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I know a fair few people here either live in Manchester, or have lived here for a while in the past. Did anyone ever work at the Electronics Boutique in the Arndale Centre around the PS1 launch era? 

The manager at the time was a guy with ginger hair and he was the person who introduced me and my mates to piracy 😳 We would visit there several times a week and one day he said "come back at lunchtime. You don't want to keep spending money here" so we did and he took us across to the Corn Exchange where some guys had started doing PS1 copies. Got to be good friends with them actually and still am with one of their partners to this day. Very odd turn of events being taken there by the manager of a games store!

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On 04/08/2022 at 19:00, moosegrinder said:

Oh! We used to break street date all the time. It was the only way we could make the fucking shitty 8% mark up on new games. We'd sell them early, no bag, no receipt, rrp. We'd sell out of massive games on a Thursday and have to order more for the Friday.

 

When Metal Gear Solid 3 came out I was doing the rounds the day before to Game and Gamestation to see what their prices were and if they had offers on etc when the Game manager stopped me and said "We've reported you." I'm like "Pardon?" And he said "to the distributor and Konami for selling Metal Gear Solid 3 early."  I smiled and said "Ok."

 

It was pretty pathetic really. Obviously people would have gone in to Game and flourished it about because that's what people do, but we absolutely left no paper trail with it. I doubt the distributor actually fucking cared because they got another order out of the piss arse little indie who sold double figure copies of the game the big retailers would do hundreds of.

 

G-Force in Glasgow/Motherwell?

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2 hours ago, SteveH said:

I know a fair few people here either live in Manchester, or have lived here for a while in the past. Did anyone ever work at the Electronics Boutique in the Arndale Centre around the PS1 launch era? 

The manager at the time was a guy with ginger hair and he was the person who introduced me and my mates to piracy 😳 We would visit there several times a week and one day he said "come back at lunchtime. You don't want to keep spending money here" so we did and he took us across to the Corn Exchange where some guys had started doing PS1 copies. Got to be good friends with them actually and still am with one of their partners to this day. Very odd turn of events being taken there by the manager of a games store!


Those guys didn’t end up in the basement of the coliseum did they? I remember visiting the Coliseum about 4 days before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out in cinemas and they had a shite copy of it I bought on VCD. What a let down that was 😅 

 

Later there were two fellas who used to sell knock off DVD’s near the top of Afflecks, don’t think they sold games though.

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8 minutes ago, phillv85 said:


Those guys didn’t end up in the basement of the coliseum did they? I remember visiting the Coliseum about 4 days before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out in cinemas and they had a shite copy of it I bought on VCD. What a let down that was 😅 

 

Later there were two fellas who used to sell knock off DVD’s near the top of Afflecks, don’t think they sold games though.

Ah no that was someone else. Used to go there from time to time. 

 The guys in the Corn Exchange were two Chinese fellas, Eddie and Ringo. Then Eddie partnered up with another Chinese lad called Danny and they opened up a shop on Princess Street in Chinatown, along with a friend of theirs, Billy. I'm still good friends with Billy but have lost touch with Eddie and Danny. Though I believe Danny still has a shop in Chinatown but is now selling figures, Hello Kitty stuff, that kind of thing.

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We had this lady, Shiela I think, who smelled ridiculous. You could smell her coming up the street. My first encounter with her I was behind the counter then turned around to find everyone else gone. She walked up to the counter and the smell was horrific. Then she pulled out a PS2 and about 50 games. I had to test the console, and check the disc in each of the games while she stood there smelling like a two week old corpse. It took about an hour, and once she left all the other guys who worked there came out and laughed at me. She used to come in every few weeks and trade her current console and all the games she had for another one, then we’d have to clean all her endless stinky games so she could come back and buy the same ones a few weeks later. 
 

On 04/08/2022 at 19:00, moosegrinder said:

Oh! We used to break street date all the time. It was the only way we could make the fucking shitty 8% mark up on new games. We'd sell them early, no bag, no receipt, rrp. We'd sell out of massive games on a Thursday and have to order more for the Friday.

 

When Metal Gear Solid 3 came out I was doing the rounds the day before to Game and Gamestation to see what their prices were and if they had offers on etc when the Game manager stopped me and said "We've reported you." I'm like "Pardon?" And he said "to the distributor and Konami for selling Metal Gear Solid 3 early."  I smiled and said "Ok."

 

It was pretty pathetic really. Obviously people would have gone in to Game and flourished it about because that's what people do, but we absolutely left no paper trail with it. I doubt the distributor actually fucking cared because they got another order out of the piss arse little indie who sold double figure copies of the game the big retailers would do hundreds of.

 

I remember a friend of mine making a bitter comment about me always having games early because I knew the guys at the shop. I was like, I’m pretty sure they’ll just sell it to you if you go in early. But instead I got sent to buy two copies of some games. Some of my fondest memories are of hanging around bothering you guys while I waited for games to arrive. I miss that shop and coming in to talk to you and Bert, and later Mark and Ben. I can genuinely track the moment I stopped bothering to go into town to the day Playtime shut down. 

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Did Rockstar crack down really hard on indie game shops breaking street date? I remember my local indie shop used to blithely sell you whatever you liked as soon as they had it in, but they flatly refused to do it with GTA: San Andreas. 

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1 minute ago, K said:

Did Rockstar crack down really hard on indie game shops breaking street date? I remember my local indie shop used to blithely sell you whatever you liked as soon as they had it in, but they flatly refused to do it with GTA: San Andreas. 

 

They threatened but without evidence they couldn't do much. Well the could do it indiscriminately but I don't remember them doing so.

 

I also have vague recollection of getting some new 'grey' European copies and sticking BBFC 18 stickers on them for certain games.

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Never made it to retail, closest I got was being rejected by CEX in Kingston for a vacancy on their PC hardware section. I was pretty bummed about not getting the job at the time so a friend who was at Nvidia asked around his contacts if they had anything going. Ended up spending a couple of years at AMD putting together hardware for trade shows and testing all sorts of unreleased stuff. So that worked out pretty well. :) 

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Oh I used to work at the hmv near Broadmarsh til it got closed down and would occasionally pop into playtime of a lunch break to have a mooch about.

 

Few years before that I worked at Game, for San Andreas we had a lock-in after closing, played GTA early and had a mini Pro Evo tournament, pizza etc. It was a good laugh until the mayhem of the actual midnight launch.

 

Then for Halo 2 the local Walkabout got us to bring over a couple Xboxes and we played 4v4 multiplayer with random drunk lads for a few hours up until midnight, a much quieter affair but still don't remember how I was physically able to go home and pull an all-nighter to finish the campaign. Crazy.

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1 hour ago, sprite said:

I remember @moosegrindergot me a Ni No Kuni (I think?!?) book I had asked for on the off chance and one day when I walked in he presented it to me I had half forgotten about it and I was mega excited.  I still have it :D 

 

The forumites coming in was one of the best parts of the job because everyone was a step above the usual customers we got :D yes, even @Broker ;) it was a genuinely nice part of the job.

 

@Sabreman is probably right, it's probably the best job I had. It was definitely the easiest. We got away with metaphorical murder.And the benefits of getting games and promos early/cheap was incredible.

 

We had one woman in her 40s who'd import games (in the days when releases were split) and chop them in when she's clocked them because no-one else would take them. She brought a Resident Evil 4 in on GameCube and I ripped her fucking arm off for it because we weren't getting it until March.

 

I remember the time a Ubisoft *spit* rep came in to show us stuff and we were so clued up on everything (because we spent all day on here on the shop PC) he said "Look I'm going to cut this short and get a coffee before I go to Game, if that's ok?" Felt kind of sorry for him tbh.

 

 

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Never worked in a game shop but did work in PC World back in the day, my main memory now is that all the odd people who came in all the time to ask questions and never buy anything or just be there every day probably had some mental health issues or very lonely :( Most of the retail stories were not gave related but had such a laugh working there for a while!

 

The best memory was working in the tech area (great big goldfish bowl in the store) and having to ‘test’ new pc games on the latest hardware or the lab we had going for months playing Half life etc - when we got busted the manager couldn’t do too much as all happened under her nose 😂

 

 

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We had so many regular customers that we actually liked, that came to us for those interesting retro tidbits, sneaky early copies (and sometimes sneaky early consoles), and I always felt bad about them after we closed, faced with turning to Game or CEX in our stead. I always enjoyed having a chat.

 

We did tend to be kind of dickish to reps, aside from the few we liked. Part of it was undoubtedly our self-importance about following industry news as a matter of course. Our Sony guy was genuinely great, but the MS one - at the height of pre-Bone hubris - considered us some kind of contractual obligation. They always wanted to dress the store but were baffled we would consider that a two-way street, and weren't interested in doing anything for us. Sony on the other hand got basically an entire wall of their own shelving and a snazzy pod with a massive TV, while we bathed in an endless shower of promo copies, free merch, and genuinely decent deals on stock. Our Sony / MS hardware sales ratio was ridiculously weighted.

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On 04/08/2022 at 15:27, Thor said:

*phone rings*

 

"Good afternoon, you're through to Electronics Bou-"

 

"Is WWF Attitude out yet?"

 

ukmhl.jpg

This times 1 million. Fucking hell. Also the little cunts try to look as we would type in the code to go upstairs to the stock room.

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I did PR work for Rockstar games back in 2009. Now that was the easiest job ever. You could have a piece of white dogshit as the cover art with GTA written underneath and it would shift. So being paid to pimp the Ballad of Gay Tony was a waste of money really. Problem was they caught on pretty quick and we were all let go after 2 months 😂 

 

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2 minutes ago, pulsemyne said:

This times 1 million. Fucking hell. Also the little cunts try to look as we would type in the code to go upstairs to the stock room.

Oooh, I never clocked that, or maybe just don't remwmber. Also, if you're wondering about Skunk Rider, that was a Llanelli store customer. 

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Just now, Thor said:

Oooh, I never clocked that, or maybe just don't remwmber. Also, if you're wondering about Skunk Rider, that was a Llanelli store customer. 

Even better was the fact that Zelda OOT was out and the fucking theme was playing over and fucking over, day after day and the volume was up so high it sounded distorted.

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58 minutes ago, dumpster said:

But another manager in our area either got fired, or at least disciplinary action because he went into the back of the store after closing and watched the Penthouse Pets softcore pornography we used to sell.  He didn't realize that the system was still switched on front of house, so 25 TV screens all over the store, some in the windows, all playing the same content.  Passers by apparently complained.

Ha, that's amazing!

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I can't find the article online but when Modern Warfare 2 came out , for the midnight launch, one of the guys I used to work with who managed another Gamestation store did fancy dress - complete terrorists vs military full garb, the story made the papers as they were running around the shopping centre in the lead up to midnight pretending to shoot and throw grenades at each other. Obviously some of the public weren't impressed 😅 he got suspended for it but got away on a technicality that there were no rules regarding fancy dress at head office other than it was encouraged ! 

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I've got some fantastic memories of working in game retail. The pay was always shite but the jobs were pretty good fun. 

 

- PS3 Midnight Launch. We'd had a big crate of 2L bottles of water delivered to the store by accident. We decided to put a couple in an empty PS3 display box and seal it up. We also sealed up a bunch of display cases too. Bagged it all up and then left it by the cash machine over the road to see if it would get nicked. We had a camera setup filming and had to play dumb when the police stopped out the front and returned it to our store at about 2am. 

 

- Playing tennis in the stock room using guitar hero controllers as the rackets

 

- A known drug dealer / user who usually tried to trade nicked stuff was trading in a pile of old games. When checking one of them a bit of white powder fell out of the box. There was a stack of cash where the manual should be. He didn't notice it, so I didn't say anythign. Traded it in, put it aside for a week and nothing was said, so I kept the cash. I think it was around £500. 

 

- We had a customer called Platinum Piss. Used to browse the PS2 platinum section, sticking of piss. He had one eye that looked in the opposite direction and he would come & pay. "How many coins" was his line, £5 game, 5 coins. He'd count them out 1 coin. 2 coin. 3 coin. He sounded like Gollum when he counted them out. 

 

- I remeber someone getting caught trying to steal from the store so he was turfed out. He picked up a public bin and threw it at the window. It bounced off and rattled him in the face.

 

- Using the remote to turn off the display console TV screens then scaring the kids playing it asking what did they do? Winding them up making them think they broke it.

 

 

 

Lots of sad memories though.  Far too often we'd have deadbeat parents trying to trad their kids games and consoles for drug money when the kid was at school. We also had a couple of instances when we had to get the police involved due to photos of kids saved on devices and another one where a 10-11y/o lassie had taken photos of a text discussion with someone telling her to perform sexual acts etc. They were fucking horrible. 

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On 04/08/2022 at 22:31, Keyboard Koala said:

The diehard Tenchu fan, who talked about nothing else and basically compared most action and/or stealth game of the day to you guessed it, Tenchu.


A person of rare taste and distinction.

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