Being a Gamer in Boston

There's a really strong chance that i'll be moving to Boston in the coming year to live with my gf (long distance sucks and she reeeeally hates NYC). Whenever I'm in town (about once per month), I look around and try to get a feel for geek culture over there, particularly where it applies to video games.

I've been largely unsuccessful.

While beantown seems to be the land of milk and honey if you're into tabletop or collectible card games, I haven't seen much to appeal to the video gamer. The place seems to be really devoid of any game shop outside of a handful of Gamestops and completely lacking any source for imports. There seems to be a Newbury Comics in every neighborhood, but they seem to be far more interested in selling the Twilight soundtrack then games.

So tell me, Boston gamers, what am I missing in your fair city?

I'm in Providence, and that's my impression of the gaming scene on New England. Newbury and Gamestop, with little in between. Fortunately, Steam makes my sort of gaming universal

Put on your pants and tell her NYC or ELSE!

How about the UBER COOL Newbury Comics stores? Ok so they're not games only but I literally could die in there. Each time I go I don't want to leave

http://www.newburycomics.com/

** EDIT **

I did a quick search and it looks like they've dropped games from their store... I don't live in Boston so I can't go and check out if they do carry them in stores but not online. Sorries

I went into a Newbury Comics once, I was excited that it'd be a really nice comic/game/general nerd store and ended being disappointed that it was more like Hot Topic.

What does a video gamer really need in terms of a store though? Gamestop, Best Buy, if you feel like retail and the Internet covers pretty much all the bases...

PAX (East Coast) will be coming to Boston in 2010, I think.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

PAX (East Coast) will be coming to Boston in 2010, I think.

That is correct! I will be there.. my first PAX

Im gonna go too!

Boston has the internet.

Me and Indignant are already talking about it also.

Jack Random wrote:

There's a really strong chance that i'll be moving to Boston in the coming year to live with my gf (long distance sucks and she reeeeally hates NYC). Whenever I'm in town (about once per month), I look around and try to get a feel for geek culture over there, particularly where it applies to video games.

I've been largely unsuccessful.

While beantown seems to be the land of milk and honey if you're into tabletop or collectible card games, I haven't seen much to appeal to the video gamer. The place seems to be really devoid of any game shop outside of a handful of Gamestops and completely lacking any source for imports. There seems to be a Newbury Comics in every neighborhood, but they seem to be far more interested in selling the Twilight soundtrack then games.

So tell me, Boston gamers, what am I missing in your fair city?

But what do you mean?
An actual mom and pop type shop that sells computer games and perhaps other thing pertinent for gaming? You might find a few... But imports are notoriously hard to come by-- because of their very nature... That's what the net is for.

You might be better off trying http://www.newenglandcomics.com

I will most defiantly be at PAX

Tangentially, I've realized that if I decide to pick up comic collecting again, Boston has my back. It feels like there's a comic store on every corner over there.

I'll second Newbury Comics sucking. I was there many many years ago and it was all comics and nerd heaven. A couple weeks ago I went back in there all excited. I actually thought it was the wrong store when I walked in. Hugely disappointed compared to what I remember.

Pandemonium in Cambridge

And there is SO much gaming going on in the Boston area its ludicrous. MIT has several regular groups. For cons, there's Unity and Arisia. Alas, no great old-school arcades. I too will be at Pax Boston.

rabbit wrote:

Pandemonium in Cambridge

And there is SO much gaming going on in the Boston area its ludicrous. MIT has several regular groups. For cons, there's Unity and Arisia. Alas, no great old-school arcades. I too will be at Pax Boston.

Is recommending Pandemonium your subtle way of suggesting i embrace my tabletop gaming roots?

I'm familiar with Pandemonium (and it's great for what it is), it really seems that tabletop is huge in the Boston area in a way that NYC has largely left behind. Unfortunately, i think that i'm a product of my city.

Harmonix is based in Cambridge. Orleans, one of the bars in Davis Square, holds weekly Guitar Hero competitions.

Don't whine, I'm stuck in Nebraska. All of the old-school tournaments I used to run are no more. All we've got here is gamestops, and one Hobbytown for geek culture in general. Fortunately, the Goodjer Alliance keeps me from being a solitary gamer.

I'm also going to be at PAX East in Boston. I'm considering scheduling myself a few extra days to do touristy things around the city proper instead of just being stuck inside a convention center. Then again I don't know what Boston is like in March either.

Chief Wiggum wrote:

But what do you mean?
An actual mom and pop type shop that sells computer games and perhaps other thing pertinent for gaming? You might find a few... But imports are notoriously hard to come by-- because of their very nature... That's what the net is for.

Yeah, you aren't going to find many mom & pop video gaming shops anywhere; it's a tough business with slim margins. I've seen a lot of good ones go out of business. The ones that stay alive seem to do other stuff under the same roof.

Just about any city's shopping is going to pale next to NYC, especially an incredibly niche business like game importing. I think you need a large Japanese expat population who have an interest in playing games in their native tongue, because keeping that kind of stuff in stock is pricey, especially with online competition.

Hey, I feel your pain... do you know how many products (like say limited edition Adidas Sneakers, dammit) will be made available only in NYC? Honestly, except a few other "world cities" (Toronto, London, Tokyo...) you're going to be stuck adjusting your expectations of what you have available.

I'm moving to Boston too. I'm moving from Denver though. I'll be there early July. Probably staying in Waltham in a furnished apartment to start with. Knock on wood that the closing on our house goes through at the end of June.

rabbit wrote:

Pandemonium in Cambridge

And there is SO much gaming going on in the Boston area its ludicrous. MIT has several regular groups. For cons, there's Unity and Arisia. Alas, no great old-school arcades. I too will be at Pax Boston.

This. Also, 'sup future Boston Goodjer.

There are plenty of devs in the area, including my employer, Harmonix (/namedrop). ImprovBoston runs monthly Rock Band nights, and several bars/clubs in the area do as well.

If you're looking for a locally owned video game shop, Games Universe in Framingham is the only one that I'm aware of, but there may be others.

beeporama wrote:
Chief Wiggum wrote:

But what do you mean?
An actual mom and pop type shop that sells computer games and perhaps other thing pertinent for gaming? You might find a few... But imports are notoriously hard to come by-- because of their very nature... That's what the net is for.

Yeah, you aren't going to find many mom & pop video gaming shops anywhere; it's a tough business with slim margins. I've seen a lot of good ones go out of business. The ones that stay alive seem to do other stuff under the same roof.

Just about any city's shopping is going to pale next to NYC, especially an incredibly niche business like game importing. I think you need a large Japanese expat population who have an interest in playing games in their native tongue, because keeping that kind of stuff in stock is pricey, especially with online competition.

Hey, I feel your pain... do you know how many products (like say limited edition Adidas Sneakers, dammit) will be made available only in NYC? Honestly, except a few other "world cities" (Toronto, London, Tokyo...) you're going to be stuck adjusting your expectations of what you have available.

That's what eBay and other niche web vendors are for.

But Boston is actually a world city. All the GD-colleges, hospitals, tech and biotech and Logan...?! I digress.

I would not worry too much. There are all sorts of resources if you dig a little.

I grew up in RI but left when i joined the Navy in 93. Boston was a mecca in those days. Between there and a little place in Providence called Thayer street it was heaven for anyone in any sort of unsual culture. Unfortunately the Hot Topic disease has run rampant, turning once awesome areas for niche entertainment into uber commercialized suck zones.

Every once in awhile when i am back in New England I visit the old haunts of mine and enjoy my old memories. I am sure there are still spot where folks like us thrive but they are much harder to find now. With the increase in popularity comes an increase in commercialization which is often a huge turnoff to old school enthusiasts.

I will also be there for PAX East 2010. I am dragging along the wifey and cannot wait! It wil be my first real convention of any kind.

bnpederson wrote:

Then again I don't know what Boston is like in March either.

Bring a coat

Jack Random wrote:
bnpederson wrote:

Then again I don't know what Boston is like in March either.

Bring a coat

Maybe also a shovel.

And bags of salt & sand if you drive.

Newbury Comics = Music store. IT ceased being a nerd store a long long long time ago. I go there for records.

There's a CEX that sells used video games right next to a gamestop in down town crossing. You might be able to get imports in the Garage in Harvard Sq-- I know there's some weird japanese store in that mall. There's a few best buys in town, some stores in the Cambridge side galleria. Plenty of comic book stores, a few old school nerd stores on mass ave (table top stuff). There's amuch stronger music scene than nerd scene. I am baffled by thge number of record-record stores considering the economy.

Also, I vote march the suckiest of the boston months. Still cold as Feb, but wetter.

Cobble wrote:

I grew up in RI but left when i joined the Navy in 93. Boston was a mecca in those days. Between there and a little place in Providence called Thayer street it was heaven for anyone in any sort of unsual culture. Unfortunately the Hot Topic disease has run rampant, turning once awesome areas for niche entertainment into uber commercialized suck zones.

Every once in awhile when i am back in New England I visit the old haunts of mine and enjoy my old memories. I am sure there are still spot where folks like us thrive but they are much harder to find now. With the increase in popularity comes an increase in commercialization which is often a huge turnoff to old school enthusiasts.

I will also be there for PAX East 2010. I am dragging along the wifey and cannot wait! It wil be my first real convention of any kind.

I grew up in RI too... Loved Thayer St... Spat's, Montana's, and Laguna's... Much drinking and much fun...

Boston's fine in March. Just wear some shorts, bring your winter coat and umbrella also!

rabbit wrote:

Pandemonium in Cambridge

And there is SO much gaming going on in the Boston area its ludicrous. MIT has several regular groups. For cons, there's Unity and Arisia. Alas, no great old-school arcades. I too will be at Pax Boston.

You might find a few people in a corner with their DSes, but Unity is almost exclusively tabletop: mostly board and card.

Just remember to pronouce the letter R an "AH" instead of "AR" and you'll be fine.

Yaaa, dude! Dem beers was wicked pissah!

Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd.