Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Stop at GameStop

GameStop recently opened one of their signature stores in Southlake, TX, which is a super rich city near Dallas/Fort Worth (a recent survey found Southlake to be the highest median income city in the entire United States). I missed the grand opening (which promised game tournaments, character appearances, and the like), but I did make it out to the store this past Sunday.

On the way to the fancy new GameStop, I stopped at a regular GameStop right down the road and asked them about the new store. The guy behind the counter, who appeared to be in his early 20s, said it was a great store, but that it had only one problem: they didn't carry GameCube titles. He further stated that his store was an "old-gen" store while the new store specialized in "current gen."Characterizing any GameStop as "old-gen" is amusing at best, but I guess GameCube is retro in some people's minds.

Further, when I went to the checkout stand at the regular GameStop, Mr. "my store specializes in old-gen" looked puzzled when I placed Gradius V forthe PS2 on the counter. He said he had never heard of Gradius, which is no crime (actually, I think it is a misdemeanor in some states), but his "old-gen" cred certainly took a hit.

When I arrived at the super duper, fancy shmancy GameStop, I was impressed with its lighting, ultra modern fixtures, and the like, but it was an exercise in wasted space. I'm sure GameStop has a business model that works with McDonalds-like proficiency, but it's a shame they can't carve out a small section in their stores (especially their jumbo super stores) for homebrews or some other product that shows the corporation has a soul.

I'm not a GameStop hater like some (I've gotten many MIP bargains over the years from their previous-gen display racks, and independent game stores benefit by GameStop not carrying old-school games), but wouldn't it be cool if they carried new Atari 2600 titles (and other homebrews)? Surely, it wouldn't bankrupt that black, white, and red behemoth.

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