Show your local game store some love.
Before I go into this, a little bit about my gaming pedigree seems appropriate. I started playing RPG’s and card gaming in earnest at about 8 years old. I have countless memories of those times playing magic as a kid, and I feel very lucky to have been supported in my hobbies when I was little because they had a huge effect on the person I grew up to be.
At about 12 I first visited Titan Games and Comics in Poway, CA (actually about a mile from where the Fortress is now). I was instantly in love with the shop. There wasn’t anything special about the building or the shop itself. It was like countless other independent Game and Comic shops all over. They had a little bit of everything, and I was hooked. I had previously been a D&D player, but I got deep into wargames like warhammer 40K and almost every CCG under the sun.
All the usual suspects playing a rousing game of Warhammer Argue-about-rules. No clue what the spots are...
The years I spent at Titan Games and Comics were some of the best years of my life. I made tons of friends, and it was one of the first places I felt like I could always go to and be around only people who “got me”. Danny, the owner of the store, and Brian the manager, were almost always both there. I look back now with a bit more age and realize that my 12 year old self was constantly in awe of these much older, cooler gamer guys who had a big impact on me as a person. Brian couldn’t have been much older than I am today, so that gives me a very interesting perspective on those memories now.
I pretty much lived at Titan from the ages of 12 to about 18. For a solid 6 years or so I was there every day after school until closing and all day every weekend day. I played every game possible and learned a lot about interacting with people. If there was a period of time that had the biggest effect on later me, it was surely this time.
I really miss that shirt.
I was a snotty punk-lookin' kid when I was younger. I was awkward, and felt like a stranger in a strange land. I dressed like a disaster and had neon bright hair through most of my teenage years. Going to the gamestore was the only time when I felt like just another guy among friends and peers.
I know it can be a lot cheaper, but it's just not the same.
I go out of my way to buy everything I can from the local gamestores that are here in San Diego. It really made me happy to see that less than a year ago a new shop opened up across the road from where Titan used to be. When that store closed down, the town I grew up in never really seemed the same.
Everyone say it together now, "Hi Ron."
Thanks to Ron down at At Ease games, another generation of young punk kids can have a place to go be themselves and enjoy the things they love with people who share their interests. It’s hard to convince people to spend more money for something they can get on the internet if they never had the kind of experience of having “their own store”. As much as I get tempted to save cash and have stuff shipped, it makes me really happy to know that I’m supporting a local business that will likely do a lot for others in the same way the now closed store did for me.
We are very lucky in San Diego so have not only one, but many, many gamestores to choose from. I don't like to play favorites because running a store is really hard, and keeping one afloat is even harder. If you happen to find yourself in San Diego for any reason (There is a certain Comic Convention that happens here) then go check out some of the stores that are close to you. I have visited all of them, and can say that they are run by people who believe in what they do.
No matter where I have been to a game store, they always kind of look the same.
I ended up working at Titan after the owner Danny had to sell it to move back east. The new owner Doug was the definition of a stand-up guy. Doug bought the shop not because it was making any money, but because he just didn’t want to see it close. That was my first job, and until working here at Jinx it was my favorite.
Too bad it is so hard to find a local gamestore these days.
So if you’re lucky enough to have access to a gamestore, I’m throwing my two cents out there by saying you should think about what that store really is other than just a place to buy things. If you don’t ever get to go to a gamestore, I feel for you, and hopefully one day if gamers everywhere keep supporting, one might open near you.
Happy Gaming Friends and Minions