The UK’s top 20 indies: Pt. 2

Insane Games

Based in Somerset, the four-strong indie chain has stores in Wells, Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater and Street, and has been trading since February 1996. The indie stocks back catalogue classics as well as an extensive range of pre-owned video games. Last year Insane Games re-launched its website with a selection of titles and free postage for any orders over 50.

Ninja Games

The three time MCV Awards runner-up has been around since 2002, with three thriving High Street stores. Ninja Games sells a huge variety of new and retro console games, including PS3, Nintendo DS, Atari 2600 and Neo Geo. The store’s strength is in its pre-owned offering, with good trade-in opportunities and a four-month guarantee to those wanting a previously owned game.


Beginning way back in the year 2000 in Doncaster, Playtime is one of the largest independent retailers out there with nine individual stores. The business has been growing steadily year-on-year, with the locations cited as a major reason for its success. Each Playtime store boasts a good city-based location, providing it with a large customer base.


The Pontypridd-based specialist lists its honest reputation amongst its strengths, which has been built up by the unbiased advice it offers to parents (especially mothers). The store stocks games from Mega Drive to PlayStation 3, and has accessories for all formats. The indie employs three members of staff in its large store, including a full-time engineer for console and disc repairs.

Ross Records

One of the oldest independents out there, Ross Records began back in 1974 and is currently run by Benjamin Rossiter. The store has seen the industry change dramatically during its time, from the days of vinyl, video and Atari through to modern formats. The store has served generations of families too, with a policy of fair pricing and good customer service.

Sholing Video

The 25-year old family-run store has seen many changes since the Commodore days. It specialises in rentals and boasts of having over twenty thousand members on its books. The store has a good relationship with its distributors, which has helped them serve their loyal customers. Sholing also trades on eBay, having sold 1,000 units in two months, and plans to move online fully.

Stans Games Exchange

Having built up a loyal customer base through over 12 years of retail, Stans Games Exchange sells a massive range of hardware and software covering an array of different formats. The store boasts trade-in opportunities, as well as both disc and console repair services. It also stocks a range of CDs and DVDs and has its own online website for the more dedicated customers.

That’z Entertainment

That’z Entertainment’s flagship store is based in the Lakeside Shopping Centre, with another in Romford. Both of the shops offer pre-owned and new releases, alongside good prices, friendly staff and an excellent retro offering. That’z is currently planning to launch its new website to accompany its free online swap service, which can be found at

Third Place

Matthew Allan first started Third Place six years ago when watching his son play Gran Turismo on the PS2. He is now the proud owner of three video game stores, each with a dedicated manager. Third Place’s dedicated customer base has also doubled during 2007. The store boasts a large pre-owned offering and an online store that accounts for 20 per cent of its business.

Total Games

The five-strong indie chain that’s based in Yorkshire has been around since early 1996. The chain is continuing to expand further by focusing on pre-owned software and other items such as plush toys, soundtracks and non-gaming items including PC and iPod accessories. Currently the team at Total Games is preparing to open a sixth store, with another re-locating to a bigger premises.

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