In my case there were three, each of which quite neatly covered a separate period of my gaming life. This was long before the days of 'Game' or even 'Electronics Boutique' and most game stores were independently owned and operated. The first one I ever spent any time in was also the closest one to my house.
|Vigilante - the first PCE game I ever saw running...|
The Microland years covered most of my last few years at school but when I'd started college in the city, I was lucky enough to find another shop - South Coast Consoles. This one was located in the infamous Tricorn Centre (voted the ugliest building in the UK!) and was about the same size as my previous favourite but, as you may have guessed from its name, specialised in the consoles which were by now the most popular way to play videogames.
|The boss of SCC regretted selling this to me...|
|Look - that's it now! Good old Ross, still there...|
Aside from the occasional gasp-inducing prices though, Ross Records was a haven for many of my years of gaming, especially when they opened a second store even closer to my house which was smaller but had a great ambiance thanks to its life-size Star Wars models and splendidly nerdy artwork all over the walls. Unlike the other two stores mentioned, both Ross Records are still there today too, selling 360, PS3, and Wii games at probably-bargain prices (although I haven't actually been inside for years since I'm not really 'into' any current systems). I do now own a PS3 though, so even if I'm not really interested in using it for games, it might be worth reacquainting myself with Mr. Ross' splendid emporium.
As fondly as I recall these stores and my times in them, however, the sad fact is there probably won't be any like it soon. It's inevitable that games will become a download-only entertainment medium at some point, perhaps as soon as the next generation of systems, so if you live near any gaming oases like the ones I was lucky enough to know, visit them, support them, and cherish them, while you still can...