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Archive for March 15th, 2011

The Game Exchange

These days, there really aren’t many locally owned game stores. Ones that are worth going to, that is. GameStop and various other corporate entities have really put these mom and pop game stores (where everybody knows your name) out of business. We gamers know the sad reality of the situation. But as luck would have it, the intrepid folks over at The Game Exchange don’t seem to have gotten the memo; they’re still going strong.

The first thing you see upon entering The Game Exchange is the extensive DVD section.

The store’s most common customers are actually hunting for DVDs, the lively young fellow named Anthony informed me. Anthony Arnold has been working at The Game Exchange for a year, and remembers the place’s earlier location in the Mountaineer Mall. After Walmart left the mall, so did The Game Exchange, ending up in its current location near U.S. Cellular in Sabraton, which looks something like this on a map.

Hey, the map worked today! Moving on.

I feel very confident in saying that The Game Exchange boasts the largest variety of gaming items in the area, from last-gen classics to current marvels, from NES games to DS games and everything in between. Dragon Age 2 sits near a counter full of Game Boys and their respective games. The store isn’t hard up for the latest and greatest titles.

Yet it is the selection of PS2, Xbox and Gamecube games that most impressed me. There are some truly fantastic games in the bunch, and I only wish I had time to re-enjoy some of these newer classics.


As I was talking to Anthony, a regular customer named Dave took notice and offered his two cents.

“Here, they really care about the games and they talk to you. It’s fun,” he says, with a few games in hand.

The Game Exchange is currently owned by Ryan Richards, who bought it from his brother Blaine Richards. Both brothers routinely work in the store here in Morgantown too, eschewing any notion of a hands-off approach.

“We’re in more contact with our customers because we don’t have as many employees. We’re a closer-knit family,” Anthony said, with a glimmer of pride. “We can work with you to get you what you want.”

Anthony searches for a game at a customer's behest

But Anthony was not the only denizen of The Game Exchange available for questioning. As it happens, there is another business within the game store. Nick Ely, friend of Ryan and Blaine Richards, came to an agreement with the Richards brothers.

Nick Ely in his natural habitat

He now runs N3RD Computer Services, a tech support / computer repair service for PCs and Macs (he’s Apple certified!), which is housed in The Game Exchange’s Morgantown shop. That said, Nick’s choice of location was more than mere pragmatism; he is also an avid gamer, preferring classics, but willing to give his heart to any worthy RPG that crosses his desk (we talked about Dragon Age for a while).

And truly near to my heart, the store has its own blog, with promotional info as well as brief game reviews, although these tend to fall into the “Wall of Text” category. As does Nick, with his all-too-appropriately named blog n3rdvana. Give the man credit where it’s due, he can work a theme.

So there you have it, Morgantown game fans. An honest to goodness well run, well stocked and well staffed local game store. They’re open 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday. Now go forth and patronize the store, for it is a local business which does not compromise gaming expediency in any way shape or form.

As I was leaving, Nick caught my attention and asked if I solely focused on video gaming. I hadn’t really thought about it, I said, and then he smiled. What did he suggest I cover?

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Links
The Game Exchange on Facebook
The Game Exchange Official Site
Nick’s n3rdvana Blog
The Game Exchange Blog

My blog (couldn’t resist)

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