Feature: Why Open A Video Game Shop During A Global Pandemic?
2020 may have been a bumper year for video game sales, but it’s impacted other businesses in a very negative way. Cinemas and restaurants have been forced to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and while video game sales have been buoyant thanks digital and online purchases, physical retail stores with no means of selling remotely have seen their footfall reduced to a trickle; these bricks-and-mortar shops have really felt the pinch of local lockdowns and other restrictions on face-to-face trade.
You might think this is the worst possible time to open such a store, but that hasn’t stopped Richard Tewkesbury. You might recall him from a feature we did not so long ago; via his Game Boy Shack online store, he’s been selling games and modded systems for years, and his stall has been a regular face at live events throughout the UK – until 2020, of course.
With his income from events reduced to zero, Richard has taken it as an opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream instead – to have his own physical retail store in his hometown of Leicester in the United Kingdom (which just so happens to be the closest city to Nintendo Life’s Loughborough HQ, fact fans).
If you’ve been following the coronavirus pandemic in the UK then you might be aware that Leicester was one of the first UK cities to be placed in lockdown earlier this year, and currently sits in «tier 3» – which is basically the highest of the three tiers laid out by the UK government. While this still allows for non-essential shops to remain open, the situation in the country – and indeed the entire world – still balances on a knife-edge and the UK has only just emerged from a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown which could easily be repeated again in the near future. Nonetheless, Richard has opened his shop as planned, and has found that the reception has been an incredibly positive one.
Located close to the city’s main shopping complex, Super Game Shack (for that is its name) is described by its owner as something of a geek’s paradise; inside, you’ll find retro games and systems, Nintendo plushes, modded Game Boy consoles, video game-related merchandise and even Japanese sweets and drinks. Richard has stated that he wants to have a small workspace in the store so he can continue to create his trademark modded Game Boy consoles, and that in the fullness of time, retro fans will be able to visit to trade in old (and new) games for either cash or store credit, which will enable him to maintain a healthy turnover of pre-owned stock.
If you’re in the UK and based in Leicestershire (restrictions mean travelling between counties isn’t permitted) then be sure to drop by Super Game Shack and say hello to Rich (you can also follow the store via its Instagram and Facebook pages). He’s hopeful that the shop will be successful enough to become a truly permanent fixture in the city – and from what we’ve seen so far, it fully deserves to be.