Jump to content

Video game retailers


Recommended Posts

I miss the old Game. Me and Alex hung around the Carlisle branch most of one Saturday after E3 2000, playing demo pods, pining after the MGS Special Edition box and watching the trailers on the big TV. Then came home with FFIX and a pocket full of Dragonball Z trading cards.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dumpster said:

Then Boots (the chemist!) had a NES console with 10 games connected that would reset every minute to stop you playing all day

 

God, I used to love these! Our Boots often seemed to have the reset thing turned off, or with a ridiculously long time-out, and it was all still a bit niche so rarely busy - my mum would leave me there for hours while she shopped, and I played all the way through SMB or Kung Fu Master :wub:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in that Carlisle Game branch back in September, it's still open. I think it was an Electronics Boutique back then, didn't we get our RGB SCART cable there one year? Same basic layout but you do miss not having the whining CRTs hanging from the ceiling.

 

Edit - Is the Princes Street Edinburgh branch the only one that has the honour of appearing in a videogame? (PGR2.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

GAME really are a crock of shit. Just had to send this on their ticket system on the website.

 

18/11/20: email received with discount code for game. Order placed.
20/11/20: email received notifying me that game is out of stock and upgradable ps4 version being sent instead.
21/11/20: I cancelled the order and received confirmation email. 
24/11/20: I received email to say payment couldn’t be processed (ermm.. the order was cancelled why is the system trying)
24/11/20: My bank account showing as charged with transaction date shown as today (ermm.. the order was cancelled why has the payment been taken).

Is there any end to the incompetence of your systems? Please don’t send the game. Please issue me a refund. Please don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be. 
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Marvin Morris said:

Great. I now have an email saying it’s been dispatched. FFS.

 

Not that I suspect you want to make the effort but if you can prove you cancelled it, you can keep the game unless they send someone to pick it up and they'll still owe you a refund.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can remember when Game effectively had five stores in Southampton. Two in shopping precincts, one on a side street, a concession in Debenhams and the branch of Gamestation. Now they have one store on the high street which I haven’t been in for years. 
 

I know they don’t price match on trade ins anymore, but when they did it always frustrated me that they claimed they wouldn’t be beaten on trade ins, yet it was always a battle to get them to price match. My most positive experience was trying to find a copy of Ico for PS2 which I couldn’t find anywhere, but a chap in the Debenhams branch gave me a promo copy.

 

Much preferred Gamestation and that’s where I bought my 360 with Fable 2, Gears and Viva Piñata. Also bought my fat PS3 there too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Preston had one branch in the Fishergate center, one in the St George's Centre 3 minutes walk away, a Gamestation just outside the St Georges centre (can't remember if that got rebranded) and one in Deepdale retail park.  They also had a concession in Debenhams.  As I mentioned in the long post, it seemed a really sensible decision for Game to buy Gamestation because their core customer base was very different. But then by rebranding as Game it ended up just removing a competitor (which is possibly the point, because it was the same stock and if Game was the only retailer you would have to buy there).  But looking at the way the marketplace is today you'd have to question how the industry went from supporting 5 stores in one town, same brand or not, to having one specialist (Game), and a chain of second hand shops (CEX) and even with Game being the only place that focusses on new stock they still seem empty most of the time.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 16/11/2020 at 10:18, Mr Combo Breaker said:

I've held a grudge with them going all the way back to the Future Zone days when I traded in pretty much every megadrive game I owned for a copy of Theme Park, which was well shite on the Megadrive.

 

I liked the Mega Drive version of Theme Park! Admittedly I hadn't played the PC or Amiga versions so had nothing to compare it to.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 16/11/2020 at 17:26, dumpster said:

Also if you used the loyalty lookup and searched for Darth Vader, he had hundreds of loyalty cards all over the country.  Many managers had the same uninspired names that popped into their heads when filling in loyalty incompletes.

I remember one very broed afternoon in the Leicester Debenhams concession I found 'Bary Shite' who was my go to reward card dump.

 

edit: and on incentives, we won a Revenge of the Sith competition for our instore display. The prize was a genuinely beautiful book of A3 character posters for basically every main (and main-ish) character in the movie. I've been looking for it for years online but have found literally no trace of it, so whoever it was who took it off the bus I left it on the very night I recieved it presumably still has it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nick R said:

 

I liked the Mega Drive version of Theme Park! Admittedly I hadn't played the PC or Amiga versions so had nothing to compare it to.

The control method of Theme Park on console was really well implemented.  I preferred the 3DO game to the Amiga version. You'd use buttons to bring up menus and shoulder buttons to highlight left and right , it felt really smooth.  Can't see how you'd do that on Megadrive though 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting rid of gamestation was a major mistake as was how they handled gamestation by having the stores dump all their retro gaming stock just as the big retro gaming market boom was about to happen.

 

Game made gamestation drop almost all the things that made me shop there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dig Dug said:

Getting rid of gamestation was a major mistake as was how they handled gamestation by having the stores dump all their retro gaming stock just as the big retro gaming market boom was about to happen.

 

Game made gamestation drop almost all the things that made me shop there.


That’s the problem. The buyout made no sense as, yes they got rid of a competitor but then had drastically over expanded so must have cost them even more in overheads. Another large video game chain only makes sense if they both offer something different, which GAME and Gamestation did to an extent, but if both stores start to be the same in price and what they offer then what point is there? 
 

The best they could have done through buying Gamestation is similar to what HMV did to Fopp and keep the brand alive through a string of stores that do differ in pricing and cater to a more niche/hardcore audience. It would have at least kept the brand valuable and relevant whilst keeping hold of an audience that would otherwise go elsewhere. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/11/2020 at 15:10, Dig Dug said:

Getting rid of gamestation was a major mistake as was how they handled gamestation by having the stores dump all their retro gaming stock just as the big retro gaming market boom was about to happen.

 

Game made gamestation drop almost all the things that made me shop there.

 

Oh yeah, some of the prices on my MD/SMS games are embarrassing now.  Master System 3D games especially, my Space Harrier 3d has a £1.99 sticker on. That goes for £60 on ebay now.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/11/2020 at 14:50, dumpster said:

The control method of Theme Park on console was really well implemented.  I preferred the 3DO game to the Amiga version. You'd use buttons to bring up menus and shoulder buttons to highlight left and right , it felt really smooth.  Can't see how you'd do that on Megadrive though 

 

I'm fond of the MD version, but its controls aren't great; frustratingly so, as it doesn't take advantage of the six-button controller so you're always stuck with a three-button interface which uses chorded Start-button combinations with the A-B-C buttons, rather than supporting X-Y-Z natively. It also, predictably enough, doesn't support the Sega Mouse, which would have been ideal. Not the most convincing port, interface-wise.

 

(contrast with another Amiga/PC Bullfrog port in Syndicate, which is still limited to three-button pad, but moves fully away from the cursor-driven interface of the original, giving the MD version a distinct, more action-y feel as you take direct control of individual agents as if you're in an isometric shooter - genuinely a smart, thoughtful adaptation for the machine)

Link to post
Share on other sites

During the C64 days I couldn't believe it the first time I went in to the Virgin Megastore in Nottingham and there was a huge games section, which as mentioned previously, before that I'd seen games in very very small independent games shops or computer retailers.

I also remember the first time I went to Game in Coventry (must have been MD era / 92 ish) in this big new shopping centre and it was just complete Awesome, like @dumpster said it was a place you wanted to go and be, I couldn't believe a shop that big existed purely for videogames.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, merrychan said:

During the C64 days I couldn't believe it the first time I went in to the Virgin Megastore in Nottingham and there was a huge games section, which as mentioned previously, before that I'd seen games in very very small independent games shops or computer retailers.

I also remember the first time I went to Game in Coventry (must have been MD era / 92 ish) in this big new shopping centre and it was just complete Awesome, like @dumpster said it was a place you wanted to go and be, I couldn't believe a shop that big existed purely for videogames.

 

I remember thinking in Manchester, wow, if they open one of these in my town that's the end of us.  And funnily enough they did and it was. But I remember that on my last day at the indie store a guy from one of our suppliers told me on the phone, "if you get that job you're going to see just how big this industry is".

 

And it was true.  In the indie store we used to get deliveries of new stock every day but new releases arrived on a Friday.  That meant that parcelforce could deliver at any point in the day.  Then I went to Game and started on a Monday.  They took delivery of 150 copies of Actua Soccer for Ps1, and the delivery included posters and banners.  We made a display on Monday and put "Available Friday" stickers on the boxes (all emptied and re-shrinkwrapped of course).  Then we spent the week taking preorders, talking about the game and making reservations.  We phoned everyone on Thursday to remind them, and on Friday we sold 150 copies of Actua Soccer.  Meanwhile, had the indie store still been open Parcelforce would have delivered our 10 copies at some point Friday, the bosses mum would have opened the delivery at some point (no prioritising or anything, smoke a fag when you want, open the boxes in whatever order they came in).  And it felt weird to suddenly know how the big store did business because the indie would have had a trickle of people coming in late afternoon asking "have you got Actua Soccer" and we'd proudly say "YES!" and we would go in the back and take one from the delivery that was being processed.  If we sold all 10 we'd have thought we'd done well because we didn't know that all we were doing was supplying the last minute customers after Game had sold out.  

 

The other thing I learned from working in an indie then moving on was that you don't necessarily need good customer service, or at least, the definition of good customer service changed over the period I worked there.  It's like the current thing where Starbucks ask for your name and try to be all pally and all you want is a coffee, quickly.  When I worked there the Amiga was the big thing and people would come in to buy one and we would pride ourselves on the service.  One of the staff was widely mocked for the insane length of his Amiga demonstrations, maybe lasting an hour each.  We'd show people Deluxe Paint, Protracker, a bit of speech synthesis, and convince the customer of how great the Amiga was, with no actual emphasis on whether they already knew or when to shut the fuck up and take their money.  The shop was great and it was a big part of my childhood, but that "High Fidelity/Empire Records" mentality of filling a store with enthusiatic fans must have been a massive barrier to customers handing over the cash.  We prided ourselves on being the knowledgable place, we would open and test every computer before selling (which at the time seemed important because the fault rate on Amiga's was outrageous) but with hindsight it all seemed complete overkill.  Personally if I was spending £399 on a computer (in todays money thats surely £800?) I'd want a mint one with all the box seals intact.

 

We just didn't have a facility for someone to walk in and buy something and leave again.  I had no sales training, no targets, nothing.  So if I sat with someone and demoed the computers and then they said, "Can we buy one please" I felt like I had made a sale and the boss would thank me.  But that customer could have wanted to buy the computer an hour earlier, the demo probably wasn't needed and I'd not "made" a sale, just delayed it.  It's amazing how succesful the company was from the early 1980s to early 90s with such a lack of business awareness.  

 

I remember Escom opening stores and hammering our PC sales.  Again, our commitment was quality and so we couldn't compete on price.  What was interesting was when Escom closed down we got people bringing their fucking awful PCs to us for repair and we had many instances of the processor not being what it said on the case.  We saw some where the bios had been modified so the opening POST screen showed more memory than it actually had, for example.

 

I'd like to think that if Escom hadn't made such an impact into the PC side of things and Game hadn't taken all the console stuff then the indie would have had a good future.  But you don't know what you don't know and it was a massive shock to know that if we'd been able to get the stock in earlier there were obvious ways to sell ten times as many.  It's a shame because while it was all a product of its time, customer service involves add-on sales, disk insurance, loyalty cards and all that, where in the indie store customer service was really benificial if you needed it.  Bought an Amiga and can't work out how to word process on Platinum Works? Come and sit with us for an hour - no charge if you got the computer from us.  It's so hard to tell whether we were just being naeive or what, but it's a service no-one offers at all any more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, dumpster said:

I remember Escom opening stores and hammering our PC sales.  Again, our commitment was quality and so we couldn't compete on price.  What was interesting was when Escom closed down we got people bringing their fucking awful PCs to us for repair and we had many instances of the processor not being what it said on the case.  We saw some where the bios had been modified so the opening POST screen showed more memory than it actually had, for example.

I worked at a branch of Game in 95/95 which was pretty much next door to Escom.

We used to get people who'd spent a grand on a PC from them come to us for technical support because the £20 game they'd bought from us wouldn't run as their "cutting edge" PC was badly configured or more likely, just shite.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, my memories (which may be wrong) were that Escom PCs were dreadful but on paper they had the same processors and memory etc.  We were taking Pentium P90s with 4 or 8Mb of ram, or cheaper 486 DX2/66 things.  If you checked the spec side by side Escom would look the same as our own builds, but could be 200 -300 pounds cheaper.  They were not around that long but we took a hammering on PC sales.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think retail will ultimately return to focus on the customer experience to survive. Although saying that people seem to be just more focused purely on price these days. Perhaps we are all just more tech savvy these days.

 

In store demos are a nice touch though as is the human interaction. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

A positive story about Game for once. Having just got a Series S I decided to sell my PS4 Pro because I'm still planning to get a PS5 as well later next year.

 

Checked CEX who were offering £150 cash for them. I thought I could get more by flogging it on Gumtree when I noticed that Game in York had their phone number listed on their Twitter.

Decided to give them a call and ask, not expecting much I was surprised to find out they were offering £220 cash for Pros.

 

Took it in expecting someone in store to tell me the price I'd been given over the phone was wrong but in the end it was all good and £220 was correct.

 

Took them 20 minutes to test it was working and they didn't give me any of the usual game elite / pre-orders nonsense. Staff were all good and the whole process was painless thankfully.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.