Hello all, SirGuido back here again. I’ve been absent from DoucheyDm.com for a little bit here lately and I apologize for that, but I’ve been working on losing some weight here lately. As such I started my own blog over at theportlypaladin.wordpress.com. Its sort of a gamer’s take on dieting and losing weight from a very obese person’s(mine) point of view. Check it out if it interests you.
Anyway, on to my topic. This past Monday I had the opportunity to help out some new friends of mine. They are opening a new game store in my area called Gateway Games and More. I was there to help them unpack a bunch of new product, get it checked in, and get it put away. In my time there in their store I felt strange. It didn’t feel like a game store to me at first. Now that I’ve had a few days to think about it I finally understand why it felt strange to me. They were welcoming. These store owners are actually nice people that care about their customers.
Now, before you get angry, take a second to think about what I just said. Think back to all of the different game stores you’ve been to in your life. OK, now think about how the people in those stores treated you. In my experience, the owners of stores are pretty much running this store for two reasons. To give them and their friends a place to play, and to buy game products at wholesale prices. It almost seems like making money and creating an environment that fosters a feeling of community isn’t really even on their radar.
In my area right now, excluding the new store, there are three different stores of which I am aware. Of those, two cater primarily to minis gamers and could really care less about anyone else save maybe Magic players. They don’t carry roleplaying materials, and won’t even offer to order them for you. Unless you have paint on your fingers and a case of lead figures under your arm they don’t really give you the time of day. The other caters to everything, but has a few major flaws from my perspective. First, its too far away from the majority of this area. It’s way north of town and it would take me 35-40 minutes to get there. Secondly, the seating leaves a bit to be desired. Not only are the chairs not capable of supporting a big guy like me, tables and chairs are kind of crowded into place from what I can tell. Thirdly, it’s just a little too big and they try too hard to cover everything that might fall under the “gaming” header. As a result I think that some things suffer because they don’t get the attention that they need,
My big point here is that your Friendly Local Gaming Store(FLGS) can do a lot to either help or hinder the gaming market and the gaming hobby. By being excellent store owners like Todd and Wendy of Gateway, you can bring in those fledgling gamers that are unsure of the hobby. You can shelter them and foster them into the next generation of gamers. With things like video games and MMO’s that is something to which we as a community have to pay attention. There is also the issue of the internet and digital gaming. Apple and Amazon, as well as other producers, have created a rush toward digital gaming with the advent of the iPad and Kindle respectively. There is also the issue that certain online storefronts have the ability to offer print books for a distinctly lower price. Even with shipping included, generally the products can be cheaper. This leads loads and loads of people away from your FLGS and instead to their ISP.
With programs like Bits and Mortar, things are starting to work in favor of your FLGS. Bits and Mortar is a program supported by many game producers like 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, Evil Hat Productions, Jon Brazer Enterprises, and Mongoose Publishing. What the program does is support physical storefronts by offering free pdf support of their products. If you go into a Bits and Mortar participating store and purchase a hard copy of any of the participating producers products you will get the digital copy for free. No questions asked. You get the copy for free. You are incentivized to spend your money in an actual store and support that community just by choosing to spend your dollars there.
This is a program that I really like. From early on I disliked gaming stores because of the air of superiority and disdain that I felt in every one I went into. I guess in a way this is a side effect of Nerdery, but either way its disconcerting to be faced with. This is a great community and its full of great people, we need to make sure it thrives. So, go out there and support your local store. If they aren’t what you’re looking for, give them feedback. Show them what you want. Hopefully if we all work together we can great a network of amazing places to hang out and play and spend our money.