Remembering…

Before Game, before Gamestation, before Electronics Boutique, was The Software Store – a little independent videogames shop in a lesser known corner of Worcester. The dark, unkempt and bleary-eyed aspect of the staff gave me confidence that they were gamers first and foremost, who, when they weren’t manning the till or on the shop floor, were round the back “testing the merchandise”. Advice was always forthcoming, and it was authoritative and felt like it came from someone who had played every game in the shop.

“What else will I like if I like Tomb Raider?” I would ask.

Or…

“Which is the harder game, Onimusha or Spiderman?”

Or indeed…

“Is Project Zero really as scary as it is made out to be?”

And I felt confident that the answers given could adequately inform my next videogame purchase. That is not to say that the staff in more mainstream games shops have not been friendly or forthcoming with advice, but one somehow feels that that “merchandise testing” was less prevalent. And they were smarter. And nothing will beat the slight tingly thrill, as I walked into The Software Store and rifled through its shelves, that I was part of an exclusive club. Sadly I fear that it was this exclusivity that was ultimately its downfall.

I write as Gamestation is ceasing to exist and Game is going through the process of administration. Though relatively huge, Game nevertheless represents one of the final bastions of genre-specific videogames trading. There is still the quantum of a hint of a thrill of exclusivity and as one walks through its doors… a thrill which I fear will blink out of existence as Game dissolves or is swallowed by an even more enormous and mainstream conglomeration…

… but the unkempt wonder of The Software Store will live forever in my memory… 🙂

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