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Project Indie Game Store Day

A year ago, I was reading about what was being offered for Record Store Day, a one day event where people are encouraged to visit a record store to either buy something from them or buy an exclusive release specifically made for that day. Record or vinyl stores have seen a steady decrease over the years, people just aren’t that interested in buying vinyl anymore. Thanks to Record Store Day, though, people are buying newly released music on vinyl once again and some of the popular record stores still exist today as we speak.

The Unforgiving Sad Story

Every time I go on vacation, I seek out indie game stores. Two weeks ago I went to Parma Heights in Ohio to visit my wife’s cousin and saw an indie game store nearby that showed up on my Google Maps. When I finally arrived at the store, at around 1 pm, it was already closed. Standing outside the door, I saw hundreds of NES and other past generation games, it was like a hidden treasure. I knocked on the door and finally a guy that looked like he was pissed off cause I was there opened the door. He told me that they were closed but if I was looking for anything specific to just let him know. After a short conversation about various things, I finally asked why they were closed so early in the day. The answer was that they are closed for good. His wife didn’t look very happy in the background while they were packing everything. She was so upset that she couldn’t even look at me. I asked why were they closing and the answer was because Best Buy had started to take video game trade ins. This coupled with other online stores, including Amazon.com, are taking a big chunk of the used games business leaving them with nothing at all. So I started to wonder, how many more game stores are closing this year because of reasons like that? One thing that no big box retailer would ever have in their inventory is the Pokemon Box for Gamecube, which this indie store had on display. I was not able to buy it that day because their asking price was too high, and I didn’t have the heart to offer less. At the end of our conversation, I ended up making a purchase knowing that I was the last customer (a Gold Zelda 64 cart and a few N64 controllers) and that I would never be able to look through their treasures again.

The Idea

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a day, or maybe a week, dedicated to independent game stores everywhere? The Record Store Day was a brilliant idea, and it would be nice to have something like that for indie game stores. Why should we be forced to shop at these big box retailers all the time? GameStop and Best Buy aren’t the only place to find games! With a huge decline of mom and pop stores and independent game stores across the U.S. and probably in Canada and other parts of the world, I feel like it’s only natural to give this kind of attention to the stores that also helped build this industry. As an avid video game collector, the survival of these stores is part of the fun and the experience. I will never have the same conversations, share the same admiration for games and the evolution of gaming, and I will never find those games that we cherished when we were young at a Best Buy, Game Stop or other big box retail store.

For now, this is just an idea. It would be nice if we, as a gaming community, could pull this one off. This project will not take off without any help from the video game community. Think of the impact this could make. It’s history in the making! This is obviously a big project and we would need a lot of people to make it happen. If you want to become part of this project, please send me an email at phear3d at gamesniped.wpengine.com with the subject “Project: Indie Store Day”. I’m looking for graphic designers (to design a logo at least), a website, maybe even a message board for now. If you have other talents that can be useful, send me an email. If you just want to be part of the movement, send me an email. I would like to start the project in the United States (maybe Canada too) and if there are enough people and enough stores that would like to volunteer, it could possibly become a reality.

12 Comments

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  1. I would love to see this happening, game stop has moved into my country (Ireland) and now they are in most big towns, as a result I see independent game shops closing. There are a few left in Dublin that I have found any way (wierdly one opened on Grafton, the main shopping street in the country right opposite a HMV but that’s a welcomed annomoly) but I can’t see how they can last. Perhaps contacting some of the gaming community who have alot of exposure could be your best bet? People such as Machinima or the Yogscast hreach alot of people every day. It’s worth a shot surely?

    • its really hard to tear down that wall gamestop have created. by having so many stores, they’ve kind of eliminated the need for an indie store or make it impossible for them to exist. unlike small time business owners, gamestop can have access to high traffic areas and gathers as much data as possible from town to town looking for that next spot.

      im adding a QR Code to the post. post a tweet about it – spread the word 🙂

  2. A day or week dedicated to independent game shops?? It’s interesting, but what good will it do anybody? Holidays are nice, but the issue here is long term economics, yes?

    • I’ve heard from several indie retailers that black friday could sometimes be a real pain since most shoppers shops at the big box retailers for the deals. Even around the holidays could sometimes be their worst.

      It’s not always better to shop at indie game stores, but it would be nice if they are still around doing what they do. Competition is as bad as it ever was when it comes to selling video games and pretty much everyone else are trying to cash in. its good to have them around. I would rather shop an indie store to try to find games rather than pay full retail online.

      if you don’t ever shop at an indie game store anymore (maybe cause you just dont want to or its been replaced by a gamestop at the mall), then the project really isnt going to work out for you.

  3. Gaming has kinda been low everywhere. Not surprising that a little store would be hurting. People are interested in iphone games, but I would think that there would still be some serious collectors out there that like the classic games. An interesting article:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/07/video-game-sales-fall-in-june.html

    &

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/06/may-2011-video-game-sales-lowest-since-october-2006-npd.html

    I sell online and April and May are the months that sales plummetted really low. Still hasn’t gone up. Wish there was an easy answer…

  4. I’m all for this but pick your indie game store carefully I did my Christmas shopping at an indie game store located at auction town Roseville ca it’s there every weekend for the last 5 years any how I purchased a complete nes system for my older brother and when I asked to test it the store owner swore up and down that he already did system never worked 45$ down the drain also indie game stores tend to inflate prices aswell I saw a top loader nes for 250$ with no box at another store in sac.

  5. For the collectors of PC/Mac games, what are you looking for when you buy? Maybe it will help us sellers change up our business plan during this economy.

  6. AWESOME IDEA!!!!!!

    Someone needs to register gamestoreday.com quick. Make up some t-shirts. Define a date, contacting game manufacturer’s to do exclusive releases, contact stores to get them listed on the website and have them do exclusive tournaments and stuff.

    • i registered it. the dates would have to be thoroughly thought out first. we dont even have a team yet dedicated for it. i’ve yet to receive any emails. i think the idea needs to simmer a little bit longer. i might post it on message boards like digitpress or maybe even NA.

  7. “because their asking price was too high”

    Perhaps this has more to do with why the store is closing than Amazon or GameStop.

  8. Yeah I love this idea. I would support it.
    But I definitely agree with some of the people here saying most indie game stores are failing because of their inflated prices. Every one that I have been to, they were fun to look around in, but I have never left with a single purchase from them. Their prices are worse than ebay on most things. If they want to succeed and cater to the hardcore gamers they have to lower their prices to a point where it’s preferable to shop their over ebay.

  9. Companies like Capcom are not helping the smaller game stores that depend on used game sales to help balance the small profit margins with newer games.

    Capcom pretty much killed it’s used game value on the recent Resident Evil Mercs on the 3DS by making it impossible to erase the game save. Then you have EA requiring a serial number to play online.

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