The State of Retro Game Stores

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The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby obliterator918 » July 18th, 2017, 11:14 am

Really great article here, including information from a guy who's been to OVGE year after year before it shut down-- he (Jason) even shares exactly how much it costs him to keep his doors open every month ($16,530).

https://www.polygon.com/2017/7/17/15974 ... game-store

I remember talking to Jason about this before at OVGE, and he's been consistent in his expectation that the market for these stores will disappear pretty soon. Hard to argue with it.

There was a Game Exchange store very close to us up to a few years ago. (Actually there were a ton of them here in the Tulsa area.) Suddenly those stores started disappearing. I remember asking in the close-by store if they expected to stay open, and they very much did. (We live in a more affluent neighborhood and it seemed logical.) Sure enough, one day, they were suddenly closed, and all of their merch got moved to another location. I have no idea if that one is open.

Every time I drive by the location I think it's sad that the store is gone, but then I also remember how infrequently I spent money there. If I am looking for something specific I do not bother hitting up shops. I go online. The only time I go to shops now is basically to "kill time" and perhaps find an impulse buy.

Sad that these stores will be so rare, but hardly unexpected.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby obliterator918 » July 18th, 2017, 11:48 am

Thinking about the stores that are still open here, there's Vintage Stock -- most of their floor space is devoted to movies and music, with some shelves of vintage toys and also lots of comics. Retro gaming is important there but not the majority of the business they do (it would seem). And of course a lot of focus on buying/selling current-gen titles.

The only store here still focused on retro games that I can think of is Thrillhouse Games. Great little shop, also sells movies. They seem to be growing as now there is more than just the one guy behind the counter. I would be shocked if his rent was as high as the shops in this article (he's tucked way behind a Toys r Us in a very old shopping center). I also notice he buys and sells a lot on eBay.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby Flack » July 18th, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cool, thanks for sharing this article!

I think we're all guilty of "window shopping" at local game stores. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a game for sale at a local store only to pass on it and look to see if I could find it cheaper online. And usually you can.

A few years ago I went to a garage sale and met a Hispanic couple who were selling a crazy amount of retro video games -- everything from Atari 2600 and NES to PS3 and Xbox 360 titles, with less common stuff like Gameboy Color and Sega Saturn stuff, too. A few months ago I went to a flea market here in the city and saw the same couple with the same stuff. Last month I saw the same couple in Guthrie with the same stuff. They also told me they have a booth at one of the local antique malls. If you're not going to sell online, it seems like you have to work pretty hard at peddling your wares.

The selling point for video game stores for me was always (a) seeing the new stuff first, (b) friendly and knowledgeable staff, and (c) interacting with other gamers. The internet killed A and most of the stores I visit so there's no point in C (and nobody wants to talk to me anyway). That leaves B, which makes it frustrating when you go to a place like GameStop and get treated like garbage.

I'm glad Trade-n-Games is still open and doing well. Jason always has a smile on his face at those shows and seems like a genuinely nice guy. That rent, though...
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby obliterator918 » July 19th, 2017, 7:31 am

Sometimes when I am in a mom-and-pop shop I will try hard to find something to buy before I leave. It's not like I feel obligated to keep people in business, but something about walking around, using their air conditioning, and really just wanting them to be open makes me try hard to find something. More than once I went into Thrillhouse with no real goal in mind and left after buying one of the "nice items" they keep under the glass next to the register.

It's quite a contrast to how I shop at places like Bed Bath and Beyond. If I am about to buy something like a vacuum cleaner I will definitely pull out my phone and make sure I am not paying more than I would on Amazon.

As for these game shops, their days are definitely limited. My son bought himself an Xbox One. It came with three games (Amazon Prime Day bundle). All digital downloads. Then he bought the one game he really wanted. He bought it in the digital store. There is nothing for him to trade in some day to a game shop. They are forever linked to his Microsoft account.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby Kid Ice » July 19th, 2017, 9:02 pm

I blame, at least in part, the televisions. I've been on the lookout for a new family set after a good number of years. Previously a set with lots of inputs was most desirable. That's just not a thing anymore.

My basement set, which is my primary gaming set, has one HDMI input, four component inputs, four composite inputs, four coax inputs, and four s-video inputs. It's an HD CRT with 720p/1080i. Of course CRTs are long gone, but if I want to get a new, say LED set, most of them at best have 3 HDMIs and one combination component/composite (meaning choose one or the other as they share the audio input).

Therefore on today's television set, without the assistance of a converter/splitter, the best I can hope for is attaching one classic system to the coax (like a VCS or NES) and one to the composite/component. And yes in both cases the output will probably look like crap.

S-video, the input of choice for a 3DO or a PSX, is gone. I can't reasonably expect to find that input on a new TV. The disappearance of component is pretty disappointing, since component can do HD and can be utilized for the previous two gens of consoles. So for my upstairs TV I can choose to connect a Wii or an Xbox or a DVD player via component, but not all 3 at once.

My son's taken a liking to Super Mario and Mario Kart, so normally an N64 and a few carts from the local classic game shop would do the trick. There's just no practical way to connect the machine to my LCD set. And I predict HDMI-only sets are just a couple years out.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby obliterator918 » July 20th, 2017, 10:32 am

Kid Ice wrote:S-video, the input of choice for a 3DO or a PSX, is gone.


The demise of s-video is a big shame. There are a lot of older systems that look really good with s-video, and many systems that can have s-video mods to make them shine, but nothing new is being made that will accept the input. But, even the HD TVs I have used with s-video inputs have poor upscaling (especially with older 240p signals) anyway.

I think at this point, retro gamers who really care about the quality of their game display but who do not want to buy old bulky CRTs have to get a Framemeister. It'll take s-video (any everything else) and upscale to HD in a way done specifically for retro game consoles. It actually knows not to try to de-interlace a 240p signal, can handle all the timing conversions, etc...
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby Flack » July 20th, 2017, 2:42 pm

When we moved into our last house (in 2001!) and I really embraced retro gaming, my dad bought me a television for my birthday. It's an Apex 24" flat screen CRT television. It has a great picture, stereo sound, and handles built into the case that make it easy to lug around. I don't remember exactly how many inputs it has, but if I had to guess I'd say the back has s-video, coax, and composite, with a second set of composite inputs on the front. I have a Pelican powered system selector pro that I used to use with it.

The TV's sitting in a corner at the moment. My Atari 2600 is hooked up to the coax connection and my Retron 3 is hooked up to the composite connection. Unfortunately, the whole thing is sitting on an old coffee table and the only way to use it is to lay on the floor, which I don't do that often. I wish I had a better place to put it, but I refuse to get rid of it because it's such a great TV.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby obliterator918 » July 20th, 2017, 4:16 pm

Yeah, I am still hanging on to three CRT televisions and two Commodore monitors in my attic in addition to the Commodore monitor I keep set up with my C64 in my office... Why do I need three CRT televisions in my attic? In case some day I actually decide to lug one of them out, hook it up, and find two in a row don't work any more I guess, hah.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby Flack » July 20th, 2017, 7:13 pm

You had to bring monitors into this, didn't you?

I just checked eBay and apparently those old Amdek monitors are now officially "rare". That's good news for the four I have out in the garage. Also, my home security system is connected to a 1702 Commodore monitor "just because."
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby obliterator918 » July 21st, 2017, 7:41 am

Rare rare or just eBay rare? I mean Atari Combat is "super rare" on eBay.
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Re: The State of Retro Game Stores

Postby Flack » July 21st, 2017, 11:02 am

Just eBay rare. When we first got our Apple II clone (the Franklin Ace 1000) it came with an amber monitor. Before long my dad upgraded to a color Amdek monitor. You can see it in the picture below from my parents' computer store.

Image

When my dad sold the Franklin Ace 1000, I inherited the monitor. It has one composite input on the back for video, and an 1/8" input jack for audio. I used the monitor from '85-'91 on my Commodore 64. I had one of those external TV tuners that allowed you to watch television on a computer monitor hooked up to it too. For a while I also had a VCR hooked up to it, but eventually I got a 13" television so the VCR moved to that (I still kept the TV tuner hooked up the monitor). There were times when I used it as a gaming monitor for the NES and SNES, too. It was great as a computer monitor because it had a built in handle in the top, which made it easy to carry when I was going to copyfests or over to friend's houses and taking my computer with me.

I was in a thrift store one time and ran across a second one and got so excited that I bought it. Over the years I've run across two more, and bought them, too.

I don't seem to have a picture of it, but when I first set up my upstairs computer area in this house I hooked up three computers (Amiga 500, Commodore 64, and Apple II) and hooked them all to Amdek monitors. I thought it was a cool setup but then I started thinking... I could buy one BIG LCD monitor and run EVERYTHING into it. That's what I have now, although to be honest I kind of liked the authenticity of the old monitors better. Of course the TV allows me to connect things like a Raspberry Pi and the PlayStation 3 so it's give and take. One of these days I will swap the old monitors back in here, if only because I like looking at them.
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