Jump to content

Your stories from gaming retail


dumpster
 Share

Recommended Posts

Love reading these. I have to sympathize with anyone who works in retail, some of the characters you have to deal with. I have only ever been a customer of some of those stores and have seen (and smelt) some of the characters you describe, and some of them were actually the staff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, erhgiez said:


I used to love the Leeds Gamestation. My fondest memory was asking if they had any Snes games, maybe around 2004, and this chap, maybe you?, gets a large suit case out from under the counter filled with Snes carts, some absolute gold in there. Secret of Mana, Terranigma, LttP, Metroid, all the best ones. Gave me them for a fiver each :)

 

Around the same time I popped in and they had some Mega CD games just come in. I ummed and arred between Sonic CD and Snatcher, both a fiver. Picked Sonic, then thought why not buy both! Went back half and hour later but Snatcher had gone. That was always the one that got away

 

Alas, wouldn't have been me. I was only part time at both, and only Game in Leeds. Would've still been in Newcastle around that time.

 

The old, old Gamestation in Leeds (the second in the country, I believe?) was pretty great. I bought my first Saturn from there second hand for (I think) £150. New Generation Consoles on Mill Hill was always an exciting place to see brand new import shit too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t really bother with Game stores anymore.  The one local one is now in Sports Direct and it’s a journey through a maze of overpriced sports wear to get to it. I usually pick up games from Smyths (and ogle the Lego while I’m there) or Argos or a second hand store. I can’t imagine having a conversation with assistants about games..but when I worked in retail we were all really passionate and loved chatting about them. In store we were even given time away from the shop floor to read the new mags so we kept up to date. If a game was shite we would advise the customer so..but later it was all just about making a sale and we could have been selling anything really.

 

EB won the high street gaming war but in doing so killed It. I remember when you could buy games from Gamestation, Game, EB, Virgin, Woolworths, HMV, WHSmiths, Toys R Us, Argos, Supermarkets!, Grainger, Local Indies, Blockbusters…now…what do we have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.


Your piss arse little indie was awesome :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never had a retail job in my life AND am sure I’ve told this story  before… but anyway.

 

In the early 90s my friends and I were in a games shop in Cardiff, which I’m sure was simply called Virtual Reality because some of the shop was given over to Virtuality machines you could use for £1 a go.

 

In walked local sports hero Colin Jackson with another bloke and they were perusing the Mega Drive section. He was very much taken with Desert Strike. He told his mate he was going to buy it. His mate said ‘But you don’t even own a Mega Drive’.

 

He had a look of concentration on his face then said ‘OK, I’ll buy one of those as well then’ as he grabbed one of the shelf.

 

We were in awe.

 

Still confused why he went to a shop to look at Mega Drive games though if he didn’t have one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are street dates still a thing?. I can’t recall the name of the release when we accidentally broke the street date but it was a big one…maybe Gran Turismo.  We received stock earlier than expected and just sold them….head office were not happy with us and the publisher / distributor went nuclear when they found out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah cool, I never visited their place. Manchester used to have so many cool places to go but I feel like most of them are gone now. I’ll have to see if that guy does have a shop in Chinatown next time I’m in the city centre.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ry said:

 

G-Force in Glasgow/Motherwell?

 

Nah, Playtime in Nottingham.

 

Street date was very much a thing back in the day (like 15 years ago) and EVERY indie broke it because it was the only way to make any kind of profit on new games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember the talk about bundles and how we weren’t  allowed to discount them under any circumstances as there was so little profit in selling them in the first place. Also how swapping the official controller in a bundle with a third party one would massively increase the margin on the transaction. 
 

i recall seeing some documentation which showed how much we were selling a game for against the costs. It wasn’t much of a difference.  Then with loyalty cards and extra discounts when trying to compete with other retailers it was no wonder preowned was so popular with the retailers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.


I assume you’ve now got @Mr. Gerbik on perma-mute?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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 😂

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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 😂 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
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
 Share

  • 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.