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Thread: Local retro game stores

  1. #21
    Peach (Level 3) Zthun's Avatar
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    I've said before that these B&M stores have prices way over the top and that is the norm. Online stores don't have the overhead that these stores have, so they are much more efficient, and thus, don't need to charge as much to keep the store running.

    People can complain about them all they want, but this business model won't change unless there is something else holding the store together. For example, mixing a game shop with a comic shop might be a good idea, and then they could charge decent amounts for the games while subsidizing themselves with Magic, comics, RPGs, and action figures but most store owners seem to only work with one thing. I don't know why this attitude exists, but it does. Arcades have gone this route. It's rare to see just an arcade. Usually, you get a small arcade inside of an ice cream shop, or you go to a pizza place like Chucky's or Peter Piper.

    I remember seeing this documentary about bringing back manufacturing to the US; the message stated that even if we did that, it wouldn't be the same because online stores like Amazon only employ a small number of workers because they are so efficient. In house stores just can't compete on prices in the long haul. The point is, you're almost always going to find better prices online than you will in a B&M store. You may every now and then have a one off experience where you get a great deal, but generally, online is the way to go if you want to save money.

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    Good points, definitely on wanting to save money. I think the issue here is how it's being done. Like you said, you can specialize or get a little more broad to subsidize the shop. But when you see a store that does broaden its reach, but still throws prices notably over the online price just because they can, that's I think where you get the bitching and it's fairly aimed. Like the Half Price Books store, their model has been 'half price' since they popped up on used goods, and the new they get in, that just depends. But in the last couple years they've been using online as a mark, then tacking on shipping and a premium to get one over on locals and they as a company are doing well and expanding, it's not necessary. Same can be said of the local chain I mentioned as they've been at it like 20 years now and games are just a 1/4 of the shop if that when you account for all the books, albums, cds, dvds, blu ray and other stuff yet they're doing it now too and again not necessary and in the last couple years opened a few more shops in the state or just over the river.

    There's a right way and a wrong way, and if a store ONLY has games, clearly they can't compete they have to put the value up there to pay their expenses and combat being poached or whatever for online stuff. It's the many stores that do diversify that just hose people with ten cents to the dollar trade-in and prices over the roof.

  3. #23
    Strawberry (Level 2) FrankSerpico's Avatar
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    A b&m store called Games Ahoy that's very good, both selection and price-wise, has two locations only a short drive from me. Judging from the responses here it sounds like I'm pretty lucky. There's another local place called Buy-Back games that sells new and used stuff, but their retro selection sucks. Typical line-up of 10-15 '90s era sports games for the 16-bit consoles, with maybe 1 or 2 MIB cult classics/nerd favorites like Ghouls N' Ghosts or Chrono Trigger with an inflated price cuz they know they'll get some college kid to buy it regardless.

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    I'e been pretty lucky in the greater Boston area the last 5-10 years, as most of the stores I frequent don't charge batshit insane prices, though a few places are starting to creep up a bit (though still not anywhere near outrageous). That being said, I have definitely come across my fair share of traps, too. Here's my $.02:

    The good:
    That's Entertainment (Fitchburg & Worcester, MA) - Reasonable prices on a frequently-rotating inventory of retro classics, though I've noticed a few absurdities as of late (like $200 for a CIB Secret of Mana?). I've bought tons of stuff from these folks as both locations, and have even had some really lucky finds (like Mr. Do's Castle on Atari 2600 for $1). Always worth a visit, even if I don't buy anything.

    High Energy Vintage (Somerville, MA) - A small shop, but run by a really cool dude along with a really cool couple of other employees. Shop owner pays fair prices for trades, and always sells a little below market rate. Recently spotted Shining Force 1 with manual in good shape for $20, and I just bought Psycho Fox ($12 loose) and Warsong ($20 loose) from them the other day. Carries games from Atari to "Dreamcats."

    The annoying:
    Sudden Impact (Winthrop, MA) - This guy has a ton of inventory, but his prices are by far the most expensive around. Posts multiple times per day on local Craigslist, and his store is a total pain in the arse to get to, unless you happen to be one of the few people who actually live in Winthrop. He's got a ton of inventory, but if you see something you want you're gonna pay through the nose (read: higher than ebay) for it. Also doesn't help the shop is almost literally the size of a shoebox, so everything is piled on top of everything else.

    Video Game Exchange (Plaistow, NH) - Just stopped in there last night, and saw they had a DuckTales 2 NES, loose, with writing on the cart, for $135. Asking $200 for a loose EarthBound. $18 for FIFA Street 2 on GameCube? Many other ludicrously priced games. They also have an eBay shop, with equally terrible prices.

    The "faded glory":
    Comically Speaking (Reading, MA) - When I moved to the neighborhood, this was a pretty cool shop with solid retro game selection, and would even have half-off sales from time to time (as a matter of fact, one of my frst times in this place was during a half-off sale where I scored a Tengen Tetris for $15!). I also got 95% of my Intellivision library from this place for practically a song. Now though, every time I go there the gaming section is smaller and smaller, and the prices are getting higher and higher, and the vibe of the store is just kind of... off. I dunno.

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    We had a store recently go out of business, called Gaming Source in Southington, CT. The store had some cool stuff sometimes, I got my Sega Master System there with hookups, 2 controllers, light gun, and 2 fight sticks for $50, which is a fair price for a hard-to-find system, but some of their games were over-priced. They also had a lot of the same common NES and SNES sports games sitting around, with 10 Top Gun's, Gotcha!, Win Lose or Draw, etc. I got some NES games there, but for the most part I didn't get too much stuff there. They also did custom 360 controllers, which was cool, but expensive.

    There is several Game Xchange chains in CT, in Wallingford, Branford, Waterbury, and I think 1 other location. These also sell lots of DVD's and have better prices on games, much more fair. I would pick up NES games there, some Atari games that were cheap, and sometimes I'd find Colecovision games in the Atari piles. I found Frogger on Colecovision there for maybe $2, and come to find out it's a $25 game. At least the last time I checked it was.

    There's also a chain called Retro Games Plus, which now has 2 locations. One in Orange, and one in Newington, CT. The kids who worked at Gaming Source now work at this Newington location. They also sell action figures and legos, which is cool, and have some more uncommon games like Odyssey 2 games, boxed Vectrex games, and some NES games on the rarer side like Mega Man 1 which is getting hard to find, and Baby Boomer, which I may pick up. Lotsa great NES games which I like, lotsa Atari games, altho some are marked up to $5 each, which sounds pricey for Atari games. I did get a cool little Transformer that I had as a kid in '92 back in first grade. So crazy to find. It's an Air Raid action figure, and I don't collect action figures but it's cool to find a little slice of nostalgia I never thought I'd see ever again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old_skoolin_jim View Post
    I'e been pretty lucky in the greater Boston area the last 5-10 years, as most of the stores I frequent don't charge batshit insane prices, though a few places are starting to creep up a bit (though still not anywhere near outrageous). That being said, I have definitely come across my fair share of traps, too. Here's my $.02:

    The good:
    That's Entertainment (Fitchburg & Worcester, MA) - Reasonable prices on a frequently-rotating inventory of retro classics, though I've noticed a few absurdities as of late (like $200 for a CIB Secret of Mana?). I've bought tons of stuff from these folks as both locations, and have even had some really lucky finds (like Mr. Do's Castle on Atari 2600 for $1). Always worth a visit, even if I don't buy anything.

    High Energy Vintage (Somerville, MA) - A small shop, but run by a really cool dude along with a really cool couple of other employees. Shop owner pays fair prices for trades, and always sells a little below market rate. Recently spotted Shining Force 1 with manual in good shape for $20, and I just bought Psycho Fox ($12 loose) and Warsong ($20 loose) from them the other day. Carries games from Atari to "Dreamcats."

    The annoying:
    Sudden Impact (Winthrop, MA) - This guy has a ton of inventory, but his prices are by far the most expensive around. Posts multiple times per day on local Craigslist, and his store is a total pain in the arse to get to, unless you happen to be one of the few people who actually live in Winthrop. He's got a ton of inventory, but if you see something you want you're gonna pay through the nose (read: higher than ebay) for it. Also doesn't help the shop is almost literally the size of a shoebox, so everything is piled on top of everything else.

    Video Game Exchange (Plaistow, NH) - Just stopped in there last night, and saw they had a DuckTales 2 NES, loose, with writing on the cart, for $135. Asking $200 for a loose EarthBound. $18 for FIFA Street 2 on GameCube? Many other ludicrously priced games. They also have an eBay shop, with equally terrible prices.

    The "faded glory":
    Comically Speaking (Reading, MA) - When I moved to the neighborhood, this was a pretty cool shop with solid retro game selection, and would even have half-off sales from time to time (as a matter of fact, one of my frst times in this place was during a half-off sale where I scored a Tengen Tetris for $15!). I also got 95% of my Intellivision library from this place for practically a song. Now though, every time I go there the gaming section is smaller and smaller, and the prices are getting higher and higher, and the vibe of the store is just kind of... off. I dunno.
    Funny you should mention Sudden Impact. I have been there and definately agree on the high prices. but if you go on Yelp or some other such site, all you get are glowing reviews of the place, saying it has great prices blah blah blah, and the few (accurate) reviews that say the place has high prices are hidden.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanoid_Katamari View Post
    .

    There is several Game Xchange chains in CT, in Wallingford, Branford, Waterbury, and I think 1 other location. These also sell lots of DVD's and have better prices on games, much more fair. I would pick up NES games there, some Atari games that were cheap, and sometimes I'd find Colecovision games in the Atari piles. I found Frogger on Colecovision there for maybe $2, and come to find out it's a $25 game. At least the last time I checked it was.
    GameXchange in Norwich, CT is my primary retro game store. They are a very fair store in my experience. Though I did find out recently they don't gave individual trade in pricing for Turbographix games. They only pay $1 per game regardless of what is. It's the same policy they use for Jaguar, 3DO, and any other obscure/failed console.

    It's kind of weird.

    I just picked up a complete Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii for $8 this afternoon, which is $4 below eBay average. Came with 20 club nintendo points too!
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by spman View Post
    What's the deal with the trend of the local retro game stores that have been popping up all over the place now? The ones locally here are all the same, they price everything with at least a 10% markup from the highest sold price on eBay, yet they still do decent business? Who are the people that are buying games from these places, is it the casual gamers that have bought into the hype of the retro gaming fad, and just get caught up in buying stuff on impulse?

    For example this place: http://www.yelp.com/biz/video-games-new-york-new-york. I've seen people astonished by the videos of this store on Facebook, but the big secret is that the reason they have so much cool stuff in stock is because it's priced way way way above what they are actually work. The store only stays in business thanks to trust fund hipsters that don't care about paying $15 for a copy of SMB / Duckhunt and $120 for an NES to play it on.
    Long story short without reading this whole thread, I don't mind paying a few extra dollars to help the local shop. Unless they are absolutely resellers, I like supporting the local stores.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by peeingas View Post
    Funny you should mention Sudden Impact. I have been there and definately agree on the high prices. but if you go on Yelp or some other such site, all you get are glowing reviews of the place, saying it has great prices blah blah blah, and the few (accurate) reviews that say the place has high prices are hidden.
    Yeah, I was one of those "accurate" Yelp reviewers, and the guy totally lashed out at me. I gave in and updated my review, but I should have stuck to my guns. I lived in Chelsea for 4 years, and his shop was a pain to get to (his frequent Craigslist ads that mention being "easy to get to" are total BS) even living just a few miles away, it was a solid 30 minute drive. I think I went there maybe a grand total of 2 times.

    As for all the positive reviews, Winthrop is essentially an island full of well-to-do yuppies who probably don't care what they have to pay to get their Nintendo 64 games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spman View Post
    What's the deal with the trend of the local retro game stores that have been popping up all over the place now? The ones locally here are all the same, they price everything with at least a 10% markup from the highest sold price on eBay, yet they still do decent business?
    I knoooooow! My local store is pretty good though, you can find some R5-R7 Atari carts for like $2. However, really popular games like FFVI are like $120 used.
    My game consoles and computers:

    Atari 2600, Famicom, Super Famicom, Famicom Disk System, NES, SNES, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance SP, SupaBoy, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Atari 800XL, Atari XEGS, Sega Saturn JPN, Sega Dreamcast JPN, Sega Genesis, GameCube, DS Lite, Intellivision, Nintendo 64, Atari Flashback 1, DSi XL, Lenovo Y510p, iMac G4, HP G60.

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    That's the problem here too as I already said. I got fed up trying to find anything in there anymore and keeping a credit on file with them ($35, some of it from a decade ago almost.) I was told they started carrying new sealed games super limited so I picked up Smash Bros 3DS for $6. I took stuff in that day to get rid of (mostly not games) and ended up walking out with CIB Mario Paint and a blu ray along with a $20. I used to hit that place every week (or 2 if busy) but now it's like every couple of months maybe because the prices are repulsive on almost all of it. If you price at or above ebay I hope you go out of business as I'll save the 30min round trip drive, the wasted time, and the added wasted money of the mark up + gas and click something online because I never need it that day that badly to eat it.

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    Retro game stores take the fun out of collecting retro games. What was fun about retro games was you used to be able to buy them cheap at garage sales, flea markets or even record stores that sold games. Paying eBay prices or higher takes away the fun out of collecting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostDog View Post
    Retro game stores take the fun out of collecting retro games. What was fun about retro games was you used to be able to buy them cheap at garage sales, flea markets or even record stores that sold games. Paying eBay prices or higher takes away the fun out of collecting.
    You can still avoid paying ebay prices often if you check garage sales, thrift stores, and network on CL/FB/etc. Sure, sometimes people will ask for them, but if you are good at negotiating, you can avoid it quite often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfchakan View Post
    You can still avoid paying ebay prices often if you check garage sales, thrift stores, and network on CL/FB/etc. Sure, sometimes people will ask for them, but if you are good at negotiating, you can avoid it quite often.
    That's all entirely relative to your home town. Back out in CA I could hit a flea market every single Sunday morning with a $20 bill and bring home at least one or two things, more the farther back in time things went as greed grew, but garage sales were worthless due to gas costs and distances between. There were at least a half dozen or more predators buying up peoples games for pennies so craigslist was a shark tank and pointless, most thrifts rarely got stuff and if they did it was almost gone immediately. Here in KY though, less predators, most flea markets around here dont have games or if they do it's inconsistent as is the pricing and usually it's not the 'good stuff' outside of first party games, and retail in the last year or so went over ebay pricing so that's out, and it's down to community garage sales mostly here so it's all spotty. Yet if you read posts bitching about this over at NA, you'll often find in their finds area a disproportionate amount of goodies with good old style prices seem to come out of the midwest, texas in parts, and north carolina along with california in some spots yet a lot of other states are just given dead zones.

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    Here's a good store in Champaign Il.

    https://www.facebook.com/LiveActionChampaign

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    I guess I'm lucky. Have a really good store about 30 min away. Price are fair, variety is good, owner is cool and will hook up his regulars with discounts and free-be's

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Adventurer View Post
    GameXchange in Norwich, CT is my primary retro game store. They are a very fair store in my experience. Though I did find out recently they don't gave individual trade in pricing for Turbographix games. They only pay $1 per game regardless of what is. It's the same policy they use for Jaguar, 3DO, and any other obscure/failed console.

    It's kind of weird.

    I just picked up a complete Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii for $8 this afternoon, which is $4 below eBay average. Came with 20 club nintendo points too!
    GameXchange has really fair prices, for sure. I go to the Wallingford location, cuz its closest, but they all seem to have the same prices for things. It's hard to find a store that actually sells things a little below Ebay prices, many people charge above the average Ebay prices nowadays, its crazy. Sure, ur still gonna pay $20 for Super Mario Kart, but they also have the buy-3-get-one-free deal which is great cuz I can get a nice stack of cheap NES games and get a few for free.

    I've been going to a new store called Retro Game Plus in Newington, it's got some great hard to find games, prices are not as good as GameXchange, but still not bad. Lotsa tough to find games, and they also have action figures and legos, which isn't really my thing but still pretty cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostDog View Post
    Retro game stores take the fun out of collecting retro games. What was fun about retro games was you used to be able to buy them cheap at garage sales, flea markets or even record stores that sold games. Paying eBay prices or higher takes away the fun out of collecting.
    I still prefer to troll thru Goodwills and other thrift stores around the area then the game stores. But even with the game stores, theres still kind of a gamble of wat u'll find.

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    There used to be a video game store called Video Games Etc. in Gallatin, TN. It opened in 2004. Later they opened a location in Hendersonville around 2007. These stores had GREAT selections and great prices. I started going there in March 2006, used to load up on all kinds of games, could usually get 5-7 games for 50 bucks (most of that being CIB stuff for various systems from Atari 2600 to Dreamcast). Most Atari 2600 games were $1-3, even CIB NES stuff was usually under $10. They also had system packages with the system and all the hookups included, and 1-3 free games, usually at $40-50. Some stuff like a PS1 was around $25. Keep in mind these are late 2000s prices.

    Until they moved stores in late 2007, their main Gallatin location was a rather bare-bones looking affair. Little decoration on the walls, no demo units, stuff like that. But it didn't matter. It had GAMES. New and old. I got my PS3 from there, launch year as well. I know that not spending a lot of money on frills meant cheaper games.

    July 10, 2009 was a horrible day. My mom took me to Video Games Etc. that day, as she frequently had for 3 years. I was 16 at the time, didn't drive until 2012. I'll never forget the big yellow sign that said "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS". The man who owned it was only 32 years old. The store was a recession victim, simple as that. They closed on July 14, 2009.

    We had other local retro game stores like Great Escape and Game Trader. Game Trader is still around, at least it was in about 2019 when I last went to that part of town (it's sketchy as fuck now). Their prices were higher than Video Games Etc. (about 25-40% higher, if I remember correctly), and they were flashier (especially Game Trader). Still, even Game Trader's late-2000s prices were low enough that they would make a 2022 collector turn Incredible Hulk green with envy.

    I've suspended retro collecting, because these prices are ridiculous now. Rich hipsters (I wonder if any of them are named Kukai*)?
    *Bill Wurtz reference

    Enjoy these retro 2008 pictures of Video Games Etc.'s Hendersonville location. Sadly I never got pictures of the Gallatin location but the first (2004-2007) version looked pretty similar, but was bigger and better stocked. The 2007-2009 version looked more similar to Game Trader, still had the same great low prices though. Unfortunately, I didn't have much room on my SD card on my digital camera when I took those, so they're low-res.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyy...57628804768541

    And here's Game Trader, for comparison. Not quite late-2000s, but still February 2012, and high-res, taken on my Canon Rebel:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyy...57629536191625
    Last edited by WelcomeToTheNextLevel; 07-06-2022 at 05:09 AM.
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

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    interesting, one of the places i've been lookin for work at was Tennessee, some where around Memphis or Nashville. I visited both last year.

    good to know theres something, my friends and i looked and asked around in Memphis and no one knew of any game shops. Didnt have much time to look when we ere in Nashville, they were interested in looking at homes to buy there... and getting drunk on boradway

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