Any memories of the old shops we used to visit?

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I remember a toy model shop in Stafford that had a computer and games section. It's where my Spectrum 48k and manic miner was purchased.

Cannock also had a good games shop it was where I first tried an Atari Jaguar.

In the Amiga years I used to drive me and a mate from Rugeley to Bilston Market to buy very cheap games.

I used to take my Amiga to Trentham Gardens computer club which should have been named xcopy world. I remember the last one I went to someone bought in a PS1 with wipeout. It was the first time I'd tried or seen a playstation needless to say my mind was blown. It would be many years until I got one though I stuck with the amiga1200 for many years adding a 4mb accelerator, CDROM via squirrel and a 80mb hard drive and a canon bj10 printer. Right up until I built my first pc powerhouse a p150 over clocked to 166mhz
 
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Ahh so many memories, great thread idea.

One that springs to mind is Toys R Us in Basildon, Essex. Not a small little local but that place was like a dream come true when I was 8 years old. Video games, toys, boardgames and tons of Lego.

I'd spend ages looking at the video games, the box art, reading the back of the boxes and imagining playing them all.

At the time they would have a picture behind plastic of the front and back of the game box and you would take the little paper ticket to the till, pay and then have to go and wait at some weird little kiosk for someone to come and give you the actual game. I probably only bought half a dozen games for my NES but the ritual of the collection and my excitement for a new game was amazing.

I couldn't wait to open the game box and read through the guide/instructions in the car on the way home, this was promptly followed by crushing disappointment when I played the game and was usually utterly useless at it like with Mega Man or Zelda 2... :D
 
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My favourate would have been RJ Computers in Downend, Bristol. A great shop with friendly staff, always came out of there with a game and best of all they got sent loads of posters and they would let me pick some to take home for my walls when I was a kid :)

I haven't pirated a game in years, other than old roms I guess as there is simply no need with games being reasonably priced and digital downloads it just doesn't seem worth it. Back in the day though copying spectrum games on my dads hi fi with the TDK D60 tapes was the norm. Amiga disk copying too with X-Copy and cyclone, I probably had about half original and half copied games back then. There were some good stories me and a friend had, 13 years old going round a guys house who worked as a tax inspector to copy games, that would never happen these days. Also those code sheets for being able to run the game, you know, what is the word at page 2, paragraph 3 word 4? Usually written on red or brown paper to make it hard to photocopy.
We got around that issue by knowing a police inspector who put the code sheet on the finger print machine, adjusted the contrast...came out perfect and easier to read than the original :)
 
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Piracy was a big issue back then. Computer clubs were basically copy parties. There were loads of different copy protection methods, from code sheets, word look-ups in the manual (which sometimes were cleverly made part of the game experience), and of course the infamous lens-lok.
The most drastic method I saw was an actual hole punched in a floppy disk. The game would try to write to the dodgy sector and if that failed then it passed the check.

The megagames which caused the bankruptcy of Imagine Software had hardware dongles to allow better games, but mainly for copy protection.

When I worked in computer shops we had a policy that we'd only exchange faulty games for another copy, rather than refund, as some customers tried it on and brought back tapes claiming they were faulty. We did offer a free tape alignment service though if customers kept having problems loading tapes. Remember having to do that?
 
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Anyone buy their cassette games from WH.Smith? Remember those mail order games clubs who gave you a number of free games to start off with but then you had to buy a game every month for a year.
 
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Beaties in High Wycombe. I used to spend ages in there as a kid. I remember they had a suspended model railway with a train that travelled over both floors of the shop. I used to go there every weekend and look at the PC games; like a kid in a sweet shop trying to figure out which one I would buy and leave with :D
 
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I miss GameStation, they used to have a cabinet with all the retro stuff, for many months when I was a teen I was eying up the fully boxed Lylat Wars with the rumble pak, didn't have the money and eventually it sold.

When I was kid my dad's friend ran a game shop which seemed to have everything, every week when my parents did the big friday shop i'd spend the entire time in there looking at everything, then the likes of Electronic Boutique came along and basically ran him out of business, didn't help he was in a tiny shop tucked away from view.

Wish I knew of any retro game shops in wales, haven't seen any yet.
 
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Anyone buy their cassette games from WH.Smith? Remember those mail order games clubs who gave you a number of free games to start off with but then you had to buy a game every month for a year.

I can remember buying Psion's Adventure Game tape for the 16k ZX81 in WH Smith which had two adventure games on it. I had a lot of fun playing them at the time, but playing them recently on my newly acquired ZX81 they're rubbish BASIC games and so, so slow.
 
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There were loads of different copy protection methods, from code sheets, word look-ups in the manual (which sometimes were cleverly made part of the game experience), and of course the infamous lens-lok.
The most drastic method I saw was an actual hole punched in a floppy disk. The game would try to write to the dodgy sector and if that failed then it passed the check.

I remember some of my games had A4 sheets listing all of the relevant copy protection answers etc.

I used to love a shop which was on Ivegate in Bradford in the late 80s - we got our Spectrum +2 from there. It was the +2A which was basically a +3 with a tape drive instead of the disk drive. The +2 version of Robocop blew me away - it has synthesized speech. The feeling after have a Spectrum 48k was pure amazement.
 
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i remember the high street shops used to have all the computers set out and you could have a fiddle, or a play if they'd loaded games on to tempt buyers. there were a couple of small units in Eldon Square that tried to make a go of it but never lasted long, it was in one of them that i first say Elite demoing on a BBC, absolutely blew me away. back in a day when most things were sprite graphics i saw this Cobra spinning on the intro screen, and then realised that it also had managed to pull off hidden line removal at a good speed, something even the big arcade games like Battlezone weren't even doing. i was entranced, that game was soooooo far ahead of its time.
 
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i remember the high street shops used to have all the computers set out and you could have a fiddle, or a play if they'd loaded games on to tempt buyers. there were a couple of small units in Eldon Square that tried to make a go of it but never lasted long, it was in one of them that i first say Elite demoing on a BBC, absolutely blew me away. back in a day when most things were sprite graphics i saw this Cobra spinning on the intro screen, and then realised that it also had managed to pull off hidden line removal at a good speed, something even the big arcade games like Battlezone weren't even doing. i was entranced, that game was soooooo far ahead of its time.

I was insanely jealous when I saw Elite running at a computer show on the Acorn stand, as I had a C64 (The C64 version came later). The entire stand was given over to the game, and they had a video presentation talking about the game and the fictitous history of 'Commander Jameson'.
The hidden line removal was a very clever trick. All the 3D objects in the game are convex, which made it much easier to do the hidden line removal, which would normally be too taxing on the hardware.

I really miss those old computer shows. I was lucky enough to go to and work at several computer trade shows (Including in Cannes :D), and see stuff before it was released, and also to demo games, which I really, really enjoyed. At ECTS one year I saw the prototype of C64 Elite running, and had a play (I was told the game had been downloaded to the C64 from a BBC Micro). At a consumer show I entered a C64 Elite competition to get the most credits in two dockings and came second. First prize was 1541 disk drive! I got sent a copy of C64 Elite on release as a prize.
 
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Beaties in High Wycombe. I used to spend ages in there as a kid. I remember they had a suspended model railway with a train that travelled over both floors of the shop. I used to go there every weekend and look at the PC games; like a kid in a sweet shop trying to figure out which one I would buy and leave with :D

I don’t remember Beaties in high Wycombe (Where was it?) but I do remember the one in Aylesbury. It had video games downstairs and RC cars/scale models upstairs. Absolutely loved that place, would visit every Saturday!
 
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I don’t remember Beaties in high Wycombe (Where was it?) but I do remember the one in Aylesbury. It had video games downstairs and RC cars/scale models upstairs. Absolutely loved that place, would visit every Saturday!

It's been a *very* long time since I've been in the Wycombe town centre, but I'm fairly certain it used to be here, back when the shopping centre was called the Octagon:
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.630...4!1sawMl6EW9_wAR9NcBaZdqTw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

It was turned into a Lloyds TSB after Beaties, now it's just Lloyds Bank :p
 
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I used to visit the Beatties store in Merry Hill back in the late 90s. I had several Tamiya R/C cars from there plus some Dreamcast games. There was also an Electronics Boutique that later became GAME, I bought my first PC game from there, Carmageddon it was, the Re Play re-release.
 
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I remember in the 80's many corner shops or convenience stores would often have a selection of £1.99 Spectrum and C64 games in a little display on the counter.

Often old games and ones that didn't sell, but usually some good ones too.

Along with renting videos and selling sweets, magazines and comics they were amazing one stop entertainment stores for kids.

Many stayed open a lot later than game stores too, buying a new game at 8pm after the high street has been shut for hours.

80's cornershops helped to fill an information and entertainmet distribution role now almost completely replaced by the internet. People still buy papers and magazines but in much less quantity today.
 
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As a kid I only really remember Electronics Boutique and Game stores. I would love going to EB and browsing Amiga games which neither me nor my parents could afford. Latest games were usually £30

I went with my dad to the carboot sales to pick up knock off copies of games for £2 - £10 which 60% of the time ended up either not working at all, getting a few hours in and a guru meditation error appearing or the floppy drive grinding away attempting to read and knackered disk.

Christmas and birthdays were the time for store bought games which 90% of the time worked ( :D ) Probably the best game present being Mortal Kombat from my grandparents when I was 12. I took my Amiga to my grandparents with the plastic floppy tray disk carried things you got on xmas day. With my went 20 or so games like Alien Breed tower assault, Cannon fodder, Superfrog, Moonstone, Nebulus, Project 1, Midnight Resistance, Altered Beast and Shadow of the beast. I opened Mortal Kombat and ran straight upstairs where I happily sat for hours trying special moves and finishing moves. A friend came around and were entertained all day, probably whilst my grandparents, parents and friends family all got hammered. The 90s was great
 
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I grew up in Southend-On-Sea and we had a decent mix of computer shops in the 80s and 90s.

Software Plus - Use to visit this in the late 80s and I remember the big wall of Sega Master System and Amiga games at the time.
I genuinely came in here looking for Software Plus! Awesome little place!! I used to go to the one in the corner, at the front of Liberty Hall in Basildon. Was there another in Southend?

mom another note, Liberty Hall was also the only place locally to have Arcade machines. Awesome selection too!! 30 years later I’m starting to buy the boards.
 
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There was a tiny little shop in Cannock (Cheslyn Hay) called Computer Bitz that I would pester my parents to stop at every time we went to visit my Nan. I had my first PS1 from there and would often come back with a handful of second hand games every other month or so.

I have very fond memories of that place. Shelves and shelves full of PS1 games.
 
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