For the past twelve days, I was in Europe vacationing in London and Paris. E3 was also happening while I was gone, so all of my knowledge of E3 comes from me trying to watch every game trailer that came out, twitter posts from various journalist outlets, listening to podcasts from Giant Bomb and Game Informer, and trying to watch all of the Giant Bomb talk-overs of press conferences. I am not complete with all of that stuff yet, but I will write about that when I am. As for now, I wanted to talk about my experience in a video game store in London.
I was walking down street in a busy shopping street in London when I stumbled across a video game store. Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to pop in and see what the UK's equivalence of Gamestop looked like. For those who don't know, the name of the chain stores is...GAME. That's it. To me, it is a terrible name that is also inconvenient when it comes to google searching the store. But after my experience there, I would happily have that name if it meant having those stores in the U.S.
Before I go into my experience, I want to say that the GAME I went to was most likely a special version of the store (you will see what I mean.) But of all the Gamestops I have been to, I still have not come to a chain gaming store as cool as this one.
Walking in, I could already tell this was a great store. The store was clean, the games were organized, and the employees were friendly. Some employees were behind the counter, but some were also near the entrance as well. The people at the front were really friendly, and me and one other guy struck up a conversation about Gamestop and that I thought EB games was in the UK. He told me the store I was in was pretty new and he never heard of EB games. Anyways, I decided to look around the store and I was amazed. They had just about everything there, and it was all neat and displayed well. They even had gaming keyboard and mice displayed. One thing I also saw was that there prices were fair. Everything seemed up-to-date, and I even saw great games like Horizon: Zero Dawn on sale for half-off. But then I went downstairs.
I saw stairs going down and I just had to look. What did I find? a rental gaming area. Now I know there are such things as rental gaming areas, but I was still shocked to find one in a store like this. They had pc, all consoles, and even all vr headsets. I still have never been to a Gamestop that had a rental service like that (I don't know if there is a Gamestop with one.)
But the biggest thing that got me with GAME was the vibe. When I go to Gamestop, I almost feel like that stereotypical portrayal of thirty-year-old overweight basement dweller vibe, and it makes me want to go in and out of Gamestop really fast with my hand blocking my face hoping no one sees me. But at GAME, I felt more comfortable. Maybe it was how clean and professional the place was, or maybe it was that I was in another continent and I didn't have to worry about what others think of me.
Maybe everything I said only applied to that one store, but that one store sure knew how to properly sell games. I hope someday GAME comes to the U.S. or that Gamestop picks up their act a bit.