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March 2019 Retro Gaming Article

March 30, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Yoshi's Crafted World is available on store shelves, will you be buying it from a brick & mortar store?

Yoshi's Crafted World
Will you be downloading it, awaiting delivery at your door, or visiting a local store to browse the shelves?
When new games come out, I'm chomping at the bit to get to a store and snatch a copy fresh off the shelf. Holding that find in my hands is part of the experience I like. It does not escape me that this is an out-moded manner of shopping. I like retail stores (OK, I hate them too), but I love discovering products the shelves. It's like an odd ritual for me.

I rarely pre-order games at GameStop unless I know its a real niche game they'd never stock. Ordinarily "the general public" and "the retail experience" irritated me, but I find shopping for a specific item - CD, DVD, book, or video game - an experience I look forward to. Each Friday, I'm stoked to pick up a new CD release. Same goes for books on Tuesdays. I will admit grocery shopping is pure drudgery.

I find Amazon fast & efficient and buy some things for the sheer convenience and pricing, but there's little satisfaction in the whole process. As for entertainment media, I find downloading/streaming a very empty process. I"m not the guy wandering down the street with headphones plugged into my phone. I'm the guy who still has a CD player in the car and loves big living room speakers. And I love album art. It's part of enjoying music, for me. The covers bring back memories almost as much as the music itself.

I rarely buy video games from GameStop when they only offer a generic case. I want the art, the inserts, and the occasional printed manual. I love watching an 80s flick on DVD and watching the "coming attraction" trailers that auto play. So many long-forgotten trailers for games of the same era.

I don't mean for this article to drift into the battle of physical versus digital media - I do love the retail experience. As a kid I looked down the Toys R Us aisle full of G.I. Joe figures and vehicles. It was mesmerizing. Part of that was childhood wonder, but part of that magic still registers with me when shopping for a cool new release in a store. The search-bar on a retail website is void of this magic - as is hearing an Amazon box drop on my front steps. It's like cooking... preparing and cooking a meal can be much more satisfying than a takeout bag, even though less convenient.

I know everything is heading digital/online, but retail stores still have an opportunity to be relevant and deliver curated experiences as destinations rather than only a selling opportunity. Anyone else out there like visting a real brick & mortar store on release day?

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