The moment many among us saw that “Store For Rent” sign under Game Champ’s sign, we knew the end was near for the store. The question was “when?” Well, that end came yesterday when Game Champ announced it was the last day to shop at the store. The store underwent many changes inside throughout the years, with its beginnings having a cellphone side. Eventually that side was removed to stock more games, and eventually used games. They then added on to inventory by having anime DVDs, wall scrolls, figures, and skateboards. On the game side, the store stocked new games as well as retro games dating as far back as the NES. Quite a few times during my college years, I’d recommend people go there if there was a retro game they were looking for. One of them managed to find a Dreamcast game that had eluded him for a while. One of the best things about the place was the convenience of having a game store right in our own back yard. For many living in the southern Mott Haven section, myself included, the only place you could get your gaming fix was at the Game Express and GameStop both located at The Hub of 3rd Ave. That required either hauling ass up there or taking a bus. Once Game Champ opened, it was only a matter of walking around the corner.
But the best thing about this store were the guys that ran it. Unlike Gamestop and their “We-May-Be-Smiling-But-Clearly-Hate-This-Job” clerks, these guys were always cool to talk to. If you thought you were gonna go in there, pick up your game, and leave in about 5 minutes, you didn’t. You stuck around and joined whatever conversation was going on at the time. My most memorable moment was managing to find a Shin Megami Tensei fan with one of the clerks they hired and talking about getting Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga at Comic-Con. There were also the times when Game Champ would play a role in my choice of location when getting games, evidenced by the articles I wrote here on The Wired Fish.
I got the call from my sister telling me yesterday would be the last day, and I quickly hauled ass over there to buy a few more things and say my good byes to the clerks there. The store was filled with loyal customers recounting their times with the store, shootin’ the shit, and overall having a good time in the store’s final hours. I talked with one regular customer that remembered the times when he’d see something on the counter and tell the clerks “I’ma get that.” The clerks didn’t believe him, only for him to return later that day and plop cash on the counter and go “BAM, you know what I’m here for.” We also talked about the games we got from the store, both new and old, which also gave me a chance to talk about getting my 3DS from there.
The neighborhood of gamers certainly won’t be the same without the local Game Champ. So from all of us here at The Wired Fish, and all of us from Mott Haven, thank you for your service, the memories, and the great times we had with ya. Good luck on any endeavors you guys have in the future.
And with that, I leave you with the title theme to one of the final games I bought from the store.
Got any memories from shopping at Game Champ? Share your stories in the comments section below.