GAMES CONNECTION - 01895 422322
Games Connection in West Drayton is carefully managed by Av Kandola, and stocks both the latest titles, retro classics as well as pre-owned games, consoles, accessories and DVDs. The store boasts a competitive part-exchange offer and a staff of hardcore gamers, who are more than happy to dish out valuable advice. The store also sells mobile phones and accessories, and has a hardware and disc repair service. Gamers can also try out their potential purchases in-store, as long as they have a demo.
GAME PLAYER - www.gameplayervideogames.com
Nominated for the store manager award at this year's MCV Awards, ex-GAME manager Gary Noakes is making waves with his Game Player chain. The fourth Game Player outlet in Hove will be open shortly (the others are in Crawley, Worthing and Littlehampton), with a potential four more in the works, and the chain offers a unique range of services, including Kodak photo kiosks, phone unlocking, console repairs and phone contracts. Game Player specialises in used software and also has a GameIndie website.
GAMETRON - 01223 462825
Located next door to Blockbuster, with a GAME and Gamestation just around the corner, GameTron certainly has its fair share of competition. However, the team uses this to its advantage, with all four stores sending customers to one another if they don't sell the product the customer is after. GameTron, which once had a second store in Bedford, sells a variety of retro and import software, rare games and consoles, posters, cards, and other merchandise. The store also sells a variety of DVDs and CDs.
N1 GAMES - 020 7713 7979
N1 Games can be found on Baron Street in London, and is run by Sam Semaan. The store stocks your usual current generation software, as well as hardware, accessories and older titles. The outlet prides itself on its customer service, with the shop staff offering honest advice to its customers. N1 Games also runs a professional-looking website at www.n1games.co.uk, which features a range of special offers and allows for in-store pick ups on pre-orders. The firm also runs a PSP repair service.
GAME CENTRE 2.0 - 01723 500505
GamesCentre 2.0 is not your average independent. For starters, it boasts four floors, with a PC gaming arena and an internet caf too. Not only that, but the Steve Hinchliffe-owned outlet also has a floor dedicated to non-gaming collectables and DVD. Based in Scarborough, GameCentre has a lot of stiff competition nearby, with GAME, Gamestation and various supermarkets. However, the firm sees a lot of its customer come during the tourist season, with two nearby hotels.
VOODOO CONSOLES - 01509 218586
Voodoo Consoles' flagship store can be found in Loughbrough, with another store in Mowbray. The store stocks new and used games, accessories and consoles, and has worked hard to overcome the challenges of the credit crunch and supermarket price cutting. Voodoo Consoles boasts a ‘friendly atmosphere' and a good relationships with its customers. The outlet is run by Jo and Dan Whitehead, the latter of which is also the games buyer for MBL, the distributor for Morrisons, WH Smiths, Co-op and more.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS - 01234 270777
The Bedford-based indie is part games specialist, part comic book retailer, with a second store in Northampton. The Bedford outlet has survived despite tough competition from GAME, Gamestation, and most recently, a Computer Exchange. The independent enjoys a great relationship with its rivals, with the Gamestation manager often joining the team for lunch. Both stores offer excellent customer service, and has a large amount of dedicated customers who visit on a daily basis.
THE GAMES ROOM - 01862 892066
Run by Gordon Crawford, Gamespod is an independently owned business based in Farnham, Surrey. The store opened back in 2003 and has a great reputation for its knowledgeable staff and friendly service, and that's not to mention its competitive pricing policy. Like many of the independents in this year's Top 20, Gamespod has its own website set up in association with GameIndie (www.gamespod.co.uk). Crawford also runs the yourgametrade.com eBay-like business.
VIRTUAL GAMES - 01344 481308
Virtual Games started life in 1993 with its flagship store in Bracknell, with other stores located throughout the country. The firm has received praise for its very knowledgeable staff, while manager Paul Kenwright boasts that his stores offer a ‘high standard of after-sales service.' Virtual Games sells a wide variety of games, and specialises in used software. The firm runs promotions throughout the year, including the recent Beat the Boss competition, where customers could win their purchases for free on the roll of a dice.
PLUS HERE'S A LOOK AT THE TOP 10 ONLINE INDIES...
One of the biggest online indies, ShopTo boast many unique services.
Books, DVDs, games and gadgets are available at this rising indie.
Everything Play– link
Run by gamers for gamers, Everything Play opened in 2007 and boasts a wide range.
Stephen Staley's popular Gameseek goes from strength-
Simply Games– link
The well-respected independent is now entering its eleventh year in business.
Powerplay Direct– link
The DVD, game, gadget and CD specialist boasts impressive prices.
Game Connection– link
The colourful website continues to grow thanks to competitive prices.
Startup Media– link
A wide selection of games and consoles can be found on offer here.
A white label service used by many of this year's Top 20 UK indies.
CKS Entertainment– link
CKS Entertainment sells a large quantity of new and retro games and hardware.
Click here to check out Part One.
GAMES CONNECTION - 01895 422322