Now before I get into this I want to say that I’m going to be focusing on specifically gaming franchises. That means no Best Buys. I also want to say that around here (New York City) it’s all about GameStop. The only options I have here are GameStops. So, this may or may not apply to you all who have places like Game Crazy or whatever may be nearby.
With that said, here goes… Remember when video game stores rocked? Remember when video games put the FUN in Funcoland? Remember when EB Games was better than E.B. White? Remember when you actually wanted to stop at GameStop?
I remember my first Funcoland experience. I was with my family and we were pretty much the only people in the store, I guess it was a slow day. I may have been 4 or 5 years old at the time, and the only games I had were Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart. I loved Mario, so maybe I would get another Mario game. The workers showed us Super Mario All-Stars and Mario is Missing. Hmm… which one would be better? How would I know? I was really young and ignorant. Well, the workers actually put them in some Super Nintendo station and let me play both. Today, something like that would be unheard of! Eventually, I got neither, I guess because we didn’t have much money back then (I did get All-Stars later when I was 8 as my fourth SNES game after Spanky’s Quest), but the fact that they let me try them and not throw me into the wild was pretty awesome. I wish GameStop would let me try the games before making a purchase now. I think it would help so many people avoid buying terrible games. I feel so bad for kids who go into GameStops with their mom and sell stacks of good games so they can get Cars for Wii.
During my preteen years Funcolands have disappeared, but GameStop was about the same thing. It didn’t seem like they were letting people try games (games people requested, I know there are still kiosks) anymore, but all the stuff was still there. If I had $10 or maybe even $5, it was fun to flip through some of the older games for a cheap gem. It was already the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era, but they still had Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. My cousin had a Sega Genesis, and I hadn’t played Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in a really long time. I remember one day we collected some dollar bills, counted some change, took a mile long walk and we got Sonic 2 for about $4. We were young, didn’t have much money, but were still able to play a great game.
I feel as though that is the biggest problem with GameStop now. For me GameStops have lost all of their charm. The oldest generation of games they carry is from the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era, and even those are slowly disappearing. They don’t even buy those games anymore. Additionally, why no more NES, N64, PSX, and Dreamcast games? Gamestop isn’t at all as fun as it used to be. Back then one GameStop may have Marvel vs. Capcom for Dreamcast, while another may have Mega Man 6 for NES. But now, there is no more digging for hidden treasures. All the GameStops are identical. And how about for the kids today who only have 5 dollars to spare? I guess they can get Viewtiful Joe, which is really cheap and really good, but besides for the few cheap treasures, they can’t even appreciate games of the past. I guess downloadable games are the modern day equivalent, but that’s just not the same, especially when points cards make you buy in $20 bulk. Not to mention kids don’t have credit cards, but that is an entirely different issue.
Today, I see a GameStop and I don’t even step in if I’m not making a purchase. I live 2 minutes away walking distance from a GameStop, and I go there less than ever now. Why go inside to look around when I know exactly what’s going to be in there! It’s not like some grandmother is going to be walking in there to sell a Chrono Trigger for SNES by accident. It’s even more ridiculous when a mall has two GameStops in the same building. I miss seeing a video game store and getting excited, and it’s not because I’m older. It’s because game stores suck now. And by game stores, I mean GameStop.