WILKES-BARRE – For more than 20 years since the location change, the video game store, located just off Public Square at 28 S. Main St. , provides local players and provides them with everything they need.
Steve Green originally opened the store in Midtown Village, as Tim Robinson explains the self-proclaimed store as “The Customer.”
He said, “It was a little arcade of a store, it got some momentum and then it moved (in green) to here (the current location) and we’ve been here ever since.”
Robinson, 36 (although he’ll say he’s 26), originally from New Hampshire, moved to the area as a child and “grown up here.” He’s been with Green “on and off” for 20 years. He even ran the store for five years in early 2010, before the store brought on John Carbin.
“And he expanded a lot, especially with John because he specializes in Atari’s and old and old stuff. We’ve always had old things but I’ve known newer things and kind of a continuity of that,” Robinson said, adding with a chuckle, “This place is half a museum now.”
And what about the epidemic?
Well, Robinson explained that in a “normal” climate, business sways and falls. Starting in the fall, just in time for Christmas and because people are spending more time indoors, sales generally increase. Around the time of tax season, when the temperatures rise outside, business will gradually decline for a while. However, with the quarantine, people looking to stay busy while at home are looking forward to playing games.
“(Sales) didn’t stop for about two years,” Robinson said. “It was really stressful because we didn’t have that ebb and flow anymore and suddenly there was a huge demand for the product and people weren’t trading things anymore but we were selling a lot.”
For example, he said people would come to buy a PlayStation 4. When those ran out, they would buy a PlayStation 3, then a PlayStation 2, and finally a PlayStation 1.
“People wanted something to play while they were trapped in their homes,” Robinson noted. The video game store has been there to provide these outlets at uncertain times after reopening from initial mandatory closures.
The video game store does not sell online, which Robinson explained would require almost completely separate staff, as well as an advanced inventory system, which would be extremely difficult to maintain. “That’s so much more than Mom ‘n Pop,” he said.
These days, the video game store still sees top-tier business, which is definitely not a bad thing. As Robinson humorously notes, “You’re not necessarily a ‘nerd’ to play video games these days. It’s ‘normal’ now.”
And with the Karpien range of vintage systems, nostalgic fans, buyers and collectors are sure to be delighted.
Robinson mentioned the Sega Saturn and Atari Jaguar, among others, as an ancient and somewhat obscure system offered by the video game store. Of course, there’s also a lot to be desired after the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X hardware, if you’re lucky enough to disable them before they sell out. There’s also a bunch of earlier systems from the two giant home consoles. Then there’s the Nintendo Switch, back to the hugely popular N64 systems released in the ’90s, among many others. The video game store also offers a large selection of Blu-ray discs, as well as new and used games, accessories, consoles, cables, and even do a cash exchange.
The video game store is open seven days a week, from noon to 6:45 p.m. every day except Sunday, when the hours are listed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For questions, the store’s phone number is 570-822-9929.
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