Whilst in Los Angeles I decided to take a break from E3 and do a bit of games shopping.
I eventually ended up in branch of GameStop and although the staff were very helpful, it was pretty much devoid of any games from outside the top 20, apart from those sitting in the obligatory trade-in bins. The store was mostly full of big, cardboard point-of-sale displays aimed at encouraging pre-orders. It was very similar to the UK high street chain, Game. Not quite as obnoxious, perhaps, but just as lacking in soul.
Wanting to find somewhere a little more interesting, I did a bit of research. An hour later and I found myself wandering – in very sweaty weather – down Sth. Vermont Avenue, eventually arriving at independent video game shop, World-8.
Why am I writing about it? Because it’s such fantastic little store, that’s why.
World-8 – in contrast to the big chains – is brimming with enthusiasm for video games. All the new releases are there, naturally, but it also stocks games from a multitude of past systems – with one staffer lovingly showing off some pristine, boxed TurboGrafix titles.
At one end of the store there is a cabinet of gaming plushies, at the other there’s a range of refurbished retro gamepads protected by a human-size Mario figure. The store is full of quirky, imported ephemera such as clocks, statues and board games, and there’s a couch so customers can sit back and play at one of the World-8’s regular game nights.
And it has a fantastic No Man’s Sky painting on the store’s exterior.
World-8’s staff obviously love games as much as their customers and were happy to chat with me about everything from who won E3, to the merits, or otherwise, of Shenmue.
I left with a copy of Chrono Trigger on DS and a rather natty Donkey Kong cartridge holder. So, consider this a Public Service Announcement. If you ever find yourself in Los Angeles, give GameStop and Target a miss and do try and find the time to visit World-8.
You can find out more the store and its events at the World-8 website.
Let us know about your favourite independent games store in the comments below. Where do you buy your games? Where is it and why is it so great? Drop us a line and we’ll do a feature highlighting the best stores soon.