When I worked at WotC, it was easy to hit the local game shop every week. On Wednesdays, I’d head over with a bunch of my friends from “Spine Design”, we’d check out games, and then have Australian meat pies down the street. It was nice to be able to keep up with the new releases and at least page through the latest and get a feel for what was out there. It was also highly entertaining to go with a bunch of graphic designers because they are, as a rule, catty, catty bitches.
These days I don’t get to game stores that often. There are none near GRHQ and of course our car has been out of commission for a while. Yesterday I got together with Rick for WTO (Wargame Thursday Operation, a new replacement for our Wargame Wednesdays of years gone by) and we decided to drop into a game store. This was one of the Seattle stores I don’t go to often. Going inside reminded me why. This place is the definition of “gamers’ clubhouse.” It’s small, it’s messy, and it seems to exist solely for the regulars to hang out in. By and large, their stock is out of date and haphazardly arranged. We didn’t stay very long. On the way out, I said to Rick, “Well, my plan of catching up on new releases was somewhat reliant on the store actually having them.”
Luckily, we are in Seattle, which, even after the closure of the Games & Gizmos stores and now the WotC stores, still has a good dozen game stores in the area. There was another store nearby, so we dropped in there. This was bigger and better organized, and also completely empty. The two staffers were playing computer games when we walked in. I was happy to see the Nocturnals book displayed prominently, and was actually able to look through some new releases like Adventure d20 and Axis and Allies: D-Day. Still though, there were many new games I know are out that were not represented. It used to be that you could expect any reasonable with-it game store to have a good selection and the most current releases. Actual full-line game stores seem to be getting more rare all the time.
I know there are good stores out there. I’ve been to places like Imperial Hobbies in BC and the Source in MN. But man, we need more stores of high caliber.