Last week I talked about Play N Trade, a gaming shop in Plano that offered some solid deals on retro games and hardware. This week I visited another local gem, a long-standing independent shop known as Game Exchange. Though its name bares resemblance to other larger chains and similar shops, it’s quite a bit different...and that’s a good thing.
Located on Main Street in Lewsiville, Game Exchange has been around for as long as I can remember. Though it’s seen its share of renovations, remodeling and even a location change it still offers what it always has: Old school gaming thrills at rock bottom prices. On top of retro video games, they also sell newer stuff from the Xbox, Xbox 360, Playstation 2, Playstation 3 and various trading card and table top games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pokemon. When the shop first opened, the balance leaned heavily towards their video games sales...but now, unfortunately, it leans towards the card games which has lead to the decline of their gaming stock. Still, there’s more than enough left to make your visit worthwhile.
Though not exactly the largest shop you’ll come across, they’ve really managed to maximize the given space with a series of shelves, glass cases, wall displays and more. Like Play N Trade, every system is given a specific area...and it’s packed full. The more common games are kept out where you can freely look them over, with the rarities residing in one of the various glass cases.
Starting off, we’ll look at their selection of games from the various Sega systems. The hefty Genesis section houses around a hundred titles, most cart-only but a few are complete in the original cases and with the manual. Cart-only games are $4.90 a piece with the complete titles coming in at $10 to $15. All sports titles on the Genesis are not only $1.90 a piece, but also Buy One Get One Free! This is a great way to stock up on some games for that brother, cousin or buddy of yours who won't play anything other than Madden(or some other sports series).
32X titles are also only $4.90, with some of the more rare games weighing in at around $10. Sadly, they don’t have a whole lot, but if you’ve just picked up a 32X and are looking for the basics then this is the place to hit. On the other hand, the Game Gear selection is not only plentiful but a steal at only $4.90 as well. They have so many good games on hand; it’s hard for me to control myself when I come in. Last time I was there I found the extremely rare “Ninja Gaiden” and “Chicago Syndicate” carts! Like many other stores, they consider the Dreamcast to be retro and with that said, they’ve got quite a few titles. Though a lot of the stock is made up of sports games, they did have some quality stuff in there like Hydro Thunder. All common DC games are $3.99 a piece with the more coveted titles costing $20 to $30.
Finally, and this is just awesome, *all* of their Sega CD and Saturn stock is $1.99. I went nuts that last time I was in there, buying up around $40 worth of the stuff. I picked up some quality titles like Bug!, World Series Baseball and Clockwork Knight for the Saturn, and then Microcosm and Jurassic Park on Sega CD. I live for these sorts of deals!
On to Nintendo: Their stock of NES and Super Nintendo games has got to be around two hundred games combined(all cart-only), it's just massive. The NES titles are $4.70 a piece(or two for $7), with SNES games coming in at $6.90 a piece. They also carry the GameBoy series, from original black and green, to Color and then finally Advance. It’s not nearly as big as their Game Gear collection, but spread out across the three versions of the hardware it’s not bad.
The number of Nintendo 64 games is only around fifty carts, or so, but the quality of titles and low pricing really make up for it. Most N64 games are only $5, and that includes hip stuff like Fighter’s Destiny. They also have, and brace yourself here, Virtual Boy games! Hard to find, and even harder to purchase, the Virtual Boy has always been strictly for the hardcore collectors...or those who simply have a lot of money to throw around. Game Exchange currently has Panic Bomber(boxed), Galactic Pinball and Mario Tennis for $45 to a whopping $85 a piece! Again, only the hardcore need apply.
The Playstation is represented as well, with titles ranging from $4 to $20. Like the N64 games, the quality of PSX titles carried really makes it worth your while to sift through and once you find something, it doesn’t kill your wallet to buy it. The PSX stuff seems to fluctuate, but they usually have around thirty to fifty games on hand at any given time. Another nice thing is that most are complete with their original cases and manuals.
Finally we come to hardware and peripherals, where the shop really shines. Like Play N Trade, sifting through their collection yields some of the most odd and surprising finds you’re likely to come across. While I was there I saw stuff like a Yobo NES Light Gun, colored(and clear) Dreamcast controllers, AV cables and deluxe memory cards for various systems, a steering wheel for the N64, a paddle-like controller for the SNES and all sorts of other weird stuff(most new in box too). They also had a Genesis 2 unit, with a 32X add on for $40, some NES and Super Nintendo decks and even a few of those GN Twins that play both Sega Genesis and NES titles.
As one of the oldest independent gaming shops in the DFW area, Game Exchange is a place every retro gamers needs to stop by, check out and even pay homage to. Be sure to bring your wallet though, as I guarantee that you won’t be able to get out of there without finding some old school gem that you had completely forgotten about, and now couldn’t possibly live without...
NOTE: A while after I wrote this review the store became "Bulldog Comics & Games". Apparently, they are going to start focusing on comics and cards a bit more...but hopefully it'll remain the same wonderful shop it's always been. We'll see how it goes...