Australia’s longest-running independent video game store, The Gamesmen, is 40 years old today.
Originally called The Gamesman, the store was founded by Angelo Cusumano Sr. in 1982. Cusumano originally sold video games at local markets and had graduated to a stall at the Royal Easter Show, before opening his own store on Bonds Road in the southwestern Sydney suburb of Riverwood. In October 1989, the store relocated to its current address, one suburb over, in Penshurst. Satellite stores that opened in Penrith, Erina, and Woolongong over the years have come and gone, the flagship store outlasting them all.
The Gamesmen began creating physical mail order catalogues in 1990, catalogues that grew its national fanbase and cemented it as a local legend. We’ve written about these fascinating catalogues at Kotaku Australia in the past. As the years have worn on, they’ve become historical documents, in a way. You can leaf through one of The Gamesmen’s old catalogues and get an instant snapshot of where the industry was in Australia at the date of its publication. A digital archive of every issue has been available on their website since 2017. You can check out that piece, and the connected gallery, here.
Tragedy befell the Cusumano family in 1995. Just four days before Christmas, Cusumano Sr. was shot and killed during a robbery. He was survived by his wife Mary Cusumano and their four children, who own the store to this day.
In the wake of Cusumano Sr.’s death, the family persevered. Mail order catalogues had been just the start. The Gamesmen became the first Australian retailer to sell games online, its website launching on July 18, 1996. This would be the next, and biggest step, in cementing the store’s legend as hallowed local ground.
Today, The Gamesmen is an important retail touchstone in the Australian games space. There are people all over the country that simply won’t shop anywhere else, such is the level of support the store has enjoyed in the course of its life. It is an exceedingly rare thing: a family-owned games store in a country where there is an EB Games and a JB Hi-Fi in every shopping centre. Against the march of time, what must be seven or eight different economic crises and an industry that has changed wildly over the last 40 years, The Gamesmen has survived it all. There’s even a gaming museum within the store these days, just to really hammer home its staying power.
Kotaku Australia spoke to Mary and her three sons for the store’s 30th anniversary back in 2012. It’s Serrels at his absolute best, telling a beautiful, tragic story, and one of my favourite yarns in the site’s entire history. Please give it a read if you’ve never had the pleasure.
If you’re in the neighbourhood this weekend, please drop into the store and say g’day. The Gamesmen will be running a host of activities, specials and giveaways to celebrate. You can find out more about that on their Facebook page.
History of The Gamesmen – 12/12 – Into The Future!
From the Cusumano Family to yours – Thank you for shopping with us!
Whether you have for 40 years or 1, we are truly grateful that you are supporting our business & family & hope that you remain a part of The Gamesmen Family. pic.twitter.com/u4lJyQq3Uw
— The Gamesmen (@TheGamesmenAU) September 2, 2022
Happy anniversary, legends.
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