Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two Years Free of GameStop: A Retrospective.

Next month marks a whopping two years since I quit my job at GameStop. February 2011 was a time of huge change for me! I was planning a trip to Ireland, and then after that I moved down to California to begin the next chapter of my life. It's a new year now, 2013 ahoy, and I'm feeling nostalgic about the old game store.

Is the power really to the players? Is it? Source.

The other day a friend wanted to pop down to a new location a few towns over from where I worked, but he wondered if I'd be bothered about seeing people I used to work with:

"Unless you don't want to see anyone you know," he said.

"Oh I won't know anyone that works at this location," I replied.

We walk into the store and the first person I saw was a manager whom I'd met a few times, but spoke on the phone with on a regular basis when I was a manager. He had been with the company for a long time and frequently transferred to new or troubled stores to clean things up. My jaw nearly hit the floor with irony and delight.

I spoke to him, he remembered me, and we chatted briefly about our tenure with GameStop. It was a nice visit, and reminded me of one of the best things about my time there: the people. One of my best friends now started out as a simple co-worker, and some of my best memories are of goofing off with my long-term manager. When I talk about the ridiculous and bad things that happened during my six year employment people often ask why I stayed for so long. My immediate answer is, "Because I loved my co-workers."

The free poster perk wasn't bad, either!

On a different and more selfish level, it's also because I loved being in the game industry. No matter how peripherally. I had constant access to release date lists, e-mails about pre-release information, and GameInformer. I could look at the magazines if I wanted, read all the backs of all the boxes, ask customers first hand what they thought of titles, and I could watch the games rise and fall in popularity. Based off of trade in trends I could tell which games were long or short, which were good or bad. I knew the rares from the commons. I had an expansive knowledge base even though I had experienced only a fraction of the games for myself.

Of course it wasn't all fun and games (pun intended?). I was yelled at by customers, there were late nights and long open-to-close shifts. Stores were dirty, people were mean, co-workers were incompetent. I dealt with thieves, irresponsible children, and I lost my temper a time or two. Once resulting in a broken phone and another in a dislodged ceiling tile. My wage was bad and my hours were inconsistent, but part of me really loved my job. And I was fiercely dedicated to my store. I took great pride in working there.

It's strange to go into my old location and see people I don't know and floor setups that I didn't build. I just want to wander behind the counter and start processing trade ins all, "It's cool I used to be a manager here."

I don't think they'd like that, though.



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