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    Strawberry (Level 2)
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    Default Memories of video game related things that aren't around anymore (stores, houses you played at, etc)

    I'm 26, and I've amassed a few memories from defunct stores and even a childhood home that's been torn down.

    The big one is Video Games Etc. in Gallatin and Hendersonville, TN. I have pictures of those places, that's how much I loved them. VGE opened in 2004 in Gallatin, TN, in 2007 or so they opened a second location in Hendersonville, TN, in late 2007 they moved to a new location in Gallatin, and on April 6, 2009 their Hendersonville location closed followed by their main Gallatin location on July 14, 2009. They sold modern and classic games but I was in it for the classics. They had a wide selection at a cheap price.
    The first time I went there was on March 30, 2006. For months I'd been obsessed with the Sega Master System for some reason and had a dream a week or so earlier that I saw one for sale for $1,000. I looked at prices and they weren't near that bad. Went to VGE for the first time, they had one for sale. 47 bucks. My mom tried to talk me into an NES, because it had better games (she was right), and the very next day we went back and got an NES. 50 bucks, new 72 pin connector. Did I mention that both of these systems came with a couple free games? That's right, an NES, a Master System, and four games for less than $100. Gosh, I miss VGE and 2006 retro game prices in general. Me and my mom went maybe 1.5 times a month on average from there on out, picking up 3-6 games per trip, on many of the earlier trips I picked up systems (by the later trips, I had all the systems they sold). I'm not sure what made me pick up the games I did, it was a combination of price and interestingness I guess. Although I turned 16 on Christmas 2008 I never drove there; I didn't start to drive until May 5, 2012. Usually I went to the Gallatin location; I went to the Gallatin location probably 50 times in 3 years, whereas the Hendersonville location got maybe 5 visits total. I wish I had recorded the dates of all of my VGE visits and purchases.
    The last time I was there was July 12, 2009. There was a big yellow banner out front that said "STORE CLOSING" when we went on July 10. Picked up a few games and came back on Sunday the 12th for a massive haul. I got something like 200 bucks of games including Golden Axe Warrior CIB for Sega Master System for just $16. The box was in mediocre shape, looked like a dog had tried to bite it at some point, but it was Golden Axe Warrior. CIB. With instruction manual. 16 bucks. Try getting it for less than 100 today. I ate my first ever Angus Burger from McDonalds inside a room that they had set aside for LAN parties. We spent probably over an hour in that store. Leaving it for the last time was a heartbreaking experience for a 16 year old with Asperger's syndrome that loved classic games. I believe I posted about it on here.

    Here's the Hendersonville location from my June 4, 2008 visit.

    My childhood home, where I lived from age 3 to 8 (1996 - Feb. 17, 2001) was a grey trailer with a 24x24 living room extension built on around 1998. I got a Sega Genesis in fall 1998, a N64 for Christmas 1998, and we sold the N64 in summer 1999 for a PS1. I remember playing that PS1 quite a lot. I still have a memory burned into my head from probably 2000 of racing on that muddy track in CTR with Tiny Tiger in that living room. That PS1 moved around a lot; it was in my bedroom at one point, my parents' bedroom at another, and the living room at another time. Crash 3 in the parents' bedroom with my mom cheering me on in the Orient Express level. Bushido Blade in the living room, awed at the pixelated blood and always picking the nodachi sword because it was biggest.

    Here's some vintage '90s pics, you can see my N64 in the background of some of them:
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

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    Apple (Level 5)
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    Funcoland: they were ubiquitous before they became GameStops. I remember as a kid seeing Rock N Roll Racing CIB SNES for $35 and thinking "I wish it werent so expensive" and that would have been circa 97-98. Born in 89. I got a loose Joe and Mac 2 there as a kid.

    Video game rental stores. We rented games from the gas station and also a video rental store. The games were a lot more expensive then so of course it made more sense to rent. We rented a PS1 when it first came out. That was really cool.

    I vividly remember walking through the aisles and looking at all the games you could rent- NES, Gameboy, SNES, Genesis. When that place closed down its rental section I wonder what they did with all those cartridges

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    When that place closed down its rental section I wonder what they did with all those cartridges
    Probably shipped them off to stores that would sell them off.

    One of my favorite places to shop in the mid 2000s was Video Update which was a part of the Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video/GameCrazy chain. Video Update had some brand-new stuff, but a large percentage of their stock was former rentals, both movies and games, and the prices on games were great, especially considering many were CIB (though, unsurprisingly, rarely in mint condition). I bought almost every Sega CD game they had, since they were like $2.99 and frequently buy two, get one free. I also loaded up on N64 games, among other stuff. I bought so much that I had to get a little picky, and I regret some of the stuff I passed on, thinking I could get a better condition copy later on. But, yeah, those were the good old days of collecting for me.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
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    I don't remember any dedicated video game stores from my childhood, and when I started collecting, most of my games came from thrift stores and yard sales so I rarely bought anything from them then. I do however have many memories of renting NES games from a local video rental place. It was in a converted house and I remember thinking it was neat how you would walk from room to room and there'd be shelf after shelf of movies and games. At first I didn't think I'd remember the name of it, but then had an "oh yeah" moment, It was called Broadway Video, which I remember because some of my games have it written on the back in marker...since we bought a lot of them when the store went out of business.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Cherry (Level 1) WulfeLuer's Avatar
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    I had some neighbors that were very close to my family that would let me play their SNES. Aladdin, Mortal Kombat and Super Mario World. Holy crap, Super Mario World. I helped Anthony, the father of the house beat that, mostly I figured out puzzlers like Ghost Houses that stumped him. He was still no dummy, and had some great reflexes. About the only thing we didn't figure out was how to unlock Soda Lake. Nice people, but pretty kooky. Then there was my really good friend Dino that let me indulge my blossoming Final Fantasy VI addiction at his house.

    A little later, I started doing 'consulting' for video games, friends would bring their games and/or consoles to play on my ancient but frighteningly game-friendly TV and I'd help figure out secrets or annoying puzzles and stuff. Less because I'm anything special then that damned TV, I miss that thing.

    I didn't go to any really dedicated video game stores until I was already an adult. The local mall had a Babbage's and EB practically on top of each other, plus a Kaybee Toys that tended to have incredible bargains sandwiched in between. Except for a few good deals, I can't say I liked them all that much, since even then they were dumping older stuff right when I was trying to be something like a proper collector. A couple years later I wandered into a Rhino's and fell in love. It was a good hour's drive and in an increasingly bad neighborhood, but I kept going and buying stuff there anyway. Then they were bought out by Gamestop and everything fell apart.

    There were some 'gamer culture' related places like anime stores that I went to fairly frequently, but never to buy actual games since they had horribly high prices even when the staff was good. Nevertheless the best one was pretty cool, they'd do CCG tourneys and you could play on a couple of shmup cabinets they had. You could get game OSTs, too. They were 90% bootlegs but nobody really cared. Somewhere buried in my stuff is a set of Final Fantast Tactacs CDs.
    RPGs: Proof that one you start done the dork path, forever will it dominate your wallet's destiny.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    I bought my TurboGrafx-16 from Babbage's (bought out by GameStop, curse their black hearts). At the end of the Amiga's life the two big Commodore shops around me were almost gone and the only regular place I could get a little software for it was at Software Etc. (another company bought out by GameStop). Speaking of the Amiga, I used to go to the J. Dalton's Bookstore in Six Flags Mall in Arlington, TX to buy Amiga "magazines", which were just a floppy disc inside a paper sleeve filled with public domain software. The other bookstore in the mall, Waldenbooks, didn't bother carrying any Amiga mags.

    I bought my Sega Genesis at a store called MacFrugal's, in the Parks Mall in Arlington, TX. That store chain quickly failed and their nearby warehouse was converted into Incredible Universe, where I bough my Atari Jaguar and my Pioneer LaserActive with the Mega LD Pak as the store was circling the financial drain.

    Locally there were two locations of a store called Electronic Discount Sales. They were essentially junk stores of old electronic stuff, and after a tornado struck the also local Telegames warehouse loads of stuff ended up getting sold off at Electronic Discount Sales. I bought loads of Atari 2600, 7800, and Lynx games there cheap, all boxed. Also some Atari 5200 and Colecovision stuff along with a Telegames Dina 2-in-1 console.

    Off downtown Dallas on Ross Street used to be a monthly event called the First Saturday Sale, a big electronic street sale. Bought all sorts of things out there, from an Atari 520ST to a copy of BeOS to weird laserdisc movies to Sega CD games that turned out to be empty when I looked at it at home. You could buy modchips for the PS1, Bandai Pippin keyboards and controllers (but no consoles), a TurboExpress with no battery door that was incredibly tempting but just beyond my pricepoint, Babylon 5 T-shirts and bumper stickers, all sorts of HAM radio and radio tube-based electronics, and terrible CD-ROM games. The whole area has been leveled and is now upscale apartments and arts centers.

    I bought a spare Atari Lynx, new, at a store called Venture. It was a chain founded by a co-founder of Target, but spreading out to Texas overburdened the company and eventually bankrupted it.

    One of the Commodore Amiga shops I used to go to and get Amiga magazines was Metropolitan Computers. They were the only place I ever saw an Amiga CD32 for sale, but I just couldn't afford $299 for it. They had old software that had been there for years but they never knocked the price down to move them. I remember 3D Boxing being $55 during the final visit I made there. So I didn't buy much software at that place. They'd also leave you standing at the register for 10 minutes because the staff weren't interested in helping you if you weren't buying an Amiga 2000 with a Video Toaster card.

    I've bought several games and things at Play N' Trade stores over the years, but I'm not sure if many of those exist now. Their website is just a blank page. They had the tendency to overcharge their licensees to the point where those shops can't afford to stay in business. There have been several around my area over the years, and they all failed due to bad corporate decisions. The only one I know of is down in Lafayette, Louisiana, still going to this day.
    Last edited by Steve W; 05-30-2019 at 06:10 AM.

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    Peach (Level 3)
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    The local Shell Mart gas station rented movies and NES games. Games were a one day rental for $3.99, which was a buck higher than all other stores, but a late fee was either $2 or $2.50 per day.

    Their selection was pathetic but when SMB3 hit they were the only place in town that had 2 copies. I specifically remember them having a large hand written sign on the box saying it was a 1 day rental only, and any additional late fees would be at full price.

    The local Radio Shack was the first place locally that rented games. When you'd rent SMS games, they'd actually send them home in the regular clamshell and not a generic clear rental case like NES carts.

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