Warning: I may ramble on...
After listening to a bit of the Barrowmaze podcast it got me feeling nostalgic about D&D. After all, for me at least, the best part of the game was telling stories of your characters' (mis)adventures. I find talking about D&D can be just as fun as playing it, and telling stories that involve rolling a 1 are much more interesting than stories about rolling 20s!
So, here's my first (of probably many) posts on D&D and nostalgia. Topic 1: The little game store.
Back in the 80's little game stores seemed to be fairly common, sure, many seemed to go under quickly, but there would soon be another to pop up and fill the void. Sadly, these game stores seem to be a thing of the past these days. A few still exist (there's one not too far from where I live now) but I think a big part of my nostalgic love for them have to do with what was on the shelves: Car Wars, orange spines of AD&D books, zip-lock bags of Steve Jackson's Cardboard Heroes, and rows of amazing, illustrated blister packs of Citadel miniatures. For me, a game store needs to be small, have creaky, old wooden floors and a heavy set guy behind the counter that watches you like a hawk!
I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the first game store I ever went to was Medieval Works in Osborne Village. My older brother was nice enough to take me on the bus one day. I still remember my first purchase (I think I do at least): a Grenadier blister pack of ghouls (I think). There were two of them, they were small, and somewhat bestial looking. Included in the blister was a corpse inside a coffin.
Another store that came about in the late 80's was Hit Points, I remember their massive miniature collection the most. That's the store where I bought my copy of Car Wars: Deluxe Edition. I don't remember Hit Points being around for very long.
The store I spent most of my money at was Campaign Outfitters, which was on Corydon Ave. at the time when it was a truly great store. Tiny, and packed full of gaming goodness. I bought my first 1st edition AD&D book in that store, used, from the owner himself. This would have been in the early 90's when I visited it the most, when I was around 14. I think that's when I noticed a shift in gaming. All these amazing Citadel miniatures they had stocked, weren't being restocked anymore. Instead, they were being replaced by "Warhammer" miniatures. I hated the packaging, and the lack of "character" in the sculpts. And instead of 3-5 miniatures per pack, you were getting 1 or 2. Campaign Outfitters changed locations to a bigger store, and was still pretty good, and I think is still around in another new location, but just doesn't have that feeling it used to have.
Lastly, there's a true Winnipeg institution: Pendragon Games. It was around in the early 80's, and is still there today, albeit in a new location. Every time I go home to visit my parents, I have my pilgrimage to Pendragon. This is a true gaming store. I went in a few years back, and sitting on a shelf was Standard Games' Cry Havoc, from 1981. It's like stepping into the same store that it was back in the 80's. Old copies of White Dwarf (that covered D&D), 1e modules, and there's new stuff too of course, but that's not why I go. I just hope it's still there for my next visit.
And that's my ramble. I'm curious as to what you other old tyme gamers experience of gaming stores, old and new, are. Also, the names of the stores you went to. Do you younger gamers think you'll feel the same way about the "new" gaming stores of today?