The Video Game Store keeps area gamers supplied – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
WILKES-BARRE — For well over 20 years since a location change, The Video Game Store, just off Public Square at 28 S. Main St., has been keeping local gamers supplied and stocked with whatever they may need.
Steve Green originally opened the store in Midtown Village, as self-proclaimed store ‘minion’ Tim Robinson explained.
“It was a little hallway of a store,” he said, “It got some traction going and then he (green) moved over here (current location) and we’ve been here ever since.”
Robinson, 36 (though he’ll say he looks 26), originally from New Hampshire, moved to the area as a child and “grew up here.” He’s been working for Green “off and on” for 20 years. He even ran the store for a five-year period in the early 2010s, before the store brought on John Karpien.
“And it’s expanded a lot, especially with John ‘cause he specializes in the Atari’s and the old, old stuff. We always had the retro stuff but I knew the newer stuff and kind of kept that going. And then John came in and expanded the retro stuff and sort of curates it,” Robinson said, adding with a chuckle, “This place is like half museum now.”
And as for the pandemic?
Well, Robinson explained that in a “normal” climate, business ebbs and flows. Beginning in the fall, in time for Christmas and for folks to be spending more time indoors, sales generally increase. Right around tax season, when things are warming up outside, business will taper off for a period. With quarantines, however, folks looking to stay busy while stuck at home looked towards gaming.
“It (sales) didn’t stop for like two years. It was very busy,” Robinson said. “It was very stressful because we didn’t have that ebb and flow anymore and all of a sudden there was a huge demand for product and people weren’t trading stuff in anymore but we were selling a lot.”
As an example, he said that people would come in to buy PlayStation 4’s. When those sold out, they’d buy PlayStation 3’s, then PlayStation 2’s, and finally, the PlayStation 1’s.
“People just wanted something to play while they were holed up in their house,” Robinson remarked. The Video Game Store was there to provide those outlets in uncertain times after reopening from initial mandatory closures.
The Video Game Store does not do online sales, which Robinson explained would call for almost an entirely separate staff, as well as an advanced inventory system, which would all be incredibly difficult to maintain. “This is much more Mom ’n Pop,” he said.
These days, The Video Game Store is still seeing business on the high end, which is most definitely not a bad thing. And, as Robinson humorously noted, “You’re not necessarily a ‘nerd’ for playing video games these days. It’s ‘normal’ now.”
And with Karpien’s collection of retro systems, nostalgic enthusiasts, buyers, and collectors are sure to be pleased.
Robinson mentioned the Sega Saturn and Atari Jaguar, among others, as the retro and rather obscure systems The Video Game Store offers. Of course, there’s also the much sought after PlayStation 5’s and Xbox Series X’s, if you’re lucky enough to snag one bnefore they sell out. There’s also a litany of earlier systems from the two home gaming juggernauts. Then there’s Nintendo Switch, and going back to the immensely popular N64 …….