fully understand that downloading games is the inevitable future, and there are many great places to get your games online, GameGuideWorld.net or GameGate.com just to name a few. I also understand that co-op gaming adds a dimension to gaming that we couldn’t have imagined in the game store hay day. But perhaps the brick and mortar game store can find a second life. They could take a page from another industry that saw a rapid change in their market. Much like many independent record stores did, the local game store could become a place for gamers to find an experience they can’t get online. People are looking for real interaction and the game store should become a hub for this. They should work to promote relationships with indie game developers. They should also deal in the nostalgia of the gaming experience. I know if there was a place like that around me, I’d once again have a reason to get out of the basement.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jake Trunk is a blogger, graphic designer, and comic artist. He lives at his home in Pennsylvania with his etching press, banjos, and greyhound Holly Golightly. You can find his twice weekly webcomic at www.thegrype.com