Recently I posted an article about my visit to an unwelcoming gaming store. Now I'd like to give the nod to a couple of stores that I do appreciate.
Too Fat Goblinz in Stafford, Staffordshire. It's not just roleplaying it's loads of collectible stuff like comics, figures and other games, but the staff are pleasant and friendly and know what it is they're talking about. I was in there yesterday asking about Traveller stuff and, even though I never bought anything, the guy behind the counter was a really nice bloke. The shop was small but it was airy, bright, clean and didn't stink like sweaty armpits. Bonus! I recommend this place as they're obviousy passionate about the hobby and customer service.
Spirit Games in Burton, Staffordshire. This shop is quite large and the selection of RPGs in there is simply astounding, not only new games but also many obscure and second hand games. Their internet and mail order is excellent (I bought a Dragon Warriors supplement at 4:30pm Thursday, I got it the following Friday morning) and the customer service is great. Even though the shop seems a little cluttered and is a bit dimly lit, I have spent hours perusing the shelves because there is just so much stuff to choose from. Highly recommended.
If you've got any stores you'd like to recommend then leave a comment with a link to their website, or just put their address details down. It doesn't matter where in the world you are - let's hear about the decent shops that are out there, and tell me why you'd go back. Let other bloggers know about the list and post the details on your own blog.
Let's spread the word that not all gaming shops are wretched hives of scum and villainy that smell of tobacco and Cheetos, let them know what we as consumers expect from a gaming store. They probably won't give a crap, but let's get some positivity going about the RPG hobby for a change.
I read far too many message boards and listen to far too many conversations about how the hobby is on it's last legs thanks to MMORPG and console games, but I don't see many people trumpeting the postive side of RPGs or what they can do to correct this apparent problem. The place to start is not with the publishers or the designers or even the gaming clubs, but with the very people who sell these games. It's them that should be doing more to push RPGs as these games are part of their lifeblood. Where would they be without gamers? What would they achieve with more gamers joining the hobby?
Maybe I should start a movement. Write a mission statement, or something, design a logo.