Let’s hear it for the indies

Gaming, as I’m sure you are all aware, is a costly business.  The buying of the consoles is not cheap, then the games that go with them and in many cases these days, the extra peripherals needed to get maximum enjoyment out of the games.  You can go to many places to buy games, but out of all the various vendors, do any of them actually offer genuine value for money?  I’m going to take you through what I have seen in the last week and let you decide for yourself.

Firstly, don’t judge me too much, but I was looking to trade in Ninja Gaiden 2 for (ahem) Kung Fu Panda, some staff did give me a strange look but I don’t really care.  In Gamestation Kung Fu is up at £40 and Ninja 2 has just been reduced to £30, trade in price for Ninja 2 was £14.  I do believe you could actually see the stars coming out my head, a quick exit to the door was in hand.  Next on to Game who are also selling Kung Fu at £40 but Ninja 2 is also at £40, trade in for Ninja 2, £18.  Incidentally, both stores are selling Ninja 2 pre-owned for over £30.  So feeling a bit ripped-off I visited two of my local Independent games stores.  Both are in the Lovely town of Hamilton, where there are several games shops in a very small space so competition is high.  Games Centre has been around for many years and is the kind of shop where, if you look hard enough you can find a lost gem of a game and, as much as the staff may at times be distracted by hangers on, they are always knowledgeable and helpful, anyways no Kung Fu when I looked but Ninja 2 was £25 trade in, getting better.  Next up was Grainger Games, the new kid on the block.  Not strictly as Independent as others (they have several stores in the North of England) but their prices are hard to beat, on this day Kung Fu at £38 and £25 trade in for Ninja 2, deal done!

Independent goodness

It has always puzzled me how the small independent stores can offer such great value, but are often overlooked in favour of the big names.  It’s hard to shop in Game and Gamestation when a few minutes away you are guaranteed to get a better deal.  Many years ago, during my brief foray into PSPing, I had four quite recent 360 games to trade in, as always I shopped around first.  Once again the excellent Games Centre came up trumps by giving me a trade in price of £45 more than anywhere else, you really can’t beat that.  Of course the whole phenomenon of trading in games isn’t really that old, well here in Scotland anyway, it has only come about in the last 17 years.  Ok, some may think that’s ages but it doesn’t feel like it to me!  Let me explain, once again, in Hamilton circa 1991 a shop opened up called Solid Gold Games Exchange (nice snappy title) this was around the time of the Mega Drive and SNES.  It was the first shop we had seen that sold imports and most importantly of all, did trade ins’.  We could now afford to get more games, more regularly because back then the trade in prices were awesome, sometimes only a fiver needed to change hands.  Indeed, back in the day Game had some of the best trade in prices out, but sadly a big monster called greed came and that soon stopped.

So, let us support our local independent stores (if you have them) they do offer good value, most of the time a greater knowledge of the product and sometimes a free badge:)  If we all boycott the big ones they will eventually see the errors of their ways and revert to giving us the great deals that the indys’ do!








14 responses to “Let’s hear it for the indies”

  1. Retro Boy G (Games Centre Manager) avatar
    Retro Boy G (Games Centre Manager)

    Martin – You forgot to mention the fact i gave you some money off your game the other day! haha..

  2. Emily avatar

    It does seem really backwards that the independant stores do it better- I thought it’d be more logical that somewhere like GAME could sell games cheaper/buy pre-owned games for more, I thought they’d be the only ones who can afford to do it.
    There’s a market where I am, and one of the stalls there is run by someone I fondly know as ‘long hair guy’, selling games far cheaper than the local Woolies, which is just over the road from it. I don’t know how anyone can just veer towards the expensive stores when you can easily find cheaper copies online or in an independant store. Do they just not know about the alternatives?

  3. Tony avatar

    It does seem sadly ironic that a shop called “Game” is pretty much the last place any self respecting games fan would spend their money in. Most of my games these days come from supermarkets (Sainsburys and Tesco and Asda), and Woolworths is an often forgotten gem for prices on certain games.

  4. Simes avatar

    Sadly, Emily, while they certainly can afford to do it they don’t really have much incentive to. They make way more profit this way, so why would they do it any other?

    I don’t have a local indie games store I can deal with but I never, ever trade in at GAME or similar. I’ll usually get a lot more by selling my used stuff on Amazon marketplace.

  5. Zanveth avatar

    For me the only time I venture into Game or Gamestation is to take a look at their pre owned section, with Gamestation usually having a fairly decent deal on, not to mention a half decent retro section if your lucky.

    Don’t have any indie stores near me, which is a shame as most of my purchases get done online now, but always prefered shopping in one if given the choice. Mainly because you can be sure the person running it, is actually a gamer themselves, so 95% of the time, you don’t get some anoying bloke stalking you asking “do you need any help?” every five minutes (one day Game, you will be the cause of a serious anger vent.)

    It’s also made worse now that Game own Gamestation so they pretty much have that monopoly done and dusted.

  6. Jen avatar

    You know, they tell people to do that on a retail course. It’s not by choice that you’re being stalked, Zanveth.

  7. Jason avatar

    I actually feel for the smaller, indy stores, that are too often overlooked. I do how ever hold a grudge towards supermarkets, and their “buying power”.

    I would rather go to a smaller (non-chain) store to buy my game, because I know I will get the game I want, and also doing my bit to support the “little guy”. Not to mention, shopping is made so much easier when you enjoy the experience, and “good customer service” is a chapter in a super market training manual. What happened to knowing your product, instead being a robot? Customer service affects where I shop.

    I support the Boycott!!!

  8.  avatar

    First of all hello everyone.

    In regards to this blog I have a few of the answers in how Indy store can give better deals than GAME or Gamestation (GAME group) who we all know own the gaming market place for the moment.

    Firstly some of the Indys get a small portion of there games imported which cost less for them to buy, so they can sell them at a lower price point. This also gives you the chance of getting some games that may not even be out in the U.K for a few weeks or even months! which can be great. Another point is that not having a large amount of store with around the U.K or World they do not have as many staff member to employ to work in the stores and they do not have as large a background team in aspects of I.T, graphic designers, Advertising, H.R, area managers, regional managers or even bonus schemes. So you have to take these things in to consideration.

    You also have to remember that GAME and Gamestation started out as Indy stores but when they started to make money and become more and more popular then they expanded around the U.K and became what they are today. I remember when I started gaming I shopped in Indys and Gamestation was one of the best around with there retro games and they did imports! So if you don’t watch out you be be creating another growing game retailer which could be assimilated by GAME (Yes I am a star trek geek) 🙂

    Ok some small bad points about Indy store. They do not get as many products as the larger stores, so they tend to sell out quicker. Withe they imported games some of they do not carry the U.K PEGI or BBFC rating so if you decide to trade your games or even imported hardware to GAME or Gamestation you will find that they may not take any of these from you as trade. Technically it cant be sold with the wrong age rating in the U.K. Most of the people who tend to buy games are parents and not gamers and parents go to the bigger branded stores.

    A few other points that was not mention in the blog was that supermarkets can beat Indy store game prices. It may be only a couple of pence but we all know ever penny counts 😉 Yes they do not trade in but this may soon change, with TESCO now going this way and even music store such as HMV now thinking of going into the preowned/trade market. Could this also be an end to some of the Indy store and even challenge GAME/Gamestation? only time will tell I guess.

    To finally finish my rant I would just like to pick at one more thing 🙂 the products knowledge of the staff in the stores mentioned. I tend to find you are correct with the staff who may work in a GAME stores. Most of the people who work in GAME do not even own a console! But the Gamestation staff are all passionate gamers and have there finger on the pulse.

    Thanks for taking time to read my rant, hope its not my first 🙂

  9.  avatar

    P.S sorry for spelling and grammar errors, am a bit worse for ware 😉

  10. Martin avatar

    To be fair anon. I didn’t mention the supermarkets because they don’t do trade ins and that was kinda part of the point I was making.
    I do, on occassion, use Tesco whose games can be ridiculously cheap. Just now they have Army of Two and Burnout Paradise city for £25 each and Fifa 08 at £15. The only thing is that they don’t carry huge quantities of new releases.
    Does it stipulate on a Gamestation application form that you need to be a gamer? Our own Shaz works in Game and she’s an ardent gamer, and I know a few more peeps that work in Game that own and play games so…
    A few last things, Game was once Electronics Boutique a shop that offered genuine VFM and a great retro section, but they were merged with the smaller Game stores to make the empire. Imported games are the only way many of us can play some gems that will never see the light of day here. I appreciate what you say about the age rating but if you buy it from an indy, most will take it back as a trade in.
    Thanks for joining in.

  11.  avatar

    Yeah the application does have a game section and during the interview yo are asked gaming related questions.

    E.G If you were to be a character of a game who would you be? and why?

    I know of at least 6 members of the GAME management who do not play games and have no interest in gaming. They are just good at managing a store.

    I know supermarkets were not mentioned but I think if you are going to talk about the past gaming trade-in situation to current day, you have to mention what is to come next. Yes the supermarkets and musics store do not do trade for now, but the wheels are turning with the realization that there is alot of money to be made from this concept of trade-ins. Every issue of MCV I have read over the past few month has an article on at least one of these retailers getting a start on the preowned market.

    I know that I may be a little biased towards Gamestation 😉 But when you hear what some of the other stores get up to from my mates who work or who have worked in other stores (Granger games/Games Center and GAME) It makes you think twice. An example of this is one of the Indy store whom I will not mention will resell as traded game as new if the game is in good condition so they the more of a mark up. So what yo think you are buying is new, is really used. I know its just a game at the end if the day, but if that was any other product you had bought from food, clothing or electronics you would not be a happy camper?

    Rant over 🙂 but not the last mmMMMMUUUUUUUHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Modfather avatar

    Now my username is showing 🙂 no more anonymous.

  13. Martin avatar

    Might have known it was you!!! Lol, I appreciate what you are saying and I must confess I have always thought that if you trade in a nearly new games that shops then re-sell them as new. That doesn’t really bother me.
    The trade in value and overall costing of games does, however. Like my example of Army of Two and Burnout paradise said, £25 in Tesco, £50 each in game, less than forty in the independents. Where would you buy?
    I will come and sort you out in store later!

  14. Modfather avatar

    LOL I will hit a man with specks 🙂

    I would love to open my own indy games store, but them market is too competitive now. And I do agree with what you say about Indys and the great value they give. As I mentioned on one of my rants, thats where I started to get my games, and did until my employment in Gamestation. I have worked in retail for over 10 years and know what customers want and why they spend there hard earned cash in the larger more established store.(the service/knowlage/advertisments and reputation)

    But you did not mention that Gamestation will match any trade if the customer can prove that they got that price in another store. (copy of a receipt) It is plastered all over the store and the games “We wont be beaten on trade!”

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