Friday, January 19, 2007

What happened to the game stores?

In the immortal words of Granny Ogg, "I 'ent dead!"

Sorry to be away for so long. Things got kind of crazy around here, starting with finals, then the holidays, then a disaster involving my wife's job. I think things are finally setting down to their usual level of chaos and disorder. But no promises.

Needless to say, I haven't had a lot of time to think about gaming lately. There is something I do want to talk about--but it's a little bit different from my typical rant. More a question, really.

What has happened to game stores?

I've always been a game-store junky. I probably went once a week on average, just to check out the new stock and drool over books I couldn't afford. I always had a long list of purchases that I wanted to make--more than I'd ever be able to read, much less actually play.

Then something changed.

Is it just me, or has something about game stores changed? I don't feel excited when I go in them anymore. I just feel sad. Recently, it's hard for me to find even a single book that appeals to me. I still stop by, maybe once a month now. More out of habit than anything else. Habit an a desperate hope that I will find something interesting.

Back in the day, I would wait in long lines at Gen Con to pick up the newest White Wolf game the first day it was released. I would usually read the entire book by the time I got home. Sure, I've purchased some of the new White Wolf games, but I haven't managed to even read any of them all the way through.

It's not that they're bad. They're OK. But they're not great.

And it's not that I've lost interest in the hobby. I still get excited. But now, it's usually places like Indie Press Revolution (http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/) that leave me drooling. I recently purchased burning wheel (http://www.burningwheel.org/). I devoured all three core rules over a weekend. Why can't I ever find games of this quality in my local store?

What has happened to the game stores? What has happened to the gaming industry?

I don't know. But it makes me sad.

-Rich-

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