Remember When Australian Game Stores Used To Look Like This?

In 1992 I was 11 years old. I had a Super Nintendo and I played Street Fighter 2 eight hours a day. I also used to visit video game stores and just sort of hang around looking at stuff. The above video is like an insane time machine into a bizarre past I'd completely forgotten about... the world of the video game store, circa 1992.

Hear the strange music, see the the multitude of CRTs, gaze with wonder upon the massive air balloon with 'SALE' printed across it. This is video game history and it is absolutely fascinating.

The Gamesmen are actually still around — they have stores in Penhurst and Wollongong. I find it sort of reassuring that they still exist, despite the massive assault on local retailers. It's a hard business to run, especially as a small independent.

This video is sort of quaint, and mildly hilarious, but I can't help but feel nostalgic for these independent stores — they really are a dying breed.

Thanks to the awesome Doc What for showing this to me!


Comments

    THAT HAIR! BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL, THAT HAIR!

    I mean, uhhh, what?

    And no, unfortunately I was all of one year old in 1992, so I don't remember game stores like that. :/

      You baby! I was 7 at the time. I think I may have actually gone there at some point, too.

      You were only a year old in 1992 and yet you're quoting Masters of the Universe...???

        I was born in '92 and I know He-Man (and She-Ra)

    remember when hair looked like that?

    i don't miss the Penrith Gamesmen. Even went to the cafe that replaced them the moment i knew it was there to celebrate the improved tenants. They pretty much are the reason i learned to love online shopping. Rude staff, pushy salesmen, abominable prices~

      They had a great range of books, dvds and miscellany, but you're right about the prices. I used to drop in there and browse but you can't charge twice as much as EB/JB and expect people to "support independent retailers".

        It was hardly twice the price. And small independant stores just can't offer the same low prices as the big chains for various reasons, although Gamesmen would price match.

      I like that my comment came right after yours.

      Also, how AWESOME is Mad Mex? (Mexican place that replaced Gamesmen)

      Been there. Totally agree. They were a joke.

        The ridiculous prices on "retro" stuff in that glass cabinet. Insane prices in the age of EBAY.

      Been there once before also, all I remember though, that really caught my eye was Street Fighter 4 when it first came out, demoed at their store and playing it with the official Hori Arcade Stick. Otherwise quite a lack-lustre store and staff.

    The Gamesmen in Penrith was my local haunt, talking with the guys behind the counter about comics, games and Hong Kong cinema. It was also great for anime and manga. Since is went, the local JB Hi-Fi's anime section has quartered in size, no longer having to stock more titles to compete for Gamesmen's business.

      Really? i found them overpriced and rude.

        The games were retailing at RRP (same as EB, more than JB) but the anime was well priced and great range. Some of the staff were... less than friendly, but I ended up becoming friends with one of the guys there.

        The best games shops in penrith were gamesmen/gameswizards when on Henry street and Computer spot on high st

          Never made it to a Gameswizards store. I remember adds for them and wanting to go, but never got there.

      I too liked the Gamesmen in Penrith. Even if I never bought much, the staff were always good to chat with. Was sad when I found it had been shut down

    I remember there used to be a huge game store on Queen St in Brisbane years back. My bro and I insisted it was to be visited every time our parents took us into the city. Had a crazy flight simulator thing at the back we insisted we'd own one day. :P I've got fond memories of buying Freddie Pharcus Frontier Pharmacist there...

      Was that the place right on the mall and you had to go down some stairs to get to? (Actually that sounds like basically every single store on queen st....)

        I have been away from Brisbane since the 90's, but your spot on, every store down Queen st seemed to be going down stairs. I remember a couple of small game stores around but nothing large.

    And look in the background there, is that a "Half-Life 3 coming soon" poster I see?

      Shhh you mustn't alert the fanboys.

    Haha, remember these guys, back before games became big business.Parents never took me there but I used to read the catalogues religiously. Almost bought a Sega Mega CD with mah b'day money back in the day.

    Haha, remember these guys, back before games became big business.Parents never took me there but I used to read the catalogues religiously. Almost bought a Sega Mega CD with mah b'day money back in the day.

    haha Hitech World used to be the place for all my Nes games lol

    Video Games Heaven in Knox City, Melbourne. Man I used to go to that place alllll the time when I was younger, playing games before you bought them, even an ancient pre-order and used games system. Was very different to how they are today.

      I've been to that store!

        I bought Asterix for the Megadrive there. It came in a paint tin filled with lollies, the cartridge was silver instead of black, and there was also the chance of winning some huge prize if I remember. I thought it was an official sega promotion but last time I tried to google it I couldn't come up with anything.

          Yeah, I remember that store well too. Actually looked a lot like the store in the video above, at least at one stage in its life...

      That was a great store, that. Used to hang out at the one in Northland, bought an original gold cartridge Zelda 2 from there! Good times

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    Last edited 18/06/15 12:56 pm

      +1. I remember pouring over the gamesmen's catalogues which ened up getting more dog eared than porn mags. Good times.

    My mates and I used to plan a monthly road trip up to what was then the only Gamesmen store in existence in Penshurst. In the world prior to the internet, when you used modems purely to contact bulletin boards in Germany to see what the likes of Fairlight were up to on Amiga, a store like the Gamesmen was a door to a richer world of choice, offering far more than the likes of K-Mart or Dick Smith. The drive home was always so nerdy and exciting! *sigh* Good times. Thanks Gamesmen. ;)

    And not a single pre-order was pushed.

    I miss being served by apathetic spotty teens with mullets at my local independent game store. Now days I'm being served by aggressive twenty-something's with too much fucking hair gel at my local EB Games.

      BAHAHA You know your right, so many damn clean cut hair gel'd 20-30 year olds as games store staff these days!

    I miss these days - although in Victoria it was always more 'Video Games Heaven' stores :D

    I live really close to the one in Penshurst but I've only ever been there once to buy a TE stick in 2009.

    It was a pretty awesome store inside from what I remember. Quite honestly, I was surprised such a store existed nearby and I'd barely heard about it. Prices were sucky though and the guy who served me annoyed the shit out of me when all I wanted was to simply go home.

      Also, sad story about how the owner was murdered back in the day. Apparently, the killer was released just last year?

    Looks like a US store. Most games in the 80's were only available from places such as Grace Bros. around Sydney. There were a couple of niche stores but they never lasted long.

      Penshurst gamesmen. It says on the wall.

        This video is from the 90s but in the 80s games were available from grace bros, david jones, angus and robertson -and in particular KMART. there penrith store opened in early 80s. melbourne store apparently in late 60s.

          Oh yeah tandy/radioshack. Computer spot. Norman Ross --- Harvey Norman

          Being 90's would explain it then. Ah yes. Gamesmen. Oh how I let them eat what little cash I had each month :)

    Videogames Heaven in Frankston.
    I'd walk in there, ask them to put on a game on the console for me to 'try out', then I would play the game for hours until I beat it.

    So many memories in that place. So many sad, nerdy memories.

    Those were the days when you could pick up a new copy of Sonic 2 and enjoy a free sausage sizzle at the same time. Good times :).

    Ahhhh so refereshing to see a store that had personality...Im sorry but walking into EB now days is just so sterile and voided of personality....and if i hear one more pushy EB worker try to make me pre-order the latest Call of Duty (before its even been announced mind you)...then i think i will kick box his head

      JB Hifi has personality. Not always good, but personality none the less. EB reminds me of Mr. West Dickens' Elixers from Red Dead Redemption. Flashy looking, seemingly legit, but ultimately flim flam. Designed to suck you in so they can swindle you.

      Maybe I'm just bitter. :P

        I just can't stand how pushy EB employees are

        "Anything you want to pre order....next Call of Duty, GTA 5, Resident Evil 6...Anything at all sir...you do realize your not walking out of this store without pre-ordering something"

        No, I don't want to Pre-Order...I just want to buy the game I came here to buy

        Yeah JB has some personality...I kind of like Game Traders just because it does feel a little like a classic game store (just hate their overpriced ways for Retro stuff)

    I love the Gamesmen store at Penshurst, I went in there not long ago enquiring about those Forza CSR Steering Wheels that came out with Forza 4.

    Damn son. Anyone remember Video Game Heaven? I remember that was a huge neon blue light show ever time I went in...

    Gamesmen was where I got my RB3 Keyboard from. Only retailer I could find that had one. Thankgod they made it easy with their webstore! Wasn't gonna drive 1000km to get it ;)

    Rad!

    Yep, thats what we use to say in the 90's.
    Those were the days. . .

    Where else could you get a special of 15% off? Ahh the memories...

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