Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
30 December 2005
Support the Little Guys
Out with my sister today, we happened upon a little hole-in-the-wall videogame and DVD shop. This kind of shop reminds me why EB Games/GameStop aren't perfect for me: little shops buy and sell almost anything for any system, often at reasonable prices. Today I picked up Prince of Persia: Arabian Nights for the Dreamcast and BurgerTime for the NES for a grand total of $7. They may not be the greatest games, but I'd been looking for them and hadn't seen a good deal on them in ages. My sister picked up DVDs of My Cousin Vinny and Sideways, also at good prices.

Which brings me to a recent experience at a local GameStop. They've stopped stocking games for certain systems, like GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and the PSOne. Given the focus on the Nintendo DS, the first two are understandable, but the PSOne?

So when my brother wanted a copy of Metal Gear Solid for the PSOne for Christmas, I was out of luck at the big chains. I visited a local independent shop across the street, one that still has a pile of Atari 2600 games in a bin along with a big wall of NES games, and found a Metal Gear Solid complete with manual and case, all in excellent condition. I'd have easily paid twice as much going through mail order, not necessarily been guaranteed a manual and good condition discs, and on top of it paid for some outrageous shipping costs.

And while the guys in independent stores tend to be a bit less polished on presentation, most of the time they are knowledgeable and appear honest. I should test out my "does the SNES use the same cable as the GameCube and N64?" question in a few and see what reaction I get. I bet it'll be better than that poor GameStop schmuck who told me the SNES definitely didn't use the same cable as the N64 or GameCube and he had a broken SNES to prove it.

The big chains serve a purpose: they feed piles of new games into the system. But for long-term players like me, they can't supply me with the older games I occasionally need to find.

So next time you're out game shopping, consider tossing some dough to the little guys. They're good to have around.
--Matt Matthews at 23:07
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

Rhino Games, even if they are owned by the evil empire, BB (though I suppose Netflix is invading the empire fairly well now), has a surprising number of "legacy" games. I grabbed a few NES games there recently, and they had everything I was looking to get. Currently it's buy 2 get 1 free, and though the number I bought clearly shows I didn't realize that at the time, I walked out w/ 4 NESers for $6.33. Not bad. (And yes, that means I'm NEXed up now. And also that Three Stooges stayed at the Rhino.)

I believe you've mentioned before how you can't necessarily count on independents sticking around, which is a shame (and not quite a good enough excuse to avoid them), so pitching dollars to chains that continue to stock classics might not be a horrible idea. ??

By Blogger rufbo, at 31 December, 2005 11:35  

So, where's the NEX review?

You're right, Rhino appears to be a decent shop. I wasn't aware they were owned by BlockBuster, but I've got no beef with them on games. The NES prices weren't that good when I was there last (in November) but it appears I might need to give them another look.

The two big independents I knew last place I lived both dried up. One, MicroPlay/Gamer's Edge was a decent shop but appeared to lose focus and value after about five years. The other, BuyRite, was a bunch of ripoff artists. Perhaps that's a bad side of some independents?

By Blogger jvm, at 31 December, 2005 12:37  

Where's the next review? I've played it for all of 40 minutes and you want a review? Seems you've been infected by the editorial practices of the mainstream gaming press. ;^)

By Blogger rufbo, at 31 December, 2005 15:42  

Out here in the midwest and the south (Oklahoma and Texas, at the very least) there is this chain called GameXchange, which is basically a bunch of smaller minded game stores run by locals who stock games from the 80s (think Atari 2600 and such) up to the current generation. I don't know how "independent" they are because the stores are all part of a larger chain, but I often find them to have much more agreeable prices and variety than the larger chains like Gamestop and EB. It's pretty great for the most part, and there are enough of the stores around so that if one doesn't have something you're looking for there's a good chance another one nearby might.

In the past year I've padded out my NES, SNES, and Genesis collections quite nicely but an individual store is only as good as the location its in because they get all of their games from trade-ins, which means if I want a current game I usually have to wait until someone whose bought it full price trades it in. Though I feel it's better to wait a month or so and pay thirty bucks for a new game rather than fifty so I hardly mind waiting. The local one that I frequent in my own small town often doesn't have as good a selection as the five or six that I can find in nearby Oklahoma City, so if I'm really feeling up for hunting a game down it usually means spending an afternoon hitting as many locations as possible. A practice that can be both exhilirating and rewarding in its own right.

I'd say I've done more game shopping at GameXchanges throughout the past year than any major outlet. And their older game selections always outnumber their current, in most cases, and unless they have a bunch of hardcore nerd gaming fanboys that keep up with internet trends working for them it's very likely that the game I'm looking for won't cost as pretty a penny as shopping around online through places like eBay and Amazon. The local store I mentioned above had a game for the NES priced at six dollars that a customer came in and bought, commenting that he could only ever find it online for something like sixty.

It's kind of nice to have a shop for games that exists somewhat outside the mainstream.

By Anonymous Mr. Mechanical, at 01 January, 2006 23:03  

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