Whether you pronounce it ‘game’ or ‘jee-eh-em-ee’ (well, perhaps the latter is just me…) you nevertheless must give the national video game chain store GAME credit. Surviving both the general demise of high street gaming outlets throughout the country in recent times and, indeed, it’s own death (delighting the zombie fans among the gaming community no doubt!) GAME still stands strong and proud among the various shopping districts across the nation. I’ve always been a big fan of GAME, appreciating it’s killer deals mixed with an enthusiastic community spirit on the shopfloor. Heck, it’s the only store I have a loyalty card for! I’ve also been blessed that the staff, both in my current local branch and my previous, are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly. The remainder of this article will be a slightly bloggy discussion on why I love my local GAME (past and present) before inviting you, the reader, to share why you love your local branch.
Between 1989 and last month I lived in North London. More or less grew up in Islington, spent most of my 20s in Haringey, and also spent short stints in King’s Cross and Palmer’s Green. Throughout this period my most significant high street was always Wood Green, and this is deeply reflected in my history as a gamer. That trip to Shekhana : World of Games in 1992 with my dad to get my first handheld console, the awesome Game Boy (my First Holy Communion present) was one of the best days of my life. Another was my 10th birthday, when I went to Toys r Us, N22 with my mum and little sister to collect a shiney new Megadrive, complete with Sonic 2! There have been too many significant gaming moments involving Wood Green for me to list them all (although I will add one more… I actually bought my first ever DS as an impulse buy from their Woolworths during my Freshman year at University!).
Oh, how the gaming landscape has changed throughout that time on that very high street. Shekhana, Toys r Us, Woolworths? All gone now. Gamestation, Awesome Games, HMV? Sayonara. Sure you still have that slightly random place upstairs in the Mall, good old Argos and even a small selection of games available in Morrisons. But the one gaming store that remains that most graces my veritable gaming heart is the wonderful Wood Green branch of GAME! Graced with some of the friendliest staff you will meet in any store ever. GAME Wood Green is a wonderful place to stop by, have a chat and browse some bargains. I’ve nabbed some absolute steals for my 3DS in there over the years (including Super Pokemon Rumble for £15, which remains one of my top 3 most-played 3DS games ever, a charger for £2, and a metallic case for my standard 3DS for just £1!). The staff there are all gaming experts to boot, although I must warn you that, while they all have a good general knowledge across the board, each one has their area of expertise. Iain, for example, will be the go-to person for most of you as he has a vast knowledge of the 3DS and its library. Then you have Daniel who’s the don when it comes to all things Sony. Whatever your poison you will no doubt find someone in store to expertly assist!
I recently moved to sunny Westminster. Hence GAME @ Hamleys is my new local branch! The Hamleys branch is an entertaining one. Like GAME Wood Green they’ve got plenty of games playable on the shop floor.. Interestingly these include a 3DS XL and 2DS, running demos of Mario Golf and the new Kirby title. I suppose you could say they are rather 3DS-Blessed! (Or, again, maybe that’s something only I would say!)
Rob (who used to be among the Wood Green team of awesome) happens to be a manager there to boot. It’s perhaps of no surprise that he’s as friendly and patient as ever ; if you can whether the harsh Wood Green retail climate and maintain a smile you could probably do so anywhere!
In addition ; GAME @ Hamleys has a bit of a reputation for being a ‘go-to’ branch for gaming companies (which is understandable given its central London location!). Those keen on a spot of gaming industry networking could do worse things with their time than spending it loitering here ;).
So. These are my local GAME branches, and now you know why I love them. However, as I mentioned earlier ; I want to hear about -your- local branch of GAME and what makes it so special. Let us fill the heavens with praise for our enduring High Street Angel!